Bridgestone Battlecross E50 Review:
Dual-Sport and Enduro Tires
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.
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