The marketing summary from Metzeler about the new Metzeler M9RR Sportec tyre is simple. ‘The Supersport tyre for your daily leans, enhancing the pleasure of riding without worrying about the unexpected, be that changing tarmac or weather conditions’. Sounds great, but can the M7RR replacement be this good?
The M7RR was a fan favorite but released back in 2013, and it was getting old. Tyre tech moves at an alarming pace, and with competitors releasing updated ranges, Metzeler acted with entirely new construction and design for the M9RR.
The old M7RR was no slouch. Michael Rutter did a standing start Isle of Man TT lap, on a stock (Road going, not SuperStock) GSXR1000. This was using road pressures, cold tyres with no warmers and Michael had never used the M7RR before. Not bad at all.
The tyre that does everything?
Modern tyres cover such a broad range of riding. From elbow down at the apex of a track, to wet and slippery winter roads. This requirement is reflected in the design and construction, which features slick shoulders and grooves based in the centre of the tyre where it is needed most. The M9RR is also the first supersport tyre with 100% silica construction throughout the range. Silica rubber gives good overall grip and a quick warm up time. Typically manufacturers will use silica on edges, for grip, but a harder carbon black in the centre giving extended life.
Modern superbikes are getting ever more demanding on tyres, and without tyre technology developing at the same rate, riders would be snookered. Modern electronic systems are doing that much for the rider, and of course, the tyre has to cope. This is reflected in how the construction of tyres has changed over the past few years.
The new 2020 Metzeler M9RR takes the success from the M7RR and improves even more. Increased tyre life, wet and dry grip and a more responsive feel when cornering are all evident over the previous generation.
M9RR gains new compound and construction methods thanks to Pirelli’s help
The new tyre encompasses a Cap and base construction which uses dual rubber compounds. The M9RR is the first Metzeler front tyre to run dual compounds, giving better grip and feel when at lean. A soft compound on the edges provides more grip, and this is supported by a harder central band helping to stabilise temperature, and giving longer tyre life. Metzeler says 10% better tyre life than the previous M7RR tyre which from all accounts were durable.
The new changes show that not only is the new M9RR better on tyre life, but also 3.4 seconds faster around the Sicilian Pergusa track in an identical back to back, track test. This is also confirmed by being 2.5 seconds faster than the previous Metzeler M7RR around the Binetto circuit in Italy.
Of course, not everybody who buys the Metzeler M9RR will be blasting around tracks, in the Mediterranean.
No fun in the sun for me…
I’ve been spending early 2020 wobbling around the cold and wet Midlands, on a 190/55 combination on the R1. Very different to Italy. Riding in England is a great test of real-world road riding, which so far has been immensely promising.
Most modern 1000cc sportsbike and supernaked owners will sympathise with me about tyre life. When Metzler told me about the 10% increase in mileage, this came as a godsend. The R1 goes through a rear in around 2500 miles, so that extra 10% is very welcome. I’m not even the hardest of riders, I look after the tyres quite well. I tend to ride smoothly, so I’m sure there are people getting even fewer miles than me.
Previously I have always had a more trackday focused tyre, with less tread, for the R1. Not for any reason I particular other than it being OEM fitment, but trying some more road-focused rubber has revolutionised my riding.
10% extra tyre life from the M9RR
Warm-up times are reduced, the tyre gets hotter on the road, wet grip is noticeably higher with a more surefooted feel, great for confidence. The tyre is wearing evenly across the surface, despite some heavy use.
Grip levels are remarkable, full-throttle over white lines gives no tail-happy action, and the profile and softer edges give endless confidence when at lean. Designed for fast road riding on fast road machinery these M9RR have firmly hit the nail on the head.
Metzeler covers every size and shape
Sizes include all popular sizes with a 110 and 120, 17″ fronts, and rears from 150/60 up to 200/55 profiles.
Not content with making superbike sized and shaped hoops, the smart people at Metzeler have created the M9RR in adventure bike sizes. Later in 2020 Metzeler will release options for bikes with 19″ front and 17″ rears, satisfying KTM, BMW and Suzuki owners. No word on 21″/18″ for the likes of the T7 or Africa twin yet.
For me, I’ve been using a 120/190 combination, on the R1. While previously I have played around with tyre pressures, sofar I’ve religiously stuck to manufacturers recommendations of 36F and 42R. This gives plenty of feeling, excellent ride quality, and best of all, wear is looking even and as expected.
M9RR for road riding
This tyre has so much more to give than I can use for riding on the road; it almost feels overkill. I’m a progressively fast road rider, and not once has this tyre given me any ill-feeling or let me know I’m getting close to its limit. It is much more capable than me, so I am 100% confident you won’t find the limit of this tyre on the road unless something is going really really wrong, or you are SERIOUSLY pushing on, at way more than the speed limit.
I’ve tested them in torrential rain, Welsh mountain passes covered in sheep sh*t, fords, cattle grids, landslides, and over gravel, with lean at 60mph. None of these has shaken the M9RR. I am seriously impressed. I genuinely think these could be my new go-to tyre as it balances great everything.
Metzeler M9RR wet grip
The reworked tread profile over the M7RR also boasts better-wet grip, and the modern developments in tyre technology really show. The summer grip on the M9RR is impressive, but when the winter draws in, the clocks go back, and the darkness and rain come, the M9RR remains stable and predictable. I tested this on a Welsh ride out, where I got well and truly soaked. I have never ever been this wet whilst on a motorcycle, but the grip and feel that came from the M9RR allowed me to press on at normal pace, without any issues. One real big brownie point for the M9RR.
Being a more sports touring orientated tyre, the heat-up is quick and easy, and the tyre maintains heat well. Compared to a full-on trackday tyre, which takes more work to heat up and will lose more heat when conditions change. The tyre eats up standing water giving a surefooted feeling even through the deepest puddles at speed. Wet surfaces are a doddle, and to cap it all off; the tyres still look in great shape after a tortuous wet ride.
Metzler M9RR vs others
I’ve been using the M9RR for a year now, and the milage has been good. Admittedly COVID-19 has reduced the milage I rode last year due to the various lockdowns, but I still managed some commutes, pleasure rides and work activities. The tyre still has loads of life left, and even using them in winter with heavy rain, leaves and cold temperatures I’ve had zero issues. Compared to the RS10’s I ran previously they take less warming up than the RS10, and give good grip straight from the off. The RS10 could get a little bit ‘fun’ when temperatures dipped or water was standing.
I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how the M9RR compares with the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso4 when it launches in 2021. The Diablo rosso is more of a touring styled tyre but these two should be a good comparison. I’ve also heard good things about the Bridgestone S22, which is more road-based than the RS10/RS11, but have only tried them out on the ZX6R which I only had for a short period of time.
Then there is the price; a pair can be had in 1000cc sized 120/190 combo for circa £240 and a tenner cheaper for a 120/180 combo. Less expensive than Bridgestone’s RS11, Pirelli’s Supercorsa range, and Dunlops Sportsmart TT. No prices have been released for the upcoming adventure bike sizing yet, but they too will be competitive, and we eagerly await trying those!
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