Metzeler Karoo 4 review, more than a predecessor?

Last Updated on: October 25, 2023

The Metzeler Karoo 4 tires became available from March 2022. After some thousands of kilometers on Karoo 3 they weren’t  my first choice.

Far from. Although Karoo 3 had surprised me in some unexpected ways, they had plenty of shortcomings. And these floated to surface as the tires got more worn down. Mostly it was about comfort, but also behaviour on particular surfaces.

When or if you aim for the more rugged sort of adventure tires, reduced quality during the lifespan is one consequence. For some tires the change is very noticeable. With regards to Karoo 3, lets just say that what I dubbed “The Flintstone effects” became more apparent.

Metzeler Karoo 4 on a first test

Out testing the Metzeler Karoo 4 in suitable places.

Choosing Metzeler Karoo 4

I won’t pretend there was a plan. Neither will I pretend the choice was founded thorough research. Things happened as last time or almost. Availability and (lack of) patience influenced the choice. I had the option of waiting for forever to get what I wanted. That, or take tires that were available quickly.

So I made another unqualified decision. With an option to bail out the next day. Did some quick research on the Metzeler Karoo 4 and found nothing alarming. Rather the opposite actually. A few days later the tires arrived and put on the old Alp.

Metzeler Karoo 4 - redesigned thread pattern

Metzeler Karoo 4 front & back.

First impressions

Immediately, while riding away from my dealer, I noticed one major difference. The comfort and noise level of Karoo 4 is on a different level compared to the predecessor. I mean, really different. For sure, there are vibrations. The sensation of riding with an adventure tire is of course there.

But the “Flintstone effect” had morphed into something else.

Riding at normal (in Norway) highway speed wasn’t much different from the fairly road pleasant Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR. A tire I really like for its dual purpose qualities. This can be attributed to the Karoo 4’s redesigned thread pattern. They corner well, feel planted. Whether on dry or wet pavement.

Just want to point out that my impressions are based on riding on a light medium sized motorcycle. With 21″ front and 17″ rear. With some experience I never even considered putting on Karoo 3 on my larger bikes. Wheel dimensions, bike size and not the least weight may largely affect how a tire behaves and feels.

But, so far so good!

Metzeler Karoo 4 offroad & gravel

Extreme rain and lack of time had me postpone further testing for a few weeks. But once “the monsoon” passed, it was time to get out and about. Strong winds and wet roads and tracks added more testing aspects.

Road leading into lake

Shouldn’t be a lake here? But there was.

I don’t use my 1994 Honda XL600V Transalp for very long hauls or rides. It’s mostly for local tours, although a 350 – 400 kilometer day ride isn’t an issue. With multiple stops. I like how the bike behaves offroad, on gravel and dirt tracks or roads. Surprisingly good actually, considering its age.

Riding the Transalp on gravel and dirt

Out riding the Transalp on gravel and dirt

Karoo 4 does nothing to diminish that feeling. Quite the contrary. The changes done to the design of the thread pattern while compared to Karoo 3, have vastly improved performance offroad, and on gravel and dirt.

The tires appears to give much better directional and lateral stability, while handling wet surfaces a lot better than the predecessor. Would say they are significantly much better.

Metzeler Karoo 4 offroad

Metzeler Karoo 4 works well on double and single tracks.

I took the bike onto single and double tracks. And wet dirt, slippery mud mixed with large rock gravel and more. Not once did I feel loss of control, even as the riding got more exciting.

Preliminary conclusion

As season has come to an end here in Norway the preliminary conclusion is that Metzeler have succeeded in making Karoo 4 an interesting option for light medium adventure motorcycles. It’s more dual sport, more comfortable and yet, without at the expense of adventurous riding.

With these tires I would not, unlike with Karoo 3, mind spending hours on transport legs. So coming the 2024 who knows, I might go further afield while in pursuit of adventurous roads.

For technical information, which you did not find here, take a look at this page.

See also

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *