Bridgestone T32 and T32 GT tire test

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The do-it-all Sport Touring tire

22 sizes and a GT version

Since Bridgestone has renamed its tires with clear names, it is much easier to navigate than before, between the T for Touring, the A for Adventure and the S for sport. Farewell, therefore, the BT23s and welcome to the T30, which has become T 30 Evo, then T31 and finally the T32, new tire for 2021.

It was in Tuscany and in real conditions that we tested the new Bridgestone Battlax T32 and its variation T32 GT. This sport touring tire does not only intend to supplant its predecessor (the T31), it aims to set new standards in the segment. To do this, he relies on his "groove", on his "pulse", in short, on his "Pulse Groove". And to try a tire, you have to go for miles and meet the sun but especially the rain to push the grip to its limits. So, after 750 km covered in all weather conditions, yet another marketing argument or a real revolution ?

Bridgestone T32 and T32GT tire testBridgestone T32 and T32GT tire test

When it comes to motorcycle tires, we are used to the talk of manufacturers. Over time, the new one does better, holds up better in the wet and goes further than its predecessor. With percentages, we are therefore logically explained that our T32, already discovered during the test of the Tracer 9 GT and the Tracer 9 of which it is the original fit, claims 7% of braking distance gained on the road. wet, 13% more ground contact area on the rear tire. Among others. Likewise, the GT version, dedicated to heavier and more road-going motorcycle models, also claims to cover 10% more distance. A percentage is useful for giving a ladder, but you still have to be able to climb it and know which rung you are starting from.

The T32 is aimed at a large number of medium to large displacement motorcycles, small ones can also be affected, but their front tire must at least require a 110 to do so. The tires must not exceed 19 inches in diameter either, the 21 being excluded for the moment (it is frequent to see the new dimensions arriving as and when). Too bad for the owners of Africa Twin for example. At the rear, sports cars and big road cars will benefit from a 190 dimension, but the smallest width available is none other than 140, in 18 inches, we then attack the 150 in 17 inches..

Discovery

Concept Pulse Groove

As it is customary to say, if it were worse, there would be no point in changing. However, the T32s already mark their difference by a total break in the design of the bleedings made on the surface of the rubber and intended to drive away water. More numerous, this reinforces the road appearance and differentiates the new Battlax from a sports tire, which on the contrary seeks to reduce the grooves. They also benefit from a more pronounced inclination and increased rigidity, preventing excessive deformation and therefore less visible and less pronounced wear. One of the benefits should be less interference in sensations over the life of the tire.

T32 Introduces Pulse Groove Technology to Improve Water EvacuationT32 Introduces Pulse Groove Technology to Improve Water Evacuation

Irregularly shaped, provided with a "grain of rice" acting as much as a breakwater (well rather central deflectors according to the official terminology), than a wear indicator, the bleedings of the T32 are the patent marks of the presence. of the Pulse Groove technology developed by Bridgestone and implemented for the first time in one of its tires. The purpose of the drawing, apart from the aesthetic? Break the film of water, channel it and allow it to keep a constant and faster flow. This is to better evacuate water, increasing grip on wet to heavily wet roads by preventing the formation of a film between the tire and the road. As you can imagine, this would drastically reduce the grip.

Technologies: 3 LC at the rear, HTSPC, MS Belt, Nano Tech, RC Polymer and Silica Rich EX at the front

In addition, Bridgestone has chosen to continue to use proven and fully mastered manufacturing techniques and technologies. We therefore find the famous aramid single spiral steel belt known as MS Belt. This reduces the weight of the tire by using only a single "wire" wound around the circumference of the tire. It simplifies its structure and significantly reduces the heat production normally induced by overlapping wefts. Just like with the HTSPC, supposed to increase the mileage potential and limit heating by means of 5 steel filaments wrapped in rubber wound and composing said belt.

The T32 is based on a lighter steel MS BeltThe T32 is based on a lighter steel MS Belt

Bridgestone claims to offer enhanced stability, as well as comfort, the internal structure of the tire working in a more natural way and without internal friction. That is. However, the structure of the T32 alone cannot explain the qualities now claimed by the T32. Chemistry is therefore important, as always when it comes to grip.

