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MCN Fleet: New tyres transform the Ninja 650

Published: 18 April 2017

Updated: 18 April 2017

The Metzeler Roadtec 01 tyres that replaced the OE spec Dunlop Sportmax D214s have completely transformed the Ninja 650.

I decided to change tyres after finding the standard D214s to be lacking in feel when I was able to start using the bike properly. It was especially bad when using the bike in the rain, leaving little confidence or faith in the Ninja.

I feel that the D214s are the area that highlight the Ninja’s budget price-tag more than anything else, and make the lack of adjustment in the suspension far more noticeable.


Covering a total of 1,800 miles on the standard tyres before upgrading, I’d wanted to be sure that they were used in varying conditions and on differing roads to make sure I had a good overall impression of what they were like for an everyday rider.

After talking about the problem to Senior Road Tester Michael Neeves he recommended changing the tyres before starting to try and upgrade the suspension.

With a set of Roadtec 01s fitted I found the bike to behave in a very different way. They flatter the budget suspension in a way that the D214s could only dream. And though it still struggles and is still wallowy when really pushing on, it’s far less noticeable.

Besides that, the bike feels more connected to the road, it’s more agile and responsive. It turns in easier and feels far better through the middle of the corner. They also warm up quicker too. 

I didn’t think it would be as noticeable as it has been but would now wholeheartedly recommend upgrading the stock tyres to something better. Especially if you might be commuting in the rain.

I took part in Prescott Bike Festival too, where I had the chance to run the hill on the Ninja and was especially glad of the better feel there too.

The Metzelers aren’t cheap at £261.75 for the set, but damn they’re good.

Photos: Dennis Wood/James Archibald

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