Review: Metzeler Roadtec 01 tyres - £240 - £250 per pair : By Kane Dalton

The best thing about Metzeler’s new sports touring tyre? Its impressive performance in changeable conditions

REPLACING the Roadtec Z8 Interact, the Roadtec 01 is Metzeler’s new sports touring tyre. It’s aimed at naked and sports bikes and is designed for riders who do a lot of commuting and touring but still want dependable performance on high and low friction surfaces (like a cobbled street).

Metzeler presumes you will be riding over most surfaces both dry and wet when you tour, and they tell me they’ve factored in the grip required for riding across high and low friction surfaces in the wet and dry. They also tell me the new tyre boasts 10% increased longevity over the old Z8 Interact, and add that when they got out their clipboards to produce the Z8’s replacement, they wanted to make a tyre that offered greater performance and versatility in all conditions.

I tested the them on the road, round an oval speed circuit, on wet cobbles, on a dry test track with various cambers and different radius turns, and on a soaked test track. Here’s what I think.

The road

The roads near Frankfurt offered the perfect testing ground and the Roadtec’s neutral manner came through on a range of bikes including a Triumph Street Triple, the Yamaha FJR1300 and the BMW R1200GS, which all effortlessly rolled in and out of corners.

On sweeping A roads and a number of smaller B roads and lanes (some of which were very bumpy and only wide enough for bikes), the Roadtecs stayed planted and assured, and even over the worst surfaces, didn’t slip once.

Hitting the brakes really hard on every ABS-equipped bike resulted in the tyres bringing me to a speedy, controlled stop. Again this was on the kinds of surfaces we have in the UK – covering everything from perfect roads to dusty and worn out tarmac, cobbles and recently laid surfaces with remnant gravel.

I felt immediately comfortable and confident on the tyre and it encouraged me from corner to corner, with my speed and lean angle gradually increasing, even on the large touring bikes.

Braking hard for corners, the front felt planted and never gave any indication it would give up. I always experiment carrying a bit of front brake into the bends to see how it feels, loading the front edge under braking, and the front Roadtec 01 remained stable. Dabbing the back brake or trailing in hairpins never created any moments either.

The rear hoop is dual-compound, with the middle section made up of 20% silica designed to aid longevity and stability under acceleration. The shoulders are softer, with a 100% silica compound for cornering grip. The front consists of a single 100% silica compound.

The area of contact with the surface is now wider and shorter which offers more stability and less wear, says Metzeler.

The oval

I’m not talking about the cricket ground in south London, but a banked track that allows you to test the tyre at high speed in a controlled environment, which is especially useful in Germany where the police are stringent when it comes to road violations.

We were briefed to keep to a limit of 125mph to avoid being too competitive, but that rule stuck for about one lap until everyone started trying to go faster and faster. I rode a range of bikes on the oval, including a BMW S1000RR, on which I reached speeds of around 180mph, with the bike feeling planted and stable at all speeds

The wet test track

I left my waterproofs at home on the last launch and I paid heavily for my mistake. This time they were the first thing I packed and it paid off because we got the chance to ride on a wet test circuit at Bosch’s Frankfurt testing facility.

The facility has a series of lanes with different surfaces, and wet and dry options. I rode on wet cobbles. 

I did three runs on the old Roadtec Z8s and then three on the new Roadtec 01s, reaching 38mph then braking as hard as possible. On average, the Roadtec 01s, with a new tread pattern, stopped three metres earlier than the Z8s. 

The wet/dry track test

I tried the tyres on two different test tracks at Bosch’s facility. One was dry and offered the chance to try handling at speed, while the other was set up half wet and half dry, to simulate being caught out in a shower.

I felt nervous hitting the wet section and just as nervous leaving it. Although I was hitting dry track, the tyres were still cold and wet. But if I was fazed, the tyres weren't, giving unexpected levels of grip in these simulated changeable conditions, more so than I would ever dare push for on the road on my own bike. I started pushing harder, leaned further and braked harder and later on both the wet and dry sections. After a few laps, although still cautious, I was happy dragging a knee through the corners on the wet track.

By the time I got on the dry, faster test track, riding various naked bikes, I was more than happy going as quickly through all the technical and sweeping sections, with the sort of lean angle I would expect from more sport-focused rubber.

I think the Metzeler Roadtec 01 is a very competent all-round tyre and, based on the reduced stopping distances we got in the wet, certainly a step on from the Z8.

Tested: Metzeler Roadtec 01 tyres

Price: £240 - £250 a pair

Contact: Metzler

  • Sign up for Visordown's weekly newsletter, Bugsplat, to get the best motorcycle news, road tests and features plus exclusive competitions and offers direct to your inbox. Register as a Visordown member here and tick the box for Bugsplat in your newsletter settings here.