It was supposed to be so beautiful. Almeria for the day, a fleet of 2015 BMW S 1000 RRs, fitted with sticky race rubber in the form of Metzeler’s all-new Racetec RR at the world press launch. The Racetec has been the default trackday/racer choice for many across the globe and the new model has already won TT races in development stages.
But the clouds came, they conquered, and covered Almeria in the wet stuff. Job fucked. Or was it? While some journos got all eggy about not being able to test the Racetec RR, Metzeler wheeled out Plan B: the M7RR.
I’m the first to admit I hate riding in the wet on anything other than full race wets. The sublime throttle control and botty grip-detection device simply isn’t in my locker.
Then I saw Jurgen Fuchs (BMW test rider and ex-GP racer) and an American dude giving it the berries out on track, kneedown for most of Almeria’s swooping curves. And we’re not just talking damp patches – it was pissing down, with standing water in many places.
Jurgen gave a friendly tap on his seat unit for a tow and I duly obliged. I adopted the ‘if he can do it, so can I’ mantra, and I didn’t crash. Sure, the immense mechanical grip of the 2015 Beemer and its semi-active suspension complimented the M7RRs, but it was the tyres that had the final say – I’ve never experienced grip and response from a set of tyres in the wet, and the brain took some recalibration in order to fathom real-time activity.
Having grip is one thing. Boasting feedback to work alongside that grip is also hugely important in iffy conditions. The RRs heat up very quickly (even in the wet) and offer immediate confidence to push on.
This factoid probably comes too late in the winter season to sway buying decisions for all-round rubber, although lets not forget the M7RR is a sporty little number capable of track sorties, not touring-based rubber – which makes it all the more impressive. We’ve sampled them in dry conditions, and the M7 uses a very soft shoulder compound (close to that of the Racetec) on the rear tyre for epic side grip.
In terms of outright wet weather performance, the Michelin Pilot Road 3 was -and still is – one of the best. The PR3 joins another personal favourite, Maxxis’ Supermaxx Diamond (yes, a Maxxis tyre) in making you feel like an utter hero, flattering any bike too.