There was a time when buying a sport-touring tire was like kissing your sister: it was pleasant enough, but nothing like the real thing. Metzeler attempted to change that about six years ago with the introduction of their MEZ4 sport-touring radial. The Z4 emphasized the "sport" end of the sport-touring equation, and was the first tire to employ Metzeler's patented 0( steel-belted radial technology on both the front and rear tires (it had previously been only available on rears; and, in fact, up to that time it had been thought that 0( steel-belted front tires could not work). The front acted like a built-in steering damper; the rear provided exceptional stability and control. Reviewers and riders praised its performance, its handling - and its mileage. The result? Six years later, the MEZ4 was still one of the best sellers in the Metzeler line, and was OE on bikes as different as the Yamaha FJR-1300 and Suzuki's initial SV650.
Now comes the brand new Roadtec Z6. And according to Metzeler, it's as different - and as advanced - as its predecessor was at its introduction. The new Z6 takes advantage of virtually all of the company's technological advancements over the past six years. (Metzeler is unique in that it is purely a motorcycle-tire company, the only motorcycle tire manufacturer that is.) Also, sport-touring bikes have improved significantly, gaining increased capacity, suspensions, and power, and the tires had to match the bike's requirements in these areas.
The main focus points of the Z6's development criteria were a distinct improvement in dry grip, wet performance, light, neutral handling, comfort - and, of course, mileage. According to Metzeler, these criteria were met through four technological features: new compounding, an innovative tread design, advanced tire profiles, and the company's patented 0( steel-belted radial construction front and rear.
In compounding, a new extrusion process allows for use of the latest generation of high-performance polymers, carbon black, and silica. Called FCM - for Fine Carbon Matrix - the structure of the Roadtec's compound was specifically developed for the performance of modern sport-touring bikes. The benefits are said to be significantly improved wet handling, precise corner entry and progressive response, impressive dry grip in both cold and warm weather, and quicker warm-up over a wider ambient temperature range. Metzeler's testing showed that the Z6's new FCM compound delivers up to a 20% dry-grip improvement over the Z4. The Roadtec Z6 even offers two carcass constructions in the most popular rear size (180/55-17): one optimized for bikes less than 530 pounds; one for bikes over 530 pounds, with the tires' structural characteristics tuned for each.
The innovative new front and rear tread patterns, with improved land/sea ratios, are designed to work together for enhanced water drainage. The result is 30% better wet handling and grip than the MEZ4 (again based on Metzeler testing), better feedback in the wet - a sense of being "connected" to the road, more confidence in wet cornering, excellent grip and traction in all conditions, combined with extended mileage.
Metzeler's new CMT (Contour Modeling Technology) permits the development of the tire's profile by combining different designs, each one of which is optimized for a particular lean angle. In this way, Metzeler feels the best possible compromise is obtained to suit all riding conditions and provide neutral and progressive handling, stable trajectory, and "confidence-inspiring" cornering at all lean angles. New sidewall construction, specifically tuned for sport-touring bikes, provides a new level of bump absorption and tire compliance on rough or pitted surfaces; this higher level of self-damping is designed for more comfort for both the rider and passenger.
The Roadtec features the latest generation of Metzeler's patented 0( steel-belted radial construction. The result is a stable contact patch that minimizes tire deformation at speed - especially in loaded conditions, providing exceptional high-speed stability, excellent balance in transitions, and linear, predictable handling. The 0( steel's stable contact patch is not affected by braking in corners, so it greatly minimizes tire's tendency to stand up in corners. Metzeler's new Roadtec Z6 is available in a full range of sizes for all modern-era bikes:
Suggested retail prices range from $146.95 to $154.30 for fronts; $181.23 to $227.58 for rears.
For more information, see your nearest Metzeler dealer or visit: www.us.metzelermoto.com. For a free copy of Metzeler's new full-color 2004 line brochure, contact Metzeler directly at: Metzeler Motorcycle Tires North America, P.O. Box 700, Rome, GA 30162-7000