Easy Rollers – Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 Tire Review
By Tyler Greenblatt – No matter how much money we may like to spend on our bikes, there might be no expense as important as that spent on the handful of square inches that actually makes contact with the ground. Not only do your tires allow for your motorcycle to actually roll down the road, but they provide an excellent opportunity to extend and enhance your ride.
I recently had the opportunity to test Bridgestone’s new Battlecruise H50 tire designed specifically for American V-twins. While some tire companies brag about extreme mileage capabilities or sticky canyon carving performance, the Battlecruise does both exceptionally well in its attempt to simply be the ultimate American cruiser tire.
Creating the Battlecruise H50 started back at Bridgestone headquarters using the Ultimate-EYE (U-EYE), a high-tech testing facility that’s part of the Bridgestone Research and Development Group. The Battlecruise is only Bridgetstone’s second tire to go through the advanced U-EYE process, meaning we’ll probably see more and more from Bridgestone down the road. U-EYE essentially measures all sorts of real-world figures that matter not only to the engineers but to the riders actually running the tire. Developers can better understand a variety of features to see how a tire tread reacts to various speeds and conditions, and they can also better target the optimal combination of compound, tread design, construction, and tire profile. U-EYE can also track contact patch pressure distribution at various speeds, loads, and slip angles to ensure the greatest amount of contact as often as possible.
When it comes to a tire’s performance, either on the highway or on the track, one of the biggest factors is the contact patch and how the motorcycle’s weight is distributed. Since American V-twins tend to have a greater weight distribution between front and rear tires (among other differences) than most other types of motorcycles, Bridgestone developed specific front and rear tires. The Battlecruise rear tire has a larger crown profile which increases the size of the contact patch and improves load distribution, while a newly developed compound extends mileage drastically. The front tire was built in similar fashion, with the emphasis on cornering and handling ability and reducing force required to maneuver.
Bridgestone claims that its front tires require 40 percent less operating force than its “main competitor.” Especially when it comes to stock Harleys, a set of tires can play a big role in shock absorption and vibration damping, and Bridgestone had that in mind when developing the Battlecruise. By placing strategic reinforcement on the carcass and envelope of the tire, developers targeted the appropriate balance of heavyweight, long-lasting rigidity and comfortable shock absorption. The goal is to make a long ride that much more comfortable, because for some people being able to go an extra 50-100 miles is the difference between camping for the night on the side of the road or at the Buffalo Chip.
Okay, but how does the Battlecruise perform in real-world riding, far from the high-tech laboratory? Even on a short ride, the Battlecruise advantage is clear. Low rolling resistance, light turn-in, and confident outer tread grip are the hallmarks of the H50 and some of the most important aspects of a heavyweight cruiser tire. Additionally, wet grip performance remains a key factor, and although Bridgestone has the science to back it up, our group wasn’t able to test this function in sunny Orlando, Florida.
My biggest takeaway from testing the Battlecruise on a Softail Slim was that it provides a noticeably smooth ride. Tiny pebbles and imperfections in the road had no repercussions through the bike, and low-speed maneuverability was also noticeably easy. And while each potential customer gets to decide if the looks of the tire work on his bike, I was pretty pleased with the appearance on my open-tire Slim test bike.
Bridgestone has released a bunch of front and rear tire sizes for a variety of Harley, Indian, and Victory cruisers and plans to release even more to cover baggers next year. AIM
*************************Like what you see? Find this article in American Iron Magazine Issue # 347 along with features on Blings’ Custom Indian, Team American Iron’s 1915 Harley Daytona Racer and a review on the 2017 Sportster Low! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, please visit Greaserag.com. Follow American Iron Magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! To subscribe to the PRINT edition, click here. To receive DIGITAL DELIVERY, click here.