Bridgestone BT-003RS - Product Evaluation

Race tires for the street?

Bridgestone BT-003RS - Product Review

Bridgestone BT-003RS - Product Review

Bridgestone makes the spec tires for MotoGP, so its engineers are used to spending time at racetracks watching motorcycles go around and around, lap after lap. Maybe it wasn't out of the ordinary, then, for the Japanese tire-maker to invite the moto-press to the Almeria circuit on the southeastern coast of Spain to test the new dual-compound BT-003RS--except that the 003 is a DOT-approved street tire.

Created to succeed the BT-002RS, the BT-003RS employs a zero-degree, monospiral radial carcass that Bridgestone introduced in 1990 and continues to improve. Front and rear tires feature three-layer construction and two compounds. The center compound, the harder of the two, is for braking, straightline stability and extended wear. Newly developed "ultra-compound" shoulders have reduced siping to maximize dry grip.

We were given five 20-minute sessions to evaluate the tires. For the first session, the track was partially wet, with a few damp patches on the racing line. Despite the tires' lack of shoulder siping, we were able to ride through the water without too much concern, and the track was nearly dry by the end of the session. Though ambient temperature never got out of the 50s, we got in some good laps in the afternoon, at which point the tires were plenty hot.

Almeria is a twisty circuit, with lots of time spent on the sides of tires. One six-turn section is dominated by righthanders, with a single left to mix things up. The first two corners are fast--top of third gear on a 2009 Suzuki GSX-R750, knee on the deck the entire time. The following left is just as quick, with no braking. The next three corners decrease in speed, a little at first, with brief, heavy braking for the final turn. Even though constant handlebar input was required for the changing corner radii, steering remained neutral on these tires, even when trail-braking at deep lean angles.

During the fourth and fifth sessions, we hooked up with former Grand Prix star Jeremy McWilliams and Spanish national series contender Kenny Noyes. Our lap times continued to drop until both shoulders of the rear tire began to get a little greasy, yet traction remained predictable. High-speed, center-of-the tire braking stability never varied.

Equilibrium achieved.

DETAILS

**Bridgestone/Firestone

535 Marriott Dr.

Nashville, TN 37214

800/847-3272

Price...$167 front, $189 rear**

Ups

  • Excellent track manners

  • Approved for street use

  • Superb feedback

Downs

  • Not a race tire

  • No street impressions--yet

  • BT-002RS so yesterday