Verdict: Metzeler’s Karoo 4 raises the bar for on and off-road riders

1 of 4

It’s a question that gets asked constantly. What’s the best tyre for my adventure bike?

It obviously all comes down to the type of riding you intend to do, but if your answer is a healthy mix of on-road and off-road then you fall into a category where all the leading tyre manufacturers are investing and developing in a bid to find the ultimate compromise.

For the last nine years one of Metzeler’s offerings to the adventure bike market has been the Karoo 3, a tyre which already has a good reputation for road manners, off-road grip and longevity. With the adventure bike market continuing to grow year on year it’s a lucrative place to be for tyre companies; so enter the all new Karoo 4 for 2022.

Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres

More from MCN

Aimed at mid to large adventure bikes with a focus on increased off-road, road and wet weather performance the Karoo 4 is more than a gentle evolution or rebranded Karoo 3.

The tread pattern is clearly different, with Metzeler claiming more rubber on the ground at any one time. The overlapping of the central spoon shaped tread and the outer nobs has been designed to increase grip, stability and accuracy when leaning even on fully loaded 1200cc plus adventure bikes.

The pattern is also designed to avoid the tyre clogging up in muddy conditions due to the angle, shape and positioning of the out side nobs.

The radial front tyre is a single compound, while the rear (in the larger sizes) has a 100% carbon black central compound with the shoulder of the tyre getting an 80% carbon black, 20% silica mix.

Sliding the Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres

MCN made first contact with the tyre in Italy in dry conditions so we are unable to vindicate the wet weather road performance or the mud dispersion claims. 

However after four intense hours of riding a mixture of bikes on and off-road ranging from a Yamaha Ténéré 700, to a KTM 1290 Adventure S, and even a Ducati Multistrada V4 it’s hard not to be impressed.

The off-road riding was dry, loose and dusty, meaning grip levels were inherently low – especially when you have well over 100bhp on tap. The front tyre offered impressive levels of grip given the conditions and rewarded with high levels of confidence.

While it was easy to get the rear spinning wildly due to the loose conditions, a more gentle approach showed the rear would hook up well and provide good acceleration.

Sliding the Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres on the KTM 1290 Adventure S

Arguably the on-road performance was a bigger surprise though, with the twisty, narrow, mountain passes outside of Milan proving a comprehensive test for stability, braking and changes of direction.

Particularly impressive was the Karoo 4s performance and rider feedback it gave during hard changes of direction while braking on the 230kg V4 Multistrada.

In what is an important and expanding market, the new Metzeler Karoo 4 offers seriously impressive on road performance and stability. Our off-road test was a tough one due to the dry, lose, low grip conditions, which means we’re yet to test them in cold, wet trails here in the UK, but we will…

Metzeler Karoo 4 specs

Bi-compound rear tyre, Zero degree steel belt for added stability, shorter but wider contact area to improve tyre life. Available in a wide range of sizes in 19″ and 21″ front and both 17″ and 18″ rear.


Yamaha Ténéré 700 video review

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in Advice…

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider