Rider: John Milbank | Bike: 2014 Kawasaki Z1000SX | Current fuel economy: 46.5mpg | Cost when new: £9699 + £215.95 for a top box
My time in the saddle has been but a blip compared to the experience of many of you, but even after 18 years, I’m still amazed at how a bike can be transformed by a new pair of tyres. Of course, new rubber aint cheap, but get the bike back from the fitters (I’ve tried, and failed, to fit my own tyres too many times), and after a quick wash it’s like a new machine.
The Z1000 is only a few months old, but after four and a half thousand miles (too many of which have been on motorways), the OE Bridgestones were past their best and I was left with that ‘not-quite-right’ handling feel. If I had a daily slog commute, I’d get a fair few more miles out of them, but as I love scratching around the back roads for fun – and on the way to work – when the centre starts to flatten off, I really notice it. Now, in torrential rain, I’m not really getting the opportunity for a good blast, but I do appreciate the fact that these Z7 RRs from Metzeler are using a different moulding process to the last time I got new tyres about five years ago – no more greasy release agent, and while there’s still a recommended 50-100 mile ‘scrub-in’ period, I couldn’t help thinking that the Kawasaki felt great even after the ten mile ride home. The claims of sporty handling are hard to really put to the test in the current weather, but the bike rolls from side to side easily, without sropping too quickly (I hate that), but never requiring any effort for a change of direction. The handling in the cold and wet is definitely good though – I have no problem confirming that! Apparently the dual compound of the rear tyre is designed to increase abrasion resistance and extend mileage. Time will have to tell on that, but the grin is firmly back on my face.