Pirelli Angel CiTy tire review

My set of Michelin Pilot Streets have done some 17,000km’s, including the horrible roads during my SE Asia tour. The ultra uneven Asian road surfaces that I’ve travelled on has taken it’s toll on these excellent tires. In fact, when I was in Penang, a fellow biker pointed out to me the unusual wear on the rear wheel (I was in a Givi store then and showing him my Pulsar 200NS). While on the centre stand and as the rear wheel spins, the outer circumference of the tire actually “shimmies”. (I later learnt that it’s probably “scalloping” or “cupping” – perfectly normal tire wear pattern.)

My (ab)used Michelin Pilot Street tires that's taken me through the various roads of rural Asia.
My (ab)used Michelin Pilot Street tires that’s taken me through the various roads of rural Asia.

Anyway, it was time for new tires, and Unique Motorsports was running a promotion on the Pirelli Angel CiTy. A set of 110/70R17 front and 140/70/R17 rear went for SGD155. The Pirelli Angel CiTy or Angel CT was designed by Pirelli specifically for the Asian “small bikes” market – targeting at bikes around the 150-300cc range – who wants to upgrade from the OEM tires. The thread pattern and tire design was inspired by and derived from the Pirelli Angel GT, renown for it’s touring capabilities. But the Angel GT’s were built for bigger bikes. The Angel CT was also specifically designed for the “Asian roads” – being able to take the abuses of the various uneven roads that rural Asia has to offer. Pirelli promises a robust carcass design, high durability on any kind of road, and extended mileage on the Angel CT. Think of the Pirelli Angel CT as a set of touring tires for the smaller (up to 300cc) bikes – perfect for my Pulsar 200NS!

Brand new set of Pirelli Angel CT waiting to install onto my Pulsar 200NS.
Brand new set of Pirelli Angel CT waiting to install onto my Pulsar 200NS.

Since installing the new set of tires, I’ve ran it for over 1,000km, including the recent run to Kuala Lumpur, through the rural mountainous roads leading up to Bukit Tinggi, the climb up to Genting Highlands, and of course sprinting on fantastic stretches of the excellent Malaysian North-South Highway (NSHW). I have also done a very similar trip to Cameron Highlands, Ipoh, Malacca and on the NSHW on my previous set of Michelin Pilot Street just a week earlier, so the feel of the Michelin was still fresh in my mind and that makes comparison of the tires easy.

Unwrapping the Pirelli Angel CT.
Unwrapping the Pirelli Angel CT.

Admittedly, I’m comparing a set of used tires (Michelin Pilot Street) with the fresh Pirelli Angel CT’s. But the Michelin’s were not totally worn and still had a little bit of life left in it before hitting the thread wear indicator bumps. Anyway, here are my thoughts…

I LOVE IT!

True to its original design intent, the Pirelli Angel CT was built for Asian roads. Compared to my previous Michelin’s going over bumps, potholes and uneven road surfaces that are so common in the more rural parts of Malaysia, the Angel CT’s felt a lot more “compliant” and “soft” – which was very surprising, given that they are supposedly built with a “robust carcass design” for “high durability” on the Asian roads. I definitely felt a lot more confident taking corners on the Angel CT’s as I negotiated the bends of Bukit Tinggi and Genting Highlands.

What about wet performance? Admittedly, I didn’t quite get to properly test the Pirelli’s in heavy rain (yet). But I did get to run it on slightly wet roads on that final stretch of NSHW and leading into Johor Bahru where the road was still moist from the earlier rain. And the Angel CT’s took it on with no issues.

Some really bad Asian road.
Some really bad Asian road.

One notable performance of the Angel CT was going over lane markings. It’s typically dual-carriageway on the NSHW, and I usually keep to the left lane unless overtaking. And in instances where there’s a slower moving truck in front of me, and my right mirror tells me that a crazy car is coming in from the overtaking lane at 200kmh, I take advantage of the road shoulder to overtake the truck. The divide between the road shoulder and the main lane is a continuous white line. Riding a 2-wheeler over (and especially on) this parallel continuous white line can sometimes be unnerving as this painted line offers far less grip than the asphalt road. I recall that with my Michelin’s, I sometimes feel a slight wobble when I go over these divider lines while the Pilot Streets fight for grip. But the Angel CT appeared to be indifferent to whether it was a painted line or asphalt, and I had very much more confidence crossing these lines on them. I’m impressed!

