1997 Honda VFR750F-V

Af­ter 10,000 miles of ser­vice, Austin re­tires his Miche­lins. Cue new rub­ber

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Show Preview - F SOME­ONE

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

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