MXA TEAM TESTED: BRIDGESTONE BATTLECROSS X31 TIRES

WHAT IS IT? The Bridgestone Battlecross X31 tires were designed to replace the X30s as Bridgestone’s latest and greatest intermediate terrain tires. 

WHAT’S IT COST? $129.87 (front), $140.14 (rear).

CONTACT? www.bridgestonemotorcycletires.com or your local dealer.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Bridgestone Battlecross X31 front and rear tires.

(1) Manufacturing. Unlike other brands, Bridgestone tires are still manufactured in Japan where they have a strong research and development team producing the latest technology in tires. Even though Bridgestone hasn’t been involved in sponsoring riders and race teams in America since early 2002, they are still developing high-quality tires. 

(2) Mounting. The Bridgestone X31 tires offer good craftsmanship. They have a firm sidewall but aren’t too stiff. Mounting the X31 tires was fairly easy. We used tire soap for mounting, which allowed the bead to seat easily without applying too much air pressure. Plus, the tires aren’t directional, so that simplified the process. 

(3) Tire pressure. Bridgestone calls for 12 psi in the X31 tires. The MXA wrecking crew ran a wide range of pressures from 11 to 14 psi, but always ended up between 12 and 13 psi, depending on the surface conditions. We were very impressed that the tires didn’t gain much air pressure when left in the sun. \

(4) Performance. The MXA wrecking crew was pleased with the performance of the Battlecross X31 Intermediate tires. We were most impressed with the front tire. It worked across the board with the fewest complaints from the team. The X31 front had a planted feel, allowing riders to brake harder and have confidence at steep lean angles. Our test riders commented that the X31 front tire created a feel that was somewhere between the Dunlop MX33 and favored MX3S fronts. The X31 rear tire had great acceleration comfort, along with a wide footprint feel on straight-line traction. It also had a consistent and comfortable feel whenever we were in true “intermediate dirt.” The consistency of the X31 made it easy to put it wherever you wanted it. The only performance complaint about the X31 rear tire was that it would spin up easily under lean-angle acceleration, most noticeably in harder conditions late in the day. When you got on the gas at the corner exit, it would lose traction if the dirt wasn’t pure intermediate terrain. 

(5) Durability. The durability of the Bridgestone X31 was excellent. The casing flex and sidewall stability were consistent throughout the tire’s life. Bridgestone’s X31 tire comes with a castle block design that has two square edges to help keep traction when the knobbies flex. As the X31 gets older, the square edge starts to wear out and become round. Uniquely, Bridgestone’s rear tire also has small cooling fins to help keep the inflation rate down by cooling the rubber.

(6) Options. Bridgestone has multiple options to match any specific terrain you will be riding, ranging from hard-pack tires to scoop tires with different size options. Battlecross X31 front tires are available in 80/100-21 and 90/100-21 sizes. The rear tire is available in four different sizes—110/100-18, 100/90-19 for 125s and 250Fs; and 110/90-19 and 120/80-19 for faster 250s, 350s and 450s.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Test riders who were hard on the throttle, especially when leaned over, felt that the X31 rear broke traction too quickly at the crack of the throttle; however, riders who carried more roll speed in the turns didn’t complain as much as the aggressive guys who tried to gain all the speed immediately.

MXA RATING: The MXA wrecking crew is a big fan of intermediate-terrain tires. The MXA test riders loved the X31 front tire and were content (but not in love) with the X31 rear.

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