Metzeler: Then & Now
We at tyre times are always working to stay one step ahead of the market in bringing you the latest news, views, product launches and interviews of industry leaders from the tyre industry. Keeping with the present and moving towards the future in this industry is our primary objective. However, as every role model of mine has ever taught me, ‘One should always remember who they are and where they come from, lest you forget your past and leave your roots.’ Keeping in mind these words, we decided to take a trip down the memory lane and, celebrate the names that revolutionised the Tyre Industry in “Then & Now.”
It is because of these names that we have broken and established new records in land speed. Just think about it where would the world be minus the Tyres? From your everyday trip to the market to the long drive to your office, from a milkman’s bicycle to the Boeing 747, every mode of transport we use in incomplete without that black round piece of rubber. That black round piece of rubber called TYRE.
In our effort to pay homage to the inventors, creators and makers of this underrated
butirreplaceable product, we are going to start a series of articles in order to pay our respect and show appreciation to the frontrunners of the industry. To those who maybe are out of sight but definitely not forgotten. One such name commonly used when motorcycles and tyres are mentioned is Metzeler.
Setting the high speed world record for motorcycles in 1937, Metzeler clocked in at a jaw breaking speed of 279.5 Km/h. The legacy of Metzelerhowever, goes way beyond that neck breaking speed record, set almost 77 years ago.
As the story goes the founder of Metzeler, Mr. R.F. Metzeler (1863-1910) started his career with a commercial firm that sold rubber and elastic goods in Munich, Germany. The firm was set up under his own name of Metzeler. The firm at the time use to manufacture Technical and surgical articles, sports equipment, toys and weather-proof clothing. Carrying on from there Metzeler established his first Rubber factory in 1871 in ‘Schwanthalerstrasse’ in Munich, Germany (Don’t worry, we had the same difficulty in pronouncing that name). Moving on, a new rubber factory was built in 1887 to meet the growing demand of rubber in the region.
To stick with surgical articles and toys was not the start and the end of Metzeler’s vision. In 1890 Metzeler became Industry leaders in Aviation industry. Taking the business and inventions to a new high, Metzeler developed multilevel rubber manufacturing method for linen and cotton fabric. This new product was used for balloons, airship and aircraft construction. Still, as if that was not enough for R.F.Metzeler, the master of rubber kept on working and improving on his strengths. So much so, that his role in development of the bicycle, motorbike and car tyres is still talked about as some of the most important contributions to the industry.
After a long engagement with rubber industry, in 1906 Metzeler jumped into tyre production. Even after the death of R.F.Metzeler the company Kept on with their tradition of setting new benchmarks, Metzeler impressed the world by making the first useful tyre, using the new kind of synthetic rubber called “Buna” in 1933.
Then came the moment that changed the face of motorsport per say. With Metzeler setting the high speed world record for motorcycles at 279.5 Km/h leaving a taste of what can be to the world in 1937.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein
Now you might be wondering what relevance this Albert Einstein quotation on life might hold in middle of this article. In many ways though, it does. The price of success is far greater than it is thought to be. As was the case with Metzeler with all the ups they too faced some hardships and setbacks, the most influential of which came during World War II. In 1945 the Metzeler factory was completely destroyed and decimated in an attack.
Once again, keeping with my love for quotations here is another one with the author unknown “Just because you fall down doesn’t mean you are hurt in the process, yet maybe you found your lost ear ring.”
Metzeler immediately started the reconstruction of their factory and while tyres were still being manufactured, they started developing other activities in the technical rubber sector and for the leisure market.
This was just the start of what was to come. In years that followed Metzeler broke records after records, whether it was the invention of world’s widest motorcycle tyres or setting Nardo – Italien world record, Metzeler’s name became synonym of Invention.
1965: Metzeler jumps into racing arena and starts providing racing services
1974: Metzeler Introduces first of its kind low profile tyre in 80 and 90 series of products
1978: Metzeler becomes first Company in Europe to develop tubeless tyres
1978/79: Economic reasons compel Metzeler to change their focus to producing motorcycle tyres only. The Munich manufacturing plant was shut down the production was moved into the Breuberg factory in Odenwald
1982: Metzeler developed the first tread pattern with crosswise oriented grooves
1983: Metzeler introduces the first cross ply tyre with a Kevlar belt for mass production. This leads to the introduction of the “MBS” – Metzeler Belt System
1986: The Company becomes a member of the Pirelli Group. In the same year Metzeler introduced the arrow parabolic tyre to the rear wheel called ME 1
1987: Metzeler launches the first Silica-tread compound for motorcycle tyres, called “CompK”
1994: Sets world record – Nardo, Italien
1992: Metzeler introduces the first 0° steel belted radial for rear motorcycle tyres called ME Z1 worldwide
1994: Metzeler set the motorcycle world record for going 24 hours nonstop at 246.0 km/h
1995: The Metzeler Quality Management System was certified by DIN EN ISO 9002.
1996: Metzeler’s ME Z4 becomes the first tyre set with the revolutionary 0° steel belted radial technology in the world
2000: Metzeler introduces the new Metzeler ME 880 in 240/40 R 18 size to meet demands of tuners worldwide. World’s widest motorcycle tyre with 243 millimetres width
2003: In order to follow and anticipate the Sport Touring Bikes’ evolution, Metzeler introduced Roadtec Z6
2005: Introduction in the market of the ultimate Super sport tyre SPORTEC M3 and the extraordinary successful Enduro F.I.M. tyre MCE 6Days Extreme
2007: Metzeler renews its Enduro Street segment with the release of Tourance EXP, first Enduro Street tyre with 0° steel belt on the front
2008: The Company Metzeler introduces the first M+S all-season tyres for scooters: the new Feelfree Wintec eliminate the seasonal nature of the scooter
2009: Interact Technology: A new patented carcass with variable tension of the 0° steel belt upgraded the existing Racetec line
2010: The new Super Moto tyre Racetec SM replaces its predecessor within the racing product range, while adding the new racing-for-fun Racetec Slick COMPK for amateur riders.
2012: Metzeler tyre is manufactured with bi-compound mixture for the first time
We are sure that even as we write and you read this article Metzeler is planning on something new, something bigger than before, something faster than before. Surely they still have a few tricks left in their sleeves and they will keep showcasing their technology to the world for years to come
This was “Metzeler: Then & Now.” If you have any suggestions or you want us to do a write up on something you would like to read about, feel free to write to us at:firstname.lastname@example.org we will be happy to oblige. (All images courtesy of www.metzeler.com)