Constructing a motorcycle tire is complicated, but the important aspects for me are durability and handling. How long will it last, and how does it feel when cornering?
Nobody can say how long a tire will last, because that depends on how the rider uses the throttle, the type of bike, and the road conditions. I needed a new set of rubber for my Honda ST1100, and Avon Tyres offers two models appropriate for my use. Both Spirit and Storm radials are in their sport-touring lineup, with the Spirit being sportier and the Storm 3D X-M lasting longer. I opted for the X-M, with those two letters standing for eXtra-Miles.
The 3D means Avon uses a 3-dimensional system in the way the tread pattern is arranged, said to improve stability and grip and to squeeze out water more effectively when riding on a rainy day. Avon also uses SRS (Super Rich Silica) in the tread to enhance grip.
The tires arrived wrapped in plastic, which I tore off and began looking at all the numbers and letters on the sidewalls. On the rear tire was writ: A-VBD (Advanced Variable Belt Density), meaning the wires which give the tire strength are closer together in the center of the tire, further apart on the sidewalls. This allows the footprint of the tire to expand as the bike leans into a curve. Stamped with a ZR rating, the Storm tires have a maximum speed capability that exceeds 149 mph.
Let’s get them on the wheels and try them out. Installation is handled by my local technician, Herb. Air hose on, 42 psi in the rear, 36 in the front, and I’m away on a 150-mile break-in ride. The next morning, I check the pressures, all is well, and then I’m off to the Big Sur highway, closed that day at a point halfway up the coast because of a minor landslide. That gives me 40 miles of trafficless curves.
Good grip, and pleasantly soft in the curves due to the malleable sidewalls, but certainly not too soft, and the ride is very comfortable. Good feel on the brakes, which are not ABS, with the tires gripping well when slowing fast. Over the next 1,000 miles I get some rain-riding in, and those 3D sipes do work well.
For a fun bit of history, the Avon India Rubber Co. Ltd. began in 1890 in the English town of Melksham, about100 miles west of London, with the Avon River flowing through. In 1997, Avon was bought by the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. of Findlay, Ohio. And in 2021, Cooper was bought by Goodyear. The mysteries of big business.
The front has an MSRP of $159.81, rear, $213.06, but there are always deals to be had out there.
For more information, see your dealer or visit avonmoto.com.