James heads north in search of an­swers

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - james.archibald@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Tyre choice has been the defin­ing fac­tor of my time with the GS – es­pe­cially with the lim­ited op­tions avail­able thanks to the 21in front.

The Pirelli Scor­pion Trail tyres (typ­i­cally £198 be­fore fit­ting) that came as stan­dard were fine on the road but didn’t of­fer suf­fi­cient grip for any se­ri­ous off-road ap­pli­ca­tions.

With some dirt ac­tion planned, as well as a rid­ing ad­ven­ture around Scot­land, I was cu­ri­ous to see how a set of off-road fo­cused tyres would per­form on tar­mac and in the mud.

I’d found the Con­ti­nen­tal TKC70 tyres £214) that were fit­ted ear­lier in the year very un­sta­ble when rid­ing at speed and they never gave me the feel I was look­ing for both on the road and off.

So I de­cided to try a set of Met­zeler Ka­roo 3s (£182) and thought I might have found the Holy Grail of do-ev­ery­thing, go-any­where rub­ber. They per­formed so well, in fact, that I was able to re­ally ex­plore the lim­its and true po­ten­tial of the GS off-road. More than I could have ever done on the TKC 70s.

On the road they were a lit­tle slow and re­luc­tant to turn-in to cor­ners, but man­age­able, and re­mained sta­ble at speed. I also got bet­ter feel than other off-road fo­cused tyres thanks to the chunky tread pat­tern that spans the width of the tyre.

And then it rained… It couldn’t have been more dif­fer­ent. I’d found the Achilles heel in the Met­zel­ers’ abil­ity. It felt like I was rid­ing on ice as the bike would spin up un­der its mod­est 85hp on the road. It was also un­nerv­ing as I felt the bike slide on more than one oc­ca­sion when ne­go­ti­at­ing round­abouts. My fairly ham-fisted ap­proach to the throt­tle on the GS doesn’t help with this but I don’t en­joy rid­ing timidly, and what’s the point of rid­ing if not to en­joy it?

It’s a real shame that the Ka­roos didn’t work bet­ter in the wet, if they had I would gen­uinely back them as pos­si­bly the most ver­sa­tile rub­ber out there to fit the GS.

Next up was a set of Miche­lin Ana­kee IIIS and a tour of Scot­land. The High­lands aren’t ex­actly known for dry con­di­tions, but the Miche­lins (£211) ac­quit­ted them­selves well in all weath­ers. The Ana­kee IIIS are a de­cent road tyre for the GS. They give good grip and in­spire con­fi­dence when it’s dry and per­form bet­ter than the Pirellis in the wet.

Although they might not have al­lowed me to ex­plore trails as widely as the Ka­roos, what they did do was en­cour­age me to make the most of some of our finest as­phalt.

So to an­swer, I’ve still yet to find the per­fect do ev­ery­thing tyre. The Ka­roo 3s are a very good off-road tyre for the GS but for the ma­jor­ity of the road rid­ing that I’ve done the Ana­kee IIIS have been the tyre I would go to for ev­ery­day use.

15,965 MILES Ka­roo 3s did the job in the dirt but were nasty on damp tar­mac

Ana­kee IIIS are the best op­tion so far

The Con­tis weren’t great at speed

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