Sport vs. Sport Touring Tires For Touring Duty On The Busa

There was a recent inquiry over on the tire forum about the suitability of the Dunlop Roadsmart. The discussion turned into a debate about sticky sport tires vs. extended life dual compound sport touring tires for the Hayabusa.

I decided to post my reply here. Even if you have no interest in tires, this story has some serious Hayabusa entertainment value.

Nearly 4 years ago, my friend and I were on the last leg of a 2400 mile Memorial Day motorcycle trip that featured Western Colorado. We were in the little town of Challis, Idaho, getting the last tank of fuel for the trip home to Boise. I had filled my BMW and bought an ice cream. I was sitting on a little bench outside the door of the Sinclair at the junction of highways 93 and 75, minding my own business, when up pulls a beautiful black Hayabusa. He parked it right in front of me. He didn't get gas; he just hopped off and went inside. This was a revelation to me. I had wanted a Hayabusa for the longest time, and wondered if I could really tour on one. Here was one parked right in front of me, all laden down with luggage (Cortech tri-bag setup in matching black, with a tank bag). I think that may have been the exact point in my life when I decided that I would make it happen.

I was right in the middle of my daydream when the guy came back out and started to put in his ear plugs. He was a heavy set guy, probably pushing 280 pounds. He was in black leather, head to toe. He seemed to be in a hurry, not even noticing me there. As he was grabbing the straps on his helmet to pull it on, I saw something out of the corner of my eye... a 1" wide silver strip of steel cord down the center of the rear tire.

I yelled at the guy. He reluctantly took out his ear plugs. I pointed out the issue with his rear tire. Now, for reasons that I don't understand, because I pointed out this issue, the issue became my fault and he debated with me as if I somehow put the steel stripe there.

He argued that he was headed for the Larry Miller Motorsports Park west of Salt Lake City and that he needed to be in SLC before rush hour traffic. I told him that he'd make it to SLC before rush hour, but it wouldn't be today's rush hour. This made the issue even more my fault.

I questioned more about his trip, not to be nosey, but just out of curiosity. He told me that he'd left Helena at the crack of dawn and he assured me that the rear tire had plenty of tread when he left home.

By this time, my riding partner had fueled his bike and joined the conversation. He suggested that the guy backtrack to Salmon to find a tire. To me, the chances of finding a 190/50 in Salmon seemed slim. I suggested Idaho Falls, but I was not certain at all that the tire had the necessary 148 miles left in it. Idaho Falls would have been a detour, and looking back, Pocatello might have been a better suggestion. The guy kept arguing that he needed to be in SLC in a few hours, which was 325 miles away.

After much debate, the guy pulled on his helmet, straddled the already laden Busa with his added 280, and started the long 80 mile run to Arco, which would be the next place he would have certain cell service, if he even had a phone.

I think about that guy often, always wondering how far he got before that back tire let go.

Tire choice is a personal preference, but trying to do extended trips on a sticky sport tire just doesn't make sense to me. At best, I would only get one trip per set of tires. At the end of a 2400 mile trip, the tire might have half its tread left, but not enough to finish a second trip. I'm going to stick with the 2CT ST tires. No pun intended. My current choice is the Michelin PR2.


Member of P.E.A.
Donating Member
How many miles do you get on the 2CT? I put a brand new set of Q-2's on my Busa last year when we rode with Cap and Semi out to the Bash. Rode back home to Oklahoma and then we rode with Semi out to Colorado and 4 corners and back home again. They still were not to the wear bars when I dropped them off yesterday to be replaced with new Q-2s. That was 2 2400+ mile trips riding 2 up with gear. I was very surprised at long they lasted. Now, I have Z8's on my BMW, not sure how long they will last, but I am thinking to getting the B-spec PR3's if I can find them, or going back to an Avon Storm II or Pirelli Angel. What beemer do you have and what tires do you run on it?


Seasoned Beef
Donating Member
Got the Michelin PR3 on the rear, getting ready to buy the front. Rear tire has all the grip I'll ever want.
How many miles do you get on the 2CT?...What beemer do you have and what tires do you run on it?
I'm on my first set of PR2's on the Hayabusa. They have about 7000 miles on them and I believe they are just over halfway gone.

I sold the BMW to get the Hayabusa. It was a 2001 K1200RS (yellow taxi paint scheme). I ran one set of Roadsmarts on that bike, then switched to the Michelin PR2's (2 more sets). The Michelins went about 12000 on that bike, as opposed to around 9000 on the Dunlops. Aside from better wear, the Michelins were better in the wet and the front tire didn't wear as unevenly as the Dunlop.

Even though the PR3 has been out for a while, I was so happy with the PR2's that I bought them for the Busa.


Donating Member
...and he assured me that the rear tire had plenty of tread when he left home.
More than once I've ment riders insist there is "lots of tread left on that tire" when it's just starting to kiss the wear bars.

Poor judgement on their part.

How many miles do you get on the 2CT?
I'm on my first set of PR2's on the Hayabusa. They have about 7000 miles on them and I believe they are just over halfway gone.
OK, I just went out and measured for sure... you got me curious.

The tires have 6552 miles on them. The rear measures 4mm of tread depth left. The rear had 7mm of tread depth when it was new. If I conservatively say the tire will be worn out when it has 1mm of tread depth remaining, then I've used 3mm and I have 3mm remaining... or an estimated 13000+ miles of overall tire life.

