Sticky and long-lasting? Can it be so?
If it’s been a few years since you spooned new tires onto your sporty motorcycle, you definitely want to read this one. First, hey, put new tires on your bike! Second, you may not have noticed that tire technology has advanced like crazy in just the past decade. Enter these new tires from Metzeler—the all-new M9 RR Sportec™ supersport.
You may look at Metzeler’s website and see the “100% silica” note, and think to yourself, wait, that isn’t the same stuff as those little packets of plasticky balls that come in shoe boxes labeled “DO NOT EAT” is it? I am here to tell you, it is. Silica has some pretty magical properties, and when combined with the correct ratios of carbon black and other reinforcing agents, improve all of the aspects of a tire that are important to us motorcycle riders.
Yes, they’re still made out of rubber. Metzeler uses a 100-percent silica-rubber compound to get a tire that claims to break through the traditional limitations of sport rubber. It used to be that you could have sticky tires or you could have tires that last, but you couldn’t have both. Now, it seems, you can.
Metzeler’s website describes the advances in its tires obliquely: “innovative [cord] technology ...contributes to a larger space for the rubber to dynamically perform, without [affecting] the stiffness.” We take this to mean the carcass remains stiff but pliable, which is best to grab the road without delivering an overly rough or squirmy ride. “The strong structure provides a quick and predictable response to riding inputs whilst at the same time delivers an enjoyable, smooth and relaxed riding experience.”
Tire manufacturers are extremely protective of their research and innovations, and carefully guard the trade-secret methods with which they combine their ingredients and assemble their tires. A great tire warms up quickly but does not overheat and melt off. It has low rolling resistance but great grip in wet, dry, or colder conditions. These are all Metzeler’s claims. It’s beginning to sound like magic.
These tires are dual-compound, which means they’re assembled with a stiffer rubber around the center of the tire for better freeway mileage, and a stickier compound on the edges for a confident grip when leaned into a turn. You might see the term “slick shoulders” on the manufacturer’s website; they mean “slick” in that there are no sipes on the edges of the tires (the “shoulders”), not that they are slippery. It also claims, in phrasing I just love, “painless feedback while cornering.” We’ve all experienced the painful corner feedback, when the tire loses grip suddenly and without warning. Yikes.
These tires are new for 2020. The technology in this space gets better every year, so if your tires are five years old or better, you will be well served to get a new set instead of trying to wear out your old ones. You might encounter some painful feedback.
Photo Credit: Metzeler