The adventure bike category has grown into its own universe, a popular realm bolstered by a wide range of motorcycles, as well as equally plentiful personal riding styles and preferences. The segment presents a unique challenge to tire manufacturers—they must develop a single product that can jump from pavement to dirt and deliver satisfactory results on both. For the pavement, ADV tires need to deliver confidence when leaning, predictable handling and stability, and comfort and compliance for long hauls. At the same time, they have to offer reliable and adequate traction and durability when riding off-road.
Understanding that a good portion of the ADV crowd spends the majority of their time trekking pavement, yet still want (and need) a tire that performs well when they do venture off-road, Bridgestone has created the Battlax Adventure Trail AT41, an 80/20 ADV tire. This specification means the tire is intended for riders who plan to spend 80% of their ride time on pavement and 20% in various off-road conditions.
Recently, I had the opportunity to try out the new offering from Bridgestone. The test bed platform for the new Battlax Adventure Trail AT41 was a 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure. The tires performed well on the road, without any of the squirrelly feeling that can haunt the compounds and tread patterns of some ADV tires. The Trail AT41 rendered great traction on dry dirt and in gravel, even when riding two-up with luggage. On the road, the tires—which have a deep-set groove tread pattern—surprised me with a relatively quiet ride. This unique tread pattern gives the new Bridgestones a distinctive appearance—the deep, wide grooves looking hand-cut, crossing the face of the carcass at a perpendicular angle.
Bridgestone claims the block-based pattern creates more efficient water drainage, while the stiff ribbing delivers stability. This combination provides enhanced traction, as well as predictable braking on wet and loose surfaces. The end result is a tire that can adapt to the constantly changing demands of adventure riding, whether that adventure unfolds on or off the road, in dry or wet conditions.
The Bridgestone Battlax Adventure Trail AT41 was created to fill the niche between the traditional on-road/off-road tires (which often don’t provide adequate traction off-road) and serious knobbies (the bane of which is a noisy and bumpy ride—not to mention a reduced lifespan—on pavement). The Trail AT41 promises to deliver plenty of comfortable touring miles while being wholly capable of light-duty off-roading. Tires for the front cost between $155-$200, and $205-$260 for the rear.