Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 Review from Yas Marina Circuit
Meet the Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 – the new high-performance street tire that replaces the already proven S20EVO that arrived in 2014. I have about 2200 miles on the S20EVOs on my Ducati 1198 – a bike split between track and street – and have been impressed since day one.
Bridgestone positions the S21 one step above the S20EVO, two steps above the BT-016 Pro, and one step behind the Battlax Racing Street RS10 – the street version of the race-only R10.
Bridgestone, which obtained loads of knowledge as the spec tire of MotoGP from 2009-2015, rented the YAS Marina circuit for two nights, and provided many new models to test the Battlax Hyersport S21 motorcycle tire, including the ones I rode – the YZF-R1 M and YZF-R6, BMW S1000RR, Ducati 1299 S and 959, Triumph 675 R, and Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
With that said, here are my five takeaways regarding the new Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21.
1. 36% Increased Longevity
Bridgestone claims a 36-percent increase in tire life over the former S20EVO. Though we didn’t test the S21s on the street, two-consecutive nights of thrashing them at Yas Marina Circuit proves much, and visual wear was little.
Throughout both days at Yas, Bridgestone staff said they only had to change a few front tires, but most of the bikes – especially the supersports – did not require front-tire changes. A few bikes also had no changes whatsoever, including a YZF-R1 M that was ridden by the Bridgestone crew for both days and had close to 375 miles of various heat cycles in the Abu Dhabi desert air.
With that said, the Yas tarmac is smooth and slick – the smoothest blacktop you can find. It’s totally unlike the usual race tracks and their grippy surfaces found around America.
I have a set of S20s on my Ducati 1198, and have used them for the past 2200 miles, which includes two track days. About 500 miles remain on the front, though the rear is nearly smoked. If the S21s offer more, I’d be more than impressed considering getting anything over 2,000 miles out of tire life on the 1198 is already a feat (stay clicked to Ultimate MotorCycling for a long-term review of the S21s from a street and track perspective, with direct comparison notes to the S20).
2. Smaller Crown up Front for Increased Turn-In
Turn in was much sharper on the S21 due to a smaller crown profile up front, though the tire didn’t seem to flex as much as the S20, not providing the softer feedback I’d desire. I’d think a pound or two less pressure would have fixed this, but since I was switching sportbikes every 20-minute session, I didn’t get to experiment.
Front tire feel was nearly identical when traversing from a literbike to a mid-weight, though the Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 felt especially superb on the Triumph 675 R. The Triumph seemed to be dialed in perfectly for the Yas Marina – though it topped out quickly on the track’s both back straights.
3. 30% Less Slip Area Out Back
Compared to the S20EVO, the S21’s rear tire has 30-percent less slip area in the contact area where most street tires spend their lives. This, along with a larger crown profile, provides more grip and a better feeling of traction.
Grip was never an issue with the traction control cranked, though the electronics kicked in much earlier when getting hard on the throttle during exits. On one run with the Ducati 1299 S’ traction control set at -3, I was able to back in the tire easily, though the only thing controlling the wheel spin was my throttle hand.
This construction of a 30-percent less slip area and a larger crown is also supposed to benefit the claims of less wear.
4. Stiffer Feel
The 3.5-mile YAS Marina circuit containing 21 corners was hard to learn, and since it’s built for Formula 1, there’s a slight off-camber design that does little for traction on two wheels. This caused caution – much more caution than one would ride on a slick motorcycle tire, never mind a street-performance tire with 29 front / 26 rear psi in both tires.
By nature, the off-camber design allows you to really tune in on sidewall construction, and the S21s felt a bit stiffer than the S20s, but I never felt out of control. I enjoy a bit more tire flex on the circuit, which naturally transmits a better feel of the bike’s chassis. But these are street tires, and a direct line from road surface to chassis to rider is not the main purpose of a street-based tire.
5. 2-Second Faster Lap Times
All Bridgestone motorcycle tires are manufactured only in the Japanese Nasu plant, which is just north of Tokyo. With locale in mind, it’s natural that Bridgestone uses one of Japan’s largest motorsports venues, the 2.3-mile Sugo circuit, as a testing ground. Compared to the former S20, Bridgestone says the new S21 gets a 2-second faster lap time at the Sugo circuit.
Until we actually perform a back-to-back test, these claims would be hard to solidify, regardless if I have time on both the S21 and S20EVO. The problem with the latter is the tire was on a bike perfectly set up for me, and the S21 on bikes with stock suspension settings on a slick and smooth circuit. But Bridgestone is known for its claims, and I see no reason why two seconds can’t be achieved with the new S21.
Stay clicked to Ultimate MotorCycling for a long-term review of the S21, with some notes on comparison with the former S20. For now, here are some tech highlights.
Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 Technical Highlights:
- Dual compound front tire (3LC) with revised profile generates higher grip at lower lean angles
- Triple compound rear tire (5LC) with revised profile provides improved stability and durability
- 3D cross grooves designed to optimize rigidity and improve contact with the road.
- New enhanced Micro-contact-patch compound (EMC) technology used for both front and rear shoulder compounds.
- EMC increases grip potential and improves thermal stability to make sure the tire performance remains consistent as temps go up.
- (W) – rated for speeds up to 168+ MPH
- Front sizes: 130/70 ZR16; 110/70 ZR17; 120/60 ZR17; 120/70 ZR17
- Rear Sizes: 150/60 ZR17; 160/60 ZR17; 180/55 ZR17; 190/50 ZR17; 19/55 ZR17; 200/55 ZR17
For additional information, visit Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21.