A bigomme in the back: Silica Rich EX

We can thus observe on the rear tire the slight difference between the two types of rubber reflecting the composition 3LC (therefore bigomme). The wider and harder tread acts in favor of tire life and braking stability, where the softer shoulder works for better grip, therefore in curves. It will wear out faster, but will offer superior handling and increased resistance to the stresses imposed by the laws of physics in curves..

The front and rear, on the other hand, are both designed according to the Cap & Base principle. By superimposing a hard compound at the base (Base) and a soft compound above the wear limits (Cap), Bridgestone guarantees more even wear and eliminates changes in behavior when the tire reaches the end of its life. , a phenomenon often seen on road tires (more frequent slipping, external deformation).

The front is monogum and the rear bigommeThe front is monogum and the rear bigomme

More silica and RC Polymer technology

The front tire, for its part, retains a single component of rubber. It also only has the Silica rich and not from Silica Rich EX found on the rear tire. On the other hand, the cohesion of the internal elements of the rubber is always guaranteed by the RC Polymer technology. It avoids too much molecular friction. This distributes the silica in the rubber as well as possible in order to allow optimized contact with the road. So, what does the EX bring? This further loads the silica rubber and would therefore considerably increase grip in the wet, where Silica Rich "just" increases grip, whatever the weather conditions..

With the T32, Bridgestone seeks to maintain a constant and neutral behavior throughout its life. He must therefore be considerate while providing enough information on the condition of the road to provide information without disrupting. So designed, it should also be able to withstand sporty driving without compromising or denying comfort..

UTAC Ceram study – Millbrook

The T32 has been the subject of a blind study by UTAC SERAM Millbrook, designating it as the most interesting tire in the wet and the best touring tire, at least on a Kawasaki Z900. However, the study was commissioned by…. Bridgestone and performed on the Bridgestone track in Aprilia (Italy) by pitting the T32 against the Michelin Road 5 2 CT +, Continental Conti RoadAttack 3, Pirelli Angel GT2, Metzeler Roadtec 01 and Dunlop Roadsmart 3, i.e. the latest generations of current road sport tires validity.

Bridgestone promises sustained performance throughout the life of the tireBridgestone promises sustained performance throughout the life of the tire

It emerges from this study, which is both factual (chronometer) and subjective (individual assessment) that on dry ground, the Battlax requires a little more warm-up time than another tire in the panel, but provides a good general feeling. In wet conditions, the study points to the fact that it is the best in performance, feel and that it provides a very good level of confidence no matter what. However, the tester weighs the point, the stopping distances not being the best, despite the feeling while pointing the test protocol before bringing out a small rebound when the brakes are applied, affecting the precision of the guidance. and lengthening the stopping distance. And the tester added that in the dry, the sharp changes in angle in the tight show a little lack of stability. In the end, the T32 is the most balanced and the one allowing to take the most angle in the wet, while providing great confidence. Not the best everywhere, nor in all workshops and exercises, but the one giving the most satisfaction in the wet and above all the best reactions. Here is something that reminds us of something.

Test

It’s time to let you know how we felt when we first contacted the T32. For information, I have bought Pirelli Angel GT2 that I fitted on my 2010 CBR 1000 RR a little less than a year ago and I used a BT023 train on my Hornet 900 (an assembly which remains in the catalog on the 3rd line) , one of T30 Evo (which disappears from the catalog in favor of T31, which goes to 2nd line and sees its price drop by about 20%) and I am currently driving with the S22, to which it seems that the T32 knows how to be quite close by certain aspects. End of parenthesis.

On dry roads

It was on the handlebars of the Honda CB 650 R, the Yamaha MT-07 and the BMW F900XR that we were able to gauge the new Battlax T32s. On the Tracer 9, they had already left an excellent memory. Those of an equipment offering a consequent grip and displaying a constant capacity to limit the intervention of the assistance. Better still, they seemed to contribute to the comfort and handling of the bike, allowing it to adapt to the suspensions of the standard version, compensating for a little dryness in the process. As the test begins with the gentle CB, one thing is clear: Tuscany is the ideal playground for these tires and they are immediately at ease with it. This part of Italy offers tortuous paths made of knotty ribbon and pins of all kinds, rapid curves and paths all the more exhilarating as Barbara Collet opens the road by ensuring the rhythm and navigation in a masterful way ( and it sends at a rate much higher than many presentations).

