MCN Fleet: Time for more tyres on the Ninja 650

Published: 31 July 2017

Metzeler’s Roadtec 01 tyres were a complete revelation for the Ninja 650 when I fitted them a few months back but now it’s time to try something else. 

I’ve opted for a sportier tyre and have chosen to fit the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IIIs. I’m hoping that I can make the most of the summer while it’s briefly here and also because I’d like to take the 650 on track a bit more — where the said tyre will be better suited.

More of the MCN Fleet

In the time that I’ve had the Metzelers fitted, I’ve covered around 3800 miles before wearing the tyres to the legal limit across the middle of the tread. This might not seem a lot — especially with their high cost of £256.

But given that the tyres saw a lot of motorway miles, including a trip to Belgium, two track days and a hill climb, I don’t think the usage time is too bad. 

Meterler Roadtec 01 tyres fitted to my Kawasaki Ninja 650

Thanks to the heavily treaded pattern, the Roadtecs excelled in the wet too, and  the 650 felt loads better from the moment I fitted them.

The thing that surprised me most was just how much Metzelers complemented the suspension of the 650. It made the bike feel almost like it had been upgraded, they were really that good!

I can honestly say that I think they’re the best tyres I’ve used and I’d have been more than happy to fit a fresh rear and spend the rest of the summer on them.

For the sake of variety, and to see how other tyres responded, I opted for the Pirellis though.

Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres ready to be fitted

With less tread, they’re not going to be as good as the Metzelers in the rain, but it’s a small compromise given the time of year and while they don’t flatter the 650 in quite the same way, they offer a very neutral and balanced feel to what is happening with the bike. They also give excellent grip in the dry too.

While I’m sorry to see the Metzeler Roadtec 01s go, I’m also excited to spend the summer on the Rosso III’s.

Now I just need to get on some more trackdays.

Drop James an email at james.archibald@motorcyclenews.com if there's anything you'd specifically like to know about this bike.

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