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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Metzler Roadtec 01 end of life review

Regular readers of this blog will know the history of the tyres I’ve had on the GSX-S 1000 from previous posts.  By way of a brief recap, the OEM Dunlop D214 pure sport tyres were horrid things for road use in NZ where it’s eminently possible to get 4 seasons in one day.  Grip in warm, dry conditions was fine but when it was cooler and damp, they were bastards (to use a technical term). Hard to get enough heat in them in those circumstances for decent grip and I didn’t trust them.  Also bearing in mind that I was breaking the bike in during this period, a rear tyre life of 3700 km to a completely ruined state was pretty underwhelming.  It was also potentially bankrupting considering that I generally cover about 20,000 km/yr.

The replacement set of choice were the Michelin PR4's, having used them on my Street Triple and having found them a brilliant all-round tyre with exceptional wet weather grip properties. They even survived a track day without complaining too much.  A 55 profile tyre was chosen as opposed to the OEM 50 profile in the hope of getting a quicker turn-in and it worked – much easier to change line in twisty conditions.  Approximate rear tyre life was an entirely acceptable 12,500 km and both hoops retained a reasonable profile and decent handling throughout.  Photos and a more detailed account can be found HERE .  It goes without saying that tyre life is governed by many factors...... road characteristics (surface, temperature, ratio of twists and straights etc), total loaded weight, riding style and many more aspects.  However, life comparisons between tyres in my case are valid because I travel the same type of roads, most of my riding is tied up with advanced roadcraft coaching and I don't commute.

I would have happily replaced them with another set but the relatively newly-released Metzler Roadtec 01’s had been launched to critical acclaim by motorcycling journalists. Like the PR4, wet weather performance was reputed to be outstanding.  No harm in giving them a try so I purchased a set, also 55 profile.


 New Metzler Roadtec 01 tyres

The first ride on new tyres is always a cautious one to bed them in but also because the handling feels very sensitive after running on older tyres.  However, on subsequent rides, the 01's felt slightly quicker turning in than the PR4's and the front end felt marginally more planted. It may be due to the 01 front tyre not having transverse sipes like the PR4 but in any event, the difference is pretty small. My impression is that the Roadtec 01 has a slightly sportier feel than the PR4 but again, it's not a massive difference.

In the wet, I haven't noticed any difference in grip between the PR4 and the Roadtec 01, they are both terrific in both wet conditions and dry public roads.  Under rigorous measurement with a better rider than me, there may well be a difference between the two brands but for my standard of riding and end use, they are both totally fit for purpose in terms of grip and feel.

So what about life?  I've just racked up 11000 km and the centre of the rear tyre is close to the legal minimum of 1.5 mm. The front has a lot more depth but they will both be replaced within the next 1000 km.  That means that life is near as dammit the same as the PR4's.  I ran the same cold pressures at 39-40 psi rear and 36 psi front for both brands.

The rear hoop has retained its shape pretty well as the photos below show.  Not having a significant central flat spot must be in part due to riding on mainly twisty roads with no commuting.

Rear Metzler Roadtec 01 @11000 km

Rear Metzler Roadtec 01 @ 11000 km (45 degree angle view)

The profile of the front tyre is interesting as it has lost its shape, particularly in the last couple of thousand km, with significant "flats" towards the edges.  Part of this is undoubtedly due to the twisty roads in our region which I mentioned earlier and the amount of countersteering employed when riding at a reasonable pace.  I wouldn't have a clue whether carcass construction to give a bigger footprint when leaned over has any bearing on the wear pattern (see below).  Also, the leading edge of each rain groove is higher than the rear edge but doesn't seem to affect the handling. It doesn't show in the photos. It just looks odd. Not really classic cupping. 


Wear profile of front Metzler Roadtec 01 @ 11000km

Front Metzler Roadtec 01 @11000 km
Arrow shows the area of flattening around the circumference

In summary, I'd be perfectly happy to fit either the PR4 or Roadtec 01 but will be going with the 01's again to build up a bit more comparative experience with them.  Both fantastic tyres for the all-weather riding I do and both exceed the 10,000 km minimum life that I mentally set for my particular use,

Tyre prices in NZ tend to be higher than in bigger countries because of the shipping costs, economies of scale and relative lack of competition. Current prices vary a bit between dealers but the fitted price for a pair of standard load rating Metzler Roadtec 01's (120x70 -17 front and 190x55-17 rear is around NZD640/USD425/AUD603.  Michelin PR4's for the same size are around NZD605/USD425/AUD570 .  Does the price difference matter to me?  Not really that important, tyres are such an important safety factor that skimping simply isn't worth it.  