“But, but, you’re comparing fresh tires with used ones. Of course the fresh one has better performance.”

That may be true. But I’m also comparing the differences I feel when I slap on the new Pirelli’s vs the old Michelin’s with the difference I felt when I had the (then) new Michelin’s replacing the (24,000km) used (and rather poorly rated) Eurogrip’s that came stock with the bike. I’m definitely more impressed with the new Pirelli vs old Michelin difference than the (then) new Michelin vs old Eurogrip difference.

I have never taken (and probably will never take) my bike to the tracks. It’s just not my kind of activity. And if challenged at the traffic lights to a race, I’m the sort of person who will feed the ego of the other rider and let him fly ahead while I take my time to enjoy my ride. So racing or track tires don’t suit me. Yes, they are (very) grippy. But you generally exchange that for significantly faster wear. I’m more of a tourer. I’m more of an adventurer. And I’m definitely a city commuter. At SGD155 a set of front and rear rubbers, the Pirelli Angel CT’s are arguably some of the best value tires for a mid-small (150-250cc) street motorcycle on the Asian roads. And probably some of the best tires for an Asian adventurer tourer on a mid-small capacity motorcycle.

And definitely some of the best tires for me. =)

107 thoughts on “Pirelli Angel CiTy tire review”

    1. Hello Nathan,

      That really depends on your motorcycle. What does your owner’s manual say? On my Pulsar 200NS, the owner’s manual recommends 1.8bar for the front, and 2.0bar rear (or 2.2bar if there’s a pillion.) These figures can also be found on a sticker pasted on my bike’s swingarm. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as it takes into consideration the bike’s laden weight and steering characteristics.

      Out of curiousity, how much do a set of Angel CT’s go for in the Philippines?

      1. Here in the philippines the cost of set is 5,500 pesos or 118 USD. By the way, Im also Rouser 200ns user.or Pulsar 200ns. It indicates 25 psi front and 29 rear.then 35 psi with pillion. Is it okay that my front tire is 26psi and 32psi on rear? Advice me please for longer tire life. Thanks

    2. What are your tire sizes?

      Personally, I have 110/70/17 on the front and 130/70/17 on the rear. Front tire pressure is at 29 PSI and 32 PSI on the rear.

    1. I’m honestly not sure – I didn’t measure the sidewalls, and I’ve already discarded the Pilot Streets. Why would that be a consideration for you?

      1. From my observation, the surface of tyre with shorter sidewall curves more than the ordinary one. It can affect the bike handling agility while leaning at the corner. Quite crucial when riding at sharp S-shape turn (chicane). I’ve experienced the different after I changed rear tyre from taller to shorter sidewall.

          1. Currently, I’m riding with Maxxis (front) and Michelin Pilot Street (rear). Before this, I was using Vee Rubber (front) but I don’t remember the brand for rear.

          2. Aww… I wouldn’t mix tire brands and types if I could help it. Anyway, what are your thoughts on these 3 brands then?

    2. the sidewall of the angel city is bigger than the other tires tried comparing into 90/80 pirelli angel ct and michellin 90/80
      im from ph too

  1. Maxxis & Michelin have good tire profiles and curve design. Riding on them feel so stable at straight and corner.
    Vee Rubber is a stock tyre. So, the performance is under par compared to above brands.

  2. Thx for review! Can’t find much review of this tire & when I saw your article it helped me a lot to decide. Thx! Inspiring ride in your first year to do the 5 nation tour 👍🏼

          1. So far so good! Have taken it on dirt trails (muddy roads under construction). Works well in the wet. Cornering grip is fine for me. Well done Pirelli

  3. Thanks for the review! I have been scouring the net for the perfect tire for my Rouser/Pulsar NS150 and I think I found it with Angel CT. I wish I can travel SE Asia using Ronda (Name of my NS150). Anyways, I woud like to ask for your recommendation on what is the right tire size for my MC with better handling in corners without compromising its performance. I currently have 80/100 – 17 front and 110/80-17 rear with rim size 2.15″(Front) and 2.50″(Rear). Thank you in advance and Ride Safe!

    -Chris
    Rouser NS150 User
    Cebu, Philippines

    1. Hi Christian,

      I’m glad the review helped with your purchase decision. I’m certain you’ll like the Angel CT rubbers on your ride.

      As for the tire size, it’s always best to refer to your owner’s manual. Motorcycle engineers take great pains to size the tires for the bike design. It *may* be alright to upsize or downsize a little – like what I did to mine (the 200NS uses 100/70R17 and 130/70R17 originals), but otherwise, don’t deviate too much from the OEM specs.

      1. Thank you! I just bought new Angel CT for my Rear with 120/70-17 as recommended by Pirelli’s FB page here in PH. I’m still looking for 90/80-70 for my front. So far the handling is good and I’m confident on taking sharp turns. Thanks again for your input!

      1. I bought it here in a local motorshop in Cebu. If your in NCR, there is a Pirelli store somewhere in Taguig but not sure. You can check their FB page Pirelli Philippines.

        1. Hi Christian,
          From what store did you purchase the Angel City? I am also from Cebu and I’m planning on following the blog owner’s choice. Thanks

  4. Short 150km review: grips well on corners compared to previous Zeneos ZN91 tires on Duke 200. Wet – not much chance to try it yet. Even after 150km, the rubber strips are still intact. Can see the tread is pretty deep, with the tread wear indicator deep inside. Well done Pirelli.

    1. Hello.. I’ve been using Pirelli Angel CT (110/70 – 17 Front, 130/70 – 17 Rear) for roughly about 30,000 KM in about 10 month (120KM a day)… Under all kind of weather condition from really hot days to really heavy rain, even under the storm.. This little beast can really hold the ground… If i had 10 thumbs, it will be an easy 10 thumbs up… But i only got two… So two thumbs up! LOL… PS: Even after about 30,000 KM, the thread is still pretty deep…
      -Kawasaki KLX 150s 2011, riders weight 75KG-

      1. Is time for me to change and I’m thinking of Angel CT 150 for my rear. However, recently I hear many commented that Corsa S123 has better performances in terms of grip but slightly shorter lifespan than Angel CT.

        Anybody have thoughts in this?

  5. Good day,
    Nice review. BTW i’ve purchase this new Pirelli Angel CT and didnt notice that i have bought same for rear tire (130/70 rear tire and 100/80 rear tire) instead of 130/70 rear tire and 100/80 front tire. I’ve notice it after i install it.
    Q> It is ok if i use rear tire specs as my front tire?

        1. Hi R.
          As far as my experience is concern, as for Michellin tires, you can find in the tire a guide if you are going to install it in the front or in the rear. if i am not mistaken, the arrow points how the tire should turn while installed in the front or in the back…i duno if it works the same way for pirelli

          1. As far as I know, the Pirelli’s were specifically made for either the FRONT or the REAR. And the tires have the intended direction of rotation printed on the sidewall. Just as an example, Pirelli makes the Angel CT in 80/90R17 Front, AND 80/90R17 Rear – two identically sized tires for different position. I’ve also blogged about why the thread direction of the front and rear tires are different (and therefore important to be installed correctly) in a separate post:

            http://sgbikerboy.com/2016/12/26/why-do-motorcycle-front-and-rear-tires-have-opposite-thread-patterns/

  6. Well review D, so happend that I’m looking at this angel ct and lack of feedbacks from the bikeshop, after gone through your detail review, I definitely will go for this! Thanks! Cheers!

  7. Thank you for this review. My bike is Yamaha SZ16 and my previous tire is FDR Sports Evo. I am replacing my tires soon. I was choosing from Michelin Pilot Street and Pirelli Angel City. Looks like I settled my decision now.

    -Nuclear Jeff
    -SZR Club Philippines OIN 892
    -Batangas City

  8. Hey bro, would just like to ask if you know some specifics for the Angel CT.
    Material, is it dual compound (soft compound on the edges, medium compound on the center) or single compound (medium or hard). What kind of ply (radial or bias)?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Ken! I won’t pretend to have intimate knowledge of the tire build up, but my research suggests that the Angel CT appears to be a single-compound bias-ply tire. And I thought the bias-ply construction made perfect sense that this being more of a “touring tire” than a “racing tire”. Check out an excellent article on revzilla on the pros and cons of radials and bias ply tires on a motorcycle here:

      http://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/why-things-are-bias-ply-and-radial-tires

      1. That actually explains alot for its purpose. This information is of huge help! Thank you.

        However, I didn’t catch what kind of compound it was made of, I’d assume a medium compound? Since it’s constructed to run longer but would still have grip with regards to cornering.

