Honda CBR900RR (93-97)

a.k.a. Fireblade

(updated September 99)

Rim Stock Size Possible Alternate Original Tyre
Front 3.50 x 16 130/70ZR16
Rear 5.50 x 17 180/55ZR17 190/50ZR17

Manufacturers' Recommendations

Manufacturer Front size Rear size
Avon AV39 Azaro Sport 130/70ZR16 AV40 Azaro Sport 180/55ZR17
AV27 130/70ZR16 AV36 Azaro 180/55ZR17
Bridgestone BT56 130/70ZR16 BT56G 180/55ZR17
BT56SS 130/70ZR16 BT56G 180/55ZR17
Dunlop Sportmax II ZR 130/70ZR16 Sportmax II ZR 180/55ZR17
Sportmax ZR 130/70ZR16 Sportmax ZR 180/55ZR17
Metzeler ME Z1 130/70ZR16 ME Z1 180/55ZR17
ME Z1 130/70ZR16 ME Z2 180/55ZR17
ME Z1 130/70ZR16 ME Z1 190/50ZR17
ME Z1 Racing 130/70ZR16 ME Z1 Racing 190/50ZR17
ME Z1  Racing 130/70ZR16 ME Z1 Racing 180/55ZR17
Michelin Macadam 90X 130/70ZR16 Macadam 90X 180/55ZR17
TX15 130/70ZR16 TX25 180/55ZR17
Pirelli MTR 01 Corsa 130/70ZR16 MTR 02 Corsa 190/50ZR17
MTR 01 Corsa 130/70ZR16 MTR 02 Corsa 180/55ZR17
MTR 01 130/70ZR16 MTR 02 180/55ZR17
MTR 01 130/70ZR16 MTR 02 190/50ZR17

Martyn's Opinion

General Comments

The CBR900RR is pretty much unique among modern open-class sportbikes in that it uses a 16" front wheel.  While there's no question that the big CBR is one of the finest handling machines on the road, a bad choice of tyres can lead to front end instability.  It's important, therefore, to think carefully about your choice on this motorcycle.  The choice is made easier, however, in that the front size of 130/70R16 is used pretty much exclusively on this motorcycle -- the manufacturers only make a tyre of that size in their very best sporting lines.

The Safe Bet

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Dunlop D207 Sportmax 130/70ZR16 $107
Rear Dunlop D207 Sportmax 180/55ZR17 $142

While I personally do not like the progressive falling-in non-linear profile of the Dunlop sport radials, they are undoubtedly the conservative choice.  Dunlops are almost invariably the favourite tyre of riders who've never tried anything else comparable, and as such are the popular favourite of dealerships, mailing lists, and squid hang-outs.

They are good tyres.  They'll stick well enough in the wet and dry, last reasonably well, are not too expensive, and are generally readily available.  If you rarely push the bike to extreme lean angles and cornering force, they're fine -- they don't inspire confidence in hard cornering, but they are definitely up to the job.   If you want to go with the majority, this is the safe bet.

A Tight Budget

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Michelin Macadam 90X  130/70ZR16 $87
Rear Michelin Macadam 90X 180/55ZR17 $122

The cheapest set of tyres available for this bike is the Michelin Macadam 90X.  It's a good all-round tyre, and while not as sporting as most of the other pairs, it will work well enough and last well enough to be a very good economical choice.

General Purpose, Touring

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Bridgestone BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 130/70ZR16 $107
Rear Bridgestone BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 180/55ZR17 $142

Here you want something that lasts well and handles some load.  I somehow doubt that many of the CBR900RR's on the road are being used for touring, but I certainly have done touring on a sportbike, and I'm sure there are other folks out there who do.

The basic key is to avoid the ultra-soft tyres, and pick ones that don't square off too rapidly.  Also it helps to have a set that encourages highway stability.  At the same time, it would not be safe to put on a rear that can't handle the power delivery -- that would leave out the Avon ST23 rear, and possibly the ME-Z2.

There aren't very many long-lasting tyres in the list.  I personally would probably try the Avon AV27/Azaro AV36 pair, because I really like the way they handle and the AV27 has superb highway stability.  The reason I haven't picked it here is because I'm concerned about how long the rear would last on pure highway work.

The real winner, though, is from Bridgestone.  Their BT56 and BT56SS are some of the best tyres they make -- particularly the latter -- and for such a sticky tyre last surprisingly long.  Their price is lower than the Dunlops, and combining that with the durability makes for very good value.  Here I've picked the BT56SS over the BT56, mostly because it's a significantly better tyre.


Brand Model Size MAW
Front Avon AV27 130/70ZR16 $142
Rear Avon Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143

The fine AV27/Azaro AV36 combination is in my mind the best selection for sport-touring use.  The Variable Belt Density construction of the Azaro rear spreads the contact patch and resists squaring-off, while the AV27 has superb highway stability with a good rounded profile off vertical.  The AV27 has good traction, and much more even wear characteristics than the AV35 Azaro front.  The Azaro rear grabs hard under power, and gives confidence in rolling on hard out of the corners.  This is a good all-around set for a big sportbike like the CBR900RR.


