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Bridgestone BATTLAX HYPERSPORT S22 Tires: MD First Impressions

We have been testing Kawasaki’s excellent 2019 ZX-6R (much more about that later, of course), which carries Bridgestone’s all-new BATTLAX S22 rubber – tires that are just becoming available to consumers this month in the United States. After 150 miles, or so, in varied conditions, we wanted to share our thoughts on the S22.

Generally, we have been pleased with the performance of Bridgestone tires under our test bikes the last few years. The S22 replaces the highly regarded S21 (featured on the Honda CB1000R we tested a few months ago). The S21, and now the S22, are designed for modern sportbikes with the ZX-6R the first to feature them as OEM spec.

We won’t get into all the technical details here, because Bridgestone has an excellent web page that describes the changes found on the new S22. In summary, the new tire promises improved grip in both wet and dry conditions and lighter handling. One technical note we would like to make concerns Bridgestone’s use of its ULTIMAT EYE technology, which allows Bridgestone to accurately measure the size and shape of the contact patch of its tires. Bridgestone claims the rear contact patch of the S22 is significantly increased versus the S21.

It has been relatively cold here in Southern California, and wet. We have ridden the S22s in cold and damp conditions, including aggressive riding on twisty roads and high speed riding on highways.

In short, the S22s are extremely impressive. Just as Bridgestone claims, they seem to warm up very quickly and provide good grip and confidence shortly after you leave your garage. Once warm, side grip is outstanding during aggressive sport riding, while the tires also change directions very easily and roll off center very predictably. One semi-panic stop showed the front tire to offer superb grip under braking (the rear tire was either in the air … or close). Thus far, the tires seem to be a perfect compliment to Kawasaki’s new sport bike and an excellent choice for street riders that value high performance grip and handling.

The tires are available in all of the popular 17″ front and rear sport sizes. You can check pricing by visiting some of the online retailers that already show the tires in stock.


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57 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I coat all my tires with Gorilla glue for more stickyness. I’ve installed John Deere lawnmower guide wheels on my pegs to facilitate more lean angle and I’ve completely eliminated my exhaust pipes so I don’t have to worry about scrapeing. I do hairpins at 125mph+ and never lose traction. Marquez won’t run with me.I install a new set every 40,000 miles whether it’s needed or not. Hell, I’ve run on the rims several times. No biggie.

  2. DeltaZulu says:

    Joe B….. simply a legend. I hear his name in the same conversations I hear Kenny Roberts, Agostini, Marc Marquez and John Surtees.
    A legend in his own mind. Must have an AWESOME Facebook page!

  3. stinky says:

    My riding bro has been having PHENOMENAL wear and stick with Pirelli. He’s rides the crap out of a BMW K1300 6+ thousand on high speed heavy bike. I had to talk him into throwing away a tire that had possibly another 2k in it. We were taking off on a 3500+ mile blue line trip. I’m gonna try a set next time. He ended up needing a front. We usually replace 2 rears to a front, didn’t work that time, rear tire wore too good. I usually run whatever sport tires are on sale, STs for a trip just so I don’t get robbed on high priced crap when I’m on the road.

  4. Motoman says:

    I generally can set a bike up to work with most sport tires. No one has mentioned ride height. Sounds like some comments I’ve read could have been addressed by adjusting ride height. Once I got a bike dialed in, I would measure any changes in geometry when switching tires and adjust accordingly. Took some effort on some bikes like my fz1 where I couldn’t find a shock with ride height adjustment and had to hunt for adjustable dog bones.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      Your post is absurd.

      • Motoman says:

        No it’s not. And you obviously never thought that hard about setting a bike up to handle the way you want. Read up on the subject before making comment.

        • bmbktmracer says:

          It’s absurd to suggest to us mere mortals to compensate for minor static geometrical variations with dog bone and preload adjustments. There are a lot of variables involved that affect handling including and not limited to air pressure, temperature, tire profile, tire weight, balance, tread pattern…

          Your method assumes making all of the measurements when the original tires are new. Who’d do that???

          • matt says:

            > and preload adjustments
            and right there you out yourself as someone who needs a primer.

            The OP might be 1 in 20,000 but there have been cases where eg. a Dunlop was 10mm taller than a Bridgestone and adjusting shock length was important.

            I used to get tank-slappers coming out of VIR’s T10. I took 1.5mm out of the shock and problem solved. Now imagine I had slapped on a tire that was 5mm or more taller. I might have found myself in the grass or smeared across the wall.

