Metzeler Karoo 3 Tires
I read just about everything I could about these tires before I purchased them and can confirm that the positive reviews are spot on!
Solid on the asphalt (even wet), very good on gravel, great traction in the dirt, fun in the mud, and as good as any tire in the sand (I think riding in the sand has more to do with the rider than the tire in most cases).
The tires drop into the corners a bit, but after an hour riding I was used to it.... Good hummmmm around 40mph to 45mph, but that's okay.
Complaints about tread life and initial handling are to be expected.... This isn't a 90/10 tire - there's a give and take when you want to ride both on and off road.
You should buy these tires.
October 8, 2014
Great tire but short lived
Let me start by admitting strait away:
I run nearly all my miles on the street back and forth to work (400 a week) and some occupational rides with others, I also have a couple of sandy, sometimes very sandy, dirt riding miles just to get to and from the asphalt. It is these short stents in the sand that forced (in my mind) the need for the "knobbyish tire". now on to the tire.
traction is great, dirt, sand, street wet or dry it doesn't seem to matter they've never let me down.
The down side is they are fairly round, as opposed to the trail attack 2s, this causes the bike to turn in a bit when cornering, nothing too drastic and you'll get used to it quickly enough.
Also they sing to you and vibrate a bit on the street,duh its an aggressive tire no surprise there, and for me not a deal breaker.
TREAD LIFE is... Disappointing almost covers it. The center of the rear wears surprisingly fast, while the front may for two rears (it'll be close) with just over 3000 mi. on them I have !/4"-5/16" left in the middle getting thicker to nearly new tread depth at the edges. I feel like I'll be lucky to make it to 4000. However, knowing what they are if I somehow manage to get 4500-5000 I'll reconsider my complaint. I can dream can't I?
Bottom line is, if you put mud tires on your street driven 4x4, and don't care about milage, you'll love these tires.
They look awesome and work as good as they look.
September 30, 2014
better than average so far.
Just did 1200 miles mostly highway. The tires see
m to be wearing well. Better than the TkC 80 I tried last summer. Excellent grip.
September 20, 2014
Works as well as the TKC-80s
I was hoping for more tread life with the performance of the tkc-80's. I've already gone through a rear at 4000 miles. Slightly worse wear than the TKC-80s as far as longevity.
September 15, 2014
Will buy them again
Just finished a solo continental divide trip of 6700 miles with my 2014 Yamaha Super Tenere, these tires did 4500 of those! Bike was loaded with additional 190 pounds of stuff all the way (I weighed 180... in the beginning of the trip :)).
Round trip from Michigan, down to Antelope Wells with the standard fitted road tires, had the Karoo 3's fitted in El Paso and made it all the way to Canada and Back to Michigan.
Rear tire now done complete... front tire still 30% to go but show some rock damage (cuts in the nobbies# and slight cupping in 2 areas. Still riding comfortably with no vibration issues. Will replace both, with Karoo's again.
Bike felt like it was floating a little during initial run-in period but still handled well through thunderstorms in NM. Dealer who fitted the tires recommended to overinflate the tires with 5psi due to heavy load, in hind sight I think this was a mistake, and could contribute to very early signs of wear I saw on the rear tire. I was concerned that I would not make it home without having to change tires on the back!
When I hit the first gravel in the desert, front was floating all over the road in gravel and dug into the sand to a point where it was scary...
I reduced the pressure in the front to 5psi below manufacturers specification and the rear to specification. This made a huge positive difference in overall handling and feel and I left these settings for the whole trip. In general for anyone with handling issues, do not be scared to experiment with air pressure first and reduce/increase in small increments.
Bike was extremely stable in all conditions, especially front end, in mud, sand #did help to have sand dirt-bike experience from Michigan#, ruts, marble stoned gravel, rocky terrain and no issues on asphalt.
In extreme wet in Colorado, I had to wait for the 2-track to dry out #2 days) but these conditions would have prevented a baboon with a walking stick to get out there so not a tire problem!
Have to say however, after a hunter helped me "carry" my luggage out on his Ranger on the 3rd day, the unloaded bike handled easy out of still very wet and slippery mud conditions and the tires worked well, the tread pattern in the front helps the bike to correct itself in the case it slips and the rear cleans itself easily allowing good traction in all circumstances.
I had the traction control on for most of the trip, in only a few cases did I need to switch it off to get out of sand and where I did not want to get stuck with technology "helping me stall" on steep rocky inclines. This issue is a personal preference and depends on riding style, given being alone I was riding with preservation in mind most of the time. It does not take much to see the rear wheel wanting to overtake you with traction control off on gravel roads.
Road noise bearable when compared to stock tires, front tire goes fairly quiet above 65Mph and does not irritate.
Had to do riding through severe thunderstorms in North Dakota on asphalt with a lot of water on the road and never felt unsafe or had an issue. still managed to keep to the speed limit. In situations where rain just started onto dust covered roads extra care was required but in my opinion would be an issue for any tire combination.
Most of the highway riding was done with speedo cruise set between 75 to 85Mph and never any insecurities. It is important to change you riding style between off road and road riding when cornering. The front specifically feels more loose on asphalt when leaning the bike into a corner on vs your body! I met a guy in the Yellowstone park who was riding a GS and complained about the front end feel on asphalt and I think this was his issue...
I do not have experience with other tires but see no reason to change. I do expect that a higher ratio asphalt riding will reduce the life expectancy significant and especially if the bike is driven in sport mode all the time.
September 9, 2014
Karoo for You!
Several hundred miles since purchase on both asphalt and dirt/gravel/water/mud. Not a knobby, but gets the job done. Careful was transitioning from street tires, as these are a different ride/feel. Easy to adapt to. Good handling and braking. would buy again.
September 1, 2014
so far, so good
only have a few hundred miles on them so far, but overall very happy with their performance. easy to mount up. handle well on dry pavement, no problems leaning the bike. haven't had the chance to get them out in rain yet. bit of a hum on the road, but nothing i can't live with. gravel and dirt both good.
September 1, 2014
Real off/on road performance
I have an R1200GS and recently have been doing some tough off road riding including mud & sand. These tires will go anywhere. The on road handling is surprisingly good & u can get the same lean angles as a road tire tho I wouldn't get to aggressive on them in tight corners. Off road I can't fault them & they go well on a heavy adventure bike like the GS. U should get apx 4000km's from a rear & hopefully 2x that on the front. They r noisy on tar. DONT drop the pressure below about 32psi as on heavy bikes u will invite rim damage! I love these tires.
August 18, 2014