Tested: Metzeler Racetec RR tyres : By Kane Dalton

Visordown's Kane Dalton puts Metzeler's latest tyres through their paces

EVERY biker wonders what is the limit of grip in their tyres. It can become an obsession for racers or track day enthusiasts, constantly pushing to find the very edge. We have to place a lot of trust in the tyres we choose and for my part I've always been a big fan of Metzeler's road range.

I have raced on almost every UK circuit with a set of trusty Interacts fitted (Metzeler's first tyre to run on lower PSI, but with a stiffer tyre wall). Before these I used Metzeler's Sportec, so it's safe to say I know what a good Metzler tyre should feel like.

I took the new Racetec RR's to Mallory Park and Silverstone to see if the new tyres are an improvement. But don't worry - this isn't just a track test for speed junkies. I ride with Metzeler on the road too, mostly because I hate to throw away a perfectly good set of tyres when there's some life in the old dogs yet. Most track wear is on the side of the tyre so there's always plenty of tread left for the commute to work.

Metzeler is claiming the Racetec RR is good for all conditions - but there's a clear road racing pedigree where they've  already been tested at the Isle of Man, North West 200, Southern 100 and Ulster Grand Prix by riders of the calibre of Guy Martin. I tested the RR’s with a K1 compound on the front and K2 on the back. Metzeler also offers a K3 aimed more at road riding.

The RR features all new profiles, new compounds and a new tread pattern. The layout of the grooves was designed to ensure grip in the dry and at the same time water drainage and improved cornering stability. The front tyre is a mono compound with 100 per cent silica. The rear is dual compound: the shoulder has a 100 per cent silica which provides chemical grip on both dry and wet surfaces.

The profile of the tyre is designed to encourage a quick descent into lean but with an increased contact patch mid-corner. Even compared to the Interact, the Racetec RR's grip is immense. I was braking with the rear wheel in the air and not once felt the front wash out on me. When the bike was at full lean I could comfortably move around in the saddle and in a few places where I dropped the bike on my knee (purposely taking a bit more weight on the knee to see if the bike might slide) it was solid.

I raced at Silverstone and Mallory using the Interact but I wish I had had the option of the RR Racetecs. Sure, it was only a track day and most of the time I had a clear track ahead - but I still managed to shave a second off my personal best lap times (set with the Interacts in racing conditions). Perhaps with my race face on I could have gone even quicker.

The radial carcass is made of a special rayon; this structure is much more rigid and able to maintain its shape under conditions of greater stress and deformation from the load.

The stability of the tyre is great and it does not flex as much as its predecessor. Above the radial structure there is a zero degree steel belt built into the tyre for stiffness. This means less flex with more grip. Less movement means that there is less issue with tracking and this translates to a sharper feel and you can be more focused on where you want to go.

The RR’s give you great feedback. I like feeling connected to the road and feeling the inputs that I make carry through to the tarmac. The grip is progressive and the tyre lets you know it’s starting to slide when you are a bit heavier on the throttle. It takes a lot to get the tyre to even start to break away. Of course, you still have to feel your way through when you the bike is cranked over on its side and the straight is beckoning you to open up the throttle.

I did two full days on track and the wear on the tyres was great and predictable. The front tyre looked like it had only just been scrubbed in and the back tyre was wearing evenly all the way across to the edge. The wear on the rear did not show any sign of cold tear. I ran a rear hot pressure of 27 psi and the front was 30 psi. 

I am certain I could squeeze another few track days out these tires and then maybe another 700 hundred miles on the road. Typically you use two rear tires to the one front. Metzeler states the new tyre will give you 20 per cent increase in the mileage over the Interact.

On the road the tyre warms up quickly after a few miles riding, so it's great for feeling confident early into the ride.

I played around with a touch of mid corner braking and the grip held up there too. A dab of back brake just gave me that little extra lean and the bike felt solid. I was a bit more cautious with the front brake, I'm sure you'll forgive me.

I always love the feeling you get from a new set of tyres, the bike feels a little taller and, after the gentle sliding as they bed themselves in, the sensation is great. The agility of the higher profile with that huge side contact patch inspires confidence.

The Racetec RR's offer improvement over the Interact.

For more information visit Metzeler.

Price: Around £260 for front/rear set