Review: Metzeler ME 888 Marathon Ultra Tire

May 25, 2016 View Comments by

Designed for cruisers and touring machines, Metzeler’s new ME 888 Marathon Ultra tire line directly replaces the outgoing ME 880 series. According to Metzeler’s Marketing Director, Chet Plewacki—who introduced the tires to the motorcycle press—this is the market segment most important to the company in the U.S.
Metzeler ME 888 Marathon Ultra Tire
Metzeler, using state-of-the-art computerized development programs—verified by millions of miles of testing—took a fresh look at the tire’s profile, structure, and tread pattern and compound; in other words, everything. The goals were to increase service life while maintaining (or improving) handling and wet and dry grip.

Compared to the prior ME 880 series, the new 888’s contact patches are 15 percent wider and five percent shorter for better force distribution, and rubber compounds, tread design, and structural improvements provide longer life. The tire’s polymer compound was modified for better abrasion resistance, with a unique resin that boosts grip on wet surfaces. To prevent dropoff of performance as the tires age, an improved mixing process was introduced.

Heavy bikes stress the tire’s carcass; to reduce fatigue, a flatter and wider geometry was developed which directs forces toward the sidewall. The ME 888 also features polyester carcass plies and aramid belts on sizes used for heavier motorcycles.

Metzeler ME 888 Marathon Ultra Tire

The ME 888’s wider and shorter footprint reduces wear due to flexing at the tire’s contact patch, and this profile is said to distort less under engine torque. Compound bridges between tread grooves also reduce tread flex under load. The new wider profile, coupled with this differentiated groove geometry, reduces tire wear and increases stability. An added benefit of this change is better water dispersal and therefore resistance to hydroplaning.

We had a chance to ride around the historic backroads of Sicily on a variety of motorcycles equipped with the new ME 888s. With a mixture of rain and dry roads, the tires performed well with good grip during acceleration, braking, and cornering, and nice turn-in and stability. They corner and stop better, and don’t chase rain grooves like the stockers did.

Tread wear depends on many things, including riding style, pavement, temperatures, and speed. With that in mind, Plewacki did reluctantly offer up that in typical conditions the smaller size rear tires may last about 12,000 miles, while bigger rear tires might last up to 20,000 miles. Up front, an 888 might last as long as 24,000 miles if ridden conservatively and inflated properly. As they say, your mileage may vary!

Metzeler ME 888 Marathon Ultra tires are available in a slew of sizes, and prices fluctuate considerably.

Metzeler ME 888 Marathon Ultra Tire


Review: Ken Freund

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