Met­zeler M7 RR..............................

New all round rub­ber from the Ger­man road rac­ers de­buts back in Blighty...

Fast Bikes - - CONTENTS - Words: si­mon 'rootsy' roots pics: E DP Photo News UK

This new Ger­man rub­ber gets a past­ing around Cas­tle Combe and be­yond to see if it passes all the tests we set it...

Asong and dance is nor­mally made by a man­u­fac­turer when a new tyre is re­leased. Af­ter all, how else are you sup­posed to tell the world about it? And we were all set for a big launch of Met­zeler’s new M7 RR this spring, to be held at the mag­nif­i­cent Paul Ri­card cir­cuit. But at the last minute the launch was pulled, leav­ing us to make our own event up.

It lacked the glam­our of a man­u­fac­turer de­but, con­sist­ing as it did of go­ing to JHS Rac­ing to get a set fit­ted to my Kawasaki ZX-6R longter­mer and then head­ing to Cas­tle Combe (the Paul Ri­card of the west) for one of its al­ways en­ter­tain­ing track­days. But what the day lacked in glam­our, it more than made up for with rel­e­vance, as Cas­tle Combe is as close to a road as you’ll get, what with its mix of turns, bumps and swells. Fancy for­eign flings at ex­otic tracks and ex­pensed en­ter­tain­ing? Nah, this is more like it!

But what of the tyres? Well, the first thing I no­ticed on my 60-mile ride home along fast A-roads and bumpy B-roads is that the Kawasaki felt like it had a pair of slip­pers on. The ride was trans­formed into com­fort per­son­i­fied, and the new M7 RRs acted as another level of sus­pen­sion to aid the Kwak’s oc­ca­sion­ally re­cal­ci­trant BPF-SPs. All tyres do this to some ex­tent, but the com­fort lev­els over the OE Bridge­stone S20s was pal­pa­ble.

The next morn­ing’s early track in­cur­sions also ex­posed a wel­come trait – the M7 RRs scrub in quickly and can op­er­ate al­most from the get go. It was the start of a warm day, granted, but they went from am­bi­ent to op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture within a lap – even work­ing well on the rarely used left side of the tyre. This was a boon on the day as Cas­tle Combe track­days op­er­ate dif­fer­ently to most oth­ers, with shorter ses­sions be­ing packed into the day. So the tyres would be sat do­ing noth­ing (not cosy in warm­ers), sent out on a warm-up lap, gunned for the next half dozen, and then left to cool. It loves a heat cy­cle…

On track it­self, that no­tion of com­fort trans­formed into feel­ing – es­pe­cially in Combe’s big brak­ing sec­tions. With the bike leant over for the left over, ahem, Avon Rise on the brakes try­ing to scrub off 80mph in a hurry, the front felt like it was lit­er­ally chew­ing on the Tar­mac. It picked up the un­du­la­tions on the track, but only to give feed­back, not to up­set the rest of the bike. On smoother en­tries, the front felt nicely neu­tral. Although I’d like a bit more speed of turn, you can get this with a more fo­cused tyre, thus the M7 suits its more mod­est role well.

At the rear the com­mu­ni­ca­tion lev­els were equally as high. On a hot day with the Kwak’s 115bhp to con­tend with the rear would move a lit­tle within the TC’s ac­cepted tol­er­ances, but this move­ment re­mained con­sis­tent and given the qual­ity of the feed­back this facet be­came some­thing you could start play­ing with. Look­ing at GPS logged apex speeds com­pared with an R1 I was on last year, there was lit­er­ally noth­ing in it, time only be­ing lost due to the ZX-6R’s lack of cubes.

The Met­zel­ers shrugged off a day of abuse on track, and with pres­sures raised back to road lev­els the ‘launch’ con­tin­ued with a ride back home and a can of beer to cel­e­brate another day's sur­vival. The RRs don’t of­fer the last word in grip at ban­zai pace, but still make for a tyre on track that you can re­ally work with and explore – and that feel­ing is height­ened on the road where the con­fi­dence in them grows and grows. Ac­cu­rate and sta­ble on fast A-roads, but still re­tain­ing com­fort and con­fi­dence in more sketchy con­di­tions, they tick the boxes that road rid­ers want tick­ing.

With wet rid­ing be­ing the last hur­dle in this Grand Na­tional of a test, an ob­sta­cle it eas­ily cleared with re­as­sur­ing con­fi­dence, the M7 RR's facets are clear. This is a do any­thing tyre, ca­pa­ble of team­ing up with your tal­ents and tack­ling what­ever you're up for.

The new M7 RR loved its time on track

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