Bridgestone Battlax T31 Sport-Touring Tires | Gear Review

Bridgestone Battlax T31 sport touring tire on KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Bridgestone Battlax T31 sport-touring tires on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. (Photos courtesy of Bridgestone)

With many sport-touring and adventure-touring bikes producing upwards of 130-150 rear-wheel horsepower and featuring electronics that manage engine output, chassis dynamics, suspension action and braking, the demands we place on our tires have never been higher, nor have our expectations for grip and tread life. That’s where Bridgestone’s latest sport-touring radial tire, the Battlax T31, comes in.

Bridgestone Battlax T31 sport touring tireWe’ve tested, and been impressed by, Battlax T30s as OE tires on test bikes and as replacement tires on personal bikes. Compared to the T30 Evo, Bridgestone says the T31 offers better feel and feedback, superior wet grip (especially at low temperatures), improved handling in all conditions and comparable wear resistance. A new tread design has more grooves on the shoulder for increased water drainage and fewer grooves in the center for increased stability. Depending on lean angle, the contact patch is up to 7 percent larger, helping the T31s generate more camber thrust (which helps a bike turn), and the coefficient of friction on wet surfaces has increased by 3 percent. The front tire uses a single compound with improved silica dispersion for enhanced flexibility and feel. The rear tire uses a dual compound, with a softer, grippier compound that forms the base of the entire tire as well as the tread on the shoulders and a harder, longer-lasting compound that forms a cap on the center of the tire.

Bridgestone Battlax T31 sport touring tire Ducati Multistrada 1260
Bridgestone Battlax T31 sport-touring tires the Ducati Multistrada 1260. Plenty of grip for high-speed corners.

Bridgestone Battlax T31 sport touring tire rearTo test the T31s, Bridgestone hosted a press launch in Quarzazate, Morocco, just south of the Atlas Mountains on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Our 200-mile route was on pavement that ranged from freshly laid and steamrolled to heavily used and abused, with plenty of crosswinds that kept us on our toes and sand on the tarmac. I split my time between the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT and the Ducati Multistrada 1260, two of the most powerful and sophisticated sport tourers available. We rode at a spirited pace on roads that crossed wide-open desert and climbed over craggy mountains, a constantly changing cycle of aggressive acceleration, braking and cornering. The T31s delivered as promised in terms of straight-line stability, full-lean grip and responsiveness, regardless of bike or section of road. I quickly gained trust and confidence in the tires, allowing me to spend less time thinking about grip and more time focused on surface conditions, line selection and modulation of the throttle and brakes. That’s exactly what I want in a set of tires.

Bridgestone Battlax T31 sport touring tire Ducati Multistrada 1260
A bird’s eye view of part of our test route in central Morocco, which was 200 miles of good/bad pavement with lots of corners and crosswinds.

Of course, with 200 miles in the bone-dry desert, we weren’t able to evaluate wet grip, which, according to Bridgestone, is where the T31s are most improved compared to the T30 Evos. Nor were we able to draw any conclusions about tread life, but our test of the original T30s yielded good results. Available now, Battlax T31 tires are available in eight front sizes and nine rear sizes in standard construction, plus two front and three rear sizes in a reinforced GT version for heavier bikes.

For information, see your dealer or visit motorcycle-karttires.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m looking at the Bridgestone T-31 tires for my 2014 BMW 1200 RT. Personal reviews from riders indicate that the GT version has sidewalls that are too stiff, yielding a rougher ride. On this bike, my first replacement tires were Michelin Pilot 3 which seemed kind of mushy. Now I have Dunlop Roadsmart 2 which are not mushy at all but a bit hard hitting on bumps. Based on those personal reviews of the T-31 GT I’m wondering if the GT version might be even more hard hitting on bumps mounted on my BMW RT.
    So, if anyone responds to this note, my question is this. Which T-31 version should I choose, standard or GT? I ride two-up about half the time and travel solo fully loaded with camping gear. The bike is about 623 lbs wet, closer to 700 lbs with fully loaded luggage. That fully loaded weight might suggest going with the GT version tires, but would the standard version work just as well and provide a more comfortable ride?

  2. Personally I am a fan of the T30 Evo / T31 and use them on all my bikes – I am now just about to change a set of regular T30 Evo’s on my 2013 Honda CB1300 to T31’s which is also a big bike and probably around 100lbs shy of your RT. I also regularly ride 2 up and never had any issues – after 2.5 years the rear is holding up very well and strictly speaking I only need to change the front but I will do both to save me the hassle.

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