In Search Of The Perfect Tire

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Article And Photos By: Patrick Garvin – www.jpcycles.com

Originally Published In The November 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

I want it all from my tires, super sticky, long life and a good ride. Unfortunately, that’s not a reality, with tires there generally has to be some compromise. If you get a sticky tire, you won’t get long life and vice versa. Those facts have not stopped me from looking for the holy grail of motorcycle tires. Which lead me to my current choice of tire on the trusty Dyna, the Metzeler ME888. Having owned a few sets of ME880’s (the predecessor to the ME888) I was down to give the triple 8’s a try. I threw them on a little earlier in the year but had only ridden them locally around town and in my favorite Black Hills canyons. I was starting to form an opinion on them but had yet to take them on a real trip. Then an opportunity to go on the DevilStone Run came up, and I jumped at the chance to go. The trip out west proved to be a great testing ground for the tires as I put them through a ton of different paces. First off, I was camping off my bike for four days, so I was loaded about as heavy as I get. Second, we put on every kind of mile possible. Plenty of backroad two-lane cruising, some real aggressive twisty carving, a fair amount of dirt road ripping and some 90mph interstate blasting to round out a nice 1100 mile extended weekend.

After my local canyon ripping and the DevilStone trip, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the ME888’s. Are they the holy grail of tires? No, but they are a damn good all around tire. Everyone’s main concern with tires is usually mileage, mine isn’t (its grip), but for the sake of the masses, we can talk about it fi rst. This tire is 100% designed for milage, now we can talk about transversal grooves, and compound ridges or I can just tell you that after 4,000 plus miles on the tires they look as good as new, and I’m not particularly easy on tires. Sometimes a side effect of a high mileage tire can be a rough ride, that’s not the case here, they ride smooth and silky no matter the terrain. And I have ran them through every terrain possible, pavement, gravel, dirt, twisty blacktop, and heavy rain; they are very capable in all situations. Like I mentioned before my #1 concern with tires is grip, and I had some concerns with the ME888’s seeing how they are a mileage tire.

My concerns were somewhat valid but only in the most aggressive situations. As you can see from the ground off footpegs, you can pretty confidently push these tires to some signifi cant lean angle. I was able to break them loose on the exit of some corners, but you had to really be pushing your corner speed and be early and aggressive with the throttle. It’s also worth noting that my bike has a bit of a hot rod engine and that could have contributed to the black marks exiting the corner. Overall the ME888 has been a great all-around performer as tires go. If I had one request, its that Metzeler make a stickier version of this tire, I for one would be willing to sacrifi ce some mileage for some more traction in those peg grinding situations. If your bike is in need of some new shoes give some thought to the ME888, I think you will be satisfi ed.

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