Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Battlax Hypersport S23 tested at Kyalami

Engines get stronger, brakes get more powerful, the limit is always being pushed. Bridgestone understands very well that rubber must also follow that trend, and presents the Battlax Hypersport S23. Not a pure track tyre, but a very sporty street tyre with more than enough track aspirations. We could discover all of that at the exotic Kyalami circuit in South Africa.

Battlax Hypersport S23 at Kyalami, South Africa. Feel the power of Bridgestone tyres.

The S23 is a sporty tyre developed for the sporty rider who enjoys the fast and twisty mountain roads, and occasionally ventures on the track. A newly designed compound on the edge of the tread provides better road contact at extreme lean angles and more grip in fast corners. A new pattern design with Bridgestone’s unique Pulse Groove Technology has the function of providing better water drainage in the rain. The S23 is more stable, has more grip in dry and wet, and brakes better than its predecessor, the S22. Moreover, it is also 8% more economical.

Available sizes

Front

120/70ZR17M/C (58W) TL

 

 

Rear

160/60ZR17M/C (69W) TL
180/55ZR17M/C (73W) TL
190/50ZR17M/C (73W) TL
190/55ZR17M/C (75W) TL
200/55ZR17M/C (78W) TL

Warming up

After the technical presentation and a load of confidence about what the possibilities are with the new S23, it’s time for the real deal. We start off with a Yamaha MT-09 and Kawasaki Z900. Motorcycles that don’t have too much horsepower and offer a fine balance to start the test day. We ride 20-minute sessions, so this first session is mainly about getting to know the track and finding the riding lines. Still, we keep part of our brains free to feel what the (cold) Bridgestones do. These give immediate confidence and stability, bearing in mind a track we have never ridden on before AND motorcycles we need to get to grips with. An excellent start to the day as the S23 did not surprise us once. You can clearly feel that the S23 is a tyre that knows how to handle this kind of power of around 120 bhp perfectly. It gives confidence up front and doesn’t surprise you with traction loss at the back. Exactly what you expect from a sporty street tyre.

Riding in the rain

The riding lines are locked in our heads, the confidence in the Bridgestones is sky high. Time to shift up a gear. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is not exactly a track bike, but as a sporty tourer it’s an ideal machine for the S23. On the KTM, things are clearly faster, tighter and sportier than on previous naked bikes. What a force that V-twin is! And you can also steer the heavy GT like a small sportsbike. Impressive. Until suddenly… rain. The track gets damp, thankfully not soaking wet, and we take it down a notch on the Super Duke GT. In doing so, we can say that confidence, and this is down to the tyres as well as the KTM, is not down. We continue to lap smoothly without any problems and are impressed by the grip on a damp Kyalami.

Pushing the limits

From a naked bike to a heavy superbike, we’re able to test the S23 on a wide arsenal of machinery. This time; the Suzuki GSX-R1000. With 200 hp, it is no slouch for body and rubber. The S23 is not a pure track tyre, but the grip level is still amazingly good. You can still push like hell without it becoming dangerous. Also, the lightweight Honda CB750 Hornet is happy to let itself lurch around the South African rollercoaster, while the tyres confirm what they also proved in the previous sessions: stability, confidence, predictability.

Cooling down

The end of the day dawns and we have already had the chance to ride a lot of different bikes and brands. Last on the agenda is a BMW F 900 R. We’re especially curious to see how the Bridgestones respond to BMW’s ESA system. Indeed, BMW’s electronic suspension is known to filter out a lot of feeling with the tarmac. A boon for some on public roads, less interesting on circuits where you just want to feel the limit. The F 900 R doesn’t excel, but it does offer plenty of fun on track. It is somewhat numb under braking and in corners, without feeling too strange. And the Bridgestone S23? It also handles electronic suspension very well and – more importantly – continued to perform well after a whole day of track riding. That’s absolutely amazing!

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