As you can see Metzeler’s Sportec M5 Interact tires do an outstanding job of channeling water away from the surface of the tire.
German motorcycle tire producer, Metzeler, has introduced a new street bike tire designed to tackle any and all sport riding situations from the street to the racetrack. Available in an assortment of sizes for all modern street and sportbike motorcycles, the Metzeler Sportec M5 Interact is claimed to be a sport motorcyclist’s sole tire solution.
The M5 Interact expands on many of the features of its predecessor, the Sportec M3, including handling and outright traction on both wet and dry road surfaces. To do this it incorporated Interact technology as used on the Interact Z6 sport touring tire (learn all about it in our Metzeler Roadtec Z6 Interact Review).
Riders demand a lot from their tires. Not only do they need to have plenty of grip during spirited riding, they have to be stable and provide decent service life when piling on the miles during the weekday grind. In order to fulfill these needs many manufacturers use different compound tread zones throughout the tire. Metzeler, however, tackles the problem by using its proprietary Interact technology in which the tire’s steel-banded carcass is precision tuned much like the strings of a guitar. This allows engineers to literally tune each and every section of the tire for more or less flex.
The carcass uses three different belt tension levels divided among five sections of the tire. At the center a high belt winding tension provides stability and prevents squirm during hard acceleration. It’s flanked by a lower tension level which allows that area of the tire to flex more. This heats up the rubber compound allowing it to deliver optimum road grip. Additionally, it also helps the tire conform to the surface of the road expanding the contact patch. At the tire’s edge a high tension (in between that of the center and the lateral sections) is used to keep the tire planted during maximum lean.
A new tread pattern is modeled after the Greek letter Pi giving it a cool and easily recognizable look. The design works in unison with an updated and uniform rubber compound, as well as the varied belt tension to provide favorable levels of grip in both the wet and dry. Furthermore the tread pattern has been engineered to channel away water more effectively on wet road surfaces. Both sides of the rear tire also feature a clever lean indicator which shows how much lean the rider is achieving from the tires during cornering.
To discover how Metzeler’s new hoops performed they invited us to Portimao racing circuit—the same Portuguese racetrack that the World Superbike boys bang bars around. A wide variety of current generation street and sportbikes from all the major players including BMW, Kawasaki, KTM, Honda and Yamaha were all brought out for us to ride on—sounds amazing right? Well, besides the fact that a good part of the day was spent sloshing around a drenched racetrack, it was.
(Above) The Sportec M5 Interact tires provide enough traction to allow for spirited riding around the racetrack even on a big-bore Sportbike. (Below) Test riders logged over 186,000 miles on streets and racetracks in order to come up with the final version of the Sportec M5 Interact.
Having only a handful of laps in the dry on a new racing circuit that I’ve never had the chance to lap meant that it was difficult to explore the tires’ outright adhesion in the first two dry sessions. What we can tell you is that the tires offer an above average level of warm-up time. Despite starting off with brand-new, un-scrubbed tires, and without the added benefit of tire warmers, we were able to reach a knee-dragging riding pace within the start of the first lap—an impressive feat.
By incorporating its trademark zero-degree belt construction method, Metzeler’s line of tires have developed a reputation for its lofty level of straight-line stability, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that each and every bike we rode—even BMW’s 180-horsepower S1000RR had no issues with stability down Portimao’s stretched straightaway at upwards of 150 mph.
Another one of the tires’ major pluses is just how well the tires complement the handling attributes of each of the motorcycles we rode. From turn-in through corner apex as well as picking the bike up and accelerating off of the corner, the tires deliver a fair amount of feedback compared to other everyday makes. This allows you to get comfortable with the handling attributes of the motorcycle and ultimately ride faster with confidence.
The single aspect that we learned the most about was just how good the Interacts are in the wet. By the end of our second 20-minute session rain began falling sporadically on various sections of the track. This is without a doubt the single sketchiest riding situation because one part of the circuit is completely dry while other parts would be damp. But even these conditions didn’t cause much concern as long as you were smooth with the controls and refrained from any ham-fisted maneuvers. Later on, the rain started to pour down everywhere, soaking the track. Grip from the tires wasn’t quite high enough to get a knee down with both tires squirming once a certain lean threshold was reached. However, traction while the bike was straight up and down was first-rate with the bike still able to wheelie on certain parts of the track.
One of the biggest attributes of Metzeler’s new Sportec M5 tire is predictability. While the tires will inevitably break traction in both the wet and the dry they do so in a predictable fashion.
When it comes to picking up a new set of tires there certainly is no shortage of options. But the key difference setting Metzeler apart from other premium brands is its never-ending commitment to producing better rubber for us die-hard sport riding fanatics. From the guys in the design department to its marketing team and experienced legion of test riders—the one thing they all share is that they absolutely love to ride bikes. For Metzeler selling tires is more than just about making a buck, it’s about pushing the boundaries of performance to allow motorcyclists to be able to ride faster with greater ease, whether it be on the street or the racetrack in the wet or dry.
The Sportec M5 Interacts are available now in a wide range of sizes including 120/60 and 120/70 for 17-inch front rims and 160/60, 180/55, 190/50 and 190/55 for 17-inch rears.
Metzeler Sportec M5 Interacts are available at Motorcycle Superstore.