I'm having a hard time choosing a tire for my bike ('11 Yamaha FZ8n). The main source of my confusion are very similar markings on a multitude of tires that don't make a lot of sense to me. I was hoping someone could help me out a bit on this.

The manufacturer recommends the following tire for the bike:

Bridgestone Battlax 021 BB 180/55 ZR 17 (73W) TL

This tire, however, is not exactly competitively priced. There's a significantly less pricey Bridgestone alternate with the following designation:

Bridgestone Battlax 021 180/55 ZR 17 (73W) TL

The difference here is the intermediate BB in the designations.

What does that BB mean and what's the difference between the two tires?


As stated in the comments, it appears that the BB is nothing more than an original equipment code. All extra information I've been able to find on the tires is that the BB model is the "original equipment" for the Yamaha FZ8.

However, it'd be nice to know if there are any differences in the tires beyond their model code justifying a nearly 50 % price difference (~150 € and ~100 € for the rear tires respectively).

What is the technical difference between the two models?

  • this not really an answer but from doing some online research it appears the BB may refer to it being an original equipment tire but apparently only for Bridgestone.
    – mikes
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 22:20
  • @mikes I eventually ran into that information myself. The tire is listed as the original equipment for my bike model. However, in the absence of any indications of actual technical differences between the two tire models I'm inclined towards saving some money and getting the cheaper tire that lacks the BB designation.
    – Kallja
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 6:24
  • The job of the markings are to remove/force the water outwards so that "aquaplaning" does not occur. Try googling "aquaplane" and you should find more that enough resources. Go for the best tire you can afford, its your only contact with the road. The material composition and the compounds used for different models, models for different purpose models will all be different. Hence, the costlier the better. This is not really an answer for your question, but only because you mentioned the markings. Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 3:18
  • @You_Shall_Not_Pass Thank you for your input. In this case I ended up going for the cheaper model. There is no visually determinable difference between the two tire models. I've also been unable to identify any difference in the bike's behavior after ~7000 kms on the new tires. There may of course be some subtle difference in the exact composition of the rubber mixture between the two models. Most of the price difference is, however, probably explained by the economies of scale; one model is manufactured in significantly greater volumes than the other.
    – Kallja
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 5:55
  • You're rite.. and the bike wont show any difference in the circumstances you mentioned. Besides you there's no point in spending 50% more on tires unless u decide to take it to a track and start pushing the limits. Safe and careful riding, and you should be fine. Ride safe and stay under your limits. :) cheers!! Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 6:05

1 Answer 1


In the end I ended up purchasing the considerably cheaper model, the one without the BB degination: Bridgestone Battlax 021 180/55 ZR 17 (73W) TL.

Examining the tires (both, old and new) revealed no noticeable difference. The behavior of the bike seems unaltered by the change of the tire model. I say this having ridden around 7000 kms using the new tires.

So in short: there is no significant difference. Get the cheaper model and with the money you saved you can get yourself some nice new leather gloves.

Some additional info:

I contacted Bridgestone customer support (in February) asking what the difference between the models is. I have received no response from them. With this in mind I came to the conclusion that this is simply a petty attempt to charge a little extra for your tires.

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