World Press Intro - Pirelli launches new Diablo Rosso & Bikeland's along for the ride

I've been invited to Santa Paula, a secluded Wild West town just north of Los Angeles, to sample the evolution of Pirelli's Diablo lineage. Pirelli has gathered a group of riders all eager to experience the next generation of street Sportbike tire technology - the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso.

We're presented with a Rolodex of bikes to choose from and I grab a 2007 CBR1000RR - after a short night's sleep we suit up and leave for a 137 mile rip through the hills. The winding twisty canyon roads are scattered with football-sized pine cones, rocks, gravel, two large hyena type dogs, but luckily no police.

The next part of this review is pure fiction and is in no way an account of what may or may not have taken place in reality...

*begin fiction*

Lofting the front wheel in the air, the RR wheelies down the street - the bike, in sync with the new tires, hooks up perfectly.

The weather is fantastic, the temperature in the mid 80's and the riders experienced. As our group begins to get into a groove, speeds pick up and the pack divides itself. Being a relatively fast, but not insanely fast street rider I find myself at the back of the "fast 4" in the lead.

Dodging rocks in the road, I concentrate in an effort to keep up - glancing down at the speedo nets sustained triple digit license erasing readouts.

All is well.

I latch on to the Triumph 675 in front of me and stay one apex behind it, carving in and out of the corners and into the bright-dark-bright-dark of the contrasty California sunshine.

As the new tires heat up, they begin to break in and quickly build confidence.

After a mere 60 miles I forget that I'm on a brand new bike with fresh rubber. I forget about the fact that this fine piece of machinery doesn't belong to me... Through some tight left-handers my knee drags the ground and I think to myself... this is far too easy. The combination of the big Honda and the perfectly balanced and predictable Pirelli's has me driving this bike like I stole it - I smile.

The 1000RR is a blissfully easy bike to ride and the Rossos make it even easier.

Our own private Cannonball run flies past one-horse town after another ... Double yellow, single yellow - it just doesn't matter. We rocket through the straights at over 140mph and I catch myself wondering just how fast the racetrack will be if we're cooking like this on the open road? Entering the Interstate I have to convince myself that this is okay... Since this is pure fiction - only a dream - I would never consider breaking a buck twenty on the Superslab - but in this imaginary haze of a daydream it's happening. Nobody would believe me if I told them.

*pause fiction*

Pirelli is an enthusiast driven company. Taking a look around at the people hosting this event it's easy to see that the passion of motorcycling flows through the roots of everyone who's there. They all ride and the passion they have about their product, about its development and about the Sport is genuine.

The Diablo Rosso replaces the Diablo tire line which was introduced in 2002. Spare non-standard Sportbike fitment tire sizes, the Rosso is Pirelli's new crown jewel for the street, and it represents five years of development marked by engineers working to keep up with big bore Sportbike and Hyperbike technology.

Ron Bowen, Brand Manager for Pirelli Tire North America, told Bikeland that factors such as increases in horsepower, torque and changes in weight and geometry meant that the Diablo tire line needed to be replaced. Pirelli also saw a need to support the evolution of the naked bike market, a market that has grown worldwide with the introduction of models such as the Kawasaki Z1000. As the OEMs push street ready performance to higher levels, the tire companies need to keep pace.

The Diablo Rosso features elements from other successful Pirelli tires, including a naked edge and a tread pattern derived from the Diablo Supersport and the Diablo family. The new Diablo Rosso has better wet grip performance and excels above the old Diablo in grip, handling and stability.

Diablo (blue) vs Diablo Rosso (red)

*start fiction*

I snap out of it and give my head a shake.

*end fiction*

The dream? It's over and suddenly I'm at the Streets of Willow - damn good thing none of the above had ever taken place or I'd probably be in jail! I've got to stop having dreams like that!

The Diablo Rossos shows little wear after our short, slow, controlled road trip. Nicely broken in, they're ready for some time on the track. The Rosso is a tire primarily designed for street use, but Pirelli's Ron Bowen told Bikeland that they wanted us to try the tire on the track so that we could see just how far their newest street tire could be pushed.

My first impression of Willow Springs is that it's a small, tight and bumpy track. Mostly right handers, there are lots of corners where pylons redirect you from one part of the track to another. I find this entertaining, but distracting at the same time. The Honda and the tires are performing flawlessly, but me? My limited track experience and the occasional humiliating warp speed pass by Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp aren't helping any.

With plenty of tire left, exhausted, I sit out the last session so I can grab some interviews and call it a day.

I've always had a positive experience with Pirelli's tires. I'm comfortable with them. I trust them. I buy them with my own money. The new Diablo Rosso is sticky enough to be pushed to the limit on the street, perform and give confidence and feedback. It can handle the likes of a pro like Kawasaki's Steve Rapp, and even keep Joe Average like me up on two wheels - in the Canyons and on the track.

The new Diablo Rosso should hit the store shelves this December, carrying an MSRP that is only slightly higher than its predecessor. The Rosso is available in all modern standard Sportbike sizes.


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