Link to the blog: http://socalsupermoto.com/blog/2011/...re-comparison/
We have 3 nearly identical drz400sm's, all fitted with fresh tires, so we're in a unique position to do a 3 way tire comparrison! All were fitted with 120/70 - 160/50 tires running 22f/24r tire pressue. I did 8 back to back laps on each of the bikes.
These tires are so close performance wise, that the fastest lap times will come down to the tires that you have the most confidence in. For that reason much of this review will be rating the tires on subjective "feel" of each.
Evaluating warmup times is easy. All I do when I warm up my bikes for my students is run laps until I start getting squeling/chirping from the rears while on the brakes. As soon as I start hearing the rear hook up, that's when I bring the bike in and start warming up the next one.
1) Pilot Powers 2ct - Warm up quick! within two laps these start hooking up. They are by far the tire that I have the most confidence in while cold. By far the fastest warm up tire, which has a huge advantage for street riding since lightweight supermoto bikes often have a hard time with warm up. Winner.
2) Dunlop: The dunlop took about 4 laps to get up to temp. Not bad, not great, not a particular worry.
3) Conti's: Took about 4-5 laps to get some heat in them. However while the other bikes had a trackday on em, the conti's only had a street ride. So the tires may have been still working on getting some flex into them. We'll call it even with the q2's on warmup.
On the brakes:
1) Pilot Powers 2ct: I liked the feel I got from the rear tire on the 2ct's. While sliding (I'm not a big backitiner) the tire had good feel, and you could tell where it was and what it was doing. Transitioning from the brakes into the turn was also very good. The front did not feel as stable as the q2, but still very good. Winner
2) Q2: The rounded profile of the dunlop felt a bit more stable getting hard on the front brake. It still dipped in well. Perhaps the pressure at 24 was too high, or maybe it had something to do with the suspension, but I didn't have the feel for the rear like I did with the 2ct's. I'd let out the clutch fast, and didn't feel like it was hooking up and giving as much engine braking. It fell like I had a clutch that was slipping and not providing the compression braking. I didn't experience this on the same bike with other tires.
3) Conti's: Same exact thing as the q2's. It didn't feel like the rear was hooking up as much on the brakes, and didn't have as much feel from the rear tire as the 2ct.
student Alex having fun:
1) Power 2ct's: Due to their profile, these are exactly halfway between a very v dunlop slick and a roundish street tire like the q2. It flips relatively easy from side to side and then once there likes to stay there. It was also the easiest to change lines mid turn. Ruling is very flickable but not too much to not feel stable. Winner.
2) Dunlop: These were the least flickable of the batch. The flipside is that they felt rock solid and very stable mid corner. Steering is the most predictable with these. They didn't feel like they were going to give you any surprises. I suspect this is due to more rubber overall and the more round profile. They definitly felt like a heavier tire. Winner if you prefer and nice stable tire.
3) The most flickable of the batch. The tire looks roundish when you look at them, but I suspect this is due to the circle pattern of the tread. On the bike they feel very light and flickable. The front end felt very light and not as planted as the others, but it was a piece of cake to throw into a turn. My guess is that these have less rubber on em than the q2's, This would fit with their reputation as a good tire that tends to wear a bit quicker than others. Winner if you simply want the lightest feeling tire of the group. I still prefer the 2ct.
I'm still nursing a rotator cuff injury, so grip was evaluated at a very spirited track pace, not race pace. I did ride hard enough to get occasional slips, and enough to evaluate overall feel and trust in the tires.
1) Power 2ct's: Great grip. As mentioned at the start of this review, how fast you'll be will depend upon your trust in the tire. The 2ct's always felt nice and planted. Only downside is that after ridden very very hard on a hot day, they're know to get "greasy". I didn't run enough laps to experience this, and can only experienced this after 20 or so laps on a very hot day. On the street this would be a non issue, and could probably be solved on the track by running a few extra psi. Grip was very good, and when it did step out on the gas it did so in a very predictable way. The tire was very confidence inspiring. Winner.
2) Q2's: Also very very good grip. Only reason it's not a winner is because it didn't seem to have as much feel as the 2ct's. On the high speed sweeper it did feel very planted. No problems here, great grip.
3) Conti's. Also had good grip, but didn't feel as planted. On the highspeed sweeper I could feel a little push/chatter from the front which made me back off it a little bit. While running wide I didn't have the confidence in the grip to push it down to correct the line. Still overall, sticky tire I just preferred the grip of the others.
The 2ct's were the best compromise of feeling both flickable and planted. The conti's had good grip and felt very light but didn't feel as planted. The q2's felt nice and planted but were harder to feel what the tire was doing vs the power 2ct's. Overall winner: Michelin pilot powers 2ct, The only tire I like as much are the supercorsa's which is a great tire but are twice the price.