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Pirelli Angel ST first impressions


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Despite some low speed issues with my R1200ST, sorting out on another thread, my 700 mile ride this weekend on the winding the rivers in Minnesota, Iowa and Minnesota was a heck of a lot of fun with the addition of Pirelli Angel ST tires.


A little background….I bought the R1200ST specifically for long rides on the winding roads in the area and Colorado. Ohlins were put on…and off I went to Colorado only to be disappointed with the handling in the corners. More than disappointed, I was ready to sell the bike and blamed the poor corner handling on the telelever front end. I thought, if only the bike had inverted showa forks like my Ducati ST4….it would be the perfect combo bike! I even search the net looking for anyone replacing the telelever with traditional forks…a few hits, but nothing serious.


Before giving in and selling the bike I decided what the bike needed was sport bike tires. Started doing my research and stumbled across several threads and articles discussing the new Sport Touring tires. One article in particular from Magazine "Motorrad" (2010-05) on Touring Tyres (found on this forum, thanks to poster) had an extensive comparison of the sport touring tires. I had read about the Pirellis Angel ST tires and liked the fact that they were more triangular in shape which would allow them to fall into the corner easily. Cleary my intent of new tires was handling in the corners. Corner handling with the BT021 tires was quirky…it took a lot of body english to setup coming into a corner and once leaned any changes in braking or throttle upset the disposition…not a good thing, especially on public roads where quick adjustments in a corner are always looming.


So, I figured the Pirellis would partially solve the cornering woes so on went a pair.


First impressions….


Look: My initial visual impressions when I picked up the bike from the dealer were..… these tires are meaty, there is a lot of rubber on the tires! I didn’t measure tread depth but the groves are much deeper than other tires. The rear tire, made especially for the R1200RT/ST looked way to serious for the bike. It was huge compared to the BT021 that just came off. The Angel logo on the tires did not work for me…not sure what they were thinking but I want my tires to look clean and ready for action.


Straight up: I took off on my first ride, the weather was 80 degrees and I was on mostly straight county roads and state highways. My biggest surprise was how well the tires perform going straight – I didn’t even consider this as I was looking for better cornering. With the Angels the bike feels firmly planted especially at speeds of 70-100 mph. Before the bike wandered…with the Angel’s the bike tracked perfectly, in all conditions like pesky rain groves that catch the tires, bad county roads with lots of junk and poor surfaces, cross winds and even passing semi’s. The R1200ST was much more sure footed straight up, like a heavier bike, but with out the sluggishness of the extra weight.


Corners: My next impression was how easily the bike transition into high speed sweepers. Almost effortless… graceful yet very deliberate. Also, it seemed I could carry the same speed in a corner with much less lean angle…possibly the triangular shape of the tires. Riding straight up, I would add the slightest pressure to the handle bar and the bike would begin to fall into the corner, but never more that the input pressure. It was very predictable and lean angle always controlled by my inputs. What I found interesting was how I had to adjust my riding style to accommodate for how easily they fall into the corner. At the initiation of a turn if I did not get my weight “underneath” the bike I would find the bike falling down and away from me. All it took was just the slightest shift of my weight in the direction of the turn and everything fell in place beautifully. My weight stayed lower than the bike and from there I could lazily roll through a corner, or roll on the power while dropping my weight and the bike would do whatever I wanted. Also impressive is the cornering spot is not limited - it runs the full ranges from very slight lean angles to aggressive lean angles. The tires allow you do whatever you want in the corners. These tires also “stick.” The roads in the area, this time of the year, were littered with junk…leaves, sticks from fallen tree, dirt, etc. In one corner I came across a light sprinkling of gravel and the bike never even twitched. In all conditions, worn slick roads, new stick tar, the bike felt firmly planted and never felt they were on the edge of letting go…more, they felt like they could be pushed much harder. It is nice to ride aggressively inside the safe limits of a tire, because you never know when you might need the reserve.


Feel: The Angel tires and Ohlin shocks are the perfect cocktail. The Ohlins’ absorbed the big bumps and the Angels absorbed the small bumps and imperfections in the road. I hit a section on a state highway road where there was a rumple strip between the lanes (easy to fall asleep in some parts of the state). I braced and crossed over to see what would happen and was surprised to how smooth it was. I ran the bike straight down the middle of the road over the strip at 80 mph and the tires simply ate it up. It feels like you are riding on really really good rubber. Firm but very compliant.


Rain and cold: The weather was in the 80s and sunny so no impressions in the rain or cold.


Wear: I put on only 700 miles, but I am hoping that the impressions last when the tires have 4000-6000 miles.


Learning’s: The telelever front-end is very serviceable for aggressive cornering when it is setup with the right shocks and tires. Thank god, the Angel logo wears off in no time. The rear tires, although looks massive, handles like a smaller tire.


I assume that the other “new” sport touring tires are equally as impressive, albeit each with their unique characteristics. I am definitely sold on these new generation tires for sport touring.


Cheers. Windy.


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Thanks for taking the time to express your opinion on the Angels. Check back in 4000 miles. Almost any modern sport touring tire is going to feel good turning in in the first 2000 miles or so IMHO. Confidence is throttle inspiring. Have fun. How old and how many miles were on the BT021s? I think those were OEM on my RT in '05 and I found them to be just fine to about half life. I aggressively wore them smooth to the sidewalls in less than 4100 miles.

