Pirelli Rosso III Review

Now that I’m on my second set of these fantastic tyres, I thought I’d give you guy a good insight why I went with them again, and why you too should get yourself a set. I’m very fussy when it comes to tyres, and choosing the right tyre for the bike isn’t an easy option as there’s allot of choice out there. For me, it all boiled down to the grip to longevity ratio, and the Rosso III’s are bang on the sweet spot.

The previous Diablo Rosso II was a very capable tyre in its own right, but as time marches on, new technologies and increased performance demands make tyre designs obsolete very quickly. So if you don’t adapt, you will be left behind. The Rosso III is a step forward with an eye on riders who lean toward the sportier side of motorcycling. Riders who are looking for exceptional performance combined with high mileage and precise feel in a multitude of conditions. Rain or shine, long or short haul trips and even track days. Pirelli aims to deliver maximum performance to most motorcycle classes with the Diablo Rosso III.

Some of the main features of the design include a new carcass, which has a five-percent increase in the cap height of the tyre and a seven-percent increase to the radius. The increased ratio stiffness of the front and rear tyres has been achieved through a new progressive-belt; stiffening from the centre to the shoulder of the tyres. This has led to the Rosso III providing the rider enhanced feel in several areas: bump compliance, grip, and warm-up time have been improved, but at no cost to tyre life. In fact, the new progressive belt stiffing has in part led to more consistency throughout the tyre’s life. Pirelli claims that tyre wear, and the corresponding grip level remains constant and more predictable for the entire life of the tyre; to which I can attest as have covered over 5.5k miles on a set.

The tyre compounds, complete with 30 different ingredients including SBK silica, are blended together in a new patented mixing process. The new rear (bi-compound 40-20-40: shoulder/centre/shoulder) Rosso III, receives a wider shoulder compound, comprised of 100-percent Silica, with the central compound possessing a 70-percent silica mixture specifically designed for stability and higher mileage. Up front, a new single 100-percent Silica compound covers the entire tyre edge to edge. The combination of a new belt design and new compound mixtures has resulted in a tyre with excellent grip and consistency throughout a wide range of conditions and temperatures, as well as prolonged tyre life. Plus, this design enables the stiffness of the tyres to increase or decrease depending on the temperature of the tyre. That all sounds very impressive, but does it work?

The best way to find out how the tyre performs was to take it on track, and that’s exactly what I did. I went to a No Limits event at Donington park, which was a road bikes only event. At the begging of the day the conditions looked near enough perfect, however the afternoon was a complete washout. I suppose that works really well for this review, as I got to push the limits of the tyre both in dry and wet conditions in a safe environment.

My initial feel for the Rosso III was positive, the tyres worked well right away and considering this was a road bike only day; no tyre warmers allowed. Conditions were a bit chilly in the first 2 sessions, but the tyres got up to working temperature quickly. After only a few laps, I was getting around fairly well, and even with the low track-surface temperatures, the grip seemed very good, hooking up nicely and driving the bike forward and instilling plenty of confidence. This is a massive positive! Once I had the track layout figured out, I pushed harder and they still didn’t disappoint. Pirelli put a lot of development into stability at turn in, braking, and at high speeds, and it is an obvious success.

The tyres did a good job of keeping the rear end in line with only a little bit of deflection, even during hard corner exits. The fact that the tyres still have some give to them, made it more controllable when traction was compromised. You can sense when the rear is about to lose traction or is already spinning up. This was most noticeable at the Mc’Leans exit and coppice. I did encounter some squatting sensations on corner exits, and going through the gears on the back straight however, this is more of a characteristic of the suspension on the MT 07. Fortunately, it was not too unnerving and I just kept at it.

The front tyre turn-in was fine, providing good feel at the onset. Direction changes at speed also seemed to be reasonable with the bike transitioning back and forth easily enough; Craner Curve was just awesome to ride! I did, however, find that the bike felt as if it was running wide at mid lean angles in long sweeping corners, again something I feel is an MT07 fault rather then the tyre. The Rosso III front provides a wider and flatter contact patch at mid lean. This has the effect of making you exert more effort to finish off the transition from mid- to full-lean angle. This is the point perhaps where the front and rear tires might be a little bit out of sync during the leaning over process. With more rubber on the ground comes the need for more effort, and in the end it was not that big of a deal. Just keep pushing the bike down and it will finish the corner.

In terms of braking, the Rosso III was spot-on. You can feel the tyre giving in to the braking forces, but never losing its composure. Even while trail braking deep into the corner, the feel was very solid and responsive; negotiating bumps was never a problem either. The Rosso III’s gobbled them up with ease while keeping you planted firmly to the ground. Braking into the Melbourne loop was the most nerve racking experience I’ve ever had, as the rear wheel kept lifting but I never lost composure.

Up until this point, I had lucked out with the weather, so all I was really missing were some wet sessions. Not that I really wanted them, but sure enough it started to rain. Pirelli claims the Rosso III has outstanding wet-weather performance; the added silica and modified tread pattern combine to increase grip and handling by 30-percent in the wet. The tread pattern retains Pirelli’s same distinctive “Flash Pattern” found on the Supercorsa and Scorpion Trail II tyres. The orientation of the grooves have enhanced wet weather performance substantially. Another bold claim, but I do have to admit the tyres worked very well in the wet. Only once did I have “holly shit” moment, as I was getting a little too confident for the conditions. This did warrant a quick underwear change. The tread pattern uses the main groove to drain water at corner tip in, and the side-groove placement allows for better water drainage while leaned over. Even with better drainage characteristics, the contact patch has been increased through what Pirelli calls a “Reduced Void/Fill Ratio” (9.5-percent front/7.5-percent rear) increase over the previous Rosso II.

More rubber on the ground translates to better grip in both wet and dry conditions, and with the Diablo Rosso III there is a good connection between you and the road, whether it’s wet or dry. The Rosso III has no problem telling you what’s going on underneath you, either.

Pirelli seem to have done their homework, and in the end has produced a tyre that works well in every condition.

That’s all fine and well pushing a tyre to the limits on a track day; but what are they like to live with on a daily basis and longer trips.

On my first set, I covered over 5500 miles of all sort of ridding, which obviously include the track day mentioned before. The best trip to reflect everyday use of the tyre, would be my trip to the Isle of Man TT. I covered a staggering 1300 in just one week of a multitude of roads. My trip started with a motorway blast up to the ferry port. The Rosso III definitely wasn’t designed to do long motorway stints at high speeds, and I got some tearing at the edges, where the soft compound meets the harder one. They were also noticeably square after this 180-mile blast that I cover in less than 2 hours; naughty I know! This squaring soon vanished however as I hit some twisties.

If you have never been to the isle of man you wouldn’t know how terrible and bumpy the roads there are, but again the Rosso III’s took it all with ease never giving me a “holly shit” moment. Overall I was very impressed how the tyre performed on the trip.

I use my bike on a daily basis to commute to work on. I ride in all sort of conditions, and the Rosso III gives be great confidence both, in the wet and dry, no matter if its hot outside or cold as the artic. I would not even think twice about swapping to a different tyre right now, and will be definitely fitting a 3rd set once these have passed their best. Here’s to another grippy 5000 something miles!

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