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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Metzler Roadtec 01's - a progress report

Regular readers will remember my long-term relationship with Michelin PR3's and then its successor, the PR4 on both my Street Triple and Suzuki GSX-S 1000.  There's no such thing as the perfect tyre as fitness for purpose, road and weather conditions, all up bike weight, suspension quality and a host of other factors have a bearing on overall suitability.  However, both the 3's and 4's were ideal for my use. No commuting, mostly twisty roads at a reasonably brisk pace in all weathers.

Rear tyre life of both the 3's and 4's on the Street Triple was around 15000 km although both front and rear tyres were always changed at the same time.  Whilst this life was most acceptable, Michelin's claim for an additional 20% life from the PR4 seems to be a Marketing Dept figure plucked out of the air over Friday night drinkies.  To all intents and purposes, they were identical for a higher purchase price.  On the GSX-S 1000, a PR4 replaced the OEM Dunlop D214 pure sport tyre which was awful. Massive grip in the dry but were lethal in the wet when you couldn't get heat into them.  The rear was completely worn out at 3700 km. Ordinarily, I would have been really disappointed at the short life but was simply relieved that the chances of going down on my arse had been reduced.  The PR4 rear returned just over 12000 km which was pretty satisfactory given that most rides were on the sporty side of things, mentoring with IAM.  In terms of grip, both Michelins were excellent in the dry and simply outstanding in wet conditions.  They even survived a trackday without tearing themselves to bits.  The only thing I noticed with the 4 compared with the 3 was that the steering felt a little less vague/spongy when the front end was loaded up under deceleration, combined with changing line.  It's only a guess, but wondered whether the wider sipe spacing on the 4 reduced the amount of tread block movement under load.  In any event, both the Michelins were great tyres. The full PR4 review is HERE .

I would have been perfectly happy to fit another set of PR4's but the Metzler Roadtec 01 sport touring tyre had only been released a few months earlier and had received some great early reviews.  The decision was made to try a set as the price was within a few bucks of the Michelins. As with the PR4's, I went for the 55 profile compared with 50 on the OEM Dunlop to get a faster rate of turn-in.
The photos immediately below are the Metzlers with less than 200 km on them.

Front and rear Roadtec 01's at 200 km from new

On the first ride of any new tyre, they feel super-sensitive compared with the old ones so it was a wee while until it was possible to make some reasonable comparisons. In terms of the rate of turn-in when cornering, they feel fairly similar to the PR4.  However, the front end definitely feels a little more precise when changing line.  Perhaps the tread pattern and absence of sipes across the entire tyre width compared with the PR's helps in this respect.  Dry weather grip is excellent.  In the wet, they're at least as good as the PR4 and my riding talent runs out long before the tyres run out of grip, even without the Suzuki's traction control intervening.

The 01's have now covered 5200 km of reasonably brisk riding.  As can be seen in the photo below, there is still a lot of tread on the rear hoop and it seems reasonable to expect a life of 10,000 km or above which is fine. Equally importantly, it has retained its shape really well. That may be partially due to little or no commuting but it's good to see

Rear Metzler Roadtec 01 at 5200 km - minimal flattening

Similarly, the front hoop has plenty of tread.  As you may be able to notice in the photo below at the lowest part of the tyre, there is a slight flattening on the outer part of the tread.  I put this down to the absence of straight roads in the areas I inhabit, coupled with a fair degree of countersteering in the tighter stuff.  However, it's not yet significantly affected the profile which remains good.

Front Metzler Roadtec 01 at 5200 km

Sooooo... those are my thoughts about the Roadtec 01's at somewhere near the halfway stage of their life.  Excellent tyres in both wet and dry conditions with perhaps slightly sharper steering than the PR4's in some circumstances.  Obviously. tyre life will have a bearing on the final judgement but so far so good!

