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Bridgestone BATTLAX ADVENTURECROSS AX41

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Published in: Gear

Bridgestone-AX41-ADventurecross-38INTRO.

While some adventure riders choose “DOT knobbies” the tread type sometimes poses issues. The noise generated may be uncomfortable on higher-speed pavement. Further, pavement riding, especially wet pavement riding, may be compromised somewhat by the small “footprint” in contact with the riding surface; the expression “squirrelly” comes to mind. Finally, the longevity of DOT knobbies may be shorter than hoped for when run extensively on pavement. And front tire tread block cupping, or irregular wear, is to expected after considerable hard-surface use.

Bridgestone AX41 ADventurecross 23BODY900Angle

Bridgestone took these factors into consideration when developing the Battlax Adventurecross AX41 tire, intended as a 40/60 (on/off-road) DOT knobby, but with features more favorable to typical adventure riding service life, rather than concentrating more exclusively on off-road performance.

The Battlax Adventurecross AX41 tires run with exceptional quiet for such an aggressive tread. By accident, intent, or both, these skins run with civility, even at interstate speed limits (70 mph, hereabouts). The surface area of the tread blocks, increased from Bridgestones previous Adventure A41 block area by 30%, provides versatile highway-to-trail transition. The extra contact reduces traction loss when cornering on pavement, especially on wet surfaces (compared to a traditional DOT knobby).

While many aggressive knobby tire treads line up the knobs with equally spaced circumferential voids, the Adventurecross tires stagger the knobs, assuring surface contact throughout wheel rotation. And the side knobs extend to the sides of the tread profile, offering welcome traction on the twisties.

Off road, the Adventurecross pitch length (circumferential distance between repeating pattern of knobs) appears short, affording useful traction on mud. With a 10mm tread depth, these knobs hook up readily over a wide variety of terrain.

Bridgestone AX41 ADventurecross 11 450VERTBODY

Combating front-wheel knobs’ tendency to cup, the Battlaxs front tire knob profile differs from the typical, all-knob-sides-at-the-same-angle, design. On a front knob’s leading edge, the side makes a 90-degree, or vertical, angle with the tire carcass. Upon braking, this configuration reduces shear deformation of knob trailing edges, reducing irregular wear and cupping.

The rear tire features a high-toughness compound with 30% greater rigidity and strength than that of previous Bridgestone knobbies, reducing tread wear and enhancing off-road performance. Adventurecross tire sizes exist for heavier adventure bike fitment.

With reasonably supple sidewalls, I mounted them easily enough on a KTM 690. Then it was off to the nearest national forest for an evaluation. Sixty miles of interstate later, country roads led to the Lee Ranger District, 1.8 million acres of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Here, pavement, dirt, and gravel roads, plus off-road trails of varying gnarliness, greet the adventure rider.

Negotiating the pavement, the Adventurecross tires offered no surprises and had no tendency to wash out, even in some tight curves and switchbacks. On dirt and gravel roads, these tires showed exceptional stability and control. Lines chosen were obediently followed; gravel road curves were negotiated with confidence.

Riding a rustic, root-and-rock littered lane, the Adventurecross tires hooked up with a smorgasbord of surfaces, including some water crossings. And after a night at the campsite, under a relentless but unpredicted rainfall, the opportunity for evaluating wet-weather performance arose. The tires offered excellent traction and stability over wet rocks and roots, as well as through soggy mud.

Returning home, the wet blacktop and cement highways did not threaten the Adventurecross tires excessively; these tires generally informed the rider what was happening; there was no surprise loss of traction or stability. Any skidding was met by near-instant traction recovery.

BOTTOM LINE: The Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross AX41 tires, mounted on an adventure bike, behave with civility over town and country roads. Then, when the rider wonders, “Where does that trail go?” these tires offer a chance to find out, with off-road confidence. The saying, “There ain’t no all-purpose ANYTHING,” may be valid, but, considering adventure motorcycle tires, the Battlax Adventurecross AX41s come close!

Bridgestone.com

MSRP: ~$150−$300

 

PROS:

  • Versatile and effective both on and off road
  • Quiet running
  • Front knob profile reduces braking shear deformation

CONS:

  • Slight sensitivity to direction-of-travel cracks in roadway
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