Touring tyres on a sports bike, surely you can’t be serious?
This was my reaction when offered a pair of Metzeler Roadtec 01 to test on the GSXR.
They were being serious.
So now I have a pair freshly mounted and balanced on the GSXR. Aimed to turn me away from my stubborn thoughts that sports bikes should run sports tyres.
It is a common practice for people to stick with what they know. Safety and confidence are paramount so sticking to what you like helps. However, there is always a world of other options that could be a better fit.
The best just got better
The Metzeler Roadtec 01 is an evolution of the Roadtec Z8. Widely regarded as one of the best touring tyres available. Voted by MCN as the best sports-touring tyre, many years in a row. Surely the latest version should be even better?
Let’s start with the looks. The Roadtec 01’s feature a very distinctive tread pattern on both the front and the rear tyre. Dubbed the “High transversal degree tread design” Metzeler says this increases mechanical grip when riding on all surfaces. Available in front sizes from 110/70/17 to a 120/70/19. On the rear from 130/90/17 all the way up to 190/55/17.
I’m testing standard GSXR750 fitment of 120/70/17 and 180/55/17.
The tread pattern looks very aggressive, there are lots of groves for dissipating standing water. The front is made from a full silica rubber compound. On the rear, the centre 20% is manufactured from 80% silica. Sidewall and the remainder of the tread face are manufactured from a full silica compound. This multi-compound combination gives better grip and life over the outgoing model.
Tour des stations d’essence, (Touring petrol stations)
I’m not the biggest long-distance rider, I don’t tour, unless petrol stations count. I do above average miles per year though, if that counts. I get out on the bike as much as I can and wet weather doesn’t phase me. Completing the IAM course (see more here) on these, and also had some wicked fast-paced road rides.
I have been commuting on the bike to work a lot more. Previously there would sometimes be an unsettling wiggle when travelling on rural roads that caked in muck and other debris. The Roadtecs are perfect in any condition. Wet weather and low ambient temperatures sound like hell for tyres. The Roadtecs warm up well and got noticeably warm to the touch very quickly.
I had no problems leaning the bike over, and whilst I’m no racer, I do like to ride at a brisk pace on-road and try to keep speed and momentum through corners.
I feel that the ride is a little hard, unsure if this is the construction of the tyre or the fact I was for once following manufacturer guidelines on recommended pressures. I’m going with the latter. It’s definitely nothing to worry about, anyway.
Some eagle-eyed people who follow us on Instagram will notice that the Gixer has been sold. When I sold it I had done just over 3500 miles on the 01’s and they still looked brand new, they hadn’t squared off, which surprised me as I had done quite a few miles of motorway and dual carriageway riding.
The tyres have both exceeded my expectations in both life and performance. Not once have I had any issues and in the past few weeks with the high ambient temperatures I’ve been pushing on, past my comfort zone knowing that the tyre will outperform me massively.
Price varies on size but in the common sportbike combination of 120/70 Front and 180/55 rear they can be had for around the £240 mark. I feel that is a very strong selling price, for a fantastic tyre which balances great grip and feel, with superb life.