That minuscule contact patch under your tires is a miracle worker, considering all the grip it provides for acceleration, cornering and braking on varying surfaces. But it’s also vulnerable, because cold grip, wet weather and durability are the classic tough jobs for street rubber. With its new Angel GT sport-touring radial, Pirelli seeks to expand all three capabilities.
Available in 16- and 17-inch sizes, the Angel GT has one spiral steel belt in common with the outgoing Angel ST, but beyond that it’s totally new. As Pirelli explains, most wear occurs as the working surface slows under compression and then accelerates while rotating away from the road. Since physics can’t be changed, the company revised the tire construction to widen and shorten the contact patch for improved wear characteristics.
Grip is a function of the tire carcass conforming to the road surface, and the rubber compound’s ability to cling microscopically to it. Pirelli reports much progress in the formulation of the polymers and silica used to provide cold grip, wet-weather grip and longevity. An improved profile providing a linear transition from straight up to full lean, as well as a grippier tread compound at the sides, further expand the Angel GT’s cornering appetite.
Water-dispersal grooves are evolutionary and to prove it, Pirelli began the press launch in Brindisi, Italy, with braking runs on the wetted deck of the aircraft carrier Cavour. Given the deck’s toothy nonskid surface, we expected good results, and indeed the Kawasaki Z1000 testbikes hauled down from 50 mph without drama.
The Angel GT is targeted at naked-bike, sport-touring, sportbike and touring riders who want multi-season traction and durability. Hence, bikes such as a Kawasaki Versys, Yamaha YZF-R1 and BMW R1200RT greeted us at Porsche’s Nardò Technical Centre, whose 3.8-mile road course provided fast sweeping corners, hairpins, undulating pavement, esses and even a 170-mph straight. We tried the new Pirelli Angel GT on five different motorcycles, and found it provided uniformly excellent feel, and a high degree of confidence and stability. The testing proved it’s a racetrack-capable sport-touring tire that also appears well suited for the road.
Click here for an interview with Pirelli’s Piero Misani, who discusses the challenges inherent in creating a new sport-touring tire.