What better way to start the year with a new (to me!) bike and a new and improved commute with plenty of twisties?? To be honest it doesn’t get much better! Just like the rest of our motorcycle team, I am a serious 2 wheel addict and I can honestly say if it’s got an engine and 2 wheels, I’ll ride it – which can sometimes be seen in my rather eclectic taste in motorbikes!
I’ve always had a soft spot for bikes from the mid to late nineties, so when the chance to acquire an old Honda Firestorm came, I couldn’t resist! The only dilemma was what tyres to purchase for a summer of fun?! Choosing tyres for your bike can be a bit of a minefield, but the truth is – none of the major manufacturers make a bad tyre, it’s just a case of picking the correct tyre for your bike and the type of riding you do (other factors do play a part, such as budget and personal favourites etc). With this in mind – one new tyre for 2021 came to mind – the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV
It has been nearly 20 years since the original Pirelli Diablo Rosso was introduced to the 2-wheel world in 2002 and it has evolved over the years with the Rosso II and more recently the Rosso III, but now there is a new kid on the block! The Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV is now here and represents the fourth generation of the iconic Diablo Rosso family!
The Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV is designed for owners of super sport, hyper-naked or crossover bikes that have a more dynamic riding style and prefer a sporty tyre for the road! Their demand for high levels of grip on different types of tarmac and in wet or dry conditions, great feedback and handling demands a tyre that lets them make the most of their bikes performance – and the Rosso IV delivers this by the bucket load!
Position In The Pirelli Range
The Diablo Rosso IV is part of Pirelli’s high-performance tyre range as a super sports product with a balanced behaviour between sporty road performance combined with good mileage and excellent wet performance.
Compared to the Diablo Supercorsa SP, which has been designed to be used mainly on the track in dry conditions, Rosso IV has a predominant road nature with particular attention to mileage and wet behaviour.
Also compared to the Diablo Rosso Corsa II – another tyre within Pirelli’s racing/street portfolio, designed for balanced use between road and track, Diablo Rosso IV gives greater mileage and better wet performance.
Both tyres are a bi-compound construction – the front tyre is divided into three areas using the 2 compounds. The central band of the tyre uses a high silica content and occupies around 50% of the tyres section width, with the softer compound on the outer edges. This design means that the same compound is present in the contact patch used up 35 degrees of lean angle to avoid any uneven feeling when tipping in further or uneven wear.
For the rear tyre, two separate constructions are used, depending on the size of the tyre. Rear tyre sizes up to 190/50 ZR 17 are a bi-compound construction using a cap and base scheme – the harder of the 2 compounds is used at the base (which lies between the tread and the carcass) and also in the central tread section and is a full silica compound to ensure a constant temperature throughout the tyre and ensures quick warm up and good mileage. The softer side compounds have been developed to also offer quick warm up and track tyre levels of grip.
Rear tyres with a size of 190/55 ZR 17 and bigger are manufactured as a tri-compound tyre, with the three compounds being split across five areas of the tyre. A harder central high silica compound ensures a quick warm up and provides high speed stability, uniform wear, and mileage. An intermediate compound is used on the sides of the central compound to cover intermediate lean angles (full silica formulation) and provides excellent grip on both dry and wet surfaces. The shoulder compound is 100% Carbon Black and is directly derived from the Diablo Supercorsa SC used in endurance racing. This compound offers stability and support at full lean and maximum traction under acceleration and torque generated by the latest generation of superbikes.
Pirelli exploits all the know-how acquired from Superbike racing and applies the technology to its super sport road tyres… The Diablo Rosso IV’s profiles are therefore race-derived and have a multi-radius design to improve handling. The central area has a sharper profile to give immediate lean and rapid changes of direction. As lean angles increase, the tyre curvature reduces to increase the contact patch when cornering.
The Tread Design
The tread of the Diablo Rosso IV features the iconic “flash” pattern and leaves room for a more “slick” shoulder for sportier performance. The flash design is used for the central grooves on both front and rear tyres and their orientation follows wear waves to promote uniform wear. Compared to its predecessor, the front tread design has been optimised to reduce the void/fill ratio by approximately 30% to give a more “slick” tyre over 35 degrees of lean angle. The opposite has been done on the rear, with the void/fill ratio being reduced in the central area to offer better wear and greater stability at speed.
First Impressions & Riding On The Diablo Rosso IV
The first impressions were good! Before I’d even ridden on the tyres, they just looked right! The unmistakable tread pattern made the tyres look a lot more modern and more like a track tyre compared to its predecessor the Diablo Rosso III.
Now I’m not saying that my commute to work is the ultimate test route, but it does have a good selection of everything to throw at any bike or tyre…. A good mixture of straights, long sweeping corners, blind bends and crests with a mixture of old/new tarmac, shell-grip and plenty of road repairs and over-banding. Throw in a daily liberal dusting of farmers freshly cut grass, fresh tractor mud tracks or cow muck – it can resemble an assault course some days!
My first ride home on the new tyres was wet, so there were no heroics! Immediately I could feel the sportier nature of the Rosso IV. The front tyre felt light, nimble and ready to drop into corners or to change direction as soon as you asked it to, but not at the expense of taking any confidence away from you (unlike old sports tyres of old that were shaped more like Dairy Lea triangles), it feels very neutral, but sporty when you want it. The rear tyre echoed the neutral feeling of the front and felt planted everywhere, even in the damp conditions…
Fast forward a month or so and some dry rides and the Diablo Rosso IV’s never fail to impress and put a grin on your face! Surprisingly for such a sporty tyre, they seem to soak up the bumps and any imperfections in the road surface very well – some sports tyres can feel a little firm and very track focussed, but riding on the Diablo’s is smooth with no vibrations or harshness.
They are a very confidence inspiring tyre, almost comforting in a way – warming up quickly and once warm, all you look forward to is the next bend! I mentioned earlier how neutral the tyres felt and the more I ride on them, the more I love that feeling. They are happy to drop into any corner as quickly as you want, but only with your input. Other tyres I have ridden on seem to want to drop further into the corner or pick themselves up if you roll off the throttle, but the Rosso IV’s seem happy at any angle of lean and once you are in the corner, they feel planted and eager for more – the front tyre always goes where you ask it and the rear never complains or feels anything other than planted, never complaining about the torque from a 1000cc twin.
I honestly feel that the Diablo Rosso IV has hit the nail on the head! The perfect tyre for a sports bike on UK roads. Wet or dry commuting, weekend blasts, occasional track days (watch this space!) it takes it all in its stride!