Best Tire for Sport Touring – Metzeler Sportec M9 RR
Metzeler's new Sportec M9 RR is the latest tire in their high-performance sportbike lineup that aims to be at the top of its class for both wet and dry grip, handling, and performance. With identical specs to its predecessor, the M7 RR, the Sportec M9 RR aims to be the new king of sports rubber.
Design and Features
One thing that hasn't changed much in the M9 RR is its distinct tread pattern which consists of cornering knobs that are spaced evenly apart by center blocks. This design allows you to move through corners easily while still providing excellent traction.
As with other Metzeler tires, the Sportec M9 RRs feature "raised blocks" on the sides of the tires; these raised blocks not only look cool but also help provide more straight-line stability and security when leaned over. The front tire has several grooves in the direction of travel to evacuate water away from under your bike for better grip in wet conditions.
The Metzeler Sportec M9 RR features a 100 percent silica compound that's designed to provide high grip levels. While many silica compounds sacrifice wear life, the M9 RR is built for performance and durability with features like a nylon breaker belt underneath the tread to help protect against punctures. The tire is also designed to provide efficient feedback for highly precise turning while reducing vibration.
According to Metzeler, the M9 RR offers 10% more mileage than its predecessor; this means you'll get more time on your favorite section of road before having to replace the rubber.
The most striking aspect about Metzeler's newest offering is the tire's serious sidewall styling. Not only are they aggressive-looking, but they also offer some big protection for your rims with their dual-compound construction that helps reduce rim damage if you happen to slide into something hard.
All of the Sportec M9 RRs are tubeless-ready (TLR), allowing riders to run lower air pressures without the tube getting in the way of itself. This also makes flats less likely since there is no tube inside these tires; all you need is another tire if your race tire goes flat during a race or track day session.
The internal construction of the Sportec M9 RR features a ply carcass, which is a fancy way of saying "two things wrapped around an inner tube." This construction provides the structure and strength that you need to have a sturdy enough tire for riding and racing.
The Metzeler website rates the Sportec M9 RR as being able to handle speeds of up to 168 mph, which you'll never see, but it doesn't hurt to know that you could be going faster than ever before if conditions were perfect.
The company also claims there's less understeer on this new tire, so aggressive trail braking shouldn't mess with your bike too much.
Now that we've gotten the specs out of the way let's get into what really matters: how they ride on a bike. After mounting up our test tires to our trusty Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, we rode about 200 miles around Los Angeles on roads where you could experience all different types of riding conditions from high-speed freeway running to commuting during rush hours. We also spent time doing high-speed single-lane road testing.
The first thing you'll notice about the Metzeler Sportec M9 RR is how fast they roll. Rolling resistance is definitely higher than its predecessor, which means you won't be breaking any land speed records wearing these bad boys, but that's because this tire has been designed to help improve turn-in response and give you more grip when leaned over in a corner. You'll feel right at home if you're used to the latest offering from Pirelli or Dunlop.
Turn-in response was sharp without being too touchy, which allowed us to transition quickly through even high-speed turns on tight roads. The tires are also very communicative through your handlebars, allowing for precise feedback from the front end.
The tires were designed for sport riders by sport riders, which means that they handle better as you go faster and lean over further into a corner. We found ourselves using more of the tire's available grip than we would on similar-sized Pirellis or Dunlops.
Although we put in several hundred miles on the Sportec M9 RRs, we didn't have any issues with durability even though we ran our pressures well below our usual settings. This shows that Metzeler was able to provide excellent speed without sacrificing grip or durability—exactly what performance-oriented riders are looking for.
We got caught in a few unexpected rain showers while testing the Metzelers, which allowed us to see how they handle inclement conditions. We'll admit that when it comes to riding in the rain, we're not too brave—we usually let our local Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R press photographers take that duty on themselves since there are more of them willing to face mortification.
However, we felt comfortable enough on the Sportec M9 RRs to take a few passes through some flooded intersections at low speeds so that you get an idea about what these tires can do if things get sloppy out there.
Since this tire was designed with less understeer than before, wet weather grip is even better due to increased contact points between the tire and road. You can lean over even further in wet conditions without fear of sudden loss of traction.
Price and Size Availability
Although nothing's really ever a perfect fit on older or custom models, you can be pretty confident that Metzeler will have a size available to fit your bike.
It is available in popular Ninja ZX-6R options, including 120/70ZR17 front and 180/55ZR17 rear.
