Best sports-touring tyres – tested

A set of sports-touring tyres offers the best of all worlds, and we tried the best back-to-back.

BMW R1250RS sports tourer on the road

by Jim Blackstock |

Just like a sports-touring motorcycle can satisfy almost all of the requirements of a bike for many riders, so will a set of good sports-touring tyres. The bike should be comfortable to ride for long distances yet offer a riding position that puts the rider at the heart of the action; over the front of the bike and keyed-in to its movements.

It should have an engine that is happy to hold a constant speed on dual carriageways or motorways yet give the rider the responsiveness and performance to enjoy challenging roads when they reach their destination – or, indeed, en route.

The suspension should be able to give the rider the best combination of grip and handling on those challenging roads yet also provide comfort and support for faster roads, potentially carrying a pillion passenger or luggage for a multi-day tour.

It sounds like an impossible combination of mutually-exclusive characteristics but there are numerous motorcycles by various manufacturers that achieve this with varying degrees of success.

Related: Best adventure-sports tyres

A good sports-touring bike can be perfected or ruined by the choice of tyre. While all manufacturers will have their preferred supplier who will develop tyres specifically for that model, things can often be improved in certain areas by changing for a tyre with a slight bias in one direction or another. And for many, that direction is the one towards a little more performance.

MCN tested six of the key replacement sports-touring tyres on a BMW R1250RS sports tourer, one of the main bikes in this sector of the market. Using the latest version of the company’s flat-twin 1254cc engine, the model tested uses active suspension to offer a perfect compromise between the needs of a long-distance tour and a blast across twisty roads and was the ideal bike to test these tyres on.

1. Dunlop Roadsmart 3


The Dunlops had a neutral nature when fitted to the BMW, giving a balanced and progressive feel to

Dunlop Roadsmart 3

2. Metzeler Cruisetec X-Ply Motorcycle Tyre

MCN Rated


Tested by Jordan Gibbons for 12 months

"With modern cruisers power figures creeping north

Metzeler Cruisetec X-Ply Motorcycle Tyre

3. Metzeler Roadtec 01 SE

Editor's Pick - We've tested this product and would spend our own money on it


The Metzelers made a noticeable difference to the BMW, making it feel lighter and more nimble than

Metzeler Roadtec 01 SE

4. Pirelli Angel GT2


The Pirellis have a definite sporting bias; they made the RS feel lighter and more lively,

Pirelli Angel GT2

5. Continental Road Attack 3


Another tyre that sat on the sportier side of the mid-way line, in fact, the sportiest on the test

Continental Road Attack 3

6. Michelin Pilot Road 5


The Michelins have a reputation as being a fantastic all-round road tyre and they proved this on

Michelin Pilot Road 5

7. Bridgestone T31


The biggest issue with the Bridgestone was the time it took for them to warm up and start to

Bridgestone T31
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