Bridgestone Battlecross E50 Review:Built on the Japanese company’s long history of motorcycle tire construction, the Bridgestone Battlecross E50 is its newest offering for enduro competition. The E50 is an FIM-competition approved and DOT-legal, with a design aimed at delivering high levels of traction across the varied terrain inherent to off-road racing. According to Bridgestone, “The E50 is built specifically with the hard-core enduro rider in mind.”The new block-knobby design utilizes proprietary Castle Block block-within-a-block technology, offering a new pattern aimed at increasing corner grip, while generally improving traction bite with more edge to grab. I tested them with the 140/80 rear on my barely street-legal KTM 350 EXC-F.
Dual-Sport and Enduro Tires
My experience with the E50 began with the typical campsite tire swap—sometimes life gets in the way of utilizing the convenience of a clean, well-stocked shop. The Bridgestones are quite pliable, and I immediately noticed the E50s has a much softer rubber sidewall than my previous tire—a desert tire with a reinforced carcass.Additionally, Bridgestone has changed the shape and profile of the bottom sidewall, contributing to the reduced mounting difficulty. A reinforced carcass tire is a helpful safety net to have on extended backwoods treks to avoid pinch-flats. However, the ease and simplicity of mounting a pliable tire like the E50 was a welcome respite from the typical tire-wrangling rodeo that seems to happen every time I have tire irons in my hands.Once on the bike, the Bridgestone Battlecross E50 tires have an impressive profile with the Castle Block spread-tread design. The result is a beefy looking DOT-legal tire. While I may not be considered the hardest core of enduro riders, I love riding as much as anyone and set out to put these tires through their paces.As soon as I hit the trail, I noticed a strong grip on the sidewall in some highly-rutted single track, while offering stability in steep hardpack conditions. In rocky sections, the Bridgestone E50s have great bite with easy navigation and flexibility through loose-pack rock gardens.Over rock-filled step-ups, I never felt the rear tire lose connection or drive; the front was willing to stick wherever I deemed necessary. Through forest single-track and narrow dirt trails, the Battlecross E50 tires showed no signs of weakness.Bridgestone claims the E50 to be the most versatile tire in the Battlecross lineup. I found they hold their own against all the Southern California off-road terrain I threw at them. The E50 is a no-brainer in all forms of dirt terrain from hard pack to mud, and also a good performer in sand.I spent some time on the street with the E50s, riding a simple commute to work. The ride was smooth and comfortable. Even in an early morning light rain, the big knobs held tight to the asphalt. If I were doing a higher percentage of street riding, I would want something more geared toward street use, but for short pavement stints, the E50s work without a hitch.After a few months of use, the tires are holding up well. The rock-laden trails have put their stamp on the large knobs. Overall, the wear is in line with what I would expect. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Bridgestone Battlecross E50 tires for off-road and dual-sport use, and this is not the last set that will be on my bike. I will keep pursuing my goal of becoming a “hard-core” enduro rider, and I’ll take the Bridgestone E50 tires on my KTM any day.
Bridgestone Battlecross E50 Tires Fast Facts
- Front size: 90/90 x 21
- Rear sizes: 120/90 x 18; 140/80 x 18
- Bridgestone Battlecross E50 Tires Prices: Front: $158 MSRP; rear: $172 MSRP