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Tyre Launch: Metzeler Racetec K2 and K3 Interact review

A new road-legal trackday tyre from the big elephant

THE SCIENCE PART: Cutting-edge technology comes in the form of 0° steel belts with multiple levels of tension. The crown of the tyre has harder wearing rubber to offer long life, but the wires in the centre section are slightly more flexible than those on the outer edge. This internal flexibility gives the harder rubber the chance to move slightly when you transmit high levels of torque.

The outer edges of the tyre have all the qualities you need in terms of grip, but the steel belts are wound to a higher tension than those in the centre, allowing the smaller contact patch of rubber to grip without moving around too much. The use of these steel belts has allowed Metzeller to use aggressive rubber compounds. Over the whole of the tyre the Racetec Interact has a compound of rubber softer than you might imagine for a tyre designed to last as long as conventional road sports tyres. The Interact is available in four different compounds, ranging from the softest (K0) up to the most road-compliant (K3). All are road legal but dealers have been advised to explain the K0 and K1 spec tyres are race tyres. After riding them in the wet and dry at Brands Hatch, I would recommend the K2 as the best compromise.

RIDING IMPRESSION: The launch was held at a soggy then sun-drenched Brands Hatch. Metzeller fitted the tyres to a range of 600cc and 1000cc sportsbikes.

The Interact has newly designed grooves; there are less of them but they are bigger than the outgoing version of the tyre. I was given the perfect chance to test the capability of these within seconds of stepping onto a drizzling Paddock Hill bend. Cold and on the brakes the front felt dependable within laps.

I rode quicker than I would on the road in the same conditions, and this is not from some race-hardened hack, but from a road rider with average levels of riding experience. In the wet this tyre felt as good as the Dunlop Roadsmart, which won our wet weather test a few issues back.

Two hours later, the track was dry. I took an R6 with a full fuel tank and lapped until the reserve light came on. The K2 compound tyre provided fantastic feedback on every section of the track. High speed turn-in was constant; the Interact was smooth, allowing me to carry plenty of corner speed and to get on the throttle earlier and harder. Through Surtees and into Clark curve the Interact-shod 600 changed direction really easily. After forty-two laps, the tyres still felt good – if anything, the more laps I did the better they felt.

VERDICT: The Interact can do trackdays and Sunday rides perfectly, and should still be up to commuting or a trip across Europe. All the while the Interact will chat away to you, letting you know exactly what’s going on. If you’re a dedicated track rider, go for the K0 and K1 compounds. If you’re not, talk to the tyre man in the shop – you’ll have a good tyre if you get the stickiest variety, but you probably wont need the extra benefits of the K0 or K1.

PRICE: £240 A PAIR

CONTACT: 01283 525 252, www.metzeller.com