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A couple of riding buddies put Angel ST's on their bikes. One never saw 4,000 mile the other just over....but they loved them.

This tires stick, but they aren't touring tires.

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I have tried an array of tires over the last 12 years on my 2 oilheads and now on my hex. Most tires work well for a while. some hold up for 8-10k miles. A few got so noisy (michelin pr)that I couldn't wait to finish them off. The Bridgestones are the only tires that I would NEVER use again! I experienced more scary corner manners on them than any other tire. They were junk (cords worn through)in 6000 miles. Your Pirellis may not be the only tire that will work for you, but once you find a winner, it's hard to change.

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The Bridgestones are the only tires that I would NEVER use again! I experienced more scary corner manners on them than any other tire. They were junk (cords worn through)in 6000 miles.


Rob, I agree....the BT021's were not a good high performance tire, and all along I was putting the blame for poor cornering on the telelever. I bought the bike used and it came with the Bridgestone's, and I stayed with them because I love the Bridgestone Dueller AT's that are on my truck.


Also, IMO out of the box, the R1200ST is not setup to compete with other serious sport touring bikes, like the Duc ST4, VFR or Triumph Sprint ST. It would be interesting to see how it would have progressed if BMW had kept in on the market.

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I have Dunlop Q2's on my ST and they stick like glue. But they are not going to be long lasting tires....

I have a spare set so I'll use them at least one more change, but I'm really waiting to try the new Continental RoadAttack2's. I've read good things about them from Europe.

The older RoadAttack's would routinely get 8 - 9,000 miles and handled great, wet or dry, the entire time.

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I'll second the opinion on old tires vs new.. the new ones always feel WONDERFUL. Everything you describe as a problem could be attributed to worn out tires. I'm also surprised at your comment on the rear tire size.. did you put on the same size as came off?


New PilotRoad-2's feel wonderful to me until about 4-5,000 miles, then they start to feel wacky. Strangely - mine have started to feel better again as they continue to wear. I have about 11,000 miles on the current set. Front is almost done, rear still has a lot of tread left on it. Once the front starts howling I'll probably spoon a new pair of something on it (I'm hoping the Conti-Road Attack 2's are available in the US by then.)

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I'll second the opinion on old tires vs new.. the new ones always feel WONDERFUL. Everything you describe as a problem could be attributed to worn out tires. I'm also surprised at your comment on the rear tire size.. did you put on the same size as came off?


Don, I think the new generation of sport touring tires including the PR2, etc, are way above the older generation tires like the BT021. I hope the new tire feel and performance with these Pirelli's last at least 4000 miles. I do a combo of straight up/distance and twisties so I am hopeful the rear does not get the dreaded flat spot down the middle because once that happens it really throws off the transition into corners.


I ride for the pure pleasure probably, like many here, and although I am cheap/frugal the cost of good tires is the difference between really enjoying each ride and just riding.


The rear for the R1200RT/ST is the same size as the BT021s that were pulled off, however the tires was made specifically for the bike...my understanding is they are designed to carry the heavy load of spirited loaded two up riding. It is serious and meaty.


They tire companies seem to have come a long way with rubber compounds and retaining tire performance characteristics with wear. The Bridgestone Dueler AT's on my truck are awesome and with 25,000 mile they feel like new. They are a winter/snow tire and for that reason the tires have a softer compound about half-life to ensure excellent snow and ice grip as they wear.


I am also really interested in the new Conti-Road Attack 2's, having heard great reviews. Might consider putting them on my Duc where I am more concerned with sport bike level performance from the tires. Until then my excitement for riding has gone way up. The new tires are the best money I have spent in years. Right up there with a heated vest!




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Paul In Australia

R1200RT, 2008, 70,000kms. Hot abrasive roads

Currently on my third set of Pirelli Angle ST's. Get about 7.5K miles from the rear. Always change both at the same time ( front would get another 1.5k miles).

They stick like glue, I feel, right to the end. Very confidence building in the wet.

I reckon beyond all doubt these are the best I have tried on both the RT's I have owned.

best regards


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Yep the Angel ST's would have been my choice of tyre to try next. I had the Bridgestones as OEM too & did not like them too much especially in the wet. I had the Pirelli Stradas on next which were pretty good.

In the end the dealer had run out of the Angel ST's but he had the new Conti Road Attack2's in stock & plenty of em so I thought why not.


Your experience with the Angel's mirror mine with the RA2's in that steering is a lot quicker but very surefooted in a straight line. I don't even think about turns now it just instinctively happens and is a very nice feeling too!

The tyres scrubbed in extra fast & they seem very quick to warm up. Temperatures here have been in the range of 2C (34F) up to 24C (75F) so not too hot yet. As for longevity too early to tell as I only have a few hundred kilometres on them so far.


As the weather improves even more I'll be putting them through their paces on some longer rides through the hills.


It is always nice to ride on fresh rubber once they are scrubbed in & I hope the honeymoon period with these tyres is a long one.


Cheers Teddy


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I have a bit over 1000 miles on my first set of Angel ST's to date with very little signs of wear. These tires are very stable and my wife and I both feel they've improved the ride of the bike over the stock Metezeler Z6 tires.


If this rear tire lasts at least 6000 miles, I'll be sticking with the Angel ST's.





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