Brand Model Size MAW
(see comments)

This selection is wide open.  I'd choose between the Avon AV27/Azaro AV36; the Dunlop D207 Sportmax, the Metzeler ME-Z3, and the Michelin Hi-Sport TX15/25.  Which you pick is up to you -- all provide excellent traction, in wet or dry, and all are fully capable of being ridden hard on this bike.

The Dunlops I've discussed under Safe Bet; the Avons under Sport-Touring.  The Metzeler ME-Z3 is their replacement for the excellent ME-Z1 -- better traction in wet and dry, better treadwear, and an absolutely neutral profile make it a superb tyre;  many riders love a perfectly neutral profile, but I prefer a rear that takes more of a "set" in the corner.  The Michelin Hi-Sport TX15/25 are another good sporting tyre, but in my book the price -- more expensive even than the Metzelers -- outweighs any advantages on the street; also they are one of the sets that can exacerbate front-end instability.

So this one's up to you to decide what you want from your tyres.  Better still, since you'll be replacing them fairly frequently, try a set of each in turn and find out what suits your riding style best.

Martyn's Choice

Brand Model Size MAW
Front Avon AV27 130/70ZR16 $142
Rear Avon Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143

This is a really hard choice.  It's actually hard to go wrong with most of the matched pairs: the exceptions would be an Avon ST23 or Metzeler ME-Z2 rear, as I don't think they would cope as well with the power delivery of this bike; and the D204 Sportmax II, which bring out the tendency to front end wiggle, and get greasy with heat.

What it really comes down to is a personal preference in terms of feel, profile, construction, and so on.  None of the good choices lack grip, and with the exception of the outrageously expensive Michelin Hi-Sports they are all around the same price.

My personal choice would be the Avons.  I'm not fond of the Dunlops, the Metzelers are too neutral for my tastes, and the Michelin Hi-Sport is just way too expensive.

The Full List

(from MAW and manufacturer web pages)

Exact matched pairs

Brand Front size MAW Rear size MAW
Avon AV27 130/70ZR16 $142 Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143
Bridgestone BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 130/70ZR16 BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 180/55ZR17
BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 130/70ZR16 $94 BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 180/55ZR17 $124
Dunlop D204 Sportmax II ZR 130/70ZR16 $84 D204 Sportmax II ZR 180/55ZR17
D207 Sportmax 130/70ZR16 $107 D207 Sportmax 180/55ZR17 $142
Metzeler ME-Z1 130/70ZR16 $101 ME-Z1 180/55ZR17 $140
ME-Z1 130/70ZR16 $101 ME-Z2 180/55ZR17 $132
ME-Z3 130/70ZR16 $118 ME-Z3 180/55ZR17 $154
Michelin Hi-Sport TX15 130/70ZR16 $152 Hi-Sport TX25 180/55ZR17 $197
Macadam 90X 130/70ZR16 $87 Macadam 90X 180/55ZR17 $122
Pirelli Dragon MTR01 130/70ZR16 $114 Dragon MTR02 180/55ZR17 $153

Listing by Manufacturer


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
AV27 130/70ZR16 $142 exact Azaro AV36 180/55ZR17 $143 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
BT50 Sports Perform. 180/55ZR17 $144 exact
BT54 Sports Touring 180/55ZR17 $137 exact
BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 130/70ZR16 exact BT56 Ultra Sports Perf 180/55ZR17 exact
BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 130/70ZR16 $94 exact BT56SS Extreme Sp/Perf 180/55ZR17 $124 exact
BT57 Sports Perform. 180/55ZR17 $137 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Sport 2000 180/55V-17 $122 exact
Sport 2000 Radial 180/55ZR17 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
D204 Sportmax II ZR 130/70ZR16 $84 exact D204 Sportmax II ZR 180/55ZR17 exact
D205 Sport/Touring 180/55ZR17 $112 exact
D207 Sportmax 130/70ZR16 $107 exact D207 Sportmax 180/55ZR17 $142 exact
K510 170/60VR17 $118 soft


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
ME-Z1 130/70ZR16 $101 exact ME-Z1 180/55ZR17 $140 exact
ME-Z2 180/55ZR17 $132 exact
ME-Z3 130/70ZR16  $118 exact ME-Z3 180/55ZR17 $154 exact
ME-Z4 180/55ZR17 $137 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Hi-Sport TX15 130/70ZR16 $152 exact Hi-Sport TX25 180/55ZR17 $197 exact
Macadam 90X 130/70ZR16 $87 exact Macadam 90X 180/55ZR17 $122 exact


Front size MAW match Rear size MAW match
Dragon GT MTR04 180/55ZR17 $138 exact
Dragon GTS MTR24 180/55ZR17 $136 exact
Dragon MTR01 130/70ZR16 $114 exact Dragon MTR02 180/55ZR17 $153 exact


Exact Precisely matches original spec
Excellent Precisely matches a recommended alternate
Good An exact or alternate in a different sizing system
Short Exact or excellent width, lower profile.  Consider these both ends to lower the bike
Soft Similar diameter by using a taller profile and narrower width; used on the rear only
Tall Taller profile, stock width; similar in effect to "soft", but for the front only
Wide Same profile, wider tyre.  This MAY NOT FIT your rim.  BE CAREFUL!!!