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 to try, and to turn me away from my stubborn thoughts of running sports tyres, on a sport bike. It is very common especially with tyres, for people to stick with what they know. Safety and confidence is paramount so sticking to what you like keeps this, however, there is always a world of other options that could be a better fit.
The Roadtec 01 is an evolution of the Roadtec Z8, which was widely regarded as one of the best touring tyres available. Voted by MCN as the best sports-touring tyre for many years in a row, surely the evolution 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 say this increases mechanical grip when riding on all surfaces. I like the sound of that. Available in front sizes from 110/70/17 to a 120/70/19 and on the rear from 130/90/17 all the way up to 190/55/17 and a 120/90/18. I’m testing standard GSXR750 fitment 120/70/17 and 180/55/17.
The tread pattern looks very aggressive at dissipating water, there are lots of groves. Composition wise the front is made from a full silica rubber compound whilst on the rear the centre 20% is manufactured from 80% silica. Sidewall and the remainder of the tread face is manufactured from a full silica compound.
Whilst I’m not the biggest long-distance rider ever, I don’t tour France, Scotland or wales Etc, I do like to think that I do above average miles per year, I like to get out on the bike as much as I can and normally not fussed by wet weather when out and about, with a good mix of both spirited and relaxing riding, on a great mix of motorways, twisty country roads and town riding. Very multi-purpose riding, so a well-balanced tyre is handy.
In the past few months I have been commuting on the bike to work a lot more, yes, the traffic is a lot easier but often when travelling on rural roads they are caked in muck and other debris which when on a hyper sports tyre can knock abit of confidence. Not with the Roadtecs, wet weather, they are perfect, and even when temperatures dip they are packed with grip, whereas a hyper sports tyre may not work in that temperature window. They warm up well and got noticeably warm to the touch very quickly, and even with them being branded a touring tyre with very good life, I had no problems leaning the bike over, and whilst I’m no racer scraping pegs and hanging off like a trooper scraping knees at every apex, I do like to ride at a brisk pace on road and try to keep speed and momentum through corners, and passing slower traffic, the 01’s are very well suited for this task. 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.
Now as some eagle-eyed people who follow Ridewithpeaks will notice that the Gixer has recently been sold and we have a new bike to play with. At the time 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 riding. Overall, I am extremely surprised at how the tyres have both performed and lasted. Not once have I had any issues from them and in the past few weeks with the high ambient and road 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, with some shopping around, I feel that is a very strong selling price, for a fantastic tyre which balances great grip and feel, with superb life. To answer the question at the start, it is serious that sports touring tyres can replace a hyper sport tyre, and give all the benefits of a sports tyre without the cost, the short lifespan and with a better operating window.