Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tire Review
In regards to US motorcycle sales, heavyweight American V-twin cruisers (601cc and higher) dominate the market. Though its numbers have declined, Harley-Davidson is still a sales leader, claiming 50.2 percent of the heavyweight cruiser market.
Cruiser-style motorcycles account for more than half of all bikes on US roadways, and Bridgestone is now catering to that specific market. Joining its lineup of Custom motorcycle tires that includes the Exedra MAX, is the Battlecruise H50. Bridgestone spent five years developing a tire for what cruiser riders seek most—extended mileage, smoothness, and better handling.
We flew to Orlando to test the new Battlecruise H50 on various machines from Indian Motorcycle and Harley-Davidson, along with some back-to-back comparisons of the H50 with the Indian-branded Kenda tire. The differences felt between these tires was noticeable from the time the kickstand went up.
For now, here are our Fast Facts from the tire launch; we’ll have more in our full review.
1. Smoother Ride
After back-to-back testing with the stock Indian tire, one of the most noticeable differences is much smoother and comfortable ride. This is attributed to Bridgestone finding the correct balance of vertical stiffness, which produces maximum rigidity without losing shock absorption. On both a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail and Indian Scout, smoothness was noticeably improved over bridge expansions, rain grooves on the side of the road, and even some smaller treks in the sand/dirt.
2. Effortless Steering/Improved Grip
Bridgestone claims the Battlecruise H50 needs, on average, 40 percent less steering input on the handlebars compared to its main, unreported competitor (though it’s obviously Dunlop). We really got to test this during some back-to-back corner situations. The Indian Scout turned in with nearly no effort, and remained planted, never slipping out even when touching down hard parts like pegs and exhaust. Bridgestone attributes this to a larger contact patch with more uniformed contact pressure distribution.
3. Longer Tread Wear
Though Bridgestone didn’t release any numbers, it released some “wear-life index” data that shows the rear tire nearly doubling that of a competitor. This is due to a larger crown profile and updated tread design on the Battlecruise H50 that optimizes slip and adhesion on the road surface. Extended wear is a main concern for most American V-twin operators; expect somewhere around 19,000 miles from a rear tire, under optimal riding conditions.
4. “ULTIMAT EYE” Construction
The Battlecruise H50 is only the second tire to be developed using Bridgestone’s patented “ULTIMAT EYE,” which was also used to create the S21—one of our favorite sport tires.
The U-EYE is an indoor machine that provides all sorts of data for serious analysis, from contact behavior at various speeds and conditions, to max loads and slip angles. This allows for optimal construction of both shape and tread based on an American cruiser tire’s needs
The Battlecruise H50 will be available in 2017 in eight sizes that will cover most American V-Twin cruisers, and 14 more for American V-Twin Tourers by January 2018. Bridgestone has yet to release prices, but says the following sizes will be available in January:
- 130/90B16 M/C 73H TL
- 100/90B19 M/C 57H TL
- 130/90B16 M/C 67H TL
- 80/90-21 M/C 54H TL
- 150/80B16 M/C 77H TL
- 140/90B16 M/C 77H TL
- 130/90B16 M/C 73H TL
- 160/70B17 M/C 73V TL
Photos by Riles & Nelson
- Helmet: HJC CL-JET
- Jacket: Roland Sands Design Ronin
- Gloves: Alpinestars Celer Glove
- Pants: Spidi Furious Tex
- Riding Shoe: Fly Racing M16 Waterproof Shoe
Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tire Review | Photo Gallery