Tire-some: more experiences with Metzeler Karoo Street

Not quite done (yet) with remarks and reflections regarding the Metzeler Karoo Street tire. As it is, or will be, available to a lot of different bikes, I think it’s important to share views.

A friend of mine, slightly more experienced with offroad riding also decided to go for Metzeler Karoo Street. Below are his thoughts and reflections so far. For details regarding the tire, composition etc see this page.

New Metzeler Karoo Street on Honda CRF1000L (2016)

CRF1000L-Karoo-Street

First impressions on CRF1000 are very good. Much better handling on dry street than Dunlops (Trailmax and Trailsmarts), and perhaps better even than Conti Trail Attacks. That suprised me. No high way riding though.

Went with 2.5/2.5 bars first and then 2.0/2.2. Not very sensitive to air pressure. Light and precise steering and good grip after running in. Easy turn in without falling over, easy to adjust mid corner and easy to flick from side to side. Relatively that is.

The CRF with the 21 front wheel is not inherently flicky. Aired down to 1.6/1.8 bars (more than intended) before testing on a variety of smooth to rough gravel with rocks, sand and ruts mixed in pluss a stretch of moist grass. Better than 90/10 tires in all respects. Didn’t push very hard though and can’t compare with more dirt oriented tires as I haven’t tried any on such a heavy bike.

Late edit with second impressions

2.0/2.2 bars both on and off road. Nice in the twisties, perhaps a little bit buzzy at speeds above 90 kmh but hard to distinguish from wind noise. Off road they work as could perhaps be expected from looking at the thread pattern.

Although front wheel control in low friction turns are clearly better than 90/10 tyres, they don’t invite powerslides unless there’s a favourable camber and a good margin for error.

The biggest improvement is in getting up or keeping control going down steeper hills and also in grip on gras or sand. And probably mud too but super dry here now and I’ve only crossed a few tiny ponds. Ideally I would have wanted better front wheel control for turning on gravel roads but deeper threads at the sides may have ruined the great cornering on asfalt.

In that sense the “street’ name is well deserved even if they also work better off road than any of my three “trail” tyres.


Potentially also relevant: my own impressions from a 2016 BMW R1200GS Adventure perspective here.

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