Road to race: The best sportsbike tyres on the market right now

BMW S1000RR on track
BMW S1000RR on track

Before you can choose the best sportsbike tyres for you, it’s important to think about the kind of riding you do. A set of the stickiest track rubber will suit a sunny day at Cadwell Park, for example, but will be a real let down on a drizzly autumn commute.

The sportsbike you ride will also have a part to play in your decision-making process. A 47bhp A2 sportsbike has different requirements to a 120bhp middleweight or a 200bhp+ superbike – although some principles are universal.

Finally, there is an element of personal choice and subjectivity when it comes to choosing sportsbike tyres (or any tyres, in fact) – just look at the road racing grid for proof, where racers are generally split between Dunlop and Metzeler.

2023 Ducati Panigale V4R knee down on track rear

Best at a glance

So here are some of the best sportsbike tyres that we’ve used on various machinery and riding conditions and would recommend for your motorcycle.

Best sportsbike tyres

Best for serious trackday riders

Price: £369 (was £527.14) per pair
Metzeler Racetec TD (track day) Slicks are as serious as most trackday goers will need to get. They are fully slick, so not road legal, but thanks to quick warm-up times and cold tear resistance, you can get away without using tyre warmers. The rear is reversible, too, so you can get the most out of it.

Tested by Michael Neeves for one test day - Quality: 5 Value: 4

Racing slicks have immense grip, but there’s no point using them for trackdays. They’ll tear if compounds don’t match track temperature, degrade through heat cycles and need to be baking before they work properly, so you need tyre warmers, paddock stands and power.

Pressures need to be set hot, so you’ll need to constantly check them after each session, too. It’s only worth the massive faff of looking after them if you’re actually racing. So what’s the solution? These trackday slicks from Metzeler come very close to the grip and feel of a race tyre without the hassle mentioned above.

They can be used from cold, so no need for warmers – just set pressures at the start of the day and off you go. Better still, they can ‘flipped’ to spin the other way and even-out wear, too. I tried them on my race BMW S1000RR and although the electronics, suspension and geometry were set for taller profile race rubber they were only a second off my Brands Hatch Indy practice time which is pretty good in my book.


  • Reversible
  • Fast warm-up
  • No tyre warmers needed


  • Not road legal
  • Need a tyre change if it rains

Best for riding to a trackday

Price: £343 (was £490) per pair
Pirelli's flagship Supercorsa SPs are the gold standard in track tyres you can use on the road. They are sticky and plush but still operate in cooler temperatures or the rain. The dual compound design means they'll withstand a certain amount of road duties without squaring off, too.


  • Road legal
  • Work at normal temperatures


  • Won't last long compared to a less sporty option

Best for sporty road/rack use

Price: £286 (was £408.56) per pair
If you do most of your riding on the road but you would like to tackle an occasional trackday without swapping tyres, then a sporty road tyre like the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV Corsa could be the way to go. The Rosso IV Corsa - confusingly - follows on from the Italian firm's Rosso II Corsa and is a performance road tyre with enough grip for track riding.

Read our full Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV Corsa review.


  • Road legal
  • Performs in the wet and the cold


  • Not as strong on track as a dedicated tyre

Best for road riding

Price: £257 (was £367.14)
If you'll never turn a wheel in anger on. a track (or you're happy to swap tyres for the job) then the Metzeler Sportec M9 RR sportsbike tyres might suit you. Still at the sporty end of the tyre spectrum, the M9 RR is still sticky and plush compared to most OE tyres but well-suited to poor road surfaces and weather.

Read/watch our full Metzeler Sportec M9 RR review.


  • Great on the road
  • Last longer than track tyres
  • Cope with poor conditions


  • Less performance than a track tyre

Best for year-round riding

Price: £287 (was £389.17) per pair
If you use your sportsbike year-round or for commuting, a sports-touring tyre like the Metzeler Roadtec SE 01 would be a great fit. They have great wet weather performance and enough sportiness to enjoy when you get a dry spell in winter. They will also last longer than a sportier option.

Read our full Metzeler Roadtec SE 01 review.


  • Grip from cold
  • Incredible wet weather performance


  • Slightly unsettled by bumpy, fast corners

Things to keep in mind

Tyres are only as good as the care you give them so looking after your motorbike’s rubber is important. Invest in a pressure gauge to make sure you are running the correct PSI as this will help with grip and longevity. You’ll want to run lower pressures on rack due to the higher temperatures reached, too.

If you’re on a budget, it’s best to consider trying to find a previous generation of a reputable tyre than scouring the web for deals on spurious brands you’ve never heard of. Many of the previous generations of the tyres listed here can still be bought from trustworthy outlets for low prices and are still perfectly good options.

Another way to save money is to invest in some home tyre changing kit. Even if you just buy the stands you need to remove the wheels and take them to a fitter it can make the job cheaper than taking the whole bike.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.