The Roadtec 01 is the most agile, durable and best-gripping sports-touring product that 153-year-old tyre firm Metzeler has ever produced. It’s an evolution of the brand’s popular Z8 Interact, boasting 10% better durability and more consistent performance. As well as being made to last longer and work harder, wet weather grip has also been a key focus, necessitating all-new rubber compounds for both the front and rear. The front tyre features a full silica make-up, promising great grip in the wet and dry, while the rear has a 20% harder-wearing central band between its full silica shoulders. The middle band is also completely devoid of tread, which is proven to improve stability and ensure more even wear.
The pattern on the Metzeler Roadtec 01 is completely new and differs from the front to rear. Transverse grooves are cut into the front tyre to aid water dispersion, while maximising block sizes for optimum grip. The design has also been carefully crafted to work with electronic rider aids and maximize performance while braking. Dubbed as ‘Drops and Sabres’, the rear tyre gets an opposite orientation tread, which offers consistent and increased water dispersion, while seeing an improvement in even wear and a speedier warm-up. Another big improvement of the rear tyre is a 5% wider contact patch, owing to new a new carcass profile.
Stable at Speed!
With the road riding completed, the assessment progressed to controlled tests at the Bosch testing facilities. First up was an hour on the two-mile long, banked high-velocity oval circuit. The idea was to gain an appreciation for the Metzeler Roadtec 01’s stability at high speeds in a controlled environment. An S1000R seemed the perfect weapon of choice for this test, on which it was possible to reach in excess of 170mph. Aside from the quirky sensation of G-force experienced within the half-mile long bends, which force you to stare upwards to get round them, the BMW remained sedately planted at ridiculous speeds. There were three lanes on the banking, and even switching between them caused no concerns, the tyres simply changing direction without any resistance.
A handful of laps were enough to get my feet feeling heavy, so switching bikes gave a good excuse to come into the pitlane and grab a breather. I repeated the exercise on a Suzuki GSX-S1000F and Kawasaki Z1000SX with the same outcomes. The only bike to make me a little anxious was a ZZR1400, which wallowed relentlessly on the banking, albeit probably more due to its suspension setup than anything else.
The speed bowl had been a very telling, if not surreal experience, which was followed by a visit to the centre’s low friction zone. Several lanes of wetted, varying surface type roads were in place, designed to evaluate both tyres and ABS systems alike. For this test we had two Suzuki Bandit 1250s; one fitted with the old Z8 Interacts and the other with the new Metzeler Roadtec 01s. The idea was to get up to 40mph and ride onto a predetermined cobbled lane, before squeezing the clutch in and braking with both the front and rear anchors.
With a set marker at which to start braking, and with on-board data collection recording our results, the idea was to experience just how much better the new tyres were in the wet. First up was the old Z8, which blew me away with how quickly it stopped the big Suzuki. I squeezed the brakes as hard as possible, and only felt mild engagement of the ABS system. The process was repeated a second time before switching to the Roadtec 01-shod machine. These also wasted no time in pulling the bike to a halt, working equally as efficiently as the Z8s and rendering it impossible to work out which had out-performed the other.
Our data gave us the answers though, with my groups’ average stopping distance improving by almost two metres on the new rubber. Considering how slowly we were riding, it was a significant difference, which would only be amplified at speed. It was confidence inspiring that the braking never caused any anxious moments, even when the bike’s ABS was fully-engaged.
The final Metzeler Roadtec 01 test took place on a special wet and dry handling course. At just over a mile in length, half of the facility was soaked and the other half not; loads of bends, undulations and hard braking areas made the narrow and heavily cambered circuit technically challenging. I first headed out on a Kawasaki Versys 650 and was quickly surprised at how well the tyres cut through the water. Within a matter of laps my confidence was through the roof, as the rubber failed to budge in the slightest under hard braking or acceleration.
Switching to a more docile Yamaha MT-07, the Metzeler Roadtec 01 felt even better, and allowed for instant application of the throttle at lean when transitioning from the wet part of the circuit and onto the dry. Psychologically, the dry track I’d just switched to made me forget my tyres and bike were still soaking wet, aided further by the abundance of grip that was instantly on tap from the Roadtecs. Within seconds of being on the dry track, the pegs would be grinding and the throttle wide open; never once leading to any sketchy moments.
The agility of the tyres also had a chance to shine during two uphill chicanes, which necessitated the bike being lent from one extreme to the next. The Metzeler Roadtec 01 rolled effortlessly from one side to the next, remaining stable and precise from apex to apex. It was really impressive stuff and helped me to fully appreciate the brilliance of this new rubber, which is sure to rock the boat in the sports-touring tyre market.
Price : From £106 – £125 (Depend on Size)