If someone had told me that a set of tires could transform my motorcycle overnight I’d have thought they were mad – but that’s pretty much what happened when I fitted a pair of Metzeler RoadTec 01 tires on my sport-touring motorcycle.
The Metzeler RoadTec 01 is not just an upgrade from its predecessor, the RoadTec Z8, but a brand new tire that has been developed to offer a higher level of grip in all weather conditions white extending the durability by up to 10 percent, according to the technicians at Metzeler. As I got over 16,000 kilometers out of my previous Michelin Pilot 3 tires, it’ll be interesting to see if the Metzeler RoadTec 01 tires can match that distance.
Metzeler have achieved this apparent tire trickery courtesy of a new tread pattern design: the grooves on the front are positioned more transversely to the rolling direction along with new longitudinal groove angles, which are apparently better for dealing with water drainage. The rear has a ‘Drop and Saber’ tread pattern on the sides and this is positioned in the opposite direction to the rolling direction.
The upside of all this tread development business is that it’s created a more centralized and larger contact patch with the tarmac below, which gives obvious improvements when it comes to grip and stability. Those who liked the deep grooves of the Michelins will also be pleased to hear that the Metzeler tires boast similarly deep ones. Apparently this gives better water drainage but on a purely aesthetic level, it’s comforting to inspect a brand new tire and see really deep grooves – you instantly feel like they’ve got a chance of lasting longer, don’t you?
So what are these Metzeler RoadTec 01 tires made of? Well again, maximum scientific R&D seems to have been applied to make the RoadTec 01 as efficient, grippy and durable as possible. The front tread is made of nothing but 100 percent silica compound, while the rear has been fashioned from a dual compound construction that means silica on the shoulders and a mix of silica and carbon black in the middle.
The use of similar compounds is supposed to convey a more uniform feel to the rider, I mean, I could go on.
It all sounds very posh, but there are two things that are going to make these tires a success in my book longevity and performance. Clearly it’s going to take a while for me to report back on the former and whether they’ll last as long as the Michelins, so I’ll have to keep you posted on that. But I’ve actually done just over 2400 kilometers since fitting the Metzeler tires so I’m in a decent position to give some feedback as to how they perform. And I have to say, my impressions are good.
Very good, in fact. The first thing that’s noticeable is how quickly they heat up. But they best bit is how both tires seem to work in perfect harmony. I thought all that talk of the front and rear compounds being designed to perform together might be the sort of stuff manufacturers say to big-up their products, but in this case it’s true. Going into any corner now feels very reassuring – the motorcycle never seems unsettled, and the feedback from both tires is always the same.
If going into a corner feels good, then things get even better once you’re in it and start to lean, I’m not joking – the tires are so sticky it feels like someone’s poured superglue on them when I haven’t been looking. The increase in confidence that gives is incredible, on any sort of road. To really put it to the test I took my motorcycle on a sequence of particularly nasty, bumpy bends near my house and felt in complete control at all times – even in the wet.
These Metzeler tires seem to be the perfect partnership with my sport-touring motorcycle and make it feel more like a real sportbike than a sport-tourer. I reckon they’d be a perfect fit for any sportbike, like an Yamaha YZF-R1 or Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
The Michelins were very good but I have to say I’ve never felt the level of reassurance from a tire before that I’m getting from these Metzeler tires. Even if they don’t last 16,000 kilometers, I’d take that in exchange for the increased confidence and grip they’re giving me.