The Battlax T30 is a new line of sport-touring radial tires, Bridgestone’s first tire to carry the “T” designation for “Touring.” The T30 features an advanced tread pattern designed to provide improved handling and dry grip when compared with its predecessor, the Battlax BT-023. A new front tire rubber compound maximizes grip and stiffness from the T30, and it also features cross-belt construction to aid stability, with a tread pattern modified to match this new belt construction.
The front tire has what Bridgestone calls a T-cross-shaped groove on the sides, and a straight center groove designed for improved contact by reducing tread stiffness. The idea is that a more compliant tire will
better conform to the road surface and thus grip more effectively. The slanted grooves toward the shoulders are intended to provide greater tread block stiffness for consistent input forces during cornering. The result, Bridgestone tells us, is greater contact patch optimization.
The rear tire features a semi-slick shoulder pattern, which is designed to offer the greater surface area of a slick racing tire, but with the grooves of a street tire so it can dispel water and perform more effectively in the wet. With fewer grooves, the tire can provide a greater contact patch and higher tread block stiffness for cornering grip and confidence.
While the front tire is composed of a single compound, the rear offers a dual compound. The intent is that the softer tread compound on the sides will better conform to and grip the road surface, while the harder center tread will lead to greater tread life.
I had a set of the Battlax T30s mounted on my BMW R 1100 RS, and the installer noted that the carcass was quite stiff. Over the next several months, I rode with them on my favorite mountain road numerous times in a sporting manner, both solo and two-up, used them for commuting and also for running errands. The only condition I could not experience was wet-weather riding during this unseasonably dry Southern California winter.
I have now put more than 2,300 miles on the Battlax T30s, and have found that they indeed feel stiff, yet with that said I am happy to report that they have not exhibited any slippage whatsoever during my hardest cornering. They have also shown good wear characteristics; some other tires I’ve used have shown noticeable wear by this point. In short, good wear characteristics and tenacious grip are exactly what you want in a sport-touring tire. The T30 is available in six front sizes ranging in price from $169.71 to $185, and eight rear sizes ranging from $212.59 to $257.58.
Note that the T30s are also available in a GT version for heavy motorcycles, which Bridgestone defines as fully optioned touring bikes weighing more than 551 pounds. They feature a cross-belt construction with a slightly modified pattern on the front, with a stiffer construction on the rear for additional stability. They can be identified by the GT designation on the sidewall.
For more information, see your dealer or visit bridgestoneamericas.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the April 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)