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.
Michelin’s first tubeless ready road tyre
Tread works well on road and in drier off-road conditions
Three width options
Can run at lower pressures without bottoming out
Muddy conditions call for something more aggressive
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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.
>>> Best gravel bike tyres (opens in new tab)
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.
They were quite hard work to get over the rims of a set of Hunt 30Carbon Gravel Disc wheels, but once there seated easily with just a track pump and without significant air loss or exertion.
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.
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Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.
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