Michelin Introduces Six New Tires for 2013 | France on Fire

By Zack Courts, Photography by Michelin

Michelin isn’t about to let its competitors, who are launching new tires at a frantic rate, get too far out of sight. As such, the French firm recently introduced no less than six new tires, and shipped the world’s moto-media to Portimao, Portugal, to show them off.

Most notable are the new Anakee III adventure-touring tires, benefitting from 3.5 years of development. Two identical BMW R1200GSs—one wearing the outgoing Anakee 2 tires and the other with new Anakee IIIs—were compared on a handling course. Heavy rain gave way to sunshine while we rode, providing the perfect opportunity to test wet traction and handling. We even took a short jaunt on a nearby logging road to confirm the IIIs’ claimed 90/10 street/dirt bias (we were happy to scurry back to pavement). Michelin also showed the new Anakee Wilds, built with a different compound and off-road tread for a 50/50 street/dirt intention.

On the sportbike side, the new Pilot Power 3s, designed for 85 percent road/15 percent track use, replaces the Power Pures. Improved wet traction and longevity were central targets, with new 2CT+ construction technology (see inset) to improve feedback, too. Also benefiting from 2CT+ are the new Power SuperSport tires, which place much more emphasis on trackday riding. Note that 2CT+ only applies to rear tires; fronts use standard 2CT construction.

The Power 3 and Power SuperSport tires were tested back-to-back on otherwise identical BMW S1000RRs on the world-class Autodromo International do Algarve. Comparing the two tires confirmed Michelin’s claims; the Power 3s felt like a road tire with enough grip for casual track-day attendees, while the Power SuperSports’ dual-compound front gripped well and aimed for apexes with noticeably less effort.


Anakee IIIs

The all-new Anakee IIIs have a sharper profile to make big adventure-tourers turn in more easily and a steeper shoulder to present a larger contact patch when leaned over. While extreme lean angles were hard to generate during this test, we did note impressive traction from the front tire during aggressive stops in the wet. The new profile fared well on the public-roads portion of the ride, too, providing linear response to steering inputs and full confidence when leaned over.


Pilot Power 3s

A spirited road ride led by Michelin test riders allowed us to sample the Pilot Power 3s in their natural environment. Unpredictable weather meant an even split of wet and dry roads, but the Pilot Power 3s performed admirably in all conditions. Dry traction was good enough for some testers to drag a knee during the photo shoot, while ample wet grip allowed moderate trail-braking and judicious application of throttle with full confidence and no slippage.


Pilot Street Radials

Also new in Michelin’s catalog are the Pilot Streets (a bias-ply offering) and the Pilot Street Radial tires designed for smaller bikes like the Honda CBR250R and Kawasaki Ninja 300. Michelin cited booming numbers in sales of these (and similar) bikes in Southeast Asia and South America as the reason for renewed attention to the category. The tires are not yet slated for sale Stateside, but may come our way if there’s sufficient demand.


Power Supersports

The Power SuperSports are intended for a 50/50 split between street and track riding, but we found them slightly overwhelmed by the stresses of aggressive track use. Even on a dry track we experienced excess sliding from the rear that eroded our confidence in the front tire—even if the rear slides were reasonably predictable. Bottom line: even if longevity claims are met on the street, serious track riders will want more traction.

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