Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross AX41 Tires Product Review
Choosing tires for a big adventure-touring machine is always a compromise, especially if you do a fair amount off-road riding. Of course, the best solution would be to have an extra set of wheels, one mounted with 80-20 on/off and one with the most aggressive set of knobbies you can find—that are DOT legal, of course.
However, most of us don’t want that hassle; instead, we shop and study and study and shop until we think we’ve found the perfect tire. Enter the new Bridgestone Adventurecross AX41. The company’s marketing brochure says that this 40-60 on/off tire “offers improved off-road traction from a new pattern design, compound, and high cross-sectional area.” Furthermore, they claim that this tire will have improved durability due to “block wall angle optimization” and improved performance on-road thanks to the “anti-irregular wear block design by reducing block deformation.” Specifically, the front tire should not cup-out nearly as quickly as many aggressive ADV tires do.
Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross AX41 Stand-Out Feature:
Aggressive 40-60 on/off DOT-approved knobbies with excellent on-road manners
Rider Analysis of the Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross AX41:
When it comes to off-road riding, whether it’s enduro or adventure bikes, we start with mounting new tires by hand. Why? Because when you ride off-road, you’re going to experience flat-tire repair sooner or later. Yes, these tires are tubeless and you could stick a plug in it and hope it holds, but if it doesn’t, you’ve got to fix it. We carry a front tube the same size as our front wheel because that tube can be mounted in either the front or rear in an emergency tire-repair situation. We found the AX41s fairly easy to mount. The sidewalls are stiff but not so stiff that they’re impossible to mount or remove by hand.
With the new knobs mounted, we were super excited to go try them. Our first impression as we made our way to the closest forest service road was how well these 40-60 on/off tires perform in the twisties. Remembering that we were on new, cold knobby tires, we checked our speed and continued on to the dirt. Entering the forest on a loose, freshly graded gravel section of road, we leaned back and kept the throttle steady. We quickly learned that our new shoes were gripping nicely.
As the surface changed to dirt and mud, our speed and confidence increased. The rear tire hooks up as good as, if not better than, any of the DOT knobbies we’ve ridden before, but what’s more impressive is the confidence that the front tire inspires as you enter the turns. It tracks exactly where you tell it to and holds the line with ease. When hard braking is applied, the front tire shows its true capability. With ABS switched off and traction control set to minimum, the tires comply with your demands while holding traction even on terrain where you’re expecting them to slide. Steering with the rear in or out of turns is predictable while the front continues to hold even in muddy turns.
The off-road stopping control that the AX41 front offers is truly exceptional. We had to pound the front brake to get even a hint of traction loss. Back on the twisty tarmac after several hours of hard off-road riding, it was time to push the 40 percent on-road limits of the AX41s. As advertised, the on-road performance was quite good. We kept telling ourselves “you’re on knobbies, you’re on knobbies,” but the speeds kept increasing and the smiles kept getting bigger. Even in wet corners these tires are very grippy, but you still need to remember that you’re on knobbies. The noise, while there for sure, is minimal compared to the other aggressive ADV tires. Overall, we’re very impressed with the initial performance of the AX41s both on- and off-road. We’ll follow up with a long-term test after eight thousand miles—or less. Fingers crossed.CN