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The results are in, and the Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 is the winner for the second time in a row! Don’t take our word for it; this comes straight from Motorrad magazine and its recent sports tire test comparing the S22 to its rivals.
Motorrad first conducted the test in 2019, putting the S22 against the Continental Sport Attack 3, Dunlop Sportsmart MK3, Metzeler Sportec M7 RR, Michelin Power RS+, and the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II.
The test had to be put on hold in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, it resumed in 2021 against the Continental Sport Attack 4, Dunlop Sportsmart TT, Metzeler Sportec M9 RR, Michelin Power 5, and the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II.
In both tests, Motorrad put the tires through a litany of tests in both wet and dry conditions at a dedicated test facility using a Yamaha YZF-R1 as the control motorcycle.
As the successor to the hugely popular S21 tire, the Battlax Hypersport S22 provides an even better dry grip without sacrificing any of the wet performance from the S21. It achieves this in several ways. First, the updated tread pattern on the S22 features an increased groove ratio on the tire’s shoulder, offering better traction in both wet and dry conditions.
Second, the updated compound with an optimized resin structure developed for the S22 allows it to provide increased levels of grip at lower temperatures. In addition, the center compound of the S22 rear tire is embedded with silica particles that are even smaller than those found on other tires. This puts more silica in the tire’s contact patch, enabling the S22 to grip the road in wet conditions better.
Lastly, using their proprietary Ultimat Eye™ technology – the same technology used to develop racing tires for the FIM Endurance World Championship – Bridgestone engineers could measure and visualize how the tires react under load. The data was then used to reduce the rear tire’s slippage area compared to the S21.
All of this sounds great in theory, but Motorrad put all of these claims to the test in real-life situations – twice. Let’s take a closer look at the areas the S22 beat its competitors.
In 2019, the Motorrad test put the tires through a series of tests in dry and wet conditions. The same is true in 2021, but Motorrad tested the tires in dry conditions on the highway and the racetrack for its latest test. It followed that up with a series of tests on its wet test track to gauge overall performance.
In 2019, Motorrad rated each tire in nine different categories, while the 2021 test included only seven categories. They are as follows:
1. COLD CONDITION – Tests how well the tire behaves when cold, i.e., the moment you ride out of the garage.
2. HANDLING – Evaluates the force required to steer the bike and maintain a line in S-shaped bends.
3. STEERING PRECISION – Tests the steering precision in sections of varying speed with complex corner radii. This indicates whether the bike follows the desired line or if the rider has to correct the line.
4. FEEDBACK (2019) – Assesses how quick and smooth the rider is able to feel the tires and bike react.
5. CORNER STABILITY – Tests the wobble in S-shaped curves and on uneven surfaces (tested solo and with passenger).
6. CORNER STABILITY SPORT (2019) – Tests the wobble in S-shaped curves and on uneven surfaces, but with large lean angle when accelerating.
7. GRIP DURING LEAN/ACCELERATION – Evaluates the cornering grip and transfer of force in corners of different speeds.
8. THRESHOLD BEHAVIOR – Tests how manageable the tire is at its performance limit.
9. RIGHTING TORQUE – Assesses how the bike rights itself when braking in a lean position. The rider has to counteract this reaction by pushing on the inside end of the handlebars.
10. LAP TIME (2021) – Tests how quickly a motorcycle can go around the track and essentially combines the above categories into a measurable quantity.
In total, the S22 won or tied for first in eight of the nine categories in 2019, and followed that up with a similar performance in 2021, winning or tying for the win in six of seven categories. It’s no wonder to see the S22 easily cementing its place at the top in dry testing. In particular, the Motorrad staff were impressed with the S22’s handling and steering precision, saying the Bridgestone tire was “most striking of all” with its “precision through the curves.” Those accolades didn’t stop two years later, with Motorrad saying the S22 “continues to deliver top feedback even at brisk speeds.”
Year after year, Motorrad is continually impressed with the ability of Bridgestone tires to provide the most stable tires in tire tests, and the S22 continues the tradition started by the S20 and the S21. With the Battlax Hypersport S22, Motorrad says those who enjoy sporty riding, whether on their own local roads or at a track day “...will love the razor-sharp precision that lets them corner the bike on the tightest lines.”
All of these accolades reinforce the improvements Bridgestone has made with the S22’s tread pattern, compound, and contact area. These changes to the tire translate through the bars as feedback that gives the Motorrad test riders confidence to push harder than they traditionally would.
Dry performance is one thing, but these improvements become more dramatic when the road gets wet. Each tire was tested in mostly the same categories as in the dry.
However, Motorrad also subjected the tires to a braking deceleration test, measured its braking distance from 100 km/h, and recorded wet lap times around the test track.
The S22 tire won the handling and steering precision categories outright in 2019 and ranked in the top three positions for each category in 2021, in a field where nearly all the competitors were new and improved since the last test two years ago. This is a testament to the greater groove ratio and fine particle silica in the new compound giving the riders feedback to push.
It’s important not to overlook the fine particle silica in the S22, as it provides a tire’s elasticity and its ability to function in cold conditions. Because the silica particles are so fine, more particles make contact with the road through the tire’s contact patch resulting in three things every rider is sure to love; - better feel, improved grip, and more communication to the rider.
Bridgestone also impressed in braking distance from 100 km/h and nearly carried the overall top speed in the wet through the omega section of Motorrad’s test loop.
Motorrad has been big fans of the S21’s wet weather performance, lauding its “predictable threshold behavior.” This was something Bridgestone engineers had to be mindful of when designing the new S22, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint with Motorrad claiming the updated tire “picks up where its predecessor left off.” The new tire still earned a joint second place in the wet standings with the oft-mentioned accolade “impressive” being thrown about yet again in the magazine’s ratings.
With a resounding performance in the dry weather testing coupled with a strong showing under wet conditions, it should come as no surprise that the Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 tire has won Motorrad’s sport tire test two years running. The S22’s markedly improved performance in cool, dry conditions impressed Motorrad’s testers.
This should be no surprise, of course, as this was exactly the environment Bridgestone focused on when designing the S22. What was more surprising was the S22’s wet performance compared to other, newly improved competitor’s tires. This serves as a testament to how well the previous S21’s wet weather performance was designed from the beginning.
At the end of the day, even Motorrad exclaims the leading four tires in this test are admirable performers for all-weather riding. But above all, the “perfectly tuned S22 from Bridgestone...represents a major improvement on the previous S21 and S20 models.”