We have long since returned our 2004 ST1300 to Honda, but we wanted to fill our readers in on a tire change we made a few hundred miles before we parted with this fine machine.
Our bike was delivered with Dunlop D220s, as discussed in our earlier report. Although decent sport-touring tires, we wanted a tire that was less prone to following freeway rain grooves, while providing better feedback. We ended up finding exactly what we were looking for when we spooned on a set of Metzeler’s new Roadtec Z6 radials.
The Roadtecs (sized for the ST1300 with 120/70ZR18 front and 170/60ZR17 rear) felt a lot like the latest sportbike rubber we have been blasting around Southern California on for the past several months. Once scrubbed in, the Z6s provided dramatically improved grip while cornering, and gave us the feedback we were looking for… particularly, from the front tire. They also felt less nervous on our Southern California freeways, eliminating the tendency to follow rain grooves that had been present with the D220s.
Unfortunately, with only a few hundred miles on these tires before we had to return the bike, we cannot tell you much about their treadwear. They did look virtually new when we said goodbye to our ST.
Speaking of the ST, our mileage improved a bit from our first test (reaching the low 40s), and we continued to experience maintenance-free riding right up to the end. As pointed out in our prior report, the 2005 model should now be available (as of February) in the new color Candy Dark Red.
The main focus of this report is the not-too-surprising advance in the quality of sport-touring rubber (all motorcycle tire technology seems to have taken a leap forward in the last couple of years). The Roadtec Z6s are definitely worth trying if you ride your sport-tourer aggressively and want to keep up with your friends on their sportbikes through the twisties. Metzeler claims the Roadtec Z6 provides excellent mileage, improving on the tire wear exhibited by the well respected predecessor to the Z6, the MEZ4. Take a look at Metzeler’s web site for additional information. Suggested retail for the Roadtec Z6 ranges from $146.95 to $154.30 for fronts and from $181.23 to $227.58 for rears. You should be able to find lower street prices.