Tires – Metzeler launches the multi-range tire –

Metzeler launches the multi-range tire

Tires - Metzeler launches the multi-range tire -

In the tire war, the weapon supposed to decide between models is called multigum. However, for its latest Sport Touring, the Roadtec Z6 Interact, Metzeler retains a unique composition that complies with the needs of the user: multi-range ! Test.

It is on the legendary route of the Isle of Man that the German firm Metzeler (Italian group Pirelli) has chosen to present the replacement of the acclaimed Roadtec Z6 to a handful of privileged customers (read) and a dozen European journalists..

The opportunity for Site to take on one of the most dangerous road circuits in the world (more than 200 deaths in 100 years of racing) with one of the most anticipated products on the Sport Touring market..

The million, the million !

Unveiled in 2003, the Roadtec Z6 has established itself as a benchmark in the highly competitive Sport Touring tire segment (30% of the market in France): this practice brings together enthusiasts of products that allow them to ride far, long, in the dry like in the wet, while not excluding the possibility of having a little fun, just to show friends that a big GT sport or a torquey roadster is not "calf slack" !

A sort of squaring of the circle, a priori almost impossible to achieve, but which is increasingly popular with French and European bikers. In this niche, several models share the cake: in addition to the aforementioned Roadtec Z6, we find among others, the recent Bridgestone BT21, the Michelin Pilot Road 2, the Continental Road Attack and the Dunlop Roadsmart.

145 years of innovation

  • 1863 – Robert Friedrich Metzeler opens company to market rubber and stretch materials in Munich, Germany.

  • 1890 – Metzeler Becomes Leader in Emerging Aviation Industry, Developing New Blend of Rubber and Cotton.

  • 1933 – Creation of the first tire made from "BUNA", a new synthetic rubber.

  • 1937 – Metzeler sets new world motorcycle speed record of 279.50 km / h.

  • 1978 – Development of the first tubeless tire in Europe.

  • 1978/79 – Metzeler is exclusively dedicated to the production of motorcycle tires. The Munich plant is closed and transferred to Breuberg.

  • 1983 – Introduction of the first cross ply tire with a Kevlar belt. This development will be called the "MBS" (Metzeler Belt System).

  • 1986 – On January 1, 1986, the Metzeler company was acquired by the Pirelli group.

  • 1987 – Launch of the first tire containing silica. This is the launch of the COMPK gum.

  • 1992 – Creation of the ME Z1, the first radial rear tire with 0 ° steel belt for motorcycles.

  • 1994 – New world record for 24-hour average speed at 246 km / h.

  • 2003 – Presentation of a new sport touring tire: the Roadtec Z6.

  • 2005 – Market launch of the latest Supersport Sportec M3 tire.
  • However, the Metzeler Z6 has always figured at the top of the table in the comparisons and has forged a solid reputation for efficiency with users. Result: 1.1 million copies of the Roadtec Z6 have found buyers since its launch just five years ago.

    Metzeler’s objective is therefore clear: to do even better at all levels, without betraying the original spirit that made the success of the previous model, but by adapting it to the new constraints of today….

    "Over the past five years, the Sport Touring market has evolved considerably", explains Dr Peter Kronthaler, technical director of the brand:"motorcycles are more and more powerful, more and more light and manageable and the behavior of the users has followed this change. Metzeler has chosen to anticipate the trend by offering today a replacement for the Roadtec Z6, in order to further improve the performance of our products.".

    A daring choice for the manufacturer who takes the risk of replacing a reference on the market and therefore of "missing out" in terms of receptivity to the public: this is why Metzeler has chosen to organize an "Interact with me "in order to get as close as possible to the opinion of its customers, by offering them the opportunity to preview the result of the brainstorming of their engineers: 500 participants from ten European countries responded to the call , thereby demonstrating the correctness of the manufacturer’s reasoning: "You may create a perfect combination in the laboratory and promote it as such, in the end only the opinion of the consumer will determine the success of the product, because they are the ones who will use it day by day.", confides Samuela Bracco, Metzeler" brand manager ".

    What’s up Doc ?

    In terms of composition, the new Roadtec Z6 Interact differs from its predecessor by the use of new materials, but above all "Metzeler engineers highlighted the fact that the performance of the tire depended on the differences in tension of the 0 ° steel belt depending on its position on the tread"says Dr Kronthaler.

