Recently I installed a set of Pirelli Night Dragon tires on my Dyna. I heard mixed reviews from the local “Bike Night” guys but wanted to try them out myself. Being that I ride around 40,000 miles a year, I am always looking to find a tire that suits my riding style. My style is pretty aggressive. I would say that the tires fit the bill.
The rear tire started it’s life on my bike just as all the previous tires I’ve ran: clutch dumped at 5,000 RPM to do a little rolling burnout on the slick new tire. When I did my ritual on this tire, I was shocked that the bike spun only 8 feet or so, and then the front end lifted. Needless to say I was smiling at the new found traction. After this, I rode around getting the front tire scuffed in and then headed to some highway entry ramps. Why did I do that? Because that is the only place to find good floorboard dragging curves in Dallas. The tires gave good feedback and I felt confident on them, especially considering this was only about 3,500 miles since I wrecked on a sharp curve.
A few days later I went on a cross country adventure from Dallas, TX to Sandusky, OH for Ohio Bike Week. I did about 800 miles of rain on that trip and the tires did pretty well. They didn’t give me a single pucker moment, which is always a plus. Good wet-weather grip on acceleration and braking was a welcome benefit after the previous high-mileage tire I ran left a lot to be desired in the rain. Once I got to Ohio the sun was out and the tires performed great (easy wheelies).
I left Ohio and traveled to Atlanta to see friends and family on my trek home. More rain was in my future, but I was good with that, based on the grip that the tires had previously shown. When I reached Atlanta, the tires had around 2,300 miles on them and were showing minimal signs of wear. With the streets being dry, and knowing many fun roads in my home state, I hit every twisty route I could. This is where the Night Dragons really shined. They handled switchbacks and hairpins almost like a sport bike tire. I did some city riding before hitting the highway, and the tires never grabbed grooves in the road or gave any other negative characteristics. The 850 mile ride back to Dallas was wet, but pretty uneventful.
The next two weeks would really test the tires. Commuting 70 miles or so a day, plus riding at night, added the miles during the week. Then I headed to Austin, TX for the R.O.T. Rally. I worked the rally, getting tons of good video footage, but on my most important interview there was a glitch in the sound. I found this out once I was back in Dallas.
With it being 190 miles each way, plus the miles ridden at the rally, I had thrown another 500 miles on the tires. Well now I had to go back to Austin to get that interview, so that made it almost another 500 miles on the tread. I got the interview wrapped up and went back to Dallas. A few days later I got the call that a near and dear friend had passed, so I was off to Atlanta. This was a dry highway run up until the Mississippi border where the skies turned dark and winds came out of nowhere. After being blown around the road like a grocery bag in a tornado, I decided to wait the storm out at a truck stop. I was on my way to a funeral; I didn’t need to cause another. Once the wind died down, I was back on the road. The streets were soaked, yet the tires gripped fine. Fortunately, I only got wet for about 80 more miles and had a nice ride the rest of the way. The next morning, I led a parade of motorcycles for the funeral. I spent some time with friends and then headed back to Dallas.
I ended up riding 6,300 miles in 18 days. The rear tire was showing wear at this point. At 8,038 I changed the rear for another Night Dragon. I commuted every day on the bike until my trip to Sturgis, where I got to really use the grip of the tires. I rode through Colorado Mountains for a day and a half, and the tires were as good as you can ask for.
Today, the front tire has 13,357 miles and is ready to be replaced. It would probably have made it another 3-4,000 miles if not for the extreme use in the mountains, but what good is a grippy tire if you’re going to ride easy. That tire lived a grueling 85 days.
I know most tire reviews do not give the story of the ride, and focus more just on the tire, but I wanted to show that the tires were really tested in many conditions and on many types of roads.
In summary, the Night Dragon is an excellent choice for the aggressive rider that will sacrifice mileage for performance. They are perfect for the Dyna and Sportster crowd. This is not the tire for you if you are all about touring. While yes, I did tour on the tires, they did not provide the mileage of a touring tire.
This is how I rate the Night Dragons:
Wet Weather Performance = 4/5
Dry Weather Performance = 5/5
Mileage = 3/5
Value = 5/5