Our 09R12RT came with Z6s and we started running Z8s when they became available. I found that the Z8s handled much better in wet and dry conditions.
The wear bars a slightly better for reading wear, but still left me caught out at a remote rally in Oregon when I thought that there should have been plenty of tread left (5700 miles on the rear before it began cracking over the belts). Fronts yield about 8000 miles. Different weight motorcycles and different riding styles yield a wide range of tire life, YMMV.
At the rally in Salem this year, I was talking to the Metzeler rep about their tires, difficulty reading the wear, and the balance between better performance (grip) versus wear (tire life). Upon his suggestion, I bought a set of Pirelli Angel GTs. I've only installed the rear (with a Z8 up front).
I tried them out for about 100 miles yesterday in mixed downpour/drying road conditions. The Angel GT transitioned nicely into leans, wet grip exiting turns was substantial. I'll need more experience with the Angel GT, but first impressions are that they provide similar (if not better) wet grip performance over the Z8s. Only time will tell how long the tire life is compared to Z8s.
I loved the Metzeler Z8s wet or dry. If the Pirelli Angel GTs last longer (a bonus, not a requirement), then I may have found a new favorite tire. (Not too surprising, as Pirelli is the parent company of Pirelli.)
On the other hand, I was quite impressed with when I was hearing from the Michelin engineer (who holds a patent, btw) at the Salem rally. They, too, make a great product.
It all depends on your performance criteria.
Like Paul, I've been a Metzeler fan since the mid-'80s with ME 33 Laser (Comp-K), ME 1 (Comp-K), and lastly the ME 55 Metronic.
2009 BMW R1200RT (Shaun), 2004 MINI Cooper S (Gromit), 2006 BMW X3 (Wallace)
I bought a 2002 R1150RT this spring (after 35 years on some great airheads) & just finished an 8 week travel of the 4 Corners. The bike had Bridgestones when purchased. I replaced those with Michelin Pilot 3 dual compounds which had @ 2000 miles when my trip began - absolutely great tires, especially in the rain - probably due to their added sipes. Although they probably had another couple thousand miles left, I replaced them at Pensacola BMW (my riding buddy's tires needed it, so that's why I went early on them - mine had over 8000 miles at that point). They were out of P3s, so I had them put on P2s. Rode the last 4000+ miles to MI & (I know a lot of this is purely subjective) felt the 2s to be a bit softer - all things like pressure being equal.
The point being, after years of Metzlers & Continentals, I am sold on these Pilots. My next tire will be the Pilot 3s. Order online, have a local mount them if you can"t, & you'll be on the road for @ $350.
I appreciate all your replies. Between the comments here and from members at my local Club, I decided on the PR3. I'm sure the Z8 would have been fine, but most of you, and my local riders preferred the PR3.
I like the price, but that's too scary! I think it has to do with weight of the bike, because others have had good luck with them on lighter bikes.
I use them on my Bandit with no problem.
'04 Silver R1150RT "Big Oel"
'08 Suzuki DL650 "Screaming Yellow Zonker"
"I just want somewhere to ride and food when I get there."
Battleaxes mine came with sucked. PR2/3's have been heaven. Let shop talk me into trying a Z8 front this year. Big step down frorm PR2/3's.
R75/6, 2004 R1150RTA.