By Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor

Great grip on wet or dry roads

Considering the ever-increasing power-to-weight ratio of newer sport-oriented road bikes, it’s no surprise that motorcycle tires are one of the first wear and tear components in need of replacement. Michelin offers a fresh rubber option with its newly released Pilot Power 3. The latest version replaces the Pilot Pure and is targeted to motorcyclists who spend most of their time riding on the street but still want the performance for an occasional day at the track.

Similarly to the Anakee III dual-sport tire (read about it in the Michelin Anakee III Tire Review) the Pilot Power 3 makes use of an updated profile, making it more responsive. The construction of the tire’s plies was also tweaked for added bump absorption/flex during braking and more stiffness near maximum lean angles.

The Power 3 continues to incorporate the French company’s dual-compound tread zones, only with a twist. While the front tire is of conventional design with a softer rubber flanked (25% tread surface on either side) by a more durable compound at the center (50% tread surface), the rear hoop takes things further by incorporating what Michelin calls its 2CT+ technology. This design incorporates a harder mixture throughout the base of the tire. A softer rubber formula is layered on top, comprising 80% of the tire’s surface area when new. This was done to reduce squirm effect when accelerating hard off corners. It also enhances stability at lean.

The tread pattern was also altered for improved traction on wet surfaces while simultaneously enhancing wear characteristics, which amounts to added durability. Yet the design still incorporates a slick-like zone at the edges for superior maximum grip on dry roads when the lean angle is in excess of 40%.

We had the opportunity to spend about 45 minutes on the tires via a spirited street ride through curvy stretches of blacktop aboard a current generation Suzuki GSX-R600. The Power 3s feel similar to the outgoing Pure model with a flexible carcass that provides a high level of road sensation during both braking and turning maneuvers. Some might be alarmed by the degree of tire flex, but it adds to the experience and allows the rider to better ascertain what the bike is doing compared to a more rigid tire. The tires were neutral and changed direction easily with minimal steering effort. Outright grip was excellent, and we’d have no hesitation using it for a track day. During our riding loop some wet pavement was encountered and the tires were surefooted with zero slip or traction-related issues.

Michelin reps mentioned that the new Power 3 gained some weight in its redesign as compared to the lightweight Pilot Pure. While we didn’t get a chance to weigh the new hoops, we did lift and handled it during the video shoots and the lightness of the rear tire was noticeable. While we applaud Michelin at trying to raise its already lofty bar in terms of road performance, we didn’t have enough seat time to determine if the tire is indeed better than the generation of rubber it replaces. Still, considering the abundant grip and rich road feel, we would consider purchasing a set for our motorcycle.

SIZES: Front: 120/60-17, 120/70-17 Rear: 160/60-17, 180/55-17, 190/50-17, 190/55-17
MSRP:
$184.95-186.95 (front)
$233.95-292.95 (rear)

Michelin Pilot Power 3 Highs & Lows

Highs

  • Great wet and dry grip
  • Carcass gives outstanding feel
  • Neutral steering feel

Lows

  • More expensive than previous generation
  • Durability still unknown