    Thus, a new winding process makes it possible to distribute the load more evenly over the different zones of the tire. In short, the tension of the steel cables of the 0 ° belt is very strong in the center of the tire, then gradually decreases as it gets closer to the sidewalls. This new application would allow "offer better agility as well as excellent flexibility allowing maximum grip when tilting the bike", promises us the press kit, which does not hesitate to compare this technique to the interaction between the muscles and the nerves of the human body…

    All this while (of course!) Retaining the advantages of said 0 ° belt: irreproachable stability at high speed and when braking, controlled wear and increased comfort. The profile of this new tire retains the CMT technology (contour shaping technology) already proven – successfully – on the Roadtec Z6, as well as the same tread: the only visible difference between the two tires will be a double orange stripe at the center of Interact, which will fade over time.

    Finally, Dr Peter Kronthaler will tell us that he worked at length with his team on the composition of its casing: from the release of the previous model, the engineers set out to find better combinations to improve behavior in the dry, but especially in the dry. wet, one of the key factors for users of this type of tire: "In fact, the Roadtec Z6’s behavior in the wet was already very satisfactory, however thanks to a higher silica content (65% against 30% previously) and to the use of novel synthetic polymers, the temperature rise is faster , behavior in the wet even better and longevity identical to that of the Roadtec Z6", assures the scientist.

    Roadtec Z6 Interact: the tire to overcome the "Ton" wall ?!

    Intended primarily for grand touring motorcycles (long journeys with saddlebags and / or passenger) or urban driving, the new Z6 Interact "is a tire capable of supporting a high torque even in angle gear and makes possible a very sporty driving on winding roads or in the urban jungle", assure its designers.

    And that’s rather good, because to apprehend his inclinations of sportiness, the road layout of 60.75 km surveying the Isle of Man should pose as a true justice of the peace !

    Since 1907, this archipelago of 76,000 inhabitants has hosted one of the last real road races in the world: if Charlie Collier was the first to win the first edition of the Tourist Trophy at an average lap speed of 61.46 km / h, that -ci increased rapidly to reach the "Ton" is 100 miles per hour (a little over 160 km / h!) in 1957 and even 130.354 mph (208.5 km / h!) for the winner of the edition 2007, John McGuinness !

    An incredible performance in view of the layout itself: setting off to attack the formidable route with an 800 VFR V-Tec, the immensity of the dangerousness of this one appears to us from the first turns: of course, in the race the track is closed to traffic and the obligation to drive on the left – so confusing for us French people – disappears, as well as the risks associated with overtaking, but the condition of the road in some places gives you chills !

    May Mc Guinness, Joey Dunlop and others Steve Hislop manage to maintain such a high pace in the middle of cities, compressions worthy of a field of motocross, all lined with sidewalks (painted as vibrators!) And road signs ( protected by thin bales of straw …) remained a mystery during the four laps made during our test !

    However, the Roadtec Z6 Interact is transformed into a precious ally: reassuring from the first turns of the wheels, its round profile and its generous grip go perfectly with the high level homogeneity of the Honda 800 VFR. It seems that the manufacturer – who advances as leader in Germany and second in Italy – has found a good balance which should allow to find the same sensations of stability and feeling as with the old Roadtec Z6.

    The 110bhp (horsepower – like speed between cities – not being limited on the island!) Of the Sport Touring icon according to Honda never compromised rear tire grip, no matter what. the quality of the coating, despite generous accelerations on the angle in the mountainous part, ultra fast !

    Only a tendency to lock on the brakes, when entering curves, was felt with the VFR: a characteristic to be validated, with one of the twenty (!) Machines – of all brands and of different displacements – updated. our disposition.

    Stability in a straight line is imperative and this even at high speed: surprised by the lack of protection of the Honda (a defect already noted during our test, read) in long straight lines, we do not realize until a little later that the "110" displayed on the odometer obviously corresponds to miles, or about 180 in good old km / h !

    The occasion to salute the good behavior of the front tire during strong braking: it has never slipped away, no matter how vigorously the right grip was operated! A little later, on the handlebars of the new Honda 600 CBR, it is even the rear of the machine which rises on the outskirts of a right approached in a somewhat optimistic way … Is not Joey Dunlop (and his 26 victories on the island!) who wants !

