Tyre test: Metzeler M9 RR sports tyre review


Seven years after their launch, Metzeler’s Sportec M7 RR sports motorbike tyres can still mix it with the best.

But under attack from new rivals in the rubbery shape of Bridgestone’s excellent S22 and the German/Italian firm’s own Pirelli Diablo Rosso 3 the time has come for its replacement: welcome to the Metzeler Sportec M9 RR.

Metzeler Sportec M9 RR specs

Available: Now

Where: Spain: roads near Ronda and Ascari wet weather handling course

When: Friday 28th February 2020

Bike: BMW S1000XR

Sizes: Front: 110/70 x 17, 120/70 x 17. Rear: 150/60 x 17, 160/60 x 17, 180/55 x 17, 180/60 x 17, 190/50 x 17, 190/55 x 17, 200/55 x 17.

Weather watch: Sunny. Temp: 18°C.

The old M7 RR was instantly impressive and always at the pointy end of sports tyre comparison tests. You could throw them on a superbike and grind out a trackday, stick them on a Multistrada and ride to Spain or whack them on an MT-10 and blast confidently through back lanes. They excelled in the dry, wet, were durable and offered a velvety ride over the road surfaces, too.

The 2015 BMW S1000XR with Michael Neeves aboard testing Metzeler M9 RR

As you’d expect from a new generation tyre, the Sportec M9 RR is all-improved with new dual compounds front and rear, construction and a bigger footprint. But what immediately impresses the second you turn a wheel is the new front tyre.

Fitted to our S1000XR test bike they help carve out assured, accurate lines straight to an apex. Just pick a line and boom, the BMW darts there, transforming this sports adventure into a crisp, svelte-steering sportsbike.

Metzeler M9 RR rear tread pattern

Unless you’re doing something really daft it’s impossible to find the edges of rear grip on the road, the M9 RRs are light-steering changing direction and warm-up nice and quickly, too. With Metzeler’s ‘Stig’ being able to carry more lean and get on the throttle harder in testing, they claim the new rubber is 3.4 seconds faster than the old M7 RR around the long Pergusa track in Sicily and 2.5 seconds quicker at the shorter Binetto circuit.

Like its sports touring Roadtec 01 sibling the M9 RR has seriously impressive wet weather straight line braking grip and hang on under the force of brutal acceleration. You can only trouble the ABS and traction electronics if you’re dishing out the kind of brutality you’d never dream of on the road, so there’s a huge safety margin. At their Wachau Ring wet test in Austria the M9s are ahead by 1.9 seconds.

Metzeler M9 RR tested on road and track

You won’t get the same level of grip splashing through corners sports touring rubber, but thanks to full silica front and rear compounds (silica – the thing that makes tyres grip in the wet) we don’t have any heart-in-the-mouth moments, even riding like a relative loon, which is impressive on a high ‘n heavy superbike-engined sports adventure bike.

Sat between sports touring and fast road/trackday rubber the Metzeler’s new Sportec M9 RR is a one-stop-shop tyre for the sporty riders amongst us and a step on from the superb M7 RR and that’s just about the best compliment you can give them.

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