Shopping for new tires – What rubber to put on the R1200RTW?

Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT rear tire. Wear bar now showing. Tire has run 14,468 km

Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT rear tire. Wear bar now showing. Tire has run 14,468 km

Shopping for new tires for your sport touring rig?  Well, so am I.

But just how do you choose from the excellent selection of sport touring tires?  For me, I checked in with various BMW owners’ online forums.

But how do you know which tire will be ‘best?’  That’s a good question.

Years ago, I recall reading in a car enthusiast magazine (such as Car & Driver) an interview with an automotive tire engineer.  The editor asked him, “What’s the best high performance car tire?”

The engineer, who remained anonymous because he worked for one of the big tire manufacturers, said the science and technology of tires relentlessly progressed, and all companies were working hard to produce the ‘best’ tire.  His bottom line was revealing.  He essentially said whichever tire is the newest has the greatest likelihood of being the ‘best’ tire available until the next new tire was launched, no matter which company manufactured it.

The benchmark

Since the release of the liquid-cooled boxermotor BMW RTs in 2014, the Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT has been the standard by which all other tires are measured.  The PR 4 GTs are renown for their superb wet weather performance, and long life.

Some time in 2016 (?), Metzeler released the Roadtec 01, which quickly became favoured by many as THE replacement for the PR4 GTs.  The only problem with the Roadtec 01s was that when the tire was launched, they were significantly more costly than the Michelins.

Price – Online, Canada vs United States

Price is always a factor when buying tires.

I cross-shopped online prices from Fortnine in Canada against the U.S. giant Revzilla.  The results were surprising.

Pricing for 180/55-17 rear and 120/70-17 front tires:

Fortnine (Canada):  Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT, $255.36 (r), $198.56 (f), FREE SHIPPING, $CDN, not including GST, Total $463.92

Revzilla (U.S.):  Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT, $268.25 (r), $211.55 (f), PLUS $40.34 SHIPPING, $CDN, Total $520.14

Fortnine:  Metzeler Roadtec 01, $240.13 (r), $192.70 (f), FREE SHIPPING, $CDN, not including GST, Total $432.83

Revzilla:  Metzeler Roadtec 01, $272.15 (r), $204.96 (f), PLUS $40.34 SHIPPING, $CDN, Total $517.45

But wait, what about the Dunlop Road Smart 3?

The Dunlop Road Smart 3 is the least expensive tire of the Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT/Metzeler Roadtec 01/Dunlop Road Smart 3 trio.

Price at Fortnine is $180.35 (r), $137.61 (f), free shipping, not including GST, Total $317.96

Rear tire profiles are obviously different. The new Dunlop Road Smart 3 (left) has a flatter profile than the Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT (right). The tire sizes are different in photo. Dunlop is 180/55-17; Michelin is 190/55-17, but shapes are different

Rear tire profiles are obviously different. The new Dunlop Road Smart 3 (left) has a flatter profile than the Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT (right). The tire sizes are different in photo. Dunlop is 180/55-17; Michelin is 190/55-17, but shapes are different

The Dunlop Road Smart 3’s benefits

If you believe Dunlop’s website, the RS 3 was ‘independently’ tested against the benchmark Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT, and the Dunlops outperformed the PR4s in dry handling, wet weather performance and had greater longevity.

For me, the decision is easy.  The new Dunlop Road Smart 3s are the newest sport touring tire on the block, which should give them an edge in technological advancement over the older Pilot Road 4 GTs and Roadtec 01s.

So these are the one’s I’ve had mounted on the RT.

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