    The rain did not come to play the spoilsport, only a few wet areas in the wooded (and rather tortuous!) Part of the "circuit" allowed us to check the progress made in terms of grip in the wet: if the test passed successfully and with complete peace of mind, it is of course insufficient to judge the real value of tires in tricky conditions: Site readers, to your comments after driving in the rain !

    No multi layers, but multiple use…

    Before switching from the Honda to a Ducati MultiStrada 1100, Dr Peter Kronthaler explains to us why Metzeler has chosen to remain faithful to the mono composition of this new tire: "it is true that many of our competitors – Michelin, Bridgestone and Pirelli in particular – have marketed products with several types of rubber on the surface of the tire: at Metzeler, we do not believe in this technology in the Sport segment. Touring, because we are convinced that the wear and behavior of the tire should be the same, regardless of the incline. This is the only guarantee of constant quality, whatever the mileage of the tire.".

    A clear line of reasoning which seems to go against current trends but which is justified – according to Metzeler – on the Z6 Interact by the use of an "interactive" belt and components with surprising adaptability, largely satisfactory for the users.

    Counting on the large torque available (10.3 m / kg at 4500 rpm) of the Ducati to undermine the rear in the pins of the "TT", the observation was however the same as with the Honda VFR: the reserve grip seems largely up to the task and setting the angle is done in all serenity, without any ulterior motives. The ideal temperature rise is rapid and you can take advantage of the grip available after just a few turns: surprising !

    The front – again! – requires more attention when braking on the angle. For the rest, the observation is satisfactory and the Ducati never offers unwelcome evasions: the behavior of the tire is very predictable and we obtain an appropriate response to the demands made on the motorcycle. Only improvisation at a sustained pace will require a little control: the round profile of the tire favoring stability, agility in small corners is inevitably felt..

    Who says Sport Touring says sport !

    A stop at the famous cafe on the "Greg-Ny-Baa" curve allows us to join the winners of the "Interact with me" game, including the Site winner for France, David Rocher: "this tire is amazing! I chose to ride a Triumph Sprint ST and never, despite the sustained pace of the leading man, have I experienced any fear or lack of grip! It is incredible for a Sport Touring tire, even when putting full throttle in curves, the behavior remained very healthy !"

    Decided to verify the validity of the promises of sportiness of the new Z6 Interact and the senses sharpened by two laps of the circuit, the choice of the motorcycles used for the continuation had to make it possible to gauge this potential … and why not go tickle the barrier "Ton" (!!): a 600 Hornet and a 600 GSX-R of the latest generation bent over backwards to convince us !

    From the first meters on the handlebars of the Hornet, the overall ease of the machine and its high level of performance prompted arsoui … hum! … to further testing! At ease behind the former German road rally champion (and incidentally winner in 1976 of the Tourist Trophy) Helmut Dahne, the pace increases, but without ever going beyond reasonable limits: as with all road driving, it ‘is of course the survival instinct which takes care of moderating the enthusiasm, in any case far removed from a racing rhythm !

    However, the promised sporting potential is well and truly there: whether in hairpins or in long curves, the possible angle of grip and the feeling of confidence delivered by the set of tires is impressive. And if we find this feeling of locking on the front – but more slightly – on the Honda hornet, it is completely obscured on the two Supersports CBR and GSX-R.

    Admittedly, the particular geometry of these machines improves the possible performances, but still it is necessary that the mounted tire is able to access it! And this really seems the case with the one handily replacing the Roadtec Z6, so much so that one can even wonder if it will not overshadow the rest of the range….

    "We do not think so", replies Samuela Bracco for Metzeler:"people who only like sporty driving will always go for our specific products like the Sportec M3. As a first step, we will keep the old Roadtec Z6 model in the catalog, because it is available in 25 different sizes while the Interact currently only has six formats representing 70% of the market.".

    The new Roadtec Z6 Interact should be available in dealerships this week at a price "4 to 5% higher than the old model", says Metzeler: the price to pay for the use of new technologies and new materials. In the present case (even if the longevity of the product and its behavior in the wet remain to be discovered during more thorough tests), it seems that this slight inflation is justified: find out and send us your comments on Site !

    Alexandre BARDIN – Photos DR

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