American V-Twin motorcycles rule the roads in the United States. And while your custom hibernates in the garage this winter, spoon on something fresh with Bridgestone’s new Battlecruise H50 motorcycle tire.
The latest product in the Japanese tire conglomerate’s line-up slots next to the Exedra Max shoes fitted on many new metric V-Twins. The H50 on the other hand is engineered specifically for the Harley-Davidson, Victory and Indian Motorcycle crowd.
Similar to the Exedra, a bias-ply construction was selected in order to meet stability and weight-carrying requirements when riding two-up with a full tank of fuel and luggage.
As its name suggests, cruisers are all about cruising. So it’s no surprise Bridgestone worked specifically on building a tire that can endure the elements and outlast the competition. To do this, new rubber compounds were formulated and function in parallel with the carcass construction.
Specifically, the H50’s rear crown profile is larger than the control tire that was baselined during the engineering process (Kenda). This means more rubber is in contact with asphalt through turns. This also helps reduce slip (incrementally and something that you can’t feel) equating to a longer-lasting and cooler-running tire. Bridgestone claims that H50 riders will get nearly double the mileage (when properly inflated) compared to the Kenda equivalent.
To measure load pressure and exact behavior at the business end of the contact patch, Bridgestone relied on its ULTIMAT EYE machine. The technology allows engineers to visualize subtle nuances of tire performance and aided in the development of the recently released Battlax S21 high-performance radial sportbike tire.
Engineers also zeroed-in on the sidewall flex properties of the front hoop to elevate bump absorption and reduce vibration. This helps take load away from the motorcycle’s suspension and affords smoother and more supple ride quality. The contact patch is larger with a more evenly loaded footprint which helps reduce steering effort making the bike feel more lively.
And added responsiveness is how the Indian Scout felt when ridden back-to-back against the OE-equipped version. Direction changes were easier with less handlebar input required for the motorcycle to begin its turning arch. The tires also complimented the Harley-Davidsons we rode too, and straight-line stability and cornering grip were adequate. But to be fair we didn’t sample the tires for a long enough period to get an accurate gauge on outright performance. We look forward to logging more mileage on the H50’s during a more definitive long-term test.
The H50 also benefits from a specific tread pattern designed to be pleasing to the eye while maintaining a high-level of water drainage when traveling on rain-soaked roads. Fortunately for us, but perhaps the opposite for our readers, we didn’t get a chance to sample the rubber on anything but dry pavement in Central Florida— the site of our abbreviated half-day ride.
Although we’re going to have to take Bridgestone’s word for it in terms of the durability/mileage and wet weather claims, the H50’s did elevate the handling response of the motorcycles we rode. Eight sizes will be available January, 2017, with another 14 sizes (for touring bikes) coming January, 2018.
Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tires
MSRP: $165.60 – $182.16 (fronts); $235.98 – $273.24 (rears)
Front Sizes: 130/90-16, 100/90-19, 130/90-16, 80/90-21
Rear Sizes: 150/80-16, 140/90-16, 130/90-16, 160/70-17
Recommended Tire Pressure: 40 psi (front); 40 psi (rear) [38 psi rear for Sportster’s]