Tire Review: Metzeler ME 880 Marathon

Tire Review: Metzeler ME 880 Marathon

by Jesse Wright
(Round Hill, Virginia)

Near Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Near Devil's Tower, Wyoming

The tire I'm reviewing is the Metzeler ME 880 Marathon.

I got these tires in August of 2009. They were installed on a 1986 Honda Goldwing Aspencade SEi 1200. The installation was done by Shenandoah Honda in Winchester Virginia. They also installed, at my request, tire balance beads, instead of rim weights.

I have used them mostly on a cross country trip from Virginia to S.Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and back, 5200 miles in 12 days, on secondary roads, highways, twisty mountains and even some dirt and gravel where roads were being resurfaced.

Unusual or important exceptions to my normal driving were tight (10-15 mph) mountainous switchbacks in rain, hail, and high temperatures of Wyoming flats. Up until now I have put on about 8,000 miles.

On the big trip, tire pressures were checked every morning prior to departure and once every other day around midday. Balance was never an issue or concern with the balance beads installed.

Performances was exceptional. I migrated from Avons to these tires and have never looked back.

Road noise is minimal from the front tire, a little "buzzy" from the rear on hard, deep leaning curves. Traction is excellent, and stopping is also.

The only time they slipped noticeably on me was crossing a yellow line on a turn in the rain. But I'd ascribe that to the paint, not the tire.

We descended from 14,000 feet on Mt.Evans Colorado in some rain, and hail, and my total confidence in the tires was fully justified. My feeling about using these same tires again is absolutely. If a better tire is available, it'll probably be made by Metzeler.

My recommendation to anyone else thinking about buying them is do so. This is the best tire I've ridden on. The only one I've found close is the Avon Venom. They're also a good looking tire, nice tread pattern, shed water extremely well.

The rear has held up remarkably well considering that I often had my wife on board, saddlebags full of any-weather gear and pulling a trailer with our dog in it.

Comments for Tire Review: Metzeler ME 880 Marathon

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Apr 09, 2018
Fall Apart
by: Cole

I ride a 2006 Harley Electra Glide and put Metzeler tires on, loved them till around 2011, put on a new set front and Rear, within a 1000 miles a chunk ripped out, Metzeler went good for it, the replacement did the same thing after about 3000 mile a chunk came out and you could see cracks in the tread. I paid to replace it and once again it happened. Now I'm on Michelins. Sorry. Also has happened on my 2000 Low rider, no more Metzeler's for me..

Editorial Comment:

A sad story but it might have been more useful if you had provided a few more details to help others decide if your experience applies to them.

For example, did your riding habits change in any way between the first, satisfactory, set and the problems you had the next time? What kind of roads, speeds, weather conditions were involved?

When the second problem occurred was it mounted on the same wheel as the first one? Is it possible that you were traveling in an area where you were subject to conditions that didn't apply when you had good service? Example, road work being done, or construction sites, etc.


Jul 08, 2015
by: Paul

These kind of tires are compulsory for the long journeys like the marathon patrolling. You are doing the right job by checking the tires every morning before the start.

Mar 11, 2015
reply to Tom, re:stop light slippage
by: Jesse

I found that, especially in colder weather, the tire seems to be harder than when it (the tire) warms up a bit. I too had slippage from a stop or slow roll especially on the concrete parking lot, got a bit squirrely when cold, but a mile or so along it warmed up enough to feel much better.
Might be the tire compound, I read somewhere that the tread compound is different than the sidewall compound. Not sure it that's true. I've left the "Gold Wing" stage of life in favor of my Vulcan Classic 1500, put Dunlops on and am sorely disappointed. I'll smoke these off as quickly as possible and replace them with Metzlers or Avons. Dunlops just don't cut the mustard for me.

Nov 27, 2012
One issue..
by: Tom

I have a Metz 880 on the back of my Triumph, factory fitment. Wear is outstanding, I'm coming up to 14k miles now and it's about done. I have read of them going to 20k.

In the dry, it gives me lots of confidence, but in the wet, it's scary. It's prone to spinning up the back wheel on taking off from a stop light, and I have to be very careful there. Also prone to locking up and sliding on braking in the wet, but that could be down to me.

Jul 25, 2012
Good for slow, bad gir fast
by: Windstrings

Had two Metzler tires on rear no problems. But they were much fatter than the 90/90/21 I used on front.
First there was wobbling at 90+ mph... Found there was visible fluctuations when spinning the tire.
Replaced with another assuming a bad tire only to find the same symptoms. Rebalanced 3 times, smoothed out a tiny bit... Sometimes wobble now doesn't present till 110 mph, but sometimes still as low as 95mph.....finally went to another tire and did great.

