By Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor

Not the best A tire of the bunch

Michelin offers something fresh with its two-year-old Pilot Power 3. The Power 3 is an evolution of the French company’s outgoing Pure model and benefits from its hybrid layered-type rubber formula to produce a tire Michelin believes is best for high-performance riding.

With a price just under $500, the Power 3 slots in as third-most expensive. But to be fair it's only $32 extra compared to the average price of the group. Nevertheless, $480 for a pair of tires is pretty expensive, especially when the pesky Shinko Apex costs so little.

Individually, the front and rear Power 3 tires were both third lightest amongst the group. However, as a set they were ranked one position better, weighing a smidge over two ounces less than the Avon Xtreme 3 and 6.4 ounces less than the Q3 by Dunlop. But compared to the super slim Pirelli, the Michelins were 1.1 pound heftier.

Of all the tires in this test, the Power 3 gave us the most mixed results. While we appreciated its steering response on both tracks, around the main track it was difficult to acclimate to the French rubber, and we noted the tires felt like they moved around constantly. Conversely, at the rough and bumpy Streets course, the Pilot Power felt the opposite, and testers praised its good stability over bumps and in the fast stuff.

On the Big Track, the Power 3 required the third-longest time to arrive at operating temperature (just over four minutes). On the Streets course, they ranked one position better, narrowly besting the Pirelli this time (184.7 versus 187.8 seconds) in addition to the Bridgestone S20 and Apex. Though it’s important to note the Michelin’s were run during the second-coolest pavement temperatures on both days.

Because of the awkward handling experience at the Big Track, the Power 3’s lap times suffered, recording the worst time of the test (1’34.7). However, on Day 2, where they were rated as performing significantly better, they registered the third-fastest time, ahead of both Bridgestone and Continental. But when the times were combined, the first day’s performance significantly penalized them in that category with them slotting second to last.

Low scores in three of the subjective rider scoring categories hurt the Michelin when the points were tallied. And despite their minimal weight, below-average scores in the remaining categories meant the Michelin finished in a distant sixth place.


“I had a hard time getting a feel for these. They moved around constantly and felt very hyper. Every time I leaned on them, they started moving around even more. It was not very consistent-feeling. The compound felt like it had the capability of being good, but the carcass was just moving way too much [on the Big Track]. Steering was quick and precise with no big spikes from center to lean. Good stability over bumps [on the Streets]. Warmup time could have been better, though, and these tires took extra time to get up to temp even compared to the B tires.”