Metric Thunder Weblog

Road Rubber is Important when Cruiser Customizing

Cruiser Customizing includes the Rear Meats

BARNETT’S Magazine published an article on Metzeler fat tires. It’s an interesting piece about tire manufacturing and what they are doing to increase the functionality of the fat rear meat.

When you decide to customize your cruiser the meat in the back is an important part of the style and handling of the bike. Our red T-Bike 1 is shod with Metzeler and we have had excellent results with the them. They handle and perform very well.
– Thunder Bob

Metzeler Interview

BARNETT’S: Your wide tires are pretty much all steel belted radials, what does the steel belt add to the performance of the tire?

Metzeler: We can use that steel cord to help the performance of the tire. The steel cord is very thin, a bundle of three is twisted together with a couple of other bundles and the end result allows us to give the bike bump absorption and grip that no one else can do. The steel belted tire has a little suspension built into it; it helps maintain the contact patch better. When you push on the tire it quickly comes back to its original shape with the steel pushing on it.

Another thing the steel belting that goes from one edge of the tread to the other offers is that it acts like a giant heat sink. As one side of the tire gets warm, the steel starts transferring the heat across the tire so you don’t get hot spots. You even out the heat of the tire, it is virtually impossible to overheat a steel belted radial tire the way we build them. We can use a softer compound of rubber for better grip and performance with the steel belt without the fear of overheating. Our patented steel belted radial construction is very different from automobile radials.

BARNETT’S: I notice that all the Metzeler tires have a distinct profile, that they appear rounder than others when viewed from the back. How does this affect steering and straight line performance?

Metzeler: We are a technology driven company who produce products for riders. We would never build a tire for posing, our tires have to do what they are intended to do. With the big tires, you have to have a nice rounded profile, we are famous for that. Whether for a stock Harley or on our 240, 260 and larger tires, you need the rounded profile for cornering. Some people call it power steering when you compare other tires to the replacement sized Metzelers. The tires steer better and there is no negative affect on straight line performance. We compared our 260 to two of our competitors’ tires with flatter profiles in straight line performance. Because of the steel cord construction and our rubber compounding, we put more power to the ground. So a rounded construction that gives better steering doesn’t have to take away from straight line performance. Our tire is much lighter than others which helps it as well.

BARNETT’S: There are lots of tire and wheel combinations out there, how can a builder find out which rim width is appropriate for each tire?

Metzeler: Our full line brochure shows the permitted rim widths and the favorite rim for each tire model. Most tire manufacturers have this on their website. Our information is on We give as much information as possible to the customer.

BARNETT’S: It seems everyone has a machine cutting wheels out of aluminum. How can a buyer know that the rim was well designed, that it will properly bead up to the tire?

Metzeler: The big thing about a wheel is that it follows the set standards in the industry. In the USA, the Tire and Rim Manufacturers Association sets the standards. For a tube type wheel or a tubeless type wheel there is a certain shape and design to the flange where the tire seats against the wheel. If a company doesn’t follow this standard, they will have trouble getting liability insurance.

So this isn’t much of a problem. In the past, some companies used to cut down auto wheels and not change the flange. There wasn’t enough of a contact patch and this could have been a serious problem. Overall, wheel companies should have stress tests they can give to consumers to show that their designs are proven. Their insurance company should force them to have testing to prove the reliability of their product.

Read the Barnett’s Magazine entire article here. (Opens a new window).