  5. Bart says:

    We need a tire pressure thread too…

    30/32 cold, 3 psi rise off the track, unless I was hauling a passenger, then 5 psi rise on the rear.

  6. Mick says:

    I have always looked at anyone talking about a set tires of that lasted more than three thousand miles on street bike as a fairy tale. Other people might be able to ride that unicorn. I was strictly verboten. The rear was shagged and the front was cupped like Appalachia.

    Then somewhere around 2002, it happened to me. Wow! It can be done.

    I got married. Now I get better front end wear because my wife doesn’t like a lot of hard braking. I have learned to ride smoother, but nearly as fast. The wife is not afraid to have me tip ‘er in.

  7. TimC says:

    My take? I ran Bridgestones on my FZ-6 since that’s what it came with and I was always happy. Last time it was in for a rear tire those were on backorder so the dealer said they’d install Michelins for the same price.

    It was a wise move because I won’t go back.

  8. todd says:

    I’ve been buying Japanese Shinko 712 tires (ex Yokohama) for my bikes for well over a decade now. They have plenty of grip, enough to wear an angle into my sidestand and right foot peg. There aren’t many “expensive” (people typically equate expense with quality) tires available in my sizes but I like these regardless. My commute is daily aggressive canyon carving, I get only about 5,000 miles from the rear that way, 8,000 from the front. When I was commuting on the highway, mileage was more like 8k rear and nearly 16k front. I have found that mileage is more due to tread block thickness, most brands don’t bother changing out different compounds for different model tires. Some of the most expensive tires I’ve bought (Michelin’s, Pirellis, and Avons) were usually really lightweight – ie thin – and some of these only lasted me a couple thousand miles with no added benefit. On the street, grip never seems to be a concern since you run out of ground clearance before traction ever seems to give way. Maybe if I was hanging way off like a squid I might get the tires to squeal but that would just be plain stupid.

    • TimC says:

      “My commute is daily aggressive canyon carving”

      You are a total bastard.

    • joe b says:

      My commute was “agressive canyon carving”, and I would get 5k out of the rear, and 3k out of a front, Bridgestone or Michelin. So, when I read, 8k from a front, thats not agressive canyon carving. Key word, agressive… I’m afraid not.

      • todd says:

        When I was running my Ducati, it would chew through front tires to the point where they were blue and had little tiny beads of rubber all around the edges. That bike tended to “over steer” and it took a lot of bar pressure to keep the bike leaned over in turns. In other words, the bike handled poorly and the tires reflected this. I’m also not on the brakes very hard approaching corners, instead preferring to carry my speed through. Maybe your bike suffers from these issues.

        • joe b says:

          “maybe your bike suffers from these issues”. I worked as a line tech, Honda Suzuki BMW, for 30 years. The bike was set up fine. One mans hard driving is another mans baby ride. I should also mention when my back tire was worn out, it was worn out on the sides, not the middle. Some of the people at work could not figure this out, as a bike sitting next to mine might have new, never worn sides, but bald in the middle. That some people can get 10-15k out of a back tire, i understand. I’ve seen it. They would push the 30mph limit in the turns, I was doing 75mph. Its all in how the rider rides. When i see people claim they ride canyons hard, and get high mi out of a tire, what they think is hard riding, isnt. That the end of the story.

          • todd says:

            Like I said, my lean angles are limited by things touching down in the corners. I guess I don’t like to ride like an idiot. I’ve maintained the pace behind and in front of some guys who were dragging their pucks around the corners in some weekend group rides. At the speeds we were going, I felt that was just superfluous (squids) as I was keeping the same pace just by leaning the bike into corners. I think I’ll save the stupid speeds for the track.

        • Lewis says:

          I experienced the blueing and shredding with tires. I rode a 97 YZF1000 with Dunlop Sportmax. Bike handled wonderfully and responded well to countersteer. The blueing and beading of rubber usually happened when the tires were on the edge for longer periods of time without a break. Those were the days when 1500 miles out of a front tire on the road was good. I don’t think your bike handled poorly, it may have been your higher cornering speeds which usually means more lean angle and longer time spent on the edge of the tire. It sounds like you prefer to carry higher cornering speeds and less brake when approaching a corner.

      • mickey says:

        LOL one man’s aggressive, is another mans’ mild. Let’s see how far we can pee up the wall.

