Back with Metzeler Karoo Street updates, per July 2018. Now after a trans-euro ride. Been an absolutely awesome adventure! Despite experiences I could have done well without.
More about that later. Now, tire-ingly, lets talk biznizz. For a more professional review, check out this page.
Metzeler Karoo Street; still good but..
Have sung this tire’s praise in a previous post, and published some experiences by a friend of mine, who rides a Honda AfricaTwin. To date the tires have done approx. 9.130 kilometers or 5.763 miles. Under various conditions and surfaces, that now also includes (very) wet, very slick surfaces.
I’ve been up and down mountain passes in Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia. And gone through more hairpins than I will ever care to count.
Overall, Metzeler Karoo Street has continued to perform very well. The front wheel noise has faded or waned somewhat, but never completely gone away. Didn’t expect that. Long distance travelers should better consider good earplugs. Especially if riding at constant speeds (with cruise control), the singing from the front tire is very present.
Some will, or might, find the noise annoying. If so, and you don’t really need a 70/30 tire, consider carefully to choose a 90/10. Like the Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2.
Fortunately for me I’ve got custom molded ear plugs. Lately modified beyond the -26db round-off in the bass area. Reason being they did not sufficiently reduce the resonance frequency from the front tire.
I think you, like me, will get used to it. The offroad capability is so vastly much better than any 90/10 tire. if you plan to even ride a little on gravel, maybe dirt, across mountains and into woods, then I am afraid you’d better get used to the downsides.
Might try noise cancelling plugs next. Because i do miss the quietness of the former Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2.
Performance, oh yeah they’re good
The tire sticks as glue to any pavement, regardless of quality. I will actually say that, doing hairpins in peg-scraping speed with a fully loaded BMW R1200GS Adventure was absolutely awesome. And every bit as good as experiences with more 90/10, dual sport tires.
My confidence in Karoo Street’s road performance prior to the trip was solid. It remains.. solid.
Metzeler has, in my honest unprofessional opinion, fully succeeded in combining performance on (any) pavement with offroad capabilities. If you like to take curves in high speed, well a pair will not let you down.
I cannot imagine any 50/50 or more offroad biased tire being able to come close. The reason is the nature of the compound, pattern design and the shoulders, or outer rims, of the Karoo Street.
Performance on Wet, Wet, Wet
This was one area where I had no former experience with the Karoo Street. Now I have. And they are very good. In fact, I will say, even after 7.000+ kilometers, much better on various wet pavement than any other tire I, for one, have tested.
This is for me a very important, and critical aspect. A tire is of zero use to me if I cannot trust what it does on wet surfaces. Here Karoo Street beats my previous favorite, the 90/10 Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2. Even with the bike fully loaded with luggage, plus full tank, In felt a new level of confidence, even on slick, variable pavement and roads.
Big, no.. HUGE plus!
Durability, not quite what I’d hoped for
No, especially not after getting 14.500 kilometers out of the pair of Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2. But maybe that is something one has to accept. I’ve read articles on how the formula and compound supposedly should be better than other Metzeler tires.
Since I’ve had several Metzeler on touring bikes I beg to differ, somewhat. Symptoms are pretty much the same whilst seen from my corner. If you want to max out the lifespan of a set, stay off freeways. Stay off the Autobahn. Don’t ride in excess of >Autobahn speed limit (where there is one) for longer periods.
if you do, you’ll be able to see what happens. This tire flattens quickly.
However, I think they are vastly better than anything more offroad biased. 9.130 kilometers or 5.763 miles should legitimize my opinion. But my rear is quickly coming to an end.
Upside: <2x rear for 1x front and…
So the rear wears faster than I’d hoped. But the front tire seems to do ok. Based on what I can see the front should last me almost another rear. I can’t be entirely certain, but here it seems Metzeler are right. The front does seem to tolerate the beating and miles quite well.
Another aspect of importance. I think the tire handles wear pretty decently. I did some gravel and offroad in Denmark, Germany, Austria and, lastly, Sweden. In other words, at different mileage.
Considering that in all cases the bike was fully loaded with panniers and luggage they worked very well. With the exception of the Sweden experience. At around 8.500 kilometers the tire no longer gives me the good feeling on gravel I had earlier. But still, much better than a 90/10.
So, will I buy Metzeler Karoo Street again?
Yes I will. For as long as gravel, rocks, woods and mountain roads appeals to me, the need to have a compromise, or a true dual sport tire will prevail. My riding style demands good road performance. My age demands high safety on wet surfaces.
All this considered, with a minus on front tire noise, Karoo Street is this far the best tire set I’ve had.
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