Gear Review: Metzler Enduro 3 Sahara Tires
Up until this last fall I've been running a set of Metzler Tourance tires on my KLR and while they're a far cry from the stock tires on the KLR when it comes to off-road riding they have more than met my needs. They had been so good in fact I went through several sets of them over the years. The time finally came for a change. It's probably due to the addition of a more pavement-specific bike in my stable, but I felt the KLR needed to transition back to it's dirt roots. It was time for new shoes, and I bought the Metzler Enduro 3 Sarahas.
I didn't want to jump in right away and just get another set of Metzlers, even though I was aready a fan, so I did ample research on what else was out there and what the chief complaints are about Metzler's offerings. The leading complaint I found across several sites about Metzlers was their cost. "They're so expensive!" About $270 for the set. Further research showed sets of tires for under $120 for the set, but with the downfall of lasting less than half of the mileage of the Meztlers. All other reviews of the Metzler tires were superb, but "only if you can afford them".
So... Let me get this straight. Spend less money on a tire that isn't as good and lasts 1/3 to 1/2 as long as the Metzlers or spend a bit more for something everyone felt was good and I'd replace half as often. For me it was an easy call. Good tires can make such a massive on any mode of transportation, why wouldn't I drop a bit more cash?
I received the tires, got them mounted, and two days later left on a 1700+ mile trip across Oregon and Northern California. The bike was fully loaded and the roads were an excellent spread of asphault, dirt, deep gravel, mud and crushed lava rock. Perfect conditions for seeing how my investment would hold up.
The break-in period seemed to be about 200-275 miles before they really seemed to get scuffed up enough to gain their grip. Once they did the positive engagement with the road was immediately noticeable. I think I was somewhere on a paved mountain pass north of John Day, Oregon that I could really feel them hook up in the corners. Gone was the looseness of fresh tires. I also didn't sense much "tire walk" from the larger knobs, certainly nothing like the stock KLR tires. I'd actually put them fairly close to the Tourances for on-road feel. I haven't scraped pegs on them yet, but don't doubt they would let me in a tight corner.
For the record I have let air out of the Tourance whenever the terrain got more rugged. Down to 28 or so PSI. I never felt the Sahara's needed any alteration to overall PSI and didn't mess with it the whole trip leaving them at around a respectable 32 PSI
On this particular trip we were blessed with mostly dry weather conditions so time spend in mud and rain was fairly minimal. Ironic, really, when you consider we rode most of the Oregon Coastline in the fall... So I wont speak too much to that yet, but will say the bit of mud we encountered didn't pose too much of a problem for the Sahara either. That said if the Tourance can handle pouring rain and a muddy mountain pass then I'm not too worried about the Sahara.
Final conclusion? The Metzler Enduro 3 Sahara tires were a sound investment, and I'm glad I chose them. They handle well in a wide variety of conditions and have a noted long lifetime. Definitely worth that up-front investment.