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GEAR REVIEW– Michelin Pilot Road III

October 23, 2013




October 23, 2013

I’m not sure if this is really a “Gear Evaluation” I’m biased, seriously biased.  Just go out and buy yourself a pair.  They are absolutely fantastic tires!

I’ll start out saying I’m a huge fan of Michelin tires.  I’ve owned the Pilot Power 2ct, the Anakee 2, the Pilot Road, and the Pilot Road 2ct.  As compared to the Pilot Road 2ct, the PR3 is a better tire, not just incrementally, it’s leaps and bounds better.

Although these tires are directly oriented at the sport touring crowd, they make sizes to fit just about every adventure style motorcycle.  Why? Well, many ADV Rider types realize at some point that the ADV (in adventure) is cool as a sticker but not really appropriate for their riding style.  In reality, most long-distance riders see significant highway miles, lots of weather and twisties wherever possible.  Off-road riding is confined to dirt roads, gravel roads, and the occasional “how the hell did I get myself into this situation” situations.  Also, our motorcycles are heavily loaded, two-up, and ridden fast, so tire longevity and performance are important.

A perfect ADV/Sport tire would offer:

  • Excellent tire wear
  • Excellent wet weather performance
  • Excellent grip
  • Excellent braking
  • Zero vibration
  • etc., etc., etc.

Which leads us to:

MICHELIN Pilot Road 3 - Logo

From the Michelin Website, let’s talk technology:

The new benchmark in sport touring tires:
Surpasses the performance of the renowned MICHELIN® Pilot® Road 2 tire
– Unrivalled grip in the wet, thanks to revolutionary X-Sipe Technology

Exceptional durability:
– Unbeatable tread life from MICHELIN’s latest-generation 2CT dual-compound technology

Performance that lasts:
– Even wear and life-long performance thanks to full-depth XST sipes

Pilot Road 3 Trail:

For adventure bikes ridden primarily on the road

– All-season grip and outstanding mileage for adventure bikes like the BMW GS, Triumph Tiger 800 and Suzuki V-Strom

– Same XST tread design, but with distribution of the 2CT dual compounds optimized for adventure touring

Special rear tire for loaded sport touring:

– 180/55 ZR 17 rear also available in a ‘B’ version, specifically designed for loaded sport touring or riding two-up

What does that mean?

It means that the freaking tire is great!.  Turn in is effortless.  The tire tracks perfectly and there is a tremendous sense of grip which inspires confidence. 

X-Sipes – The PR3 is one of the first (maybe the first) motorcycle street tire with full depth sipes (essentially thin cuts in the tire rubber – see the photo above).  Sipes do a few things.  First, they allow rain to be “squeegeed” out of the tire.  The sipes generate pressure at the edge of the sipe “blade” which helps to break the water film – allowing the tire to stay in contact with the road.  The sipes allow water to be drained into the larger tread channels and again, get rid of water.

Evacuating water and maintaining traction let people get away with trying to drag a knee in the wet….

Siping also allows the tire to run cooler and theoretically – last longer.  Check back in the spring and we will have more detail on how the tires are lasting.  I almost always get 10-12,000 miles from a set of Michelin tires so it’s gonna be a bit of a wait.  We have great expectations for this tire and will use it across a wide variety of terrain.

Second, they allow for somewhat more “feel” for the road as you have zillions of “slices” absorbing and mimicking the road.  More feel = more traction = more confidence. On my first street ride I was absolutely delighted with the instantaneous improvement over the previous set of  Metzler Tourance tires.  Now that’s not really a fair comparison as the Tourances are designed as a 60/40 on-off tire.  But this ain’t a comparison.  It’s a religious experience masquerading as a tire review

Like I said before, I really love these tires.  What you feel is a lively tire that wants to leap into turns, comes back upright smooth as glass and has zero vibration.  It also stops beautifully.  I had to bed in a new set of Brembo metallic brake pads, this required several increasingly hard stops from 40-10 MPH, then 60-10 MPH, then 80 to almost zero.  A few months ago I did the same thing on a worn set of Continental Road Attack’s and almost lost the front end at speed from lack of grip.  The PR3’s did not even offer the slightest hint of squirm or wander.  They just stopped.  Straight and true – every time.  If you are not in love with the handling of your current motorcycle rubber the PR3 is the cure. 

On dirt and gravel the performance is amazing.  It just grips.  This is not a 60/40 tire or even an 80/20 tire – this is a 100% street tire.  However, I would not hesitate to take an extended hard pack dirt or gravel ride.  They are that good. 

As you can see from the chart there are two versions of the tire.  The regular street tire and the “TRAIL” tire.  The difference is mostly in width of the compound.  The Trail has a wider medium section in the rear.  Finding a dealer who sells the “Trail” version won’t be easy as we have never actually seen a dealer with the one in stock and most internet/mail order shops only (rarely) have one or two sizes.  Revzilla as of October 2013 lists one front (110/80R19) and one rear (150/70R17). 

If you are riding an Aprilia Caponord (as we are) you are out of luck on the Trail.  However, the regular PR3 is available in a zillion sizes and everyone has them.

My go to retailer is they have excellent prices and the best customer service on the planet.  Yes that’s a plug.  No I am not compensated.  I just like their service.  That’s my .2 cents about the PR3’s.  Like I said before, check back in a few months and I’ll give you an update on how they are holding up. 


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. dadsafrantic permalink
    October 26, 2013 1:10 am

    i’ve run them on my ’06 capo since they came out. i live in the sf bay area and we get some real downpours. i ride 20k per year wet or dry just commuting. i would not ever have another tire then these. if you ride conservatively in the wet they make it seem like the pavement is dry. i get about 14k on the rear and about 18k on the front. i am just a slab rider so your miles may be different.

    • October 26, 2013 10:44 am

      Yeah to that! I’m absolutely going to put a set on my Futura when the Pilot Power 2ct’s wear out. I have to admit that I’m on the fence about the Capo. I’m really interested in the Anakee 3. If I go that route I’ll have my brothers’ 06 Capo with PR3’s to compare against.

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