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Battlax: The Evolution of Bridgestone’s Sport Touring Tire

Specifically designed for combat, the lightweight, modified household tool, known as the battle axe, has a significant place in history. Most commonly associated for their use by Vikings, and dating back to the Paleolithic period, battle axes marked their peak during the Medieval era. Each generation used new technology to adapt the tool to modern warfare, including material and design changes to meet the needs of soldiers on the battlefield. The most impressive feat of the axe is its longevity throughout history. While axes are no longer used in battle today, the axe has retained its use as a common household tool, while becoming a performance necessity on touring motorcycles.

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Enter Bridgestone’s Battlax tire. Originating in Japan, the tire’s developers combined the words “battle” and “axe,” signifying the tire’s “leading edge” in on-road performance.

“The name ‘Battlax’ has been on the sidewall for many firsts and at the highest levels of racing. Battlax was the first tire to have Dual Tread Compound Technology, 5 Layer Compound Technology, Ultimate Eye Technology, Pulse Groove Technology and the list goes on,” said Jared Williams, general manager for motorcycle products at Bridgestone. “In racing, Battlax has won extensively at the highest levels of racing in series such as MotoGP and FIM EWC. Whether it is the most skilled riders in the world winning championships, or delivering game-changing technologies, Battlax has been on the sidewall.”

Making its debut in January 2021, the Battlax T32 sport touring tire was introduced. According to Bridgestone Project Engineer Andrew Decker, sport touring tires offer increased performance in wet conditions and across a wider range of ambient temperatures. Sport touring tires tend to have a longer wear life compared to hypersport tires and riders value great handling, but they also require balanced performance on diverse road conditions for activities like commuting and long-distance touring.

Developed in Japan, the T32 tire was tested at proving grounds in Tochigi Prefecture and Aprilia, Italy, by professional riders from the highest levels of racing, who provided additional feedback on extreme performance to perfect the newest iteration of the Battlax. As a result, Bridgestone’s T32 has significant updates from the T31 in the same way that battle axes have improved through the ages.

“There is a 13% larger rear contact patch, which results in increased cornering grip and improved feel,” Decker said. “The Battlax Sport Touring T32 tire has a 7% shorter wet stopping distance with no sacrifice in wear life. Our specific GT spec options, which are for heavier bikes, provide additional stability and 10% more wear life compared to our T31 GT spec tires. The most visible update can be seen in the tread design with our Pulse Groove Technology.”

Bridgestone’s patented Pulse Groove Technology improves overall water drainage in wet road conditions. Decker explained that the widened parts of the grooves are split by a deflector, forcing the waterflow to divert from its linear path. The pulse-shaped grooves and deflectors equalize the water flow, which speeds up the displacement and results in improved drainage. 

“The Pulse Groove Technology adds high-end performance in wet conditions,” Decker added. “You’re getting improved traction, braking, grip and feedback, providing outstanding wet performance. Anyone who’s ridden long enough knows that you will wind up on wet pavement, even if it’s brief.”

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Advancements in technology and polymer science add additional improvements to the T32 tire.

“Continued research has gone into optimizing rubber compounds with Bridgestone’s Silica Rich, Silica Rich EX and RC Polymer technologies. These technologies allow our engineers to create smaller molecular compounds in the tire that adhere to the road better, offering more grip at a wider temperature range,” Decker said.

Bridgestone offers a variety of tire options for touring riders, like their Exedra for Gold Wing and the Battlecruise H50 for Road Glide. For commuter or sport bikes that range from motorcycles like the Ducati Monster 696 to the larger tourers such as the BMW K 1600, among many others, the Battlax Sport Touring T32 tires are made for middle to heavyweight sport and sport touring bikes. Unique to their lineup is Bridgestone’s Battlax T32 GT tire spec.

“Not all tire manufacturers offer a GT tire spec in their sport touring lineup. However, due to weight differences of various bikes in the market that use the same tire size, offering a standard spec and GT spec optimizes performance based upon specific motorcycle weights,” Decker explained. “The T32 GT tire was designed for bikes that weigh above 500 lbs. for heavier bikes to perform better. The tread pattern is specifically developed to optimize stability and wear life. In combination with the construction differences, the T32 GT tire achieves 10% improved wear life versus its predecessor.”

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For dealers prepping for the spring season, Williams explained that tires are more than just a commodity to consumers. “Due to the information and reviews available online, consumers now have the ability to become more educated than ever before. Because of this, riders usually buy something different than the cheapest option on the internet,” Williams said. “Bridgestone makes great tires and the Battlax Sport Touring T32 tire has raised the bar. With 7% shorter wet stopping distance, increased cornering grip due to 13% larger rear contact patch and 10% more wear life on the updated T32 GT tire compared to predecessor, the decision should be easy.”

Check out the current spring promotions available now at bridgestonemotorcycletires.com.

And for riders considering a performance upgrade this season, Williams emphasized the importance of finding the right fit for their motorcycle. “Considering tires are the only part of the motorcycle that touch the ground, it’s important riders feel confident in their performance. Tires are responsible for transmitting steering and braking forces, absorbing road shocks and supporting the weight of the motorcycle. Riders should look for a tire that can go the distance while providing the best performance for their riding conditions. We urge riders to buy the best tire they can afford, and we’ve worked hard to make our products available at varying prices to serve the whole motorcycle community.”

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Williams continued, “Only looking at the price of a tire is a pitfall many riders can fall into, and it could cause the rider to miss many of the benefits a premium tire delivers. After all, the thing you’ll get from choosing the best tire you can afford is better performance for your riding needs, and isn’t that what we all want anyway?”

For more information about Bridgestone Tires and the new Battlax T32, visit bridgestonemotorcycletires.com. For more information on motorcycle tire safety and maintenance, download the motorcycle tire guide msf-usa.org/downloads/Tire_Guide.pdf.

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