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Metzeler Sportec M3 tyre review

The truth is we're spoiled rotten with decent tyres these days, and the latest in a line of sporty road rubber that's better than we deserve is Metzeler's just released Sportec M3.

Metzeler is pitching the M3 very much as a supersport tyre, sitting between the sporty-to-sensible Sportec M1 and the out-and-out track-focused Racetec. But here's the thing - modern advances in rubber-blending wizardry mean we're now getting track levels of grip and rapid turn-in married to fast warm-up, rock solid

stability, superb wet weather performance and decent longevity. Tyres such as Michelin's Pilot Powers, Bridgestone's BT014s and Pirelli's Diablos (and I'm not talking about the Corsas here) are superb road tyres that can be hustled round a track at a remarkable pace. The Sportec M3s are the new kid on the block in this respect, and are looking to move things even further forward. That means more grip, better turn-in, better mileage... You get the idea.

On the roads of Sicily - some of the roughest in western Europe - the M3s were spot-on. Our route was mainly fast straights, sweeping corners and the odd four-foot deep pothole, and under those conditions the GSX-R1000 I was on remained oil tanker stable with impressive feedback, especially from the rear under power. At the technical briefing Metzeler bods went on about the different yet complementary front/rear compounds, designed to 'react oversteering tendency, enhancing the grip balance'. Yeah, right, thought I, but as it turned out the GSX-R felt strangely well-balanced and accurate accelerating out of fast corners.

Out on track the M3s particularly impressed, with superb stability on the brakes and remarkable grip in turns for a road tyre, especially from the front.

The reality is that tyres such as these are more than most of us need most of the time, and the fact they can handle such a wide range of conditions and temperatures only makes them more of a bargain. I would be more than happy to commute on these M3s all week, and not bat an eyelid about turning up at a track day on a GSX-R/R1/whatever for a blast around.

It's really hard to find anything negative to say about the M3s. In fact, on road or track and on a variety of machinery - GSX-R1000, 999, R1 and ZX-6R - I couldn't fault them. They're stable, predictable, neutral and very, very grippy. Two key things we didn't test were wet weather performance and tyre life, so I can't comment on either. Metzeler claim both are exceptional for a tyre with this level of dry weather performance and, given that everything else they told us about the M3 turned out to be spot-on, I wouldn't be surprised if they're telling the truth.

The M3s are in the shops any minute now, priced around £200 for a 120/70 and 180/55 pair. Look at www.metzelermoto.co.uk or call 0845 609 4949.

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