1997 Honda VFR750F-V
After 10,000 miles of service, Austin retires his Michelins. Cue new rubber
had told me that a set of tyres could transform my bike overnight I’d have thought they were mad – but that’s pretty much what happened when I fitted a pair of Metzeler’s Roadtec 01s to the trusty VFR. The Roadtec 01 is not just an upgrade from its predecessor, the Roadtec Z8, but a brand new tyre that has been developed to offer a higher level of grip in all weather conditions while extending mileage by up to 10 per cent, according to the rubber-moulding boffins at Metzeler. As I got over 10,000 miles out of my previous Michelin Pilot 3s, it’ll be interesting to see if the 01s can match that distance.
Metzeler have achieved this apparent tyre trickery courtesy of a new tread pattern design: the grooves on the front are positioned more transversely to the rolling direction along with new longitudinal groove angles, which are apparently better for dealing with water drainage. The rear has a ‘Drop and Saber’ tread pattern on the sides and this is positioned in the opposite direction to the rolling direction.
The upside of all this tread development business is that it’s created a more centralised and larger contact patch with
Ithe tarmac below, which gives obvious improvements when it comes to grip and stability. Those who liked the deep grooves of the Michelins (like me) will also be pleased to hear that the Metzelers boast similarly deep ones. Apparently this gives better water drainage but on a purely aesthetic level, it’s comforting to inspect a brand new tyre and see really deep grooves – you instantly feel like they’ve got a chance of lasting longer, don’t you?
So what are these bad boys made of? Well again, maximum scientific R&D seems to have been applied to make the Roadtec 01 as efficient, grippy and durable as possible. The front tread is made of nothing but 100 per cent silica compound, while the rear has been fashioned from a dual compound construction that means silica on the shoulders and a mix of silica and carbon black in the middle. The use of similar compounds is supposed to convey a more uniform feel to the rider. I mean, I could go on (no – JM). It all sounds very posh, but there are two things that are going to make these tyres a success in my book: longevity and performance. Clearly it’s going to take a while for me to report back on the former and whether they’ll last as long as the Michelins, so I’ll have to keep you posted on that. But I’ve actually done just over 1500 miles since fitting the Metzelers so I’m in a decent position to give some feedback as to how they perform. And I have to say, my impressions are good. Very good, in fact. The first thing that’s noticeable is how quickly they heat up – particularly handy seeing as it’s getting to that chillier time of year. But the best bit is how both tyres seem to work in perfect harmony. I thought all that talk of the front