You may ask why I am reviewing this tyre. “OnTheBackWheel, this tyre is old! Review the latest and greatest wanky sports tyre.” Yes this tyre is an old model and yes it may not have the wank factor that some of the newer tyres possess, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still worth buying (and yes you can still buy them!).
So, a little bit about the tyres before I get into how they ride. The BT023 are a sports touring tyre that was released by Bridgestone back in 2010. I find the ‘sports touring’ tag puts a lot of people off, but it shouldn’t. They are still better than most of us and are ultimately just a sports tyre that lasts longer and works well in the wet. The rear tyre has a three layer compound, hard in the centre for commuting work and sticky on the edges for playing in the corners. The front tyre has an angled groove pattern that helps disperse water when you are riding in the wet. If you have a larger touring style bike (FJR, K1200 etc.), the 023’s also come in a GT variety.
Enough jargon, how are the tyres? The first thought that comes to mind with the BT023’s is they are neutral. What do I mean by neutral? Their tip in is progressive and consistent. In fact, this can be said for a lot of Bridgestone’s. They don’t drop in like a full on sports tyre, but nonetheless I had no problems getting a knee down in the mountains. The change of direction is neither on the fast nor slow side, again consistent and predictable. They are pretty bloody hard to fault through the twisties and I pushed them well past legal speeds (on private roads…). Ultimately, if you are only doing mountain riding on a high end sports bike, something like the Bridgestone S21’s are that bit softer, have a steeper profile and will provide better feel. But these tyres can still hustle with the best of them and it’s only when you are well into ‘go straight to jail, do not pass go’ territory that you may notice any real difference.
Where the Bridgestone’s come into their element is on the commute and day to day riding. They don’t square off like a proper sports tyre and will last a full year of riding. For someone like me who does roughly 12000km’s (7500miles) a year, this is gold.
They are much better in the wet than a sports tyre too. I get caught out in the rain frequently on the way to work and I’ve never had any issues with them. The 023’s never squirmed or broke traction on corner exits.
How about on the track? I’d honestly have no hesitation using them on a track day. Look, they are not going to be as good as a proper sports tyre let alone slicks, but if you are in the slow to intermediate group, these will be fine.
In terms of tyre life, expect up to 15000km’s (9000miles) from a set. That’s damn good going, especially factoring in their price.
For my USA based readership, you can get them from http://www.bikebandit.com for $228 a set delivered. That’s stupidly cheap for what is a solid tyre. If you haven’t heard of Bikebandit, they are probably the best motorcycle parts store getting around at the moment. They also have a massive sale on Bridgestone motorcycle tires. For my Aussie readers, hit me up and I’ll find some deals for you.
So even though the BT023’s are old as the hills should you buy them? Yes, but only if you get them for the right price. When looking at new tyres, I generally have a few in mind then check prices. The 023’s have been usurped by the T30’s and if they are the same price or cheaper, get them. I had BT023’s on my Cagiva Raptor 1000 and then T30’s on my ZX10. I like both more than the Michelin Pilot Road 4’s (and they are significantly cheaper). I found the T30’s to be very similar to the BT023’s, but they have a slightly higher dry performance ceiling.
If you want a budget sports tyre with a bit of longevity, the BT023’s are hard to go past. And if you look realistically at the kind of riding you are doing, this style of tyre is probably more than enough for your street bike.
Keep it OnTheBackWheel people…
Thanks to u in N. America … got an Fz6 s2 n use every day 10-170miles … eill be fiving them BS023s a go got gud price at 220quid incl. fitting n balancing from ace tyre ship South London. Watch them pizza mopeds fellas. jB.
They’ll be perfect for the fz. They are a top tyre and you should get a fair few miles out of them. And I’m an Aussie, not American!
Great read thank you. Currently running PR4s. Expensive. Would like to try these
For the price, rate them much higher than the PR4’s, definitely worth a try. The T30’s I really liked too.
Good review, just what I was looking for. I bought the bike with these fitted, the bikes a ZX9R and its a replacement for my older ZX9R, I’ve been running Avon storm 2 ultras then storm 3dxm’s on the older bike and swapped out the wheels rather than ride the winter on tyres I don’t know here in the UK. I’ve never had a problem with the Avons (both types) either wet or dry and usually get around 7k miles from a set and go right to the edge on warmer summer roads, my Avons are done now so thought I’d refit these for the summer here, its 40 years since I had a bridgestone tyre on a bike which was my old 400-4 honda, it used to squirm around like mad so never trusted the make since, hopefully these will do as you say
You won’t have any issues with the 023’s, they are a great cheap tyre
Things would definitely have changed in 40 years 😂
Bridge stone battle axe are great tyre i had set of perreli and they where shit wore out twice as quick and shit in the wet got good klm and performance out of the battle axe on my fzr 1000 then my r1 good review great tyre
Thanks for the review even 5 years on. I’m looking at a set for my r1200rt that is currently running michelin 4. Trouble is I like the michelin 4 and the feel and I’m concerned the 023 will feel different. What’s your thought?
Gday Steve. They will feel different, but it may not be in a bad way. I find it only takes a ride to adjust to new tyres
Been using mainly Bridgestones on my 2001 CBR1100XX without too much trouble. Started out on the BT020s once the factory fitted Dungplops squared off, then had to take the BT021s and then I got a set of Michelins which were almost new on another CBR1100XX I bought for spares. The Michelins do OK, but they’re pricey in the UK.
So, going back to Bridgestones now the Michelins are wearing out, and will give the BT023s a try. Not to sure if I need to go for the GT or not, so I’ll have a quick chat with Bridgestone first.
Generally speaking I get around 7k miles from a front, and about 3.5k on a rear, but I ride hard and brake hard. The Bridgestones have never skipped a beat and have served me well over the years since I bought the Blackbird in 2001. Let’s see how the BT023s cope with a bit of old man hammering 🙂