Stay mobile in winter with expanded Metzler scooter range
Those who ‘soldier on’ throughout winter on two wheels need all the help they can in maintaining grip. Metzeler says its Feelfree Wintec is the first tyre conceived to allow scooter riders to use their two wheelers in every season, especially in the coldest months. The range was first introduced in 2007 for maxi scooters of up to 650cc and the tyre maker has now added a number of new sizes.
In addition to the existing line-up, riders now also have the option of choosing sizes 100/80-16 for the front wheel and 120/80-16 for the rear on 150 cc scooters such as the Honda SH150i, 110-70-16 for the front and 130/70-R16 for the rear on 300cc scooters like the Honda SH300i, plus the front size 110/70-13 and rear 140/60-14 for scooters such as the Piaggio MP3. Upon announcing this expansion of the Feelfree Wintec range, Metzeler stated that road safety is a “priority element” of its research and development activities.
According to Metzeler, the Feelfree Wintec was designed to provide the best possible performance in low temperatures and on wet road surfaces while guaranteeing the same reliable performance in hot weather and on dry surfaces. Its stated primary benefits are stability and handling, factors that give the rider a feeling of security and confidence. The tyre’s tread was designed to optimise the empty/full ratio of both front and rear tyres, a quality that particularly influences performance in wet conditions by enhancing water drainage. Siping also plays a fundamental role here by breaking up the water plane, which improves centre tread traction on wet surfaces and an improved sense of contact in the shoulder area in curves. Metzeler says the shape of the sipes was designed to ensure fast warm-up without making the tread excessively mobile.
Radial and cross-ply fitments can be found in the Feelfree Wintrec line-up; cross-ply sizes range from 10 to 15-inches while the radial fitments are in the 14 to 16-inch size bracket. The conventional structures are made up of a casing on which two or more layers of rubber textile material are overlaid, with different angles of inclination based on the technical construction requirements and the different desired speed indexes. The radial versions utilise the Metzeler 0° steel belt with a lightened casing in order to increase ease of riding and handling at high speeds. Metzeler says its engineers have developed this patented technology even further for the range, introducing variations on the density of the steel cords in the various profile areas.
Construction of the Feelfree Wintec is a “three zone A-B-A pattern”, an arrangement the manufacturer says is able to provide a larger tread area. “AB-A” represents the arrangement of the steel belt – tighter on the shoulder and less at the centre, with a new optimised profile that Metzeler says ensures “progressive performance, predictability and maximum riding precision.”
Metzeler shares that its tyre developers specifically studied the composition of the Feelfree Wintec compound, and their attention in this area can be seen in the tyre’s grip in all weather conditions. Specifically, through its patented process the tyre receives an “appropriate mix” of compounds; these, Metzeler explains, allow the properties of three different polymers to be added, each of which glazes over at different temperatures. The patented technology is said to ensure grip on wet surfaces at temperatures down to -10°C while at the same time providing excellent physical strength. “An appropriate hardness of the compound in wet conditions and high temperatures stems from a perfectly balanced mixture of components (silica and carbon black) created specifically for this tyre,” the tyre maker states. Metzeler has also applied “Cap & Base” technology: strategic reinforcing fibres under the soft compound with a perfect balance of flexibility and rigidity between tread and structure, which the manufacturer says ensures transfer of road stress from the tread to the carcass, improving stability.