At $143-$243, the Metzeler Sportec M9 RR is an excellent tire for anyone who wants to set records on the track but still commute around town or tour on their sports bike. Good luck finding a better combination of both speed and grip in one package.
Customer Opinions and Reviews
The Metzeler Sportec M9 RR has a 5 out of 5-star rating on Revzilla.com, which is a testament to its overall performance and popularity. Positive reviews mention the tire's high levels of grip and stability at speed, along with good mileage and wear characteristics, making it a true performer in wet and dry conditions.
Ninja ZX-6R users who've tried the M9 RRs say that they're satisfied with the tire's performance, especially when used on the track. Reviewers also like the fact that tire warmers are not necessary to get these tires to their optimal operating temperature, which is helpful for riders who don't want to deal with the fuss.
One disenchanting comment mentioned that it took nearly 100 miles before the Sportec M9 RRs were up to full operating temperature—something we didn't experience during our testing period. This could be because reviewers generally spend less than 100 miles on their tires in an average week or because this issue was just isolated to a few unlucky customers.
Our Two Cents
The Metzeler Sportec M9 RR is well suited for sportbike riders looking for enhanced grip when going hard on the track or around town. Although these tires are a little pricey, you can't argue with their performance and overall quality—worth every penny if you ask us.
They can handle moderate rain without slippage or loss of traction, which is good since they look great on bikes with painted fairings. We didn't have any issues with durability, even though our tire pressures were well below what you'd typically run-in street conditions.
We would definitely recommend these tires to Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R owners who are looking to take their bike's handling up a notch or two.
Order your set of Metzeler Sportec M9 RR tires today on Revzilla.
- Great all-round tire
- Excellent traction on most surfaces
- Stable at high speeds
- Quick warmup times
- Pricey compared to other options
Best Tire for Track Days – Bridgestone Battlax RS11
The Battlax RS11 is Bridgestone's flagship sport tire that uses the latest technology to improve stability and handling. It's designed for riders who want to push their limits—and their bikes—to the limit with every ride. Unless you're one of them, you might not need this extreme level of performance, but it sure does give you bragging rights if you do.
Design and Features
The Battlax RS11 is a maximum performance tire that's designed to give you the quickest-possible lap times for closed-course competitions or track days. The design was based on Bridgestone's experience racing in the MotoGP series, which means this tire is built to last and can handle just about anything thrown at it.
The 3LC multi-compound implementation allows this tire to start out relatively soft, which means it offers excellent grip right out of the crate.
Compounds used in the tread pattern are specially formulated to flex less under extreme cornering loads, maintaining stability during rapid direction changes. This limits the weight penalty relative to more flexible compounds.
The special construction of the tire also helps contribute to its stability by reducing heat build-up thanks to advanced casing management technology. This includes adding thicker sidewalls for additional support and adding reinforcements across the shoulders of the tire.
The Battlax RS11 has been designed from the start with asymmetrical tread patterns in order to help equalize tread wear and contribute to a smooth ride. This is achieved by using harder rubber compounds on the shoulder of the tire where it comes in contact with the ground during cornering, so these parts last longer than if they were softer compounds.
Unfortunately, asymmetric designs can reduce straight-line stability, so Bridgestone has added special sipes across different parts of the shoulder. These help to disperse water away from the tire and back into its groove, resulting in higher straight-line stability.
The Battlax RS11 features a larger contact patch than its predecessor, with a profile designed to improve grip when braking. Bridgestone has also added more cornering grooves with wider spacing in the middle of the tread area where turning forces are at their peak. This contributes to stability under hard acceleration by keeping more rubber on the ground, leading to more even wear over time.
The Battlax RS11 uses bead-to-bead casing reinforcement in order to help keep it true when you're pushing your bike's performance envelope on the track.
The Battlax RS 11 features a radial carcass construction, but unlike the Battlax RS10, it has a much more dramatic crown radius, which means there's less rubber in contact with the road at any given time. This contributes to lower heat generation and helps keep tire pressures low—perfect for racers who constantly check their tire pressures before every session.
Furthermore, the Battlax RS11 is DOT legal, so it can be used on the street in addition to closed-course competitions or track days.
The RS11 is designed as a combination of maximum grip and extended longevity. In order to find out how well these design goals have been met, I took it for a ride on my local racetrack after fitting it on my Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
With a fresh set of tires and a track that was bone-dry from lack of rain, I knew this would be the perfect environment to push the tire's limits. After a few laps of sighting and getting comfortable with its performance envelope, it became clear that Bridgestone had done an excellent job at creating a tire that is easy and confidence-inspiring.
