Tires make your bike the ride it can be. The Metzeler Sportec M-3 tires, more sport, more tech. Open-class sportbikes have achieved a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio - that is, the most powerful models now make one horsepower per kilogram.
Such remarkable performance makes it increasingly difficult for a tire manufacturer to achieve what Metzeler calls the 'Holy Grail', a sport tire that's sticky yet durable. That's the aim of the new Sportec M-3, which slots between the existing Sportec M-1 and Racetec in Metzeler's sport tire line.
Beyond those seemingly contradictory desires, the M-3's design brief specified a tire that performed the same throughout a single riding session and its entire life cycle, meaning many heat cycles. Thus the front tire was made stiffer to snap into corners quicker, its steel belts were softened to let the tire 'talk' to the rider and its multi-radius profile was smoothed for enhanced stability. The rear was made quicker-warming yet cooler-running, its belt stiffened, and its mid-crown radius flattened to maximize footprint when accelerating off corners.
Metzeler is a pioneer in wet-weather performance, particularly in the interplay between front and rear tires. Before, engineers designed the rear tire tread to work in the wake left by the front. Now they've matched not just the tread patterns but also the compounds. The firm's new Durasil silica plays a key role in that.
Metzeler introduced the Sportec M-3 by there Thai dealer, Paddock International, located on Rachadapisek Rd., about one year ago. One our test bike a Ducati 1098S the M-3's do indeed heat quickly, even while scuffing-in a new set. One of the advantages of steel belts is their heat conductivity; that is, warmth in one part of the tire radiates to the rest. This means less risk of a lowside when you lean over after an extended period riding straight up and down.
On the street, the M-3 tires impressed me with their good bump absorption and well-matched profiles that let me snap the bike into corners quickly and make mid-corner corrections without any compromise in neutrality or stability. At the racetrack, the M-3 tires felt a little greasy until we lowered pressures. After that, I appreciated their excellent feedback under acceleration and, especially, hard braking.