  9. Pirelli wasn’t too specific as to the “hardness” of the tire, but I suspect so (being a medium hardness) too. According to the manufacturer, it “features a new compound mainly based on carbon black with a calibrated percentage of silica; it is able to deliver excellent grip on both dry and wet, tear resistance and mileage.”

    1. Hehe. I find things kinda hard to believe if the manufacturer didn’t specify the actual material but compensated for it with a fabulous description.

      Anyway, are you familiar with the Indonesian brands like IRC Exato and Corsa? I’m torn between the Corsa S123, Exato NR88, the Dunlop GT501 Arrowmax and this – Pirelli Angel CT.

      On the other hand, I actually ran my Eurogrip for more than 30k, and it got torn on my way home. It was a life well-lived for him if you asked me. Haha.

      1. Hi Ken,

        Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with IRC, Exato and Corsa, and so I probably wouldn’t be able to offer any opinions here.

        Did you say that you ran your Eurogrips until “it got torn”?? Did the threads liberate from the carcass? That would have been a potentially dangerous event, and I certainly hope that you are okay!

        1. Too bad, I would like to explore my options though. Angel CT is a great tire. It’s just that I would like to see the technical aspects of everything when it comes to aftermarket parts. It helps me to pick what would suit what I need it to do rather than just picking off stuff that had good recommendations.

          Yes, there were still some threads though, but the tire literally ripped from the inside. I know I ran it over the recommended use, but man, I was really surprised when that happened. Luckily, we were running in a complete traffic jam on like 3-5kmph. At first I thought that my backride was just being antsy, but when we checked, it was completely busted. We had to put in some interior for us to just get home.

      2. I’m using Zeneos size 150 which is awesome in tackling corners while having long life. However the wet performance is horrible.

        Many of my Ninja/Z250 friends says for everyday touring use, Corsa S123 performs better than Angel CT in terms of grip but lose out in terms of life span.

        Angel CT was a hit at one point of time but recently, Corsa S123 seems to got hold of the market share for 250ccs bike n lower.

        I’m talking about budget here if course. Anything of Diablo Rossa II or Bridgestone is of different class n cost a bomb.

        For example, S123 would cost about RM250 for 150/60, Bridgestone would have been RM500+

    1. Hey Gian! That’s great! What were you previously running on, and for how long have you been running them? BTW, where are you from, Gian?

      1. My current tires that needs to be replaced are. 100/80-17 MRF Zapper-FX front and 140/60-17 MRF Revz. Sadly, was only able to run it to 8k+ kms. Someone glued my tire valve cap so I wasn’t able to maintain its tire pressure. I ordered 5 pcs tire valve rim(excess for future use) and waited for a month and a half for it to arrive. Just yesterday when im on my way to the office I felt a little bit of wiggle, then I tried to check my rear tire on a stop, just to see that my current tire has a crack on the wall (was running on low pressure, like slighlty flat.) Then just today after I read your review of the Angel CT, I ran out to look for a pair. Then im happy I found one!

        Gian

        1. Someone GLUED your valve cap closed??! And why did you not have the entire valve stem (with the glued-on cap) replaced? As you have discovered, running a set of wheels on low pressure results in too much flexing and thus permanent damage to the side wall – definitely not a good idea. But in any case, I’m glad you got your issue sorted out and replacing your set of rubbers with a new one.

          Let me know what you think of the CT after you’ve fitted them on. Leave a comment here, so that others can read your review too. =)

          1. Yes, unfortunately learned it the expensive way. Well whoever glued it, what goes around comes around.

            Definitely will leave comments about the experience with Pirelli Angel City after after a few miles.

            Thanks D.

          2. I already have the rubbers installed, and right now what I can say is that the Angel CT is awesome, has good grip, can take corners very well (even on wet surfaces). I have notice something, that I’m not quite sure what causes. There’s an awkward wiggle I am feeling while running, not sure if it’s because of the road, the tire pressure’s too high. My motorcycle manual indicates 28psi front and 33 psi rear which I followed. Is there anything wrong with my ironhorse or is it the tires?