Aug 06, 2011
Is Metzeler made in Brazil?
by: Anonymous

Hi: to all of you.
on July 3/11 I purchase a Metzeler ME880 for my royal star tour deluxe.

It read it's made in brasil
can any one please let me know if this is good tire, I always believe this tire was made in Germany, please contact me an let me know if this are copies or the metzeler are made on every country.

p.s contact me. at.

Editorial Comment:

It's not unusual for major tire companies to have plants in several countries around the world.

I don't know specifically about Metzeler but it wouldn't surprise me. As far as Brazilian quality, I've had good experience and bad experience but if you're buying a major brand name I wouldn't be concerned, especially if you purchased it through a reputable source.


Jul 16, 2010
Metzelers for me!!!
by: Doc Buzzard

I have been a Metzeler tire user for over six years straight, though I don't get the wear from the rear Lasertec, I love the sure footing of a Metzeler tire...I have used almost every major brand and find perhaps the Avon, or softer compound Dunlops is fine in most situations.

I have had several occasions to get the bike over thru a turn and have a little tire slip but recovery is so fast I hardly notice the episode.

I recommend Metzelers for everyone....

Jun 20, 2010
Great tires
by: Ken in Virginia

I've used this tire on my BMW R1200CLC for years. They are a great tire that handles better and rides better than the Dunlop 491s I have had on several other bikes. I don't think the fuel mileage is impacted by the tire. It is more likely the gas or more aggressive riding. Ethanol has a big impact on my fuel mileage and the mixture is not the same from station to station. You might have gotten a higher percentage of ethanol in your test tank.

Jun 04, 2010
Metzeler Tires and MPG
by: Jesse

I noticed a drop in my mpg also, but I've been thinking it's maybe out of tune.

My 1200 never got better than 39 to begin with, now it's averaging 36. Of course, with the Metzelers I tend to ride a bit harder than before. Still, the fact they seem to be lasting longer than the Dunlops makes up for it. My last balls-to-the-wall ride of 202 miles ate up a full tank. If I had behaved myself, maybe things would have been a little different.

Bottom line for me? Great handling, good water dispersion, higher mileage. Don't see much difference in the ride, but then my bike is old technology, older suspension and such.

Last week we had to cross a creek in the hills, slippery polished stone, fast moving water, 8-10 inches deep and 30 feet across. Made it with no problem. Tires? maybe. Luck? LOTS.

So far, dirt, gravel, asphalt.... all well handled. There may be a better tire out there, but I'm happy with these. I'll know more when I see what the actual lifespan is.

Jun 02, 2010
Effect on fuel economy
by: Anonymous

I have a V star 1100(04) and just put on these tires coming from Dunlops.

Their tracking is amazing and there is no pull from the road, however, it seems I lost 40kms, or so, off my fuel range. That is the only thing that has changed and I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this. Before my trip the tires had the correct pressure, and they were balanced.

Editorial Comment:

It sounds like your loss in fuel efficiency may have been noticed after only one trip. If this is the case, is it possible that this could be the result of something other than the tires such as the weather or terrain you traveled or different riding technique which might not be repeated?

Also, consider the mechanical condition of your bike. Fuel efficiency may diminish as parts and elements wear.

If you've already eliminated these factors, it may be a tire-related issue. However, if any of them change, subsequent tanks may show different results.

I'm not disputing your theory as much as suggesting that there may be other factors in play that you might not have taken into account.


Feb 24, 2010
by: Bill

Great review. Except....the "balancing beads" gimmick is a little lame.They have been selling those as balancing tires for 50 years. I would wager that had you done nothing, your results would be the same. The beads don't have any idea where the balance spot is in a tire. As soon as the rotation starts they are prettty much stuck in one spot. With todays tire technology you will often see tires that need little, if any actual balancing.

Feb 18, 2010
Addendum to my review
by: Jesse

A side note on the tire balance beads. After lots of research into these beads AND nitrogen inflation for the long trip, I opted out of the nitrogen for practical purposes. Not ready for prime time yet for many reasons, mainly it's not readily available. But the balance beads... AWESOME. They're tiny ceramic beads, small enough to install through your valve stem (although I had the dealer do it when installing the new Metzelers) and think about it... no more clip0on or stick on weights. No chance of tossing one off, no lead lying around to be disposed of. Most of all, best performance imaginable. I recall way back in the 60's, a mail order company offering similar "balancing disks" that mount to your brake drum and though "yeah, right, more snake oil" But it's proven technology and I wouldn't ride without them. Just a thought

Feb 13, 2010
Excellent Tire Review
by: Jack

Well done review ... one of the most informative customer tire reviews I've seen in a long time.

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