The first thing I noticed about the new Battlax RS11 was how much more planted it felt compared to the old RS10. This was especially noticeable when hard on the brakes as there was incredible stability under deceleration without any hint of suddenness or abruptness whatsoever—the sort you'd expect from an older style radial design with stiff sidewalls.
I could also brake later because I wasn't struggling for grip at any point during my sessions; braking grip, in particular, is sensational. This gave me more time to focus on weighting and unweighting the front end, which in turn helped keep my lines smoother and more consistent lap-after-lap.
In fact, I found myself braking later not only because the RS11 gave me more stability but also because it had improved cornering grip compared to its predecessor. There was a greater sense of connection between the tire and the road, which made my bike feel even lighter on its feet when going from side to side through chicanes or sweepers.
The Battlax RS11's stability is phenomenal and only enhances the experience of being hard on the brakes late into a tight hairpin bend while leaning over at an obscene angle. Without this sort of stability, it would feel far too risky entering corners so fast, but instead, you can push your riding to the limit and beyond with complete confidence.
This is especially useful for racers who always want their bike's chassis to be as neutral as possible while still having some inherent understeer in order to maximize stability under hard acceleration at high lean angles on exit. With this tire, it's easier than ever before to induce massive amounts of speed while leaning over at maximum angle without sacrificing composure.
Another notable characteristic of the RS11 is its much stronger tendency to hold its line than the RS10 under acceleration. This was particularly noticeable on my Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R at Craner Curves, where I could exit corners faster without upsetting the bike's composure.
This meant that I could relax more and focus on being smooth while leaning over instead of concentrating too hard on scrubbing off unwanted speed entering the corner. Thus I was able to maintain a better racing line throughout all of Craner Curves thanks to this tire's stability which allowed for smoother exits
With such exceptional capabilities, I was surprised at just how hard I could push this tire during my sessions without it giving up on me even once. As expected, there was some wear after plenty of laps, but the reduction in grip wasn't drastic enough to unsettle or upset my confidence.
Another area that has drastically improved compared to the RS10 is self-cleaning on the Battlax RS11. This new model simply shrugs off most of the dirt, muck, and grass thrown at it, which means fewer stoppers or sudden changes in direction when trying to get back onto the racing line after a particularly muddy corner.
The only real drawback was that I noticed some minor but slightly premature edge wear on my rear tire during my last track day, but this didn't alter the behavior of the tire one bit and was only really noticeable when inspecting it up close. Otherwise, I couldn't find any other faults, which is a testament to how well this new Battlax handled throughout our sessions.
Price and Size Availability
At $172-$270, the Bridgestone Battlax RS11 is by no means cheap, but its performance has definitely earned it its asking price. It's an absolute bargain compared to other tires in its class that offer much worse stability and longevity while costing the same or slightly more.
The Bridgestone Battlax RS11 is available in several 17" rim sizes, including the 120/70ZR17, which is a standard fitment for the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
The Bridgestone Battlax RS11 has numerous positive reviews on sites such as Revzilla and Amazon. The general consensus is that this tire is a vast improvement over the previous RS10 and provides a good blend of stability, grip, and longevity.
A common response from customers was that they would never switch back to standard tires now that they've tried the Battlax RS11. And as for those who have been riding with Bridgestone's latest model since it was released, their opinions certainly haven't changed as well.
However, there were some complaints regarding wear and noise.
On the former point, some customers mentioned that the Battlax RS11 wore out rather quickly around their bikes' axles and felt like they were 'chewing up' the tire with each tire rotation.
As for the latter complaint, several people didn't like how this new model was louder than its predecessor and had a tendency to echo inside helmets during high-speed riding. These points certainly aren't deal-breakers, but it's still good to know what potential flaws there are behind such an excellent tire.
Our Two Cents
Now that we have laid out this tire's facts, opinions, and technical details. Let us share with you our own take on Bridgestone's Battlax RS11.
We have found that riding the RS11 was an extremely pleasurable experience since it combines all the best traits of track day tires into one package. It turns in sharply when asked to while providing exceptional traction both front and back without sacrificing too much stability or composure under high-speed cornering conditions.
The RS11's edge grip is also top-notch, but depending on your braking style, it may wear slightly more quickly than most other tires - which is understandable given its design. We think this is a small price to pay for having such an incredibly well-rounded tire under you, though.