            Any thoughts on this?

            Thanks in advance D.

            Ride safe!

            -Gian

          3. Hi Gian,

            That’s great. Firstly, did you have your wheel balanced after the tire installation? An unbalanced tire can lead to unwanted vibrations or wiggles. Next, I’m not sure what bike you’re riding – but on my Pulsar 200NS, the recommended pressure is 25psi and 28.5psi front and rear respectively. But if you’re absolutely certain that your manual states 28 and 33 psi, then I won’t worry too much. And finally, it could really be the road – I get that occasional wiggle too – irrespective of tire brand. Lol.

          4. Yay! Done with the balancing, the vibration/wiggle is now gone or at least less. Should i reduce my tire pressure from the current 28front and 33rear to atleast 26 and 30/31 respectively? Thanks.

          5. Gian – if you intend to go a little off-road, you could let out some pressure. Otherwise, it’s always best to stick to your manufacturer’s tire pressure recommendations.

          6. Hey D,

            Hope everyone reading here is doing well.

            I have had atleast 1k on my pair of CT’s since installed, and boy they are great. A lot of fun and at the same time and great deal of confidence cornering. Thanks to your review! Would really recommend Pirelli Angel CT and your blog to my friends.

            Ride safe!

  10. Thanks for the awesome review. I’m currently torn between Michelin Pilot Street Vs Pirelli Angel CT, both priced almost similar but not sure if which of this would perform better.

    Your review is siding towards angel CT but somehow there are quite a good review on Michelin as well. Unfortunately no one pitch both of them together like you do although your Michelin tire is of different name.

    1. My set of Michelin Pilot Street replaced the stock Eurogrip tires. And subsequently, the Pirelli Angel CT replaced the Michelin Pilot Street. I’m not quite sure if I understand your “tire is of different name” comment.

  11. Hello, I hope you can still see this comment. Just a question about installing the Angel CT, my front tire was installed with the arrow sign going counter clockwise, should i have them reinstalled so the arrow is going clockwise? Thanks in advance

    1. Clockwise or counterclockwise really depends on which side you’re viewing the tire from, yes?

      Anyhow, the tire should be installed in the correct direction of roll – that’s how the design engineers have intended it to be used! The Angel CT, like some many other performance tires, have tires specifically designed for the front and rear of the bike. Check to make sure that you got the correct tires for the position too.

    2. +1 to D. Tire should be installed correctly to where the arrow is pointing so your lovely kicks for your ride will live to serve its purpose well. It is designed that way to wade some water and to help in gripping during cornering which I extremely love.

      Cheers and ride safe!

      1. Thanks guys! I had it reinstalled so the arrow is now pointing according to the wheel’s rotation direction. (Forward) sorry for using the term counter clockwise and clockwise, i was viewing it from the left side i forgot about the other side. Anyway, i feel much confident now specially when riding on wet roads. Thank you so much.

  12. Hi guys, I have the same concern as Michael because my tire was installed in opposite direction alao as it was recommended and suggested by the tire seller at Q.C. All of the tires sold by them were installed that way to have a better performance on wet roads. Btw, had it purchased 2 days ago to replace the stock tire of my CB. Thanks guys.

    1. Quite frankly, I cannot imagine how a tire INSTALLER would have better information than the engineers who have designed it. There are tires that are bidirectional and there are ones (like the Angel CT) that are designed unidirectional.

      One reason I can think of why some may choose to install it in the opposite direction is that the thread pattern are in a different direction for the front and the rear. Swapping either would make the thread pattern direction to appear the same for both. Personally, I would NEVER do this – it’s choosing aesthetics over function.

      Another possible reason is that (for some reason or another), you choose to install a tire meant as the REAR wheel onto the FRONT wheel. This way, you’d want to mount the tire in the opposite direction. The reason has got something to do with saving the thread splice and also better braking.

      Take note that the rationale for different thread pattern directions for front and rear wheels is due to different forces the 2 wheels experience. The rear wheel is primarily involved in acceleration whereas the front wheel takes care of the majority of braking forces.

