In this week's show, Ray talked us through his insurance win, we have another look
When we picked up the Beta RR430, it came with a really nice set of Maxxis Enduro tyres. These gave amazing traction in sand and on the rocks but were wearing out rather quickly. We managed around 5 hours on the OEM tyres before they were looking around 50% worn. So we put the call out to Forbes & Davies, NZ Metzeler distributor, and they came through with some new shoes.
We're now running a Metzeler MC360 R front and a Karoo Extreme on the rear.
The Metzeler MC360 R is known as a very hard-wearing tyre. Made completely from Carbon Black, it's solid and will take some abuse, though as it's got no silica, so it does lack a bit of traction on the blacktop. Silica is what generally gives tyres their cold and wet weather grip on the seal. It's a bit of a sliding scale, to put it simply, the more silica you have, the more grip you have from cold, but the quicker your tyre will wear out when it warms up. The more carbon black, the harder wearing your tyre is and the more resistant it will be to damage when riding on rocks, etc, but you sacrifice your tar seal grip from cold.
The rear tyre is a Metzeler Karoo Extreme, with tread arranged in 3 big blocks across the tyre, giving a good contact patch on the ground, and large gaps between them, a bit like a paddle, promising great traction in loose terrain such as sand.
As the Beta RR430 is road legal, I had a spin around the block on them before leaving home, and felt the MC360 R was a little sketchy on the tar seal, as the specs of the tyre would suggest. But as soon as I got it off-road, I felt as surefooted as a mountain goat.
We headed out to Taikorea MX Park, just off Sh1 near Himitangi. An area known for its undulating sandy terrain. The aim of the day was to really put the bike and the tyres to the test on the XC loop, around 12 kilometers of sand trails with some good hill sections. I quickly started to feel comfortable on the bike. Coming into a corner hot, on the sand, I was able to plant the front tyre into the rut and ride it all the way around. The knobs really bit into the sand and rarely washed out. On the odd occasion when I lost the front, it was generally down to me putting the front tyre a little high on the berm and pushing wide.
The Karoo Extreme on the rear was awesome in the soft sand, able to dig its way through the loose stuff and find traction pretty much anywhere. As the day went on and the terrain got churned up, I found myself looking for loose stuff to plant the bike in, just to see where the limit of the tyres was, but I could never seem to find anything soft enough to stop the Karoo Extreme digging its way through and finding traction.
We managed about 6 hours riding on the bikes hour meter, and both the MC360 R and the Karoo Extreme have no visible damage or chunks missing. We had them aired down to around 10PSI, and they were quite impressive. We will continue to run these tyres and report back how they go on some more rocky and rough terrain.