        • joe b says:

          Thx mickey, i think you know. some others dont. and the 3k was on Pilot Roads. They didnt last any longer than the BS’s.

        • mickey says:

          lol well no one is ever going to accuse me of riding aggressively. Not anymore anyway. In the early 70’s to mid 80’s I gave every bike I rode everything she had. Survived that somehow. Now at 68 I ride like I want to live to ride tomorrow too, so I no longer ride like that. I’m a speed limit + or – 5 guy now, ride about every day (retired) and am enjoying motorcycling more than ever. Life is more than blasting your favorite canyon road on a sunny weekend.

          With regards to the article though, I’d have to say ALL tires feel good when they are new and you can’t tell squat about them in 150 miles. IE: are they going to cup, wear evenly, handle in the rain, how to they handle across tar snakes, tipping in once they get some miles on them, transitioning left and right when worn, how do they handle freeway groves, how to they handle sand or gravel, or are they simply good for the track. If shown being ridden on the street on a street bike, you have to know how they are going to handle everyday stresses on the street. not just on a canyon road on a sunny 80 degree day, and most of all after the “new” wears off.

          BTW it is also my complaint about 150 mile motorcycle road tests. What does that tell you about living with a motorcycle?

      • TimC says:

        My point was anyone whose commute is canyon carving is freaking lucky. Mine is now primarily a freeway blast. The only thing that breaks up the monotony is the myriad of ways that cars can wander all over the road, so it’s kind of like a video game.

        But yes the smell of dick in the air from all the swingin’… yum

  9. gpokluda says:

    Yes, track tires are awesome… as long as they are warmed up. I’ve ridden on everything from Cheng Shin to Michelin, Kenda to Perilli and honestly, they all got me where I had to go with no problems. Some wore out fast, others slow. Bottom line is I usually bought tires based on right size and best price. Never had a problem with tires and always had fun riding.

  10. bmbktmracer says:

    Tire reviews are dumb. I’ve never read a bad road tire review in my life. Assuming dry, clean pavement, no one can ride hard enough on the street to out-ride even a sport-touring tire. Believe me! I’ve done track days on Michelin Anakees in the B class and had no trouble passing virtually everyone. People will ride around with inch-wide chicken strips bragging about the grip of their top-flight tires. Yawn.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      BIKE magazine from the U.K. produces some very good comparative tire reviews, and German reviews are generally detail specific way beyond anything in the U.S.A.
      Comparative testing with well defined measurands are the only reviews worth your time, then you can pick and choose what functional characteristic is most important to your needs.

    • matt says:

      RRW does the best tire reviews, IMO. Back in 2003/4 I was at a track day (Blackhawk Farms) with a guy on a GS and he had Anakees, and was handing everyone their ass (at least in Intermediate group).

      I’ve had a couple of defective tires (Avon) and those that wore badly/cupped (Pilot Road v1, BT20) and those that wanted to kill me (Shinko 008 in 50F) but that last one was well deserved.

  11. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Tires are life, death and FUN . R&R them every 5k miles . My last were the only dual compound rears ( Touranca Next ) I ever had and WOW for wear ! For me the wear factor was contour . Bought a Sears and Roeb. molding contour gage and copied the new tire contour to compare with riding wear change to be sure, but still changed them at no more than 5k miles . Not a sport rider, not an iron butt, just average top side up .

  12. Jason says:

    I currently run Pirelli Scorpions on my BMW R1200RS and they easily have enough grip to drag hard parts in the mountains and still give me over 10K miles.

    Dunlop Q3s give my S1000RR two days on the track.

    I’d argue that modern sport touring rubber is better on the 99% of the roads than most super sport rubber because it has a wider range of operating temperatures. If you are riding hard enough to push beyond the limits of sport touring tires on the road I’m guessing you are really dangerous and I don’t want to be anywhere near that.

    • Bob K says:

      I’ve worn through the valve covers on my R1100S before while using the ’05 era Qualifiers. Definitely not considered a track-day tire, more of a ST. But as you say, the wider operating temperature range is what makes modern ST tires a better choice for the street. They heat up very quickly and have consistent grip whether you’re pushing it or loafing along. As such, I’d choose the S21/S22 over a RS-10.
      .
      I didn’t get on with the Pirelli Diablos at the time. They didn’t agree with the telelever front. The Dunlops did. Your RS, having a regular telescoping front, gives you more options I think.
      .
      Regarding your S1000RR…how did you like the performance of the Q3 at the track?

