I enjoy sport riding but find that tire life suffers when I ride hard with my buddies into the mountains for breakfast, or when we go sport touring on a long weekend. As a result, I have been searching for a sport-touring tire that will deliver that elusive combination of good handling, tenacious grip and decent mileage.
An opportunity presented itself when Avon Motorcycle Tyres introduced its Storm 2 Ultra radials last December, an update of its sport and sport-touring Storm tire. The original Storm utilized an “advanced variable belt construction” that was designed for greater stability, longer life, responsiveness and a more comfortable ride. The belting continues with the Storm 2 update, but Avon has now added multicompounding with a medium rubber compound in the center of the tread and a softer compound along the edges. An Avon spokesperson told me that the variable density belt is also wound tighter for greater stability in the center of the tire, and less tight along the edges for enhanced grip. Thus, they expect that the new tire will deliver up to 12 percent greater mileage than the original Storm, along with enhanced performance and grip. Secondly, the Storm 2 Ultra utilizes Super Rich Silica (SRS) in its compound that Avon says disperses more readily throughout the tire and leads to quicker warm-ups and better grip, wet or dry.
I ordered a set of Storms 2 Ultras for my BMW R 1100 RS, a 120/70ZR17 front and a 160/60ZR18 rear. Their tread pattern has a modern look with a series of slashing grooves spreading from the center outward in the popular “cut-slick” design.
With the Storm 2 Ultras installed I immediately went on a three-day ride with my buddies, a high-speed sport-touring extravaganza through the Southern California mountains and back roads. I noted initially that the tires allowed the bike to be leaned readily to a certain point, then steering and leaning slowed. This was particularly noticeable upon entering a turn when I would see a pebble or sand patch at the exit, and noted that it took more effort to fine-tune and change my line than I had expected. However, as the tires wore in over the first thousand miles this tendency diminished.
As I live in Southern California I have not yet ridden with these tires in the rain, but in terms of dry grip and stability, the Avon Storm 2 Ultras are superb. I rode as hard as I wished, my bike loaded with three days’ worth of gear, chasing aggressive friends over several hundred miles and did not experience any slipping or uncertainty whatsoever. Ride is slightly stiffer than expected, but as of today I have put more than a thousand miles on the Storm 2 Ultras and am delighted to report that wear is as yet negligible and handling certainly acceptable.
The Avon Storm 2 is available in six sizes for the front and nine sizes for the rear. They are protected by a road hazard warranty that states that if you experience a puncture within the first millimeter of wear (about 25 percent of tread life) the tire will be replaced at no charge. Prices range from $169.92-$197.79 for fronts and $212.42-$286.43 for rears, but motorcycle tires are often sold at discounted prices.
For more information see your Avon dealer