The T32 immediately shows itself at ease on winding roadsThe T32 immediately shows itself at ease on winding roads.

Aside from a few tricky points on the track from the start of our first stage, we chained the kilometers through memorable stages. The city is an opportunity to take advantage of the low-speed stability offered by the T32s. Their profile appears much more natural and better tuned than that of the Pirelli and much less round than that of the Road5. Above all, they do not hesitate to accompany a setting on the angle by eliminating any resistance and therefore excessive fatigue on long road trips. Better still, the comfort on small shocks is real, even if the suspensions of the small Honda are of quality. In addition, the tires come into action immediately. By ambient 20 ° C, the temperature rises quickly and the rubber returns the impression of a certain "tenderness", not to say tenderness towards the pilots, even if they are budding. The first bets on the angle, cautious with regard to the paraffin still present on the edge, demonstrate that the T32 immediately knows how to get into the rhythm, whatever it is and that their temperature rise is sufficiently rapid, despite what we were told.

A tire that can be taken out effortlessly

In built-up areas, we appreciate his ability to be neutral and considerate, while we never hesitate to brake hard. The T32s seem to push the limits of braking and above all return valuable information on the limits of road grip. Finally, if we can call "road" minefields alternating mirror asphalt with black or grainy asphalt and theoretically precarious adhesion. Not to mention the multiple collapses of the tar, improbable bumps, a sort of mini Etna in full thrust in the middle of the road. Or the more than curious behavior of motorists who are as suicidal behind the wheel as they can be playful and rear-wheel enthusiasts, who they suck as willingly as Italian ice cream. Forgetting in passing that they have two extra wheels, a bumper and that Stops aren’t just for tourists. In short, the opportunities to apply emergency braking as well as the suspensions and the damping and comfort qualities of a tire are ideally met and continuously used on this test.

The tire provides valuable feedback on brakingThe tire provides valuable feedback on braking

It was on the MT-07 that I was able to fully appreciate the capabilities of the T32. The much more nervous twin-cylinder, the oh-so-flexible suspensions and the lightness (in every sense of the word) of this bike make it an ideal test bench. And I’m not talking about the comfort of the saddle when it comes to said bench. This time around, the tires are really put to the test in their ability to hold the road, to compensate for the shortcomings of a restless motorcycle and to take in the power of an unfiltered engine. The CB 650 R, with its traction control and especially its take-off from 8,000 rpm, had already given an indication as to the capacity of the rear tire to withstand the power offloads of a medium-capacity roadster and to consequently reduce the intervention of the device, while compensating for any gaps in the suspensions (more smoothness, less drought), but the 4-cylinder does not have the ardor of the CP2, even once the TCS is deactivated.

A tire that sweeps away

Now the T32s screech under braking before they regain grip, without the ABS triggering. When it kicks in, we take control so quickly that we wonder if the bike is still the same as when it sports its original gums: no more tendency to flow more than one brake, in particular in back. Better yet, the T32 display a formidable ability to hold a line, a trajectory, without having to correct or force the handlebars. More than neutral, they provide support and are considerate and reassuring. At least as long as you don’t push them too hard. However, they assert a fairly sporty temperament by breaking any type of driving and especially the speeds practiced..

T32s are more neutral and more considerate when you pick up the paceT32s are more neutral and considerate when you pick up the pace

In small series of very sharp turns negotiated in road rally mode and respecting the road markings or the lane, it can happen that we surreptitiously feel a floating zone on the front tire in a rapid transition from a angle to another. A flash, a marked area, but never dangerous which tilts as the behavior is usually perfect. This skidding symbolizes a small jump towards an ideal grip zone, whereas neither the profile nor the monogum structure of the front tire can explain it. A phenomenon felt once or twice also on the Honda. What would it be like on the track? The UTAC CERAM study corroborates this feeling, in identical proportions (specific conditions and difficult to reproduce). A rare event, but possible and curious, therefore, if not dangerous. As a reminder, their tests were carried out on a Z900, a lively and incisive motorcycle with an expressive engine at will..

These tires seem to appreciate a little weight on the front and the very stiff XR 900 is ideally reflected in this. Going from the chewing gum bike to the bubble bike is to make a monumental big gap while remaining consistent. Placed on the ground, stiff as you wish, the BMW is natively much heavier and more difficult to turn, but once again, the T32s are able to improve handling by making it more precise and more obvious. The XR also locks into the corner immediately, while displaying unperturbed serenity. The angle comes with simplicity, while you appreciate the T32’s ability to absorb unwanted bumps and stay on course. The tire is not tortured, but it stays in line, eliminates parasitic movements, is free from shimmy and is well proven. We push back the established limits, apprehensions and confidence is acquired: the dialogue between the road and the hands is established.

On the handlebars of the BMW XR, the T32 proves to its advantage in the dryOn the handlebars of the BMW XR, the T32 shows its advantage in the dry

A T32, in the dry, it holds and it holds strong, it offers optimized braking thanks to an appreciable grip and above all, it adapts just as well to a motorbike without assistance and an average displacement as a motorbike. more successful, more efficient and a little heavier. Rain threatens, but the road continues. Finally, so to speak. As we reach our rustic accommodation, the asphalt stops and gives way to a gravel path. The ultimate test for road tires begins. Logically, we should slow down, test the waters, but something tells us that the sole supporting earth and stones is hard and that the T32 will once again surprise. So gas. In large. Against all expectations, the course is still precise. We almost believe ourselves with mixed tires, the movements induced by less rubber cobblestones. These tires are formidable. They smooth the ground, stick even when conditions suggest the opposite and above all, they clearly resist aggression. And it is not the round trip then done again on the handlebars of an MT-9 and thoroughly that will be able to say the opposite. The counter-employment? Not even afraid.

By analyzing a posteriori the rubber of the "little ones" employed all day, one observation emerges: it is hardly wrinkled. Barely marked. Above all, they were barely lapped on the edges in the morning and here they are perfectly cleaned. Riding in the dry or on rough terrain? A formality. But that’s good, the next day is rainy and above all, we will be riding maxi road and sportivo GT trails, wearing the GT version of the T32s. Here again, a good pick for testing the new tire! For now, it’s time to go rest after about 400 km or so and sleep on those favorable first impressions. (Editor’s note: the 400 km is nothing, it’s the time spent going back and forth for the photos).

On wet roads

This time, it is the T32 GT which is mounted on our road of the day. If there are any conditions that riders dread, even with bikes equipped with traction and braking assistance, it is wet roads, drizzle, varying amounts of rain and constant changes in grip. So many conditions encountered at present. However, here we are reassured as rarely. Like never, even. Admittedly, the pace is – I admit – a little less intense than the day before, but the sensations are similar.

The tires are also very reassuring in the wetThe tires are also very reassuring in the wet

So much so that on the Versys 1000 SE, a fairly heavy motorcycle, riding in Sport or User mode with or without traction control seems like a pure formality. Quite a surprise. Imagine your way of riding legally in the dry. Increase the speeds a little, we are in Italy and soak the road. There you are. With the T32s, after trying to find the limits of grip from the rear (and then the front), you realize that the grip is once again excellent under the circumstances. Considerate, the tires "speak" to you and let you know that they are able to hold the road, to stop only on command and again, in a very short way. Explanations.

New standard

The strong accelerations on the handlebars of the Kawasaki coupler have succeeded in demonstrating the self-stabilization of the T32s, which on the one hand remain in line and on the other hand can afford to skate: at the rear, they always hang up smoothly and by warning that we are still far from a possible breaking point. While you don’t put a boot heel on the road without thinking it’s “ice,” Battlaxes grip like nothing has happened. Or almost. Never before has betrayed us, remaining considerate and actionable, filtering information to return only that concerning the texture of the road and not its degree of humidity. The road feel is arguably the greatest quality of the T32. And especially the one that is confirmed once on the handlebars of the XR 1000.

Even in the wet, the front remains considerate and usableEven in the wet the front remains considerate and usable

So it comes back to us in Rain Mode, normal for a rainy day on roads soaked by…. in the rain, the engine feels so hollow and empty when accelerating compared to the Versys we are stalling. Damn electronic accelerator and its response to the gum, not to mention the castration apparently operated on the Euro5 model! A few nudges on the mode button, the Dynamic Pro engaged, the engine kicks off. Still hollow. Definitely, he is not the one who is going to stress the tire during the first acceleration. The idea of ​​testing "full throttle in the wet" came about. The reaction of the T32s is immediate: despite the wet layer on the road, the front wheel rises. It drives strong. Very strong. Too strong ? Never ! Once this test is passed, comes the test of acceleration in a curve, which is still wet. Always sooner, always stronger, you can feel the tire sit on its side, wedge up and resume the printed race. The increased contact surface promised is indeed there: we feel the supports and their benefits.

If it slips, it stays light and always under control, electronic here, manual elsewhere, by means of more precise throttle and constant control. While the BM fits in with one block, seeming stiff as justice, the T32s manage to offer a little freedom in this particularly locked world. In wet conditions, Bridgestones provide serenity as rare as it is beneficial. The more you can rely on them, the less you tense up and the more precise and clear the driving is.

Conclusion

Obviously, we are not going to seek the limit until the possible fall, especially in the rain, especially in the superb environment we are traversing, but the enormous diversity of asphalt and grip, the traps of all kinds and in all senses were skilfully foiled by the T32. Better still, the road tire does not hesitate to let the sporting genes it has in it express itself through impeccable road holding and surprising grip for a ride in this family. Excellent brakes and talented sprinters, they delay the triggering of the ABS, in the dry and even more so in the wet, optimizing the braking distances while limiting the intervention of the traction controls (all motorcycles and all powers combined). Not to mention that throughout this journey, the Bridgestone T32 has demonstrated great endurance, through its ability to limit wear and maintain its integrity. And we will take it again to test it up to the rope to measure its effective longevity.

The T32 presents only qualities, remains to be seen its behavior in the long termThe T32 presents only qualities, remains to be seen its behavior in the long term

By bringing maneuverability and fluidity to driving that is already reassured by the constant comfort provided by a tire that speaks just right (neither too talkative nor too silent), the T32 is making a leap forward in road tires. Without a weak point, it may not be the best everywhere, but it is certainly the most homogeneous and of a high to very high standard in all areas of application, making it to date the most pleasant of road tires that we had to test. It remains to be seen what the new Dunlop Roadsmart IIIs, which have also recently arrived on the market, can deliver. At 99 euros the front in 110/70 R17 and 135 euros the rear in 160/60 R17 (190 euros in 190/55), the price is aligned with the competition. In any case, the new Bridgestone tire has kept its promises and its T32 plays with many situations and climates..

Strong points

  • Neutral, but also agile and stable
  • Very reassuring over its entire surface
  • Very reassuring on any road surface
  • Very reassuring on a wet road
  • Balanced, it pushes the limits of the GT tire

Weak points

  • Small "notch" at the front in ultra sport driving in the ultra tight (light roadster)
  • What is left in the S22 on the road ?
  • No size 21 ‘available

Bridgestone T32 / T32GT tire dimensions

Model Before Back
Standard
  • 110 / 70ZR17M / C (54W) TL
  • 120 / 60ZR17M / C (55W) TL
  • 120 / 70ZR17M / C (58W) TL
  • 110 / 80ZR18M / C (58W) TL
  • 120 / 70ZR18M / C (59W) TL
  • 120 / 70ZR19M / C (60W) TL
  • 110/80 R18M / C 58V TL
  • 110/80 R19M / C 59V TL
  • 150 / 70ZR17M / C (69W) TL
  • 160 / 60ZR17M / C (69W) TL
  • 160 / 60ZR18M / C (70W) TL
  • 160 / 70ZR17M / C (73W) TL
  • 170 / 60ZR17M / C (72W) TL
  • 180 / 55ZR17M / C (73W) TL
  • 190 / 50ZR17M / C (73W) TL
  • 190 / 55ZR17M / C (75W) TL
  • 140/70 R18M / C 67V TL
GT
  • 120 / 70ZR17M / C (58W) TL GT
  • 120 / 70ZR18M / C (59W) TL GT
  • 170 / 60ZR17M / C (72W) TL GT
  • 180 / 55ZR17M / C (73W) TL GT
  • 190 / 55ZR17M / C (75W) TL GT

The comparative study of UTAC CERAM Millbrook

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