New Shoes For 2008! - Pirelli Night Dragon Tires

What better place to introduce a new cruiser tire than bike week in daytona beach? that's just what pirelli was thinking with the official launch of its night dragon tire. but is it just another high-mileage touring tire? no and yes.

No, because the Night Dragon is squarely aimed at "performance V-twins": musclebikes and other high-power cruisers. It's got a softer, high-grip tread for getting extra power down on the ground and for added road-holding in the twisties. The tread pattern is optimized for dispersing rain and getting a big footprint on wet pavement, all while not following highway rain grooves.

Yes, because the Night Dragon is also like a touring tire in that the extra grip is not at the complete expense of mileage. Pirelli says riders can expect to get 6000-8000 miles per set of tires (of course that's subject to bike weight, horsepower and whether the rider exerts any restraint over his right wrist).

Pirelli chose to highlight the Night Dragon with a ride down to the Kennedy Space Center, home to the most powerful vehicles ever built. KCS is spread out over nearly 140,000 acres, and the structures for the U.S. space program are on a similarly gargantuan scale. We got to see space shuttle Endeavour sitting atop Launch Pad 39A awaiting its launch date the following week.

Though our route was short on corners (as is most of Florida), I can say the Night Dragons provide excellent road feel and very good compliance over pavement irregularities and highway reflectors. We also got doused with rain on the return trip, and the tires seemed to provide good grip in the wet and resistance to hydroplaning. I've never ridden on another tire that performed as drama-free while rolling over steel bridge grates as did these Pirellis.

Initially the tires are only available in bias-ply sizes for Harley-Davidsons, with radials and additional bias-plies available this fall. Prices for fronts start at $113 with rear tires starting at $154. -Evan Kay