I drew the lucky straw when RoadBike received an invitation to Asheville, North Carolina, last fall to test a fleet of Triumph sport tourers mounted with Pirelli’s brand-new Angel ST tires. I was treated to two days of my favorite terrain: twisty, mountainous back roads. Too bad some of the wimpy West Coast journalists were opposed to riding in the rain, putting an early end to our second day. We’d only put a total of about 120 miles on the tires, which, to me, doesn’t seem like a very fair test. So I had a pair of what Pirelli calls Extended Mileage Sport (EMS) tires sent to Connecticut to mount on my Bandit. Braving the winter’s mess of sand, slush, and gravel on the Angels provided fantastic results.
Though the Angels utilize a patented zero-degree steel belt design, it’s the new compound with high silica content and various resins along with the profile design that keep an ideal contact patch on the ground, no matter what the lean angle. The tread design is highly functional, whether you decide to ride aggressively or conservatively. The variable grooves are longitudinal, becoming deeper toward the outside, and are formed in a way that disperses water effectively out to the sides of both tires. Oh, and these grooves happen to look like a demon’s tail. You’ll also notice an angelic etching, which, thankfully, wears off after about 700 miles or so. The dual soul, angel/demon connection may be the marketing shtick that Pirelli is famous for, but, hey, no one needs to sell his soul to convince me that these are great skins.
Even at extreme lean angles in various conditions, I felt stable and connected with the road. In fact, the few times I lost traction, the rubber gripped almost immediately, before I could react. Luckily, there’s still plenty of soul left in my Angels.
By Tricia Szulewski
Hard Data: Pirelli Angel ST $173 (front); $212-$247 (rear) www.PirelliTyre.com