I suggest you have a long look at the BT-020. It works very well in the rain, wears slowly. In fact, my rear tire lasted 23,000 km. At one point they were a bit squared off because of highway usage, but 3 weeks of twist and turns during a holiday later they were nicely rounded again. I believe it is a dual compound tire, with softer rubber on the sides. I have used the tire to the edge, and never felt I needed more grip.
I have seen a tire-test featuring a VFR800i and all the major tire brands (I think it was in MCN), and the BT-020 was the big winner of the test.
The best street tires I ever had, on both my VFR800 & SV650, were the Bridgestone BT56SSs. Alas, they are no longer available. What ever happened to, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? That being the case, I vote for the Bridgestone BT010 front & BT020 rear combo. I've done 010s front & rear and they worked great. I prefer the 010 front over the 020 front. The 020 doesn't do anything wrong, but the 010 feels more precise and is much more confidence inspiring. I didn't notice much of a mileage gain with the rear 020, but on my Triumph Speed Triple, the 020 was much more stable than the 010 it came with. The 010 rear made the bike wiggle when cranked over. The 020 rear completely eliminated this tendancy. The only reason I can figure is that the casing is stiffer, but that's just a guess. In any event, the 020 rear made the S3 fell much less twitchy. If I were you, I'd go either 010s front & rear, or the 010 front, 020 rear set-up. Either way, I think you'll be more than satisfied. Hope this helps. Cheers, Jack
I was leaning towards the Pilot Sport at one point. The wear well for a sport tyre and grip well in the dry once they have been scrubbed. The turning point for me was when I went out for a ride with a couple of friends on a very wet day. One was on a 998 with the pilots and the other on a 955 with Bt010. It quickly became obvious that the Bt010 was the better of the two tyres for the wet.
The guy on the 998 had his confidence shot that day in the rain. We did almost 400km and he felt both tyres slide at least 6 times and one of the two go dozens of times. The guy on the 955 only had grip problems with the rear when applying (too much) power. The guy who rode the 998 is a much more confident rider than the 955 rider in normal circumstances.
The BT010 does have a wear problem though. Being a soft tyre, it doesn't last much more than 7000km. The BT020 rears that others in the club run get easily over 12000km, a couple of those are 2 up.
I'd say for the best combination of grip and wear, for a fairly eager rider, a BT010 front and a BT020 rear would be the go in my experience.
I switched from the OEM Dunlop 204s at the end of their reasonable life (11,000 KM). I just mounted Sportec M1s. I can't tell you how long they will last, but I can tell you that they stick far better than the 204s, in fact, they are the best grip I have ever experienced out of a tire. I have far more confidence in these tires than I have had on any other. They have improved the handling on my 1998 VFR.
There is a very wide selection of tires that work well on the VFR. I personally tried the following:
1. Dunlop D204 (OEM) - decent tire, 5400 miles
2. Dunlop D207 - Better grip than the D204, traction fell off during the last 1/3 of the tire's life - 8200 miles
3. Dunlop D205 - Long milage tires, grip less than the D207 - 11200 miles
4. Bridgestone BT010F/BT020R - Best balance of grip, mileage and cost, three sets used so far, 5000-9000 miles
5. Bridgestone BT56SS - Extremely good dry grip and handling, sucks they discontinued the model - 7200 miles
6. Bridgestone BT012SS - Similar characteristics to the BT56SS with less tread, good two-up trackday tire - 4000 miles and still going.
The BT020 seems to be a very good tire for either a heavier bike or one that has less than 120HP at the rear wheel. On one of longer trips, a fellow rider put a set of these on his R1. They performed brilliantly over the 3000 mile mountain ride. As long as he was smooth with the throttle, everything was fine. He could spin this tire at will out of the corners, making for some entertaining riding.
All in all, the final choice is made with what feels comfortable to you and what your wallet will allow.
One of My Diablos got a Nail, and I replaced it with a D208; give Me the Diablos back! Much better Tire. I am going to replace both the older Front Diablo, and the Newer D208, with Diablo Corses. Much more Stable Tire, with better Grip. The D208's turn-in a little better though...