      • Jason says:

        The Q3s survived two days at Mid-Ohio last summer with no problem. They didn’t have the outright grip of the Pirelli Superbike Pro Slicks I was running previously, but the grip was good enough and the price point was much better.

        It had been a long time since I’d ridden Mid-Ohio last so I can’t speak to a back to back comparison with the Pirellis but I had no problem being a fast guy in the Intermediate Group. I’ve been the slow guy in the Advanced group at NCM and Putnam, and I think the Q3s would do just fine.

        I miss my old R1100S. The new RS has the soul of the S, but lacks the curb appeal.

        • Jason says:

          PS: I wouldn’t do a third track day on the Q3s, too much wear for that. They could still do a few street miles safely.

          Mid Ohio is pretty tire friendly due to the old and slick surface, newer tracks like NCM chew tires up much quicker but I still think I could have done 2 days on them.

  13. PBrasseur says:

    I love sport tires, they don’t last long but man that grip feels good!

  14. WJF says:

    My tires are black and round

  15. Tom R says:

    Almost forty years ago my typical tire wear on a 90HP, 500lb-ish motorcycle was 4500-6000 miles. Today, if on a bike of similar size and power I get…about the same number of miles. Despite decades of design “advancement” and significantly wider and meatier tires now the standard on current bikes, wear has not increased (at least not significantly).

    Why is this so?

    • Bob K says:

      There are plenty of tires out there that have very high mileage capability, 10,000+. But they also have the grip and feedback of a 40 year old tire.
      .
      Grip and feel are 10X what it was 40 years ago in a sport tire. Maybe not 10X but I’m making a point. With traction, handling and feel as good as it is today, mileage gets compromised. But there are plenty of options between tires that last 2,000 and 12,000 miles.
      .
      Besides, I live somewhere where the roads are flat and straight. My tires flat spot first to the point where they might as well be a car tire. If it weren’t for the crown in the road, I’d have little wear on the left side. 🙁 If I live in Arkansas or Colorado, I’d probably get another 1000 miles out of my tires since I’d be using more of it.
      .
      Then there’s also changes in road surface. Some places just chew up tires.

      • carl says:

        I would like 60,000 miles at least like my car tires.

        • Dino says:

          They could make those, if enough people really wanted them… But think about this.
          Your car has 4 contact patches, the cycle only two. Now think how many times your car’s ABS, Traction Control, or Skid Avoidance ,yada yada, has caused little lights to blink as the computer is trying to compensate for at least one of your 4 patches losing grip… In a car, not a big deal.
          But on a bike, just once will likely be a low-side crash, unless it is in a straight line, and ABS kicks in (or you have really good fingers for brake control).

          I’ll take traction over wear every day of the week!

          • Dave says:

            The reason car tires can last so long is that their cross-section is flat and there’s 4 of them.

            If you don’t think tire’s have advanced in 40 years (along with every other part of the motorcycle), you might not be turning very frequently.

        • TimC says:

          What is your car and how do you drive?

  16. Dale says:

    I run Bridgestone T30 EVO on my FJR and so please with it that I keep returning for about three years now. The tire grip is outstanding on Angeles Crest twisty. It’s a night and day vs BT023. Toward the end of the tire life, some cupping is shown but not bother me as much. That’s the only downside but rather minor.

    • Mike says:

      Big Bridgestone fan here. I’ve run the Battlax all the way from the 020 to the t30 EVO. Instead of going to the t31 for my new bike I went with the Conti Road Attack 3….Oh, so that’s what they mean by “feel”. The Contis haven’t put a foot wrong (neither did the bt’s) but the road feel is head and shoulders above the Bridgestone tires. If the mileage is the same as the Bridgestones I’ll buy Conti RA3 from now on.