One other observation is wear across the tyre.  Referring to the PR4 end of life review mentioned above, there was a noticable "chicken strip" about 15mm in from the rear tyre edge, with just light scuffing out towards the edge. On the Metzler, the wear is pretty much right out to the edge.  On the front PR4, the "chicken strip" is about 10 mm from the edge with minimal additional light scuffing.  On the 01 front, the wear is practically right out to the edge, which I haven't noticed with any previous tyres. Both the Michelins and Metzlers are 55 profile (more crowned than the OEM 50's). It's unlikely that my riding has changed and the roads I travel on are much the same.  It's only speculation but perhaps it's the tyre carcass technology designed to give a bigger footprint when leaned over.  Interesting..... at least to this retired engineer who really needs to get a life!


8 comments:

  1. Another excellent review Geoff. Interesting to see the chicken strips are smaller on these tyres, perhaps the shapes of the tyres are not identical even though the sizes suggest they are, either that or your just riding bloody faster lol.

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    1. Hi Steve,
      They'll definitely be a slightly different profile even if they are both 55’s. I vaguely remember seeing a Metzler broadsheet saying that the carcass was designed to flex slightly to give a bigger footprint when leaned over. Who knows? In any event, they're a really good tyre!

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  2. Remember that the PR4 has a soft carcass, and if anything, people complain it has too much flex. Even in the same tyres, quite possible to have a different profile. I could swear the 150/70/17 PR4 and PR4 Trail vary in profile and prefer the regular for compound and lean angle (trail I was running off the edge)

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    1. Hi Alan,
      Just to complicate matters, I had a "B" load rating rear Michelin and controlled the profile with a bit of pressure variation. Being anal, I made up cardboard profile templates for both the 55 section PR4 and Roadtec 01 to compare them. They weren't massively different. However, as both you and I have alluded to, the dynamic profiles are likely to be quite different.

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  3. G'day Geoff, another great tyre review. As you know, I really enjoy reading your analyses. It will be interesting to see how quickly the Metzlers wear towards the end of their life. Someone once made the analogy that like a roll of toilet paper, a rear tyre goes very quickly at the end! I've certainly found that to be the case with the PR4's. I seem to be a rusted on Michelin user and can't bring myself to deviate from them when I get such great wear. I also have an observation, that being that new manufacture date PR4's seem to last longer than ones I purchased that are two or more years old before they are even fitted. Current PR4's have 10, 500 kms on the rear (approx 2K left I'm guessing) and front has 15,500 kms. The best ever from a front and it has another 2K in it and is not much out of shape, but has some minimal cupping. I run 42psi front & rear as recommended by Kawasaki.

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  4. Hi Jules,
    Thanks mate! Yep, as you say, the remaining part of their life will be the telling one. Totally agree with the accelerated wear rate and going out of shape towards the end of their life. It will be interesting to compare it with the Roadtec. You certainly can't complain about tyre life. Your Kawasaki has a similar configuration/weight to my old Blackbird and I could really feel the handling deteriorate if I deviated from 42 psi front and rear. Especially sensitive on the front.

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  5. Hi Geoff and thanks for sharing your initial thoughts. Can you tell me what cold pressures you're using on the Suzuki?

    I put a pair of these 200 miles into the life of a new 1290 Super Duke R back in Nov when the winter was taking it's toll here in the UK. After a allowing them to bed in a little (more mileage than I'm used to) they are turning into a very nice all round bike. I went for them after reading similar reviews and though I read an interesting longer article from someone running them on an S1000RR who suggest staying close to 36/42 I found that way too hard and am back around 33/38. For me a big difference.

    Have fun with them and looking forward to hearing how they wear thru. I've been a huge fan of PR2's in the STR and PR4's on the GS. Have yet to experience the 01's in torrential rain. Time will tell!

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  6. Hi Darren,
    I run 38 R, 34 F. The road temperatures where I live are reasonably high so I can start with reasonably low pressures. Incidentally, when I did a trackday last year with PR4’s, I was advised to set cold pressures at 30/30. When I came in after the first session, they were just over 40 psi!

    All the best for a dry spring and summer!

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