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Is Michelin Power the world’s best road bike tyre?

Friday, April 1st, 2016 9:32am
Category: Latest News

Is Michelin Power the world’s best road bike tyre?Michelin’s Power tyre range has the potential to set a new standard in the road tyre market, claiming to let you ride faster and further with the same level of effort.

We headed to Michelin’s sprawling R&D centre in Ladoux, Clermont Ferrand, to find out more.

Watch our video exclusive: 

The product of two years of development and 200,000 kilometres of real-world testing, the Michelin Power range caters for most of the riding you’re likely to do and is available in three variations:

Michelin Power Competition (23mm and 25mm) – built for road racing.
Michelin claim a 25% reduction in rolling resistance – equivalent to a saving of 10 watts. 

Michelin Power Endurance (23mm, 25mm and 28mm) – built for sportive riding.
Increased puncture resistance, more grip, durable and saves more watts.

Michelin Power All Season (23mm, 25mm and 28mm) – built for winter riding.
Extra grip, more puncture protection, new tread pattern, longer lasting.

(No tubeless version of Michelin Power is available at present)

Michelin Power CompetitionMichelin Power EnduranceMichelin Power All Season

How was Michelin Power developed?

Michelin Power. 22 mars 2016. Photo : Jérôme Cambier/Michelin
Michelin approached the development of the Power range with the following a priority:

  • Speed for racers
  • Durability for sportive riders
  • Grip for cyclists looking for a safe ride whatever the weather

Carrying out the four following tests:

1) Laboratory tests on materials and semi-finished products

These tests were carried out to assess materials in detail, to understand their mechanical properties and to analyse
their resistance and durability when subjected to different types of stress.

2) Rig testing

How was Michelin Power developed?The puncture resistance rig test measured the load necessary to puncture the crown of a tyre.

How was Michelin Power developed?Rolling resistance testing

How was Michelin Power developed?Grip testing: Two tests are carried out to evaluate longitudinal and lateral grip.

3) Track testing

Michelin has 20 different test tracks at their Ladoux base covering 43km, and they perform grip testing using an electric bike. This allows them  to accurately monitor the grip level of the tyre as the cyclist tackles a bend on a low grip surface.

Why use an electric bike? Because it can run at a constant speed and avoid the changes in effort related to pedalling.

How was Michelin Power developed?Puncture resistance testing on Michelin’s ‘silico’ track involves running a bike on a track covered in flint and sprinkled with water in order to amplify the stones’ cutting effect.

MICHELIN POWER, 23 mars 2016. Photo : Jérôme Cambier/MICHELIN

Michelin’s new aramid protection (aramid Protek+) is far more resistant to cuts than more traditionally employed materials like nylon, while at the same time ensuring greater durability.

4) Customer road testing

Michelin enlisted the help of more than 200 cyclists across three different continents to put its tyres through their paces in real-world conditions before their release.

These tests lasted several months, with each participant covering an average of 7,000km per year. Some completed as much as 25,000km in a year.

During our visit, we took to the test track with 29 other journalists to put the Michelin Power Competition tyre to the test, specifically to see whether rolling resistance was reduced over its predecessor, the Pro4.

We rode two laps of the test track with each set of tyres, maintaining a power of 180 watts. The average for the group of 30 was 18 seconds faster on the Michelin Power tyre (three riders went faster on the Pro4 Service Course).

Is Michelin Power the world’s best road bike tyre?

Given the might of Michelin’s research and design expertise along with their real world testing, everything seems to be in place to propel the Michelin Power tyre to the top of the wanted list for many riders.

It’s natural to be doubtful at a manufacturer’s claims, but it’s difficult to argue with the results that a number of (naturally sceptical) journalists themselves produced during our time at Ladoux.

Time, along with more miles on the bike, will tell whether Michelin Power will be the go-to tyre for racers, sportive riders and foul weather cyclists.

Michelin Power CompetitionMichelin Power EnduranceMichelin Power All Season

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