By Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor

A solid choice for track day

Bridgestone returns to the tire shootout fray with an updated "Pro" version of its five-year-old Battlax BT-016. Featuring enhanced rubber compounds that create a larger footprint against the road, the Japanese-made hoops continue to utilize dual-compound zones, front and rear.

Value conscious riders will appreciate the BT-016 Pro’s bang for the buck. With a price of $372.98, they are positioned directly between the pricey Metzeler M5 and the budget-minded Shinko – a fair price for a premium brand, Japanese-built tire.

On the scale, the front Bridgestone barely eked out the Avon and Shinko for lightest honors, weighing roughly three ounces less. However, the back tire was heavier than all but the Shinko. Still, together the pair was comparable to the class-leading Metzelers, weighing nearly 10 ounces more than the German rubber and more than a pound less than the Korean-built hoops.

The Battlaxs were the most neutral and balanced feeling tires within the B group. They were also rated as having the best steering and above-average grip and stability, though not to the level of the Metzeler. They did, however, offer a smidge more road feel, though not quite to the level of the Avon Supersport.

Despite featuring updated rubber compounding, the Bridgestone registered the longest warmup duration, taking nearly five minutes to arrive at operating temperature on the Big Track and just over six minutes on the Streets. Its highest-in-class operating temperatures (150 degrees Fahrenheit in the front and 175 degrees in the rear) paired with it having run in the morning – during the second-coolest track temperatures – certainly didn’t help either.

Although the Battlax Pros took some time to generate heat, once they did they set competitive lap times. On the fast and flowing Big Track they were well ahead of the Shinko and only 0.2 second off the Metzeler (but still 1.6 second off the Avon). Around the Streets course, they tied the M5 and bested the Avon by 0.7 second.

Despite their lengthy warmup time, the Bridgestones proved themselves a good all-around tire. We’re big fans of their neutral handling manners, as well as grip once warmed up. However, they failed to elicit the same level of feel as the Avons or the outright adhesion of the Metzelers, positioning the BT-016 Pro in third place.

RIDER NOTES:

“It was the most balanced overall. Predicable steering, not too sharp, not to slow. The front flexed more than Tire 1, B group [Avon Supersport]. Conversely, the rear tire seemed to have a more rigid feel. Grip was surprisingly good on the side and the center, but it was a little inconsistent as the tire got hotter. Not bad by any means, but it did change with heat. It also took a bit of time to heat up. If I had to make one complaint I would say that it could offer more road feel, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do track days on it.”

The Bridgestone BT-016 Pro is available at Motorcycle Superstore.