As the stream of sport bikes disappear in my mirrors, I shift my weight, look through the corner, and tip in. As the VFR and I rail through the corner–respectively offering peg feeler and knee slider to the pavement gods. I have only the manic grin on my face and euphoric surge of endorphins to confirm that I have retained ownership of my soul. As I bless the Diablo’s beneath me, I make a mental note to call my lawyer, just in case.
Pirelli’s marketing department calls the Diablo Strada an “extended mileage sport tire”, attempting to create a niche in the tire market and distance itself from other sport-touring tires. In aiming for sport-tire traction and
sport-touring-tire mileage, Pirelli has hit mighty close to the mark; this tire seriously blurs the distinction between sport and sport-touring tires.
I’ve had a chance to put about 4000km on the Strada’s, in a variety of conditions.
Once scrubbed in, I was immediately struck by the transformation in the bike’s handling. My previous set of boots had me convinced that the steering head bearings needed looking at, and the quick-turning Strada’s had me wondering if stability could be an issue. Steering was as quick as could be expected on the porky Viffer, the bike holds it’s line wonderfully, and the only time I could get the bars to nod was as the front tire reacquainted itself with the pavement.
As a year-round rider, I’m accustomed to taking in everything from commuting to backroad blitzing. For those of you similarly addicted, you know that the variety of road and weather conditions can be quite a challenge: wet roads, dry roads, stop-and-go traffic, and twisties, sometimes all on the same ride.
One is presented with a nearly impossible set of demands from a motorcycle tire, and an implication that compromise is required: great wet and dry traction, quick warm-up, good in cold weather, and good treadwear characteristics. I’m pleased to report that the Pirelli Diablo Strada provides the best combination
of these characteristics I’ve yet experienced. At 4000km, treadwear is barely noticeable, to such an extent that I would need to compare the tires to a new set to detect any wear. Very impressive indeed!
I’m blessed to live in a part of the world that has great riding right at my doorstep. The first (often wet) S-curve is less than 300 yards from my driveway, and the Strada’s are warm well before bike or rider. Being no stranger to wet roads, I challenge the diablos to a run through a wet, gravelly, potholed, and recently flooded section of twisty pavement in my area, aptly named Riverbottom Rd., and emerged unscathed, and inspired by the capabilities of this tire.
If you are among the very small percentage of riders who can truly push a bike hard enough, you will find the Diablo’s limits. I have managed to both push the front and the rear, but only while hanging off and near maximum lean angle, and I never felt like things would get out of hand. At the limit, the Strada provides fabulous feedback, and there is never a feeling that the tires could suddenly let go.
Pirelli has squarely aimed this tire at the sporting end of the sport-touring spectrum. The Diablo Strada would be an ideal tire for bikes like the VFR, Ducati ST2/3/4, various BMWs, or even a number of less-focused sport bikes
like the Suzuki SV650 & 1000, Yamaha FZ6 and FZ1, Kawasaki Z750 and Z1000, Honda 919 and VTR1000, and Ducati’s Monster and Multistrada models. I would also suggest that less aggressive sport bike owners (or those who tend to put a lot of miles on their bikes) might find the Strada perfectly adequate for their needs, and a much better choice than a budget-oriented sport tire.
For more information check the Pirelli Web Site