Adventure Bike Tire
Metzeler recently introduced the new Karoo 4 tires for adventure motorcycles. During the FIM Enduro Vintage Trophy on Elba, Italy, at the end of October 2021, we had the opportunity to test them on a BMW F 850 GS.
The first thing to notice is the new tread pattern, which shows a less curved arrangement of the blocks. The previous Karoo 3 model followed a more arrow-shaped design. The knobs are now more uniform and arranged symmetrically, with a wider negative profile area to provide more traction for the rear tire, especially on soft terrain. Meanwhile, on the front, this configuration should improve off-road braking performance. The staggered arrangement of the outer knobs will definitely boost lateral grip on both wheels in mud, sand, and clay, while also giving better traction on wet asphalt when cornering.
The roads on the island of Elba are notorious for poor grip, but the Karoo 4 was convincing with clear feedback and excellent traction both on straights and in tight corners. The front end of the BMW F 850 GS remained neutral at all times and did not exhibit any self-steering behavior or understeering. The straight-line stability of the front wheel was impeccable on pronounced longitudinal grooves. With the traction control switched off, the rear wheel had great cornering grip with moderate acceleration out of slippery turns on the glossy tarmac.
Off-road, the tire combo delivered flawless performance on both hard and sandy tracks. You can execute powerslides with confidence-inspiring control on rough terrain, while hard braking maneuvers didn’t carry the ADV bike off-track. If you so wish, just switch off the ABS and enjoy sliding the bike sideways under control into the dusty turns.
I didn’t notice any annoying rolling noises up to a speed of around 70 mph. However, tire behavior at top speed—as well as the wet grip—needs a full test. Since the new Karoo 4 has an M+S marking, the maximum speed is limited to 100 mph.
The tires are available as radial and diagonal versions in multiple sizes.
19” 100/90-19 TL 57Q M+S
19” 110/80 R 19 TL 59Q M+S
19” 120/70 R 19 TL 60Q M+S
21” 90/90-21 TL 54Q M+S
17” 130/80 R 17 TL 65Q M+S
17” 140/80 R 17 TL 69Q M+S
17” 150/70 R 17 TL 69Q M+S
17” 170/60 R 17 TL 72Q M+S
18” 140/80 - 18 TL 70Q M+S
18” 150/70 R 18 TL 70Q M+S