Metzeler Karoo 3 Tires
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
great on/off tire. Noisy, low mileage
I have switched to Karoo 3's after many sets of TCK 80's and I am happy with them. On road performance is better than TCK 80's although the tires are quite noisy. Traction on wet seems excellent. I have not had a chance to ride in any serious off road yet (deep sand, mud and large rocks) but on gravel more or less maintained they are great and very confidence inspiring. My rear tire will probably last me 3500 miles (I am at 2500 and I can see the end near...) and I was hoping for a little longer wear than the TCK's. Granted with the new LC GS I am riding rather aggressively but ..... I will buy another set for sure and I would recommend this tires to anyone not looking to get lost in a jungle.
July 21, 2014
Curb stomps the Heidenau K60.
Bike: BMW R1200GS
Tire sizes: 110/80-19 front, 150/70-17 rear.
Pressure: 32psi front, 36psi rear.
They work great off-road. I haven't tried airing them down, but even at stock pressures they work well. Everything including hard pack, gravel, and soft sandy dirt. Haven't had a chance to get them in deep sand yet. A better tire off-road than the Heidenau.
Big surprise! They also work well on pavement too!
They hum (rumble) a little on the road, but it's not the annoying whine that you get from some tires and easy to live with. The grip is surprising for a big block knobby and is stable when leaned over.
A lot of ADV riders have been jumping on the Heidenau bandwagon because they are a cheap tire and offer decent off-road grip. Well, the Karoo 3 performs better on and off road than the Heidenau and is only about $5 more per tire.
If you change from the Heidenau to Metzeler, you will take your old "Heidys" and throw them into the bush as far as you can. You will be so angry that you wasted your time with them, you will search the bush until you find them and then throw them further.
Bottom line. I like these tires. I only gave them 4/5 stars just because ADV tires are a compromise and are never going to be perfect in all areas. If you are planning on taking your bike off the pavement, these tires are for you. If you only ride your big ADV on the street (not that there's anything wrong with that) then there are a lot of other tires that will offer better ultimate street grip.
ps. Oh yeah, they look badass too!!!
July 7, 2014
Good all around tire
I ride an R1200GS and went off-road with the stock Metzeler Tourance tires and slipped and slid everywhere. (and crashed) Put the Metzeler Karoo 3 tires on and never lost traction on gravel/dirt, sand, or thru water crossing once. I thought i'd give up paved road performance for off-road, but the Karoo 3's perform well on paved roads as well. Can't comment on longevity as i'm less than 1000 miles in on the new Karoo 3's but what i'm seeing so far, the tread life should be pretty good.
June 16, 2014