Review by Ken Freund
[This Pirelli Diablo Strada (EMS) Sport-Radial Motorcycle Tires review was originally published in the August 2005 issue of Rider magazine]
According to Pirelli, the new Diablo Strada EMS (Extended Mileage Sport) offers both a high level of traction for sport riding and extended mileage beyond that of the typical sportbike tire. The Strada radial was specifically developed for powerful sport-touring bikes like Yamaha’s FJR1300, Honda’s VFR, Kawasaki’s ZRX and Ducati’s ST3/ST4 series, all of which tend to be ridden hard and cover long distances. Stradas compete with Michelin Pilot Road, Bridgestone BT020 NT and Metzeler Roadtec Z6 tires. We spooned a set onto an FJR1300 and rode off into the sunset to try them out.
Pirelli’s Strada utilizes its patented zero-degree steel-belted radial construction for a more stable contact patch and minimum tire deformation while cornering. The Strada’s rounded profile is closer to that of a high-performance sportbike tire rather than a sport-touring type, which traditionally has flatter cross sections. This sporty shape creates a larger contact patch on the sidewall, which allows steeper lean angles for more aggressive cornering.
The tire’s compound is formulated for a combination of high grip in wet or dry conditions, along with greater mileage than standard sport-radial tires. It’s also designed to warm up quickly, even in the wet or on colder days. Pirelli’s testing has shown that acceleration and braking forces exerted in a straight line are most frequently responsible for a major portion of tire wear, particularly in the center of the rear tread, as friction from the road surface in starting and stopping stress the tire’s tread prematurely. Therefore, a harder 12mm-wide strip in the center of the rear tread offers higher mileage (about 30 percent better than the Diablo) without giving up cornering performance. Tread grooves are minimal in the rear tire, to reduce tread flex and wear. To lessen the chance of hydroplaning, both the front and rear tread patterns were designed to work in unison, with the front channeling water out of the way so the rear tire essentially rides through a cleared path.
We found the Stradas to be quality tires that offer good turn-in followed by steady, confidence-inspiring cornering grip, high-speed stability and sure-footed braking. They don’t wiggle or follow rain grooves and so far their wear has been slow and even. Stradas are available in three front sizes (110/80ZR-18, 120/70ZR-17, 120/60ZR-17) and five rear sizes (150/70ZR-17, 160/60ZR-17, 170/60ZR-17, 180/55ZR-17). A 190/50ZR-17 rear is expected to be available this summer.