In July 2020, we replaced the original Metzeler tires on my 2015 Triumph T214 Bonneville with a set of Pirelli Sport Demon tires. After the tires arrived, there was a long hiatus due to business closures forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, I was able to get them professionally mounted at Triumph of Sauk County.
At the end of a truly odd December 15, a date that saw temperatures here in southern Wisconsin rise to 68 Â° F and got me on the road with the Triumph one last time for 2021, the Pirellis had 3,011 miles on them. On this remarkable late fall day, I added about 35 miles on condensing wet roads side by side, as hot, very humid air floated over a causeway that just two days ago was covered in snow, with expanses of ice.
Pirelli describes the Sport Demon as an âX-ply tire for touring motorcyclesâ. The tires feature a multi-spoke profile which Pirelli says promotes excellent traction on wet or dry road surfaces and long-lasting wear. Although I’m not a huge fan of riding in the wet, I have done it on this occasion and another with the Pirellis â Sunday August 2, 2020.
It was a cool afternoon, but the clouds were finally dispersing, with more and more patches of blue sky. It felt like a good day for thrashing west towards the Mississippi River, through the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway.
By the time I hiked about 50 miles the blue sky seemed less prominent and low hanging black clouds came in from the northwest loaded with moisture. I started a loop to the house, just in case a downpour was in store.
There were several showers, but I managed to miss them all, but not by many. Then on a stunning newly paved M national road I was launching the Bonneville down its twisty road when the road suddenly went from very dry to a pool of water in low spots and no dry pavement in sight. It was not raining, but it was clear that a real ravine had just passed.
Right now the Pirellis had a few hundred miles on them, so the ‘relax with new tires’ rule did not apply. But the combination of an all-new, potentially oily bitumen saturated with cool rainwater suggested that attempting to slide the footrests around the many sharp bends in the road could result in other elements contacting the pavement as well. .
Still, it was the perfect time to carefully try out the wet traction characteristics of the Sport Demons. The front and rear have impressive sipes in the tread. The zigzag rain groove on the rear tire and the deep, woven rain groove on the front should give both decent tread life and efficient channeling of water out of the tread area. contact.
I decided to gradually increase the speed on the approach, but not match the speed I would use on each turn if it was dry pavement. Braking and acceleration would be as smooth as possible.
After about seven or eight miles the pavement started to dry out and I was impressed with the Pirelli’s grip in the wet. The road offered hilly terrain with many bends and opportunities to check handling in wet and dry conditions on cool pavement. The Pirellis provided constant traction in both.
To learn more about motorcycle tires, read Explanation of motorcycle tire safety standards and Top 10 things to know about motorcycle tires
By the time I got home I had encountered two more stretches of wet pavement, I was soaked from waist to toe, and the bike looked like it had passed through an open sewer. However, I had a good chance to experience the handling of the Pirelli in the wet.
The rear tire tread pattern features a baffle-style rain groove which has the benefit of channeling water away from the mid-contact area, while increasing the amount of tread in the mid-area. These characteristics should improve both tread life and wet traction. The front tire uses a middle rain groove that threads back and forth over the centerline of the tread. The shoulder tread sipes come together, but do not connect with the central groove. From the riding that I have traveled so far, it seems to be working well.
With just over 3,000 miles on the Pirellis, the ride and handling proved to be a good compromise for the Bonneville’s agility. As was the case with my first impressions, on day-long road trips on national highways, county trunks and tarred township roads ranging from recently paved super-smooth surfaces and expanses of gravel rugged city roads on a hot, dry day, grip and handling are excellent.
Control and stability during braking and combination braking / cornering maneuvers were predictable and solid, even with the Triumph’s non-ABS brakes. Tread wear is noticeably negligible at this point on the front tire and minimal, although noticeable, on the rear tire.
Pirelli Sport Demon tires are available in a wide range of choices. The front wheel tires fit rim sizes 16-19 inches, while the rear tires are designed for rims 15-18 inches in diameter. Widths and profiles also vary widely.
We’ll keep you posted on tread wear and more details on how Pirelli Sport Demon tires hold up to routine use when we present our long-term test.