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, to turn me away from my stubborn thoughts of running sports tyres, on a sport bike.
It is very common for people to stick with what they know. Safety and confidence is paramount so sticking to what you like helps. However, there is always a world of other options that could be a better.
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 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 say this increases mechanical grip when riding on all surfaces. 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, there are lots of groves for dissipating standing water. 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.
I’m not the biggest long-distance rider, I don’t tour, unless petrol stations count, but 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 I’m not fussed by wet weather. Mainly it’s a good mix of both spirited and relaxing riding, on a mix of motorways, twisty country roads and town riding.
I have been commuting on the bike to work a lot more. When travelling on rural roads that are caked in muck and other debris on previous hypersport tyres, there would sometimes be an unsettling wiggle. Not with the Roadtecs, wet weather, they are perfect, and even when temperatures dip they are packed with grip. They 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.
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 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.
To answer the starting question, sport touring tyres can replace a hyper sport tyre for road riding. Track day’s is a different story.