14 comments:

  1. I hate it when fronts do that, but man when the new rubber goes on you can feel the difference!

    My PR4's performed perfectly on mildly moist back roads today - love 'em to bits and I get nearly 12k out of them too.

    Signed

    A Michelin fan.

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  2. Absolutely! When I went from the old PR4's to the spanking new 01's, it felt so unstable for a few tens of km!

    I'd happily go back to PR4's but having had several sets on my bikes, the Metzlers deserve another chance!

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  3. I am glad you found a couple of different sets that work well with your riding style and the Suzuki.

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  4. Hi Brandy,
    Yep, having trust in your tyres is essential for a relaxed ride, especially when "pressing on a bit" :-)

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  5. Interesting Geoff. The PR3 on the front of my XJR13 looks just like the photo of your Metz, with distinct "flat spots" on the sides. The rear developed the standard WA centre flat.......
    A pair of PR4s are around $610 fitted over here...much the same as there, but, what price good rubber.
    The last Metzlers I had were Z6's I think - good tyres, but I got a large nail through the rear so don't know how long they would have lasted. The PR3s did 12,000 kms without bother though.

    Ned,from Auckland Motorcycles in Ponsonby road, many years ago now, told me - "We only sell 2 types of tyres - TT100s, and things to keep the rims off the road" .........

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jon!
      My PR3’s did that too. I think the narrow spacing of the sipes made the tread move a bit. I think the Coromandel coast road is a major contributor to the wear on the front 01. I couldn't possibly comment about the rate of progress along it........

      TT100’s . Now there's a blast from the past. Had them on my old Tiger 100!

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  6. Hi Geoff
    An interesting piece as always. I've just ordered a set of Bridgestone 023s to replace the OEM Dunlop Qualifier tyres on the Guzzi which are nearly done. This at just over 7100Kms. There's an interesting point here as I bought what are the previous generation Bridgestone Sports Touring tyre (Which I've used on other bikes in the past and been impressed with) for some $411. This opposed to the $600 for Michelin PR4s. Whilst the 023s aren't the latest whizz bang tyres they are far more than being 2/3 the tyre the Michelins are. I'll keep you posted on how they get on but they could be an option for you in the future.

    On a side note I attended the Ron Hallam Race school on a number of occasions in 2014 and 2015 before leaving the UK. All their bikes (CBR600RRs as well as Fireblades) were equipped with the Bridgestone Sports Touring tyre, either 023s or T30s, and this was due to the tyres cracking grip levels and longer life than the pure sports variants. This in their words, not ours. That was the seal of approval for me as seeing what they could cope with was a real confidence booster.

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  7. Thanks Lee! You've done well with the Qualifiers, had to change mine on the Street Triple at 6000 km. Nothing wrong with BT023 performance. They're the tyre of choice of our latest IAM Observer and he doesn't hang about on his TDM 900!

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    1. Hated the 023's on the ST1300. In G James parlance, when I was "pressing on a bit" and the casings got hot, they started to flex and it felt like riding on a half inflated tyre. I've liked the Z6's, Z8's and T30's (which I'm currently running) though.

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    2. Hi John,
      Tyres have got so good that it probably comes down to personal choice. However, bike weight, geometry, power delivery and so on also has an impact. Hence, the advent of stronger carcass options for tyres such as the PR4, Roadtec 01’s and a few others. Gets bewildering, doesn't it?

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  8. Great analytical write up as always Geoff. I feel for you on the tyre prices in NZ. Recently had a rear 190 x 50 PR4 fitted for $275 - that's with me removing and re-installing the rear wheel from the bike. I'm afraid I'm a "rusted on" PR4 fan though.

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    1. Hi Jules and thanks! I could probably import the tyres from the US to save a bit but it's not worth the hassle of organising them to be fitted when they arrive. I'll just suck it up! Great price you paid. I'd quite happily stick with PR4's but I'm curious (anal?) to see if I get the same results from another set of 01's.

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  9. Wish I could get that sort of mileage. The tyre those replaced the Roadtec Interact Z8 was almost gone by 6000km on my bike so I am guessing the 01 will last about the same as the Angel GT which was bald at 7000km. Too heavy a bike but I am stuck with what I have for now.

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  10. Hi Warren,
    Bike weight is certainly a factor but steering geometry, suspension, road type and temperatures etc also contribute. I have a friend with a Blackbird who doesn't hang about and he gets 15,000 km from a rear PR4 - don't know how he does it. I think the front hoop going out of shape on my bike is partially due to the firm front end. I'll re-check the sag and maybe ease the compression damping in the near future.

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