Tyre launch: Metzeler Tourance EXP review

Metzeler's new Tourance EXP rubber now gives the heaviest of big trailies grip as well as longevity

Metzeler's Tourance tyre has been about since 1988, so after 20 years it's about time it was finally changed. Big trailies have grown both physically and in terms of power output so while the Tourance still works, it was never designed for the weight and performance of today's 100bhp mammoths.

While looking ostensibly the same as its predecessor, the EXP now benefits from modern tyre technology and features Metzeler's 0¡ steel construction in the front tyre (previously only applied to the rear) together with a rehash of the block pattern and compound. So the EXP, while remaining a long distance tyre will now do performance riding much better.

Not that this tester could immediately tell. Without an immediate back-to-back comparison, I couldn't say I felt any difference to the Tourances I rode a good 12,000 miles on a year ago. Yet while the individual can't feel much of a difference, the fact Metzeler got 40-odd journos from Barcelona to Turin on some of the twistiest and beaten up roads in Europe without so much as one crash or adverse incident - when most of the time the journos were typically riding like hooligans - shows clearly the EXP is a very capable tyre.

The toughest day was for us was riding from Marseilles through the incredible Gorges du Verdon, from there on to the Route de Napoleon and finally into a wee place called Vence, above Nice. Something like 400km or so, but in reality 12-hours of almost non-stop bends, making for never ending gear changes, shredded toe sliders and frazzled brains. Never have such tired journos arrived at a hotel, bereft of powers of communication and some of humour, too (not myself, of course.) It was a properly hard day. Regardless, the EXPs kept us falling into ravines and crashing into the sides of caravans.

The following day's race over the Alps to Turin was on grippy roads so the riding became ever more lairy. The final push to the tunnel at Colle di Tenda saw a shockingly desperate seven-bike race headed by Metzeler's own test riders. Tyre test-riders are legends, they all ride like complete nutters and these chaps were doing a great job of keeping the legend alive. Again, not one GS nor Vstrom nor Caponord bit the road.

So the Tourance EXP offers more of the same, except with more. If you see what I mean. The same 10,000+ miles as the old tyre while offering just that bit more stability and grip. They will cost a bit more too, expect to pay around £190 per pair.