  17. Bob K says:

    Mickey, a single tire certainly isn’t a good fit on every single bike out there. Some bikes like one tire and other bikes like another tire. It’s a matter of finding the ones that work with your particular bike. When I pick out a tire, beyond size, I’m looking at the load rating, construction, profile in addition to the claims of improved grip and longevity.
    .
    When I bought my Ninja 1000 in 2011, it came stock with BT-023. For a 123 RWHP sport bike, it was a bad choice. Simply not sporty enough and lacked handling and grip. The BT-016 turned out better. Then the S20, S20 Evo and now S21. Dunlops (Q2 and Q3) didn’t work well on this bike at all.
    .
    The R1100S came stock with Metzler Z4s. They lacked grip and the front cupped badly. However that bike loved Dunlop Qualifiers.
    .
    Same with my other bikes. They had their favorites and those favorites certainly were not what came on them from the factory. But that’s a business relationship thing….BMW and Metzler, Kawasaki and Bridgestone…
    .
    The major players don’t make any bad tires anymore, it’s the bikes themselves and all their different measurements that decide what tire works best.
    .
    Look at MotoGP, one spec tire, everyone’s bike has to be built remarkably similar to work with that one tire. That’s why they test so many chassis each season and play with new swingarms. The tires dictate geometry and dimensions. Same with our mortal machines.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Tires are like running shoes… There are alot of good ones and some bad ones. For the most part, everyone like what give them the best feel. These are good tires and I’d buy them but not my first choice as I really like the Dunlops… it’s the feel I get from them. I’ve done Bridgestones and Michelin as well before, but the new Dunlops are my choice…

    • Bob K says:

      There are no bad tires anymore. Only bad matches to a particular bike and purpose.
      .
      I like the Bridgestone S21 on my Ninjas (Ninja 1000 previously and now on my H2 SX SE) but my Buell X1 prefers Dunlops, the Q3 currently.

  19. mickey says:

    My opinion, you can’t tell much about a tire in 150 miles. After 5,000 miles maybe. Never been a fan of Bridgestone tires personally. They were lousy tires on every new bike I’ve bought that came with them from the factory. They were absolutely abysmal on my new FJR, resisting lean to the point I thought the bike had a problem mechanically. The guys on the FJR forum assured me it was the BT023 Bridgestone’s that was the problem. Luckily they only lasted 6,800 miles and the Michelin PR4 GT’s I put on afterwards made the bike handle like it should. From experience the Michelin’s should also go 50% further.

    • Motoman says:

      Respectfully mickey, pretty sure these tires won’t last anywhere near 5000 miles unless ridden on in a very mellow way. I tend to ride mostly on the edge of my tire and can generally generally get 2000 miles or so at which point the tire is very done. Front tire maybe a little longer but usually replace as a set.

      • Bob K says:

        My tire life is generally 3000 on the rear and probably 4000 on the front, but I change them both at the same time no matter what, as anyone should.
        .
        I care more about performance and grip and the accompanying margin of safety than I do mileage. Even on a long cross country trip, I’ll have a set waiting for me somewhere rather than shoe-on a higher mileage tire that has less grip and feel.
        .
        I’ve only had my H2 SX SE a couple months and I can already tell my S21s are not going to last as long as they did on my Ninja 1000. Especially now since I got a reflash and a slip on. The price you pay for having a bike with 70 RWHP more than the last one.

      • mickey says:

        Holy smokes. At 2000 miles per tire I would go through 12 sets of tire a year. That’s crazy. if I only got 2000 miles out of a set of tires I couldn’t afford to ride. Some 2 week trips would require 3 sets of tires.

        Bob at 3000 miles per that would only be 8 sets of tires.

        • Motoman says:

          My comment was in the context of the tire being discussed and the way I use them. Your mileage may vary… 🙂

          Fact of the matter, when I used to run DOT racing tires for track days, I would use the take offs (after one track day) and run them on my street bike and still get 2000 miles. They looked like slicks by then but still stuck like glue at street pace.

          BTW, I don’t due too much long distance riding. When I have more time to do so after retirement (3 years baby!), I will choose the appropriate sporty-touring tire to suit the job.

        • Bob K says:

          Yeah, it sucks. But more grip = more safety when I need to push the boundary. And I get more “feel” which gives me the confidence I need. Without confidence, I might as well get an airplane ticket.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            More grip equals more fun, too. I remember getting a set of really sticky tires for my first track day years ago. After that, I just couldn’t do without them anywhere, annual cost be damned. The grip and feedback were outstanding.

            Same for me now with the dirt bike. My knobbies always look pretty fresh. My buddy says if I didn’t suck so bad, he’d swear I had a tire sponsor.

          • todd says:

            I buy my knobbies from the dumpster at the local bike park…

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Ha! Well, if you found some of mine in that dumpster, they’ve probably still got about 60% life left in them. 🙂 I give mine to some of the thriftier riders in our group.