At first glance, a sportbike’s mission is pretty clear—hustle down a twisty road as quickly as possible—but out there in the real world practical matters muddy that clarity. For example, often you have to ride some distance to get to where the good roads are, and you’ll spend most of that time on the middle of tires, not the edges. Bald tread in the center of an expensive and super-sticky rear tire combined with barely-worn shoulders prompted tire manufacturers to develop dual-compound tires, with a harder compound in the middle for all that boring stuff between the exciting bits. Avon’s dual-compound Storm 3D X-M is billed as a high-mileage sport-touring tire, designed to give you the best of both highway droning and backroad fun.
Avon says the Storm 3D X-M will deliver 15-20 percent more mileage than the current Storm range. It has interlocking three-dimensional points hidden in the tread sipes to improve stability and grip, limit tread flex and warm up the tire quickly. A super-rich silica tread gives good grip in the wet. A road-hazard warranty and a 15,000-mile warranty against the tread wearing out (certain conditions apply, but you suspected that anyway) are included. That’s all fine, but how long will the Storm 3D X-M last?
It’s impossible to say without wearing out a set, but I’m trying. Although Avon says the typical fitments for the Storm 3D X-M include heavyweights like the Honda Blackbird, Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki Concours 14, I levered a set onto my Honda VFR800, a comparative middleweight in such hefty company.
My riding habits pencil out to just about 50/50 highway and twisties, giving the tire equal opportunity to prove itself in its two primary habitats. After more than 5,000 miles, the middle of the dual-compound rear is showing signs of squaring off, but you have to look closely to see them. There’s still a lot of tread left before wear gets anywhere near the tread-wear indicator; I’m pretty sure I can get at least 10,000 on the rear, maybe more, before I start thinking about replacing it. The single-compound front tire is wearing evenly from shoulder to shoulder, and will probably match the rear for wear.
The Storm 3D X-M’s cornering performance on the street is more than a match for my skills, rewarding me with the narrowest chicken strips I’ve had on a bike in decades. Riding in the wet isn’t something most sportbike riders worry about, but here in Oregon the skies can open up any time. I’ve been caught out twice now, and the Storm 3D X-Ms handled wet pavement pretty well, and even cornered confidently—again, more confidently than me.
Unless you ride exclusively on the track, there’s no reason not to make the move to dual-compound tires for your sportbike or sport tourer. The 120/70-ZR17 front and 180/55-ZR17 rear for my 2000 Honda VFR800 have an MSRP of $181 and $232 respectively. I don’t yet know what the cost per mile will turn out to be, but whatever it is so far, it beats every other sport-only tire I’ve ever used.
For more information, see your dealer or visit avonmoto.com.