I *heart* SportecM3

Let me take you back a sec..

When I got the K1200R about a year ago, it came with part worn Metzeler Sportec M1s. The M1 is a fairly old tyre, but still not a bad tyre at all. Sadly I didn't really get on with it, maybe it was because it was worn, or maybe it was because I was new to the bike and couldn't get them up to temperature.
After the M1s I decided to try a set of Continental ContiSport Attack. These tyres were cheap, but I didn't get on with them, and the power of the K1200R seemed to just simply obliterate these tyres. On the Nurburgring they just didn't inspire any confidence at all. But for £180 per pair, they're still a cheap tyre that might work for you. But not for me.

What am I looking for in a tyre?

We all have a bit of different criteria when it comes to our tyres. Some want long life some want grip, some want economy.
I know the K1200R is a very powerful bike, so I don't have much hope for a very long tyre-life. I know that my wrist-action won't be lean towards the wear-markers. If the tyre lasts more than 4,000 miles (~6,500km) I'm quite happy. Obviously the longer they last, the happier I'm going to be.
However, the most important thing for me was that the tyres had to inspire confidence. I want that feeling because I tend to ride quite hard, and on the Nurburgring this feeling is very important. If you don't know when you're running out of grip, you'll end up buying armco and repairing your bike and healing your limbs. Not a "Good Thing(tm)".
Price wasn't such a big issue for me as I hadn't planned on using the bike for commuting or other long journeys. I'm trying to keep the mileage down on this bike, but that's a different topic.
To sum it up; I wanted confidence and loads of feedback from my tyres. If they lasted long that would be a good thing too.

Enter the Sportec M3

And suddenly Metzeler is introducing this new version of their Sportec tyre. As I said before, the M1 has got a good reputation, but I didn't really like it. I also know that the Rennsport and nowadays the Racetec have got some sort of divine reputation by track-day Gods.
Surely the M3 wouldn't be far off these tyres..?
Metzeler promises that these tyres are better in all respects. They say they've got longer life, better grip, gets up to temperature faster, and so forth. Pop over to the Sportec M3 Promo-site for full information about the tyres.

In this picture the tyre is very new, but it's already showing how nicely it is wearing. Notice the nice orange peel surface., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

In this picture the tyre is very new, but it's already showing how nicely it is wearing. Notice the nice orange peel surface.

The front is also wearing just fine., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

The front is also wearing just fine.

So how are they..?

On the Nurburgring the tyres were really good. Just look how nice the surface is. Sure the surface could be smoother, but with OEM suspension, this is quite a good mark., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

On the Nurburgring the tyres were really good. Just look how nice the surface is. Sure the surface could be smoother, but with OEM suspension, this is quite a good mark.

Now look at that surface... That's how it should be. Still playing at the Nurburgring. I don't think you can get a better wear pattern than this with OEM suspension., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Now look at that surface... That's how it should be. Still playing at the Nurburgring. I don't think you can get a better wear pattern than this with OEM suspension.

It's not difficult to summarize how these tyres work on the bike; They are simply FANTASTIC. When I first got them on, I could immediately feel that these tyres were a good match for this bike. After a bit of scrubbing in I was starting to feel confident. I could feel that the bike was in contact with the road, and I could feel that there was plenty of grip available. When there wasn't grip, the tyres simply slid away, just a bit. The let-go wasn't violent in any way. I also noticed that once the tyres were warmed up, provoking them to loose grip was getting into silly attempts.The verdict from that was the tyre is way better than I was ever going to push on normal roads.
After a little while I felt so confident with these tyres that, once warm, I can quite easily get my knee down in any proper roundabout. To me, that sort of confidence is a very very very good verdict.
On my favourite country road; The Nürburging Nordschleife the M3s performed remarkably well. They provided me with loads of feedback and even more grip. Compared to the ContiSport Attacks the M3s were in a completely different league.

In the wet

In my repertoire to wear these ones down, I've subjected myself to some boring commuting down boring dual carriageways. Needless to say, some of these days have been from mildly wet, to I'd-rather-be-diving-at-the-north-pole-naked. The tyres however, had no such issues. Once the tyres are a bit up to temperature they didn't even spin up under hard acceleration. That's in the wet, folks. Very nice.

The end of the line

K1200R + Sportec M3 = Kneedown, Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

You can't just go do this without confidence in the tyres. The Sportec M3 tyres give tons of confidence.

It's now March 2007, I put the Sportecs on in the very beginning of July 2006. That means these tyres have been on for almost a full season. The tyres are now at the end of their life span. The rear is down to the wear bars in the middle (thanks to commuting int he winter,.. grrrr), and the rear spins up very easily when cold. The magic of cornering has also been lost due to the strange profile, both front and rear.
Looking through my paperwork my last service was done at 5,686 miles in the beginning of May 2006, The new tyres were fitted about a month later, but I don't think the mileage had increased that much. I'm now at 10,600 miles, and about to replace the M3s. That would give me about 5,000 miles before they're replaced. For a set of sporty tyres on a bike with 170ish bhp, that's an extremely good mileage.
Now you're probably wondering what tyres will go on next..?! Another set of Sportec M3s of course! The price is still high; about £220 - £240 fitted and balanced, but I can definitely see where my extra money has gone. I'm currently waiting for my local professional bike shop, TW Motorcycles, to get them in and fit them for me.
I should probably also mention that my girlfriend, Caz, has got a set of Sportec M3s on her GSX-R600 too, and she loves them, and the tyres are wearing nicely. Top Marks!