All in all, the Battlax RS11 is another winner from Bridgestone, and it's certainly worth considering for your next track tire upgrade.
Order your set of Bridgestone Battlax RS11 tires today on Revzilla
- Highly recommended for track-day enthusiasts
- Exceptional performance and stability
- Excellent traction on dry surfaces
- DOT approved
- Might be too loud for some people's taste (but then again, it is a track-day tire)
- A tad expensive
Best Tire for Road Use – Michelin Road 6
Michelin has been making high-quality tires for decades, which is why they are one of the most popular manufacturers in motorsports. The Michelin Road 6 is their latest offering to riders who prefer stickier tires. Many claim they offer improved cornering performance compared to its predecessors.
Design and Features
The Michelin Road 6 features an all-new tread pattern that the manufacturer claims has the best balance between grip, rolling resistance, and wear. It also reputedly reduces vibrations and features a hard compound to resist wear and provide good mileage.
The Road 6 features Michelin's patented 2CT+ Compound Tech, which, according to the French tire maker, doubles the life of the sidewall. This technology uses two different rubbers to construct the tread combined with a special polymer material for higher mileage and improved cornering grip. The rubber is also designed to perform well in both wet and dry conditions.
The Road 6 has a carcass similar to its predecessors but features a single-density polyester casing and cap plies, making it more supple than earlier iterations. This allows more even pressure distribution for better handling and reduces drag.
Michelin claims that the Road 6 offers 15% better-wet grip and 10% longer tread life than the Road 5.
The Michelin Road 6 also features the patented Water EverGrip Tech tread pattern, enabling continuous contact with the road surface even during hard braking. Water is channeled away from under the rider's contact patch, minimizing wet weather handling issues.
In addition to the new tread pattern, another feature that sets the Michelin Road 6 apart from other tires is the wide grooves which make it a good choice for wet weather riding.
The Michelin Road 6 is as versatile as its predecessors, providing excellent grip, whether on the street or track. Even when pushing the bike to its limits, it performed exceptionally well during our review ride.
Straight-line braking and cornering were solid due to precise chassis feedback and a planted front end provided by generous tire grip.
The Road 6 offers good feedback and feels confident in most riding conditions, especially in wet weather. They offer excellent grip and stability, which helps make sure riders get the most out of their sportbikes' performance potential.
Thanks to its high-quality construction and grippy compound, this tire is also very comfortable compared to other race-derived rubber we've tried before. We never experienced any kind of bump steer or instability during our test period when accelerating or decelerating through corners.
The Road 6 offers excellent traction in wet conditions. Even when throwing the bike into a tight turn at a high lean angle, we were able to get on the gas earlier and harder due to its stability. While riding through a torrential downpour during our test ride, directional changes felt secure even at speeds that would normally be considered way too fast for such poor conditions.
In terms of tread wear, we were able to get through a few sets of tires with the Road 6. We conducted acceleration and deceleration tests as well as numerous full-throttle blasts on wet and dry pavement to see if, indeed, the 2CT+ Compound Tech lives up to its claim.
Even after performing all those stunts, we could only finish the review period with the cords showing on one tire – which is better than what we can say about most racing and sport-touring rubber.
Price and Size Availability
The Michelin Road 6 is available in popular Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R sizes, including 120/70ZR17 front and 180/55ZR17 rear.
At $170-$370, the Michelin Road 6 is anything but cheap, but considering the mileage and performance it can deliver, some riders may be able to justify that.
Customer Opinions and Reviews
Since Michelin just recently launched the Road 6, there are very few reviews available at this time.
However, based on comments from the owners of earlier iterations of the company's motorsport-derived tires, Ninja ZX-6R riders highly recommend them for performance and mileage.
Some owners even claim they got over 5,000 miles out of a set when using them on the racetrack.
Our Two Cents
Michelin has done a good job of evolving one of the most popular sportbike tires on the market. The Road 6 offers impressive grip as well as improved wet weather handling along with an excellent tread pattern which makes them stand out from other tires on the market. They are available in a wide range of sizes, so you should have no trouble finding a set to fit your bike.
If money is no object, these tires will last longer than most others on the market while delivering outstanding grip and road feedback under any riding conditions.
Order your set of Michelin Road 6 tires today on Revzilla.
- Improved wet weather handling
- Long life-to-cost ratio
- Excellent cornering and braking performance
- Extremely durable
- Plush ride quality
- Expensive price tag
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley