Tires – The BT-003 Racing Street motorcycle tire holds up well … the track! –

The BT-003 Racing Street motorcycle tire holds the … track well !

Tires - The BT-003 Racing Street motorcycle tire holds up well ... the track! -

Although it bears the Street suffix, the Bridgestone BT-003RS is a tire resolutely turned towards the track. Replacing the BT-002RS and BT-090, the latest tire from the Japanese manufacturer was presented to us in Almeria with Randy de Puniet ! Test.

Launched in 2006, the BT-002 Racing Street (read) is replaced this year by the BT-003 Racing Street: "sports bikes progress very quickly, so the life of sports tires is also reduced", notes David Lecat, national sales manager of the motorcycle department at Bridgestone France..

The new 2009 tire is not only the successor of the BT-002RS: it also takes over from the BT-090 (Pro), its small-displacement equivalent well known to Supermoto fans..

Thus the Battlax range, which brings together Bridgestone’s radial tires for road and circuit, gains in clarity: the Japanese manufacturer offers heavy rollers the BT-021 and sportsmen the BT-016 – these two tires being relayed by the BT-092 for small displacements -, to the regulars of the circuit the new BT-003RS and to the real pilots the BT-003.

Wedged between the BT-016 and the BT-003, the new Racing Street is "designed to offer exceptional performance on the road and on the track to all lovers of sports motorcycles from 250 cc and to make them discover the superb sensations of grip guaranteed by a multi-compound of rubber, technology used by Bridgestone in MotoGP", says Bridgestone.

The new Bridge is therefore at the heart of a capital segment for manufacturers: the hypersport. According to the manufacturer, it represents half of European sales of radial tires, ahead of touring, trail, competition and custom tires..

"The BT-003 Racing Street is intended for 80% circuit and 20% road use", specifies David Lecat. That is exactly the reverse program of the BT-016 which will carry out a few excursions on the track, but will mainly run on the road..

Conversely, the BT-003 – "quite short" – wants to be exclusively pistard. Although road approved, "he is designed to win the Superstock 600 and 1000 championships", warns the manufacturer !

For this, Bridgestone offers its 003 in three versions: "V4 Soft for qualification and cold temperature, V3 Medium for abrasive circuit and medium temperature and V2 Hard for very abrasive circuit and high temperature".

In appearance, the new Racing Street looks like the 003 and only a trained eye can differentiate the two types of rear tire. As for the front tires, you have to concentrate even more to notice that certain grooves are accentuated on the "Street" version compared to the "Racing"…

"The notch rate is 6% on the BT-003, 9% on the BT-003 Racing Street and 14% on the BT-021", reveals David Lecat. With these figures, it is easy to understand that the 021 will do better in puddles than the 003 !

As regards the 003 Racing Street, special attention has been paid to the sides: "riders who do not have two sets of rims must be able to get to and from the circuit – in complete safety, in all conditions, with their only sporting equipment", observes David Lecat.

In the rain, therefore, the BT-003 Racing Street will allow you to put the angle without fear of the small escape, the big slip … or more if affinity! "The sculpture rise was a request that came directly from the BT-002RS users", Gunther Podevyn of the Bridgestone Europe staff tells Site.

In parallel, "the carcass must adapt to all pilots", David Lecat also tells us. According to the Japanese manufacturer, it is therefore useless – even inadvisable – to multiply the references to offer customers the right tire..

"It is this simplicity and this versatility that allowed us to obtain the MotoGP title in 2007, and that appeals to our riders.", he continues:"for Bridgestone, MotoGP is a real open-air laboratory. And even in a monopoly position, we have to move forward, experiment with new compounds and then apply them to our road tires.".

Thus, for example, in 2006 the famous "DTC" (Dual Tread Compound) was used on the BT-002RS, which offered the front tire – but not the rear – two different types of rubber. But "the BT-45 was already bigomme in 2000", recalls David Lecat.

New out of old

"Over the past four years, we have observed the emergence of second lines", notes David Lecat, national sales manager of the motorcycle department at Bridgestone France."We did not want to support this movement, but vis-à-vis our distributors and our customers whose purchasing power is not increasing, we do so by relaunching the BT-014 and BT-020". What to drive at a lower cost for those who, unlike the customers targeted by the new BT-003RS, do not seek performance" at all costs "…

On the BT-003RS, this technology is renamed "3LC" (3 Layer Compound): this better illustrates the fact that three bands – one central and two outer – adorn the tire … and subtly creates confusion with the 3CT – triple rubber this time – from Michelin (read our)…

"The BT-003RS front tire features a triple compound compound (3LC): a core compound for straight-line driving and longer life, edged on both sides with a shoulder compound ("Ultraction Compound") to ensure good grip and excellent contact feeling", indicates the press kit.

And the Japanese manufacturer continues: "the rear BT-003RS tire also features Bridgestone’s 3LC technology. The central compound provides excellent stability over the miles. The Ultraction Compound transmits engine power to the ground with strong traction and ensures good lateral grip and excellent contact feel at low lean angles. Handling is comparable to driving on a rail".

We note from time to time that in small sizes, Bridgestone equips its rear BT-003RS with 5LC technology. However, these versions are devoid of the latest Japanese find, the famous "Ultraction Compound".

The press kit further specifies that "Front and rear construction is based on Bridgestone’s High Tensile Super Penetrated Cord (HTSPC) platform with steel cable monospiral (MSB) belt. This one-piece construction improves glide control and handling in bends, while providing good shock absorption. Increased compressive stiffness helps maintain a uniform contact area and good stability at high speeds"… Quite a program … to check the test right away !

To verify all this, Site therefore benefited from six 20-minute sessions on the – complete – route of Almeria, twenty Hypersport motorcycles and the company of Randy de Puniet, a surprise guest of French journalists on the occasion of this international launch…

In order to discover the track, the Suzuki GSX-R 600 is a wise choice: with its comfortable position and its limited weight and power, the Suz ‘allows many approximations, forgives without batting an eyelid and already offers great sensations..

The tire is undoubtedly no stranger to this ease of handling: despite the small ten degrees in the air, the gums quickly rise in temperature. "The gum compounds are softer than on BT-016, which reduces the heating time", Gunther Podevyn confirms to Site.

As for the setting on the angle, it is very progressive. On this point, however, the manager of Bridgestone explains that "the BT-003RS has a more V-shaped profile than the BT-016, which allows it to mount better and faster".

Difficult to verify these statements, our test bikes are all fitted with the new BT-003RS. Nevertheless, we can say that beginners and experienced alike will be fully satisfied with the behavior of the new Bridgestone when entering the curve..

"The HTSPC and MSBELT structure is as interesting in a straight line as on the angle, because we benefit from the same footprint regardless of the camber.", describes David Lecat in turn. And this tire neutrality is confirmed by testing on the light and incisors R6 and ZX-6R.

Passing on the Ducati 848 in the second session, the braking marks becoming more refined – retreating … -, we perceive a slight sway from the front: the grooves "in S"on the supposed tread"improve feel and grip when braking"would they find their limit with the Italian, or according to the form of the pilot ?

The same feeling of slight blurring reappears in the first afternoon session at the controls of the Ninja 600, but it is not noticeable on the 1000 GSX-R and CBR. In the end, the majority of "leisure" pilots will find the BT-003RS sufficiently efficient during heavy braking: from 270 to 60 km / h at the end of the Almeria straight line. !

When accelerating, the new Bridgestone transmits the power of motorcycles perfectly, even that of Suzuki or Honda "Full power" Superbikes. On the runway, only Jeremy McWilliams slides the BT-003RS out of a curve !

"With Jeremy, we rolled a BT-003RS against a BT-003", tells us Gunther Podevyn,"in the long left, the Racing Street follows the 003 and it is only on the go-around that the Racing version widens the gap".

"Whoever arrives at the end of 003RS can switch to 003 Soft, then Medium and Hard, or even slick if the heart tells him !", explains David Lecat to Site. Without reaching the level of the best" Racing "compounds, Racing Street is nevertheless quite capable !

Asked about the new compound "Ultraction Compound", the men of Bridgestone remain silent: the competition also reads Site! As for the gain in terms of grip obtained compared to the 002RS, it is not quantified.

In terms of lifespan, on the other hand, Japanese engineers announce an increase of 10 to 15% compared to the predecessor, ie "between 3,000 and 4,000 km on average, on the condition in particular of respecting the pressures of 2.3 bar at the front and 2.1 at the rear for a 180, 2.3 for a 190", explains David Lecat.

"For comparison, the BT-016 travels on average between 6,000 and 7,000 km", adds the French manager. A performance that the"softer compounds of BT-003RS"… The heating time and the grip are at this price !

A grip moreover acclaimed by our sole representative in the premier class, Randy de Puniet: "I am pleasantly surprised by the grip of the tire"MotoGP n ° 14 told Bridgestone officials. At Site, however, he admits to bothering a bit on the track…

"It’s soft", the LCR rider lets go of his Honda CBR600RR,"but I think it is mainly due to the suspensions of the motorcycle". Not to mention that compared to its usual V4 of more than 200 hp, the 4-cylinder of the CBR600RR pushes much less and the straights seem longer. !

In fact, apart from the Cagiva 125 of its very beginnings, Randy hardly ever touched a motorcycle of production … "I don’t ride on the road, I don’t have a motorbike or scooter", he explains to us. Logical after all: why drive on the road when you have the chance to ride a MotoGP? ?

"But I fully understand the bikers who seek to have fun with this type of machine", continues Randy before boasting one last time – this is the game and Site confirms – the performance of the BT-003RS !

"It is a replacement product that will not be found in the original equipment", finally specifies David Lecat. Available in May"for 80% of the dimensions", the BT-003RS will trade between 300 and 340 € depending on the distributors.

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