May 19 2004. Japanese tyre giant Bridgestone has launched its new all-round performance tyre, the BT-014. It replaces the well-proven and respected BT-010.

Not to be confused with the OE version of the tyre, currently fitted to 2004-spec GSX-R600 and 750s and Honda's new Fireblade, the aftermarket BT-014 differs slightly in specification, although Bridgestone claims overall performance is virtually identical. It also says the new tyre offers more wet and dry grip, improved stability and wear and greater feel and comfort.

To test those theories, journalists were flown to the Almeria race circuit in Spain to try the tyres on a variety of sportsbikes.

Freelancer Chris Moss was one of them and came away more than impressed with the abilities of the BTs. "Considering what they are - performance road tyres, and not a race rubber, I thought they performed superbly. I tested them on a variety of bikes including the new ZX-10R, Fireblade, 999S, CBR600RR and GSX-R600 and really felt at home on them. In typical Bridgestone fashion they give good grip even from cold, are very stable and have a nice consistent turn-in rate into corners. They would eventually let go under power on the bigger bikes, but that was only if you were a bit ham-fisted with the throttle. And thankfully, when they did cry enough, they slid smoothly and progressively, allowing you enough time to react and get things in line again. On the 600s the tyres gave me plenty of confidence to push really hard and never stepped out of line once. In fact the grip was good enough to upset some bikes' suspension until it was firmed up to deal with the extra stress. Overall, I'd give the new Bridgestones a very big thumbs up."

The BT014s are available now in sizes to fit bikes from 600s upwards and there's a 16" front tyre for old FireBlades and a 200-section rear. They'll compete with Dunlop D208s, Metzeler Sportec M1s, Pirelli Diablos and Michelin Pilot Powers.

130/70 ZR16 (suiting early FireBlades)
110/70 ZR17
120/60 ZR17
120/70 ZR17

160/60 ZR17
170/60 ZR17
180/55 ZR17
190/50 ZR17
200/50 ZR17
150/60 ZR18
160/60 ZR18