      Two resources on this topic I found useful are:
      http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/2009/08/23/tires-directional-arrows-explained-by-avon-tyres/
      http://www.deelipmenezes.com/?p=2798

      Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for your valued input bro, really appreciate it. I’ll go back to that seller tomorrow and let him change the tire orientation. Cheers and Merry Christmas!

  13. All i can say.. It’s really a good tyre.. I slapped the more expensive metzeler m5 before and it had the same kind of feelings.. So why pay more for the confidence, right?

    Tyre size
    110/70/17 front
    150/60/17 rear

  14. Hi D,

    Since reading your review I swapped out the stocks on my z250sL and replaced it with the CT. It has since been 3000km and it still looks brand new. It really builds up my confidence on the road.

    1. Yeah – the Angel CT are pretty tough tires built for the (less than pristine) Asian roads. But that said, the longevity of the tire (high wear resistance) and its performance are two separate things – and quite often, one being at the expense of the other. But I thought the Angel CT has an excellent balance between the two. Enjoy your new tires!

  15. Awesome review, i have installed pirelli angel ct 100/80 14 rear in my scooter 3 weeks ago, but i can’t find pirelli angel ct front tire for 14inch mags. any advice or suggestion?
    thanks!
    ride safe!

    1. You’d probably need to ask around at your local supplier for other make and models. AFAIK, Pirelli ONLY manufactures a 100/80 in the 14″ config.

  16. Hi D,

    Great reviews, i was planning to replace my FKR RS880 (michellin pilot street clone) on both my front and my rear tires. i have stumbled across your review and was very excited on the review also made by fellow users on Angel CT’s performance. thanks so much man

  17. Gud am.very helpful and encouraging reviews sir. I have one question. Why is it that the thread design pattern of the front ang rear tires when installed (following the directional arrow) is not the same. The thread pattern of the rear tire points forward while the front tire points backward. For water dissipation, the rear tire dissipates water better from the center to the sides while the front tire is the opposite? Or is it for handling? Pls help. Thanks a lot

  18. Sir D, sorry i was not able previous similar concern. I was trying to delete my first comment. Anyways, i’ll just follow the directional arrow. I’ll have mine installed today and enjoy it this weekend. Thanks alot for the info. More power and ride safe!!

  19. Gud day sir. Had my ktm duke 200 installed with 110 front and 150/60/17 rear. Manual recommends 29 psi fr and 29psi rear(without passenger). After riding it for only 200 kms. in highlands, the ride is too bumpy that my butt hurt. Its like riding it overinflated. Should i lower the tire pressure? Thanks a lot.

    1. By all means, lower it a little. But I’m really surprised that it’s affecting you that much. Have you independently verified the tire pressure with a pressure gauge?

      1. Many thanks for the reply sir. Yes, i’ve checked the tire pressure twice. Maybe i’ll try 27/28psi and see how it goes. Ah,the bumpiness gives you the feeling of over inflated tires(i can feel the bumps up to my head and feels uncomfortable). Maybe because my tires are still new. But i’m VERY VERY HAPPY with my angels. Excellent grip with cornering.no floating. Very tough tires! Very glad i read your reviews. Kudos sir and many thanks. Always ride safe and smart to all!

  20. Greetings from Turkey 🙂 ,

    I was looking for information on MT-25 and its original tires and if needed what the possible upgrade would be.
    I am getting ready to purchase MT-25, I don’t know what the original tires are or if they can cope with Turkish roads which seems to be quite similar to what you are experiencing. One of the options is the angel set, thanks to you, now I have some information about.

    I just need to find out about the stock tire and compare 🙂 .

    Thanks for your information.

    1. Hi Mehmet! I’m unsure what the stock tires on the MT-25 are, but if you’re getting the bike brand new, why don’t you run with the stock tires for awhile before replacing them?

      1. Well, safety doesn’t come without a price 🙂 . The roads we have are quite the same with your picture above, so I’d not trust cheap tires especially I ride all weather and all seasons.

          1. It is not avaliable for the bike I am running atm. I will give it a try whenever I get my hands on my new bike. Hopefully soon .. 🙂

  21. Hey D! Currently I have Angel CTs for my underbone and so far it is great. Running at 4,000 kms.
    I want to try the Michelin Pilot Street to feel the difference. Is this a good idea?

    Thanks!

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