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Metzeler ME Z1 Radials
Metzeler ME Z1 Radials Today's high-horsepower sportbikes place tremendous stress on tires. Motorcycle suspension and chassis design has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years, meaning cornering forces exerted on a tire's carcass have also increased exponentially. Similarly, engine technology has advanced to the point where 130 horsepower, once only attainable by pukka racebikes, is considered the norm for an open-class sportbike. That kind of power makes life very hard for a poor street tire.
Luckily, tire manufacturers have risen to the challenge of producing tires whose grip can match the needs of modern sportbikes. Today's street-legal motorcycle tires offer better traction than racing slicks of less than 10 years ago, while still providing good wet-weather performance and longevity.
Metzeler's offering into the production racing tire battle is the ME Z1 models, featuring an aggressive and distinct tread pattern. The rear tire's construction uses a single steel belt cord laid at zero degrees, a feature Metzeler claims allows the use of softer compounds without sacrificing mileage. Front tire construction is a more conventional radial design.
Our testers liked the Metzeler's rounded profile, one that offers both a large contact patch under braking and predictable turn-in performance. Some tires with a more triangulated profile can be less predictable under hard braking, and initial lean-in is a little too sudden for some riders.
In terms of overall grip, the Metzelers fall short of Dunlop's D-207 - even though we were testing their race compound. If we were going racing, we would opt for the Dunlop. However, the Metzelers have an advantage with their quick warm-up time. While some production racing tires require several laps to come up to temperature, the ME Z1's were offering impressive grip after just half a lap. Whether you ride on the street or track, the advantages of this feature are obvious.
In terms of longevity, our ME Z1 tires seem to be holding up very well. Those fitted to the GSXR1100 and YZF1000 have endured two full days of dragstrip and racetrack testing, as well as over 2,000 very punishing street miles. Amazingly, they still have lots of tread left, and traction is very close to what they offered new. This kind of durability from tires that offer so much grip is unparalleled.
Price of Metzeler's ME Z1 radials in a 120/70-17 front and 190/50-17 rear are $156.41 and $232.48 respectively. Current sizes available in street compound fronts are:
130/70-16, 110/70-17, 110/80-17, 120/80-17,
120/70-17, 130/60-17, 110/80-18 120/70-18
For the rear they offer sizes:
150/60-17, 160/60-17, 180/55-17, 190/50-17 and 160/60-18.
In their race compound they offer front sizes:
130/70-16, 110/70-17, 120/60-17 and 120/70-17.
Rear sizes available are:
150/60-17, 160/60-17, 180/55-17 and 190/50-17