Michelin brings tubeless tech to its road range with the Power Competition Gravel
When Michelin introduced its Power range a couple of years ago, there were two notable gaps: the brand did not have a tubular – it said that clinchers were faster and easier – and none of its tyres were designed to be run tubeless. The Power Competition Gravel is the brand’s first road-going tyre to be tubeless ready.
Although we say “road-going”, of course the Power Competition Gravel is designed for mixed surface riding. It comes in the wider sizes you’d expect for this: 33mm, 35mm and 40mm. With the lower pressures you need for these widths, it’s slightly less demanding on a tubeless set-up than a 25mm road tyre.
Nevertheless, set-up was easy. It’s been a while since I have set up a tubeless tyre that has needed a reservoir pump to seat it and even longer since I’ve had one that popped off the rim – an indication of the increasing maturity of tubeless tyres and wheelsets and reduced manufacturing tolerances.
The tread pattern is a classic gravel design with an array of close, small knobs over the majority of the tyre, coupled to some deeper, larger, more spaced out knobs at the extremities.
It’s a good design for the dry summer and autumn conditions in which I rode the tyres. They rolled fast on road and hard pack, but didn’t give as much grip when I hit the few muddy areas remaining meaning they didn’t clear that well. The tyres are quite high-sided, so you can drop the pressure without too much risk of bottoming out on the rim when going over bumps. Although the tyre wall says 43psi minimum, I ran tubeless down to mid-20s without issues, which enhanced grip and roll-over on rooty routes.
There’s a new X-Miles rubber compound used for the Michelin Power Competition Gravel (as well as the Michelin Power Endurance road-going tyre), which Michelin says increases the tyre’s lifespan. It also says that the Power Competition Gravel has a “Protek” bead to bead protection belt built in under the tread, designed to keep thorns, flints and other ride-spoilers at bay.
With narrower widths available and its low-profile central tread, the Michelin Power Competition Gravel would work well for dry cyclocross races as well as recreational all-terrain riding. Michelin also sells the non-tubeless Cyclocross Mud 2 and Cyclocross Jet in 30mm width only, to cater for crossers.
The new Michelin Power Competition Gravel tyre provides lots of confidence over drier off-road rides. With its file tread, it rolls well on road as well as unmade surfaces. There’s just enough grip from the side knobs to get you through damper terrain, a good level of puncture protection and easy tubeless set-up.