I will admit... even though the bike produces more torque than a White Freightliner, I don't ride this thing like a teenager on an R6. I just don't. I have my moments, but I'm a conservative rider.


Member of P.E.A.
Donating Member
Interesting..thank you for the feed back. I may go ahead and get the PR3's for the GT when it is due, but beemer specs say the PR3 does not have the weight ratings, so the B-spec is required for those tires. I will have to figure that out late this year.
Bought an extra rim for the rear and installed a Michelin Pilot Power 3 and on my other wheel I will run a Michelin Pilot Road 3.
The Pilot Power 3 will be my weekend tire and the Pilot Road 3 will be my weekday tire cruising back and forth to work 85 miles round trip.

I've learned this in the only way to be fully satisifed witb tires.
You can't have best of both worlds either a sport touring with great mileage and good grip
Or a sport tire with great grip and good mileage.


Canuck Ground Pilot
Donating Member
On my Busa I am running Bridgestone Combo S20 on Front and BT-023 on Rear. I like the stickier supersport tire on the front but run the sport touring rear for extended wear life. With all the positive stories may give the Pilot Road 3 a try next time I need new set of shoes for my Busa.
I just went through the process of buying new tires, opted for a set of PR2. I'm still on the original front and replaced the rear with an OEM hoop a year and a half ago when traveling down in the Hampton Va area. One of those trips I "thought" I had enough tire to go and be back before needing replaced, not so much. Most of my riding is 2-up in sport touring mode.

I'm hoping for fair results with the PR2.


Professional Booga Flicka
I tried a set of Pilot Road 2's once. They were a fine touring tire, but didn't have the grip I needed for playtime. After the front slipped a couple of times, I knew I had to go back to a true sport tire. The handling was okay (but not great) when I dropped the PSI to the very low 30's, but that was too low to get any life out of them in everyday riding.

My ZX-14R came with Metzler Sportec M5's from the factory, and they were terrible. I mean really bad. They were okay in a straight line on a dry road, but sucked in any other situation. I say that in comparison to the every other sport tire I've ever used. The M5's did not want to lean in the rain, and were just plain scary when you finally got them to.

The best tire I've used so far is definitely the Q2. They don't last long for me, but I've never had any question about their grip on dry pavement. So far, between the Busa and the ZX-14R, I'm averaging about 1500 miles from a set of Q2's. That's not including my current set which are coming off this week with something like 600 miles total, including two days at the track.

I'd rather buy a lot of tires than a lot of plastics. :laugh:


Interesting comment about the Sportec M5's Im currently running Sportec M3's and theyve seen to handle any situation Ive thrown at them and have held up pretty well as far as mileage goes too. Want to try the Q2's next to compare but Im waiting for my front tire to need replaced which could be a while. Hate running mismatched front and rear tires :laugh:


To comment about the tire wear thats a common thing where Im at to see these young kids on 600's flying up and down the main drag of a city begging for somebody to notice them and pay them some attention all the while I see bands of metal portruding from thier rear tire :shocked:
. I had ran a set of Z6's on my gen 1 and the rear tire lasted 11,000 kms (6800 mi) I was thoroughly impressed with Metzlers quality and handling. I thought I would try the M5 and see how they would wear. I put a set of M5's on my gen 2 for a 7,000 km (4300 mi) road trip through the states last year. They had appx 1,000 kms (620 mi) on them before I left for the trip. I had to replace the tire 1,000 kms from home, the tire in all lasted 7,000 kms. I was disappointed with the tires performance but having said that, my 240 lb arse and all my camping gear and luggage was on the bike, If I was lighter the tire would've probably lasted another 1,500 kms.

I am trying a Dunlop Qualifier this time round and see how that lasts.







Professional Booga Flicka
Interesting comment about the Sportec M5's Im currently running Sportec M3's and theyve seen to handle any situation Ive thrown at them and have held up pretty well as far as mileage goes too. Want to try the Q2's next to compare but Im waiting for my front tire to need replaced which could be a while. Hate running mismatched front and rear tires :laugh:
Yeah, I've never run any other Metzelers, so I can't comment on the brand as a whole. The M5's grip well enough on dry pavement, but the feel of the handling does not inspire confidence like my Dunlops and even Michelins have. Below is a pic of Fishhook, who was a bit more fearless than I on the M5's. He and I were on a ride together and had the same reaction the first time we got rained on while riding the M5's. It was the first time I ever considered just pulling over and waiting out the storm because the front tire just went wherever it wanted on the wet pavement.

Kevin & Kermit.jpg

Kevin & Kermit.jpg


Track Coach / TufPoodle Coach
I have long been puzzled at how so many riders judge the quality of a tire by the maximum number of miles the tire can travel before that shinny part shows up. I wish we could all find a high performance tire that would last 15K miles but the technology for such a tire does not exist. At least not yet. Dual compound tires have narrowed the gap between performance and mileage. But let there be no doubt that one gives up a considerable safety margin with high mileage tires mounted on two wheels. Yes, I know,,,,,,,,,,,,, this 12000 mile PR3 has all the grip I'll ever need. We seem to forget the majority of single bike crashes are due to loss of traction. We buy one of the most powerful bikes on earth and never give a thought to that sliver dollar size patch that sometimes separates us from enjoying dinner with the family with a visit to the ER.

Yes indeed, it puzzles me? :dunno:

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