At the launch event for the new Michelin Power road tyre, the company claimed large performance gains – both over its previous Pro4 and its competitors. We used some science to find out.
Most of Michelin’s annual R&D spend of €700m goes into car tyres, where rolling resistance can account for up to 20 per cent of fuel consumption. The technology developed for cars, including silica-based tread compounds, has now been incorporated into its latest range of cycle tyres and Michelin claims impressive results.
The Michelin Power Competition tyres are the replacements for the Pro4 Service Course, and are aimed at road competition. Michelin claims that the Power Competition saves 10 watts of power over the company’s previous top-end model and bases this claim on tests done by third-party tyre specialists, Finnish Energy. But what does it actually mean to you and I? Apparently, for a rider and bike weighing 70kg, this could save 85 seconds over 40km at 35kph over the old tyre.
Alternatively it could equate to over a minute off the time to climb Alpe d’Huez, a weight loss of 1.5kg, 54 seconds on the 2015 Time Trial World Championship course or 2.8m in a 30 second sprint.
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At the launch event, we tested the new Michelin Power Competition tyres against the Pro4s on the company’s cycle tyre test track at Ladoux. We rode 5.5km at a constant 180 watts on the Pro4 Service Course before swapping for the Power Competitions and repeating the exercise. A group of 30 journalists rode an average of 0.8kph faster on the new tyre.
It’s an exercise which Michelin has repeated dozens of times with its own test riders, with strikingly similar results: overall the Power Competitions were 0.9kph faster than the Pro4s.The Michelin Power Competition tyres are available in 23mm and 25mm widths with claimed weights of 195g and 215g respectively.
Naturally we wanted to perform our own testing. In addition to field testing out on the road, in various conditions, engineer and pro rider, Dan Bigham helped me calculate the rolling resistance of these tyres. For the details of the rolling resistance test and the full results you can click here (it’s towards the bottom of the page).
Our testing appeared consistent, with the Michelins coming in third place just behind the Bontrager R4 and Vittoria Corsa G+. The key thing though, is that the Michelins are lighter, which will mean lower inertia and also.. The Michelin Power Competition tyres EW also lighter on your wallet too at about £20 less than the Bontrager R4.
It is difficult to quantify, but I didn’t feel as comfortable in the wet on the Michelins, compared to the Continental GP4000. I did detect some slight slippage of the rear tyre in wet conditions too.
Another thing to note is that although stated as 25mm, they came up at 26mm on our stock rim when measure with calipers. Although light the puncture protection does appear decent and I didn’t puncture while testing even on dirty wet roads.
For more information, head over to Michelin.
Overall these are very impressive, fast tyres that are also reasonably priced. It's nice that our own testing backs up the marketing claims too