Last year, Batt released their UHP slick track tyres, catering for the track day rider looking for a tyre that offers suitable grip levels, great stability, and most importantly, longevity. The Batt UHP (Ultimate High Performance) slicks offered all of the above and have been a huge hit with track day riders across the land since their release.
I have personally tested the UHP slicks and approved them for their purpose, which was a track tyre aimed at the group B, C, and D track day rider. Decent enough grip, but the main highlight being the stability under braking and longevity – these things last forever!
While the price conscious rider loved the UHP, the faster, but still budget conscious rider wanted a bit more grip out of the UHP slicks. A softer compound, one that would still last but offer more side grip. Bruce de Kock, the motorcycle tyre genius here in SA, and the man behind Bike Tyre Warehouse, listened to the cry from faster track day riders wanting the same price, longevity, and stability the UHP hard compound slicks offered but with more grip.
The hard compound has very hard side walls, so while there is ample amounts of grip available at full lean angle on the front and back tyre, there is a bit of movement, due to the fact the side walls are very hard. Bruce then decided to do some homework and has since created a soft compound of the UHP tyre, which he gave to me to test and critique before deciding on bringing a bunch of them into SA for the track rider market.
Fitted to our then red Ducati Panigale V4, I could straight away feel the softer compound sticking to the tar with more intent compared to the harder ones. Stability was still there in abundance, a real highlight of both the hard and soft tyres, but the real gain was found whilst trail braking hard and deep into the turns, loading the front tyres side walls with massive amounts of pressure. There was a slight bit of movement, but nothing that was too off putting, and considering the amount of force I was loading it with it handled it all very well. Once off the brakes and committed in the turn I could feel the softer side walls holding onto the tar like a kid to a candy bar. While the grip was good, there was still a hint of movement, especially at full lean angle when trying to bring the bike back to the apex. A little off putting, but again, this was me throwing everything I had at the tyres, so the movement could be expected.
The rear tyre also felt more responsive and grippy, happily following my every command. At full lean angle around the long turns I could still feel that slight movement, but nowhere near as much as on the harder compound. Once up on the fat part of the tyre an abundance of grip takes over and helps leap the bike out of the turns.
Overall, I have to give both Bruce and the new soft slicks a pat on the back as they have both adapted and listened to what the end user would like more of and made it happen. For now, the new soft compound UHP slicks are not yet available in SA but hopefully will be soon. It is a big, expensive exercise for Bruce to carry out but maybe with my approval it might just happen.