Product Review: Michelin Pilot Road 3

Aug 12, 2017 View Comments by

Michelin Pilot Road 3They’re round, they’re black, yet tires are debated over intensely among riders. Many swear by a certain brand or model, even while switching motorcycles, geographic location, and riding style. The average rider doesn’t use a tire’s full potential though. Yes, that includes me, and I rate myself as above average due to the many miles and different motorcycles I ride every year. We recently sent out a reader survey and asked about tire purchasing. The number one factor that influences the purchase is longevity/mileage followed very closely by handling. A very distant third ranks wet grip as an important factor, then brand loyalty, dry grip, with price given the least amount of importance.

As for influence, reviews are most important, followed by recommendations from friends and fellow riders, and last is the easiest choice, which is replacing tires with what the bike came with.

That means the most important factor is mileage with the biggest influence coming from reviews and recommendations. My word of caution: North America is a very large area with different climates, topography, and materials used in road construction. Additional factors include riding styles, weight classes, luggage and passengers, and tire pressure. When recommendations and reviews come in from every corner, it doesn’t provide accurate feedback. The best recommendations come from those riding the same roads as you, on similar bikes, and with the same riding style. And that’s exactly why tire manufacturers don’t list mileage ratings. There are simply too many factors that impact your tires’ longevity. In many cases it’s best to stick with what your bike came with, especially when all the fancy electronics have been dialed in using a certain model.

Last year it was time to replace the tires on our Ducati Scrambler. The stock tires didn’t last very long. Less than 3,000 miles, to be exact. There wasn’t enough tread, and overall they served more for looks than function. Spirited riding through the Appalachians and often in high heat surely are the main reasons for the short life.

We’ve had great experiences with Michelin in the past, so we chose the Pilot Road 3. It doesn’t have that faux knobby look, yet the Scrambler still looks cool! Even some dirt and gravel roads haven’t slowed us down. Now this Michelin has been on the market for a few years and is not the newest, but sometimes the tire size dictates the certain tire model. The PR3 is a dual compound tire that achieves a longer lifespan. So far we have 5,000 miles on them, and they still look great. Keep in mind the Scrambler weighs about 410 pounds and never accommodates a passenger. While mileage does play a role in our decision, our most important factor is wet grip. We ride far and long, and often don’t have the luxury to stay inside when it pours. Meaning we log a lot of wet miles, too. Michelin offers X Sipe Technology (XST) on the PR3 that excels in the wet. Sipes are grooves or channels cut into a tire that expand as the tread flexes, sucking water away from that area between the road and the tread. Improved stopping distances and wet corner handling are the result. Other improvements over the stock tire include more dry grip and handling. The PR3s are ready to go without much warm-up needed. When the curves get tight and technical, the Michelins seems to fall in easier, providing great feel through the turn, and excellent grip upon throttling out. The tires are available in 11 sizes for cruiser/custom, roadster, sport, sport-touring, and trail use.

Michelin Pilot Road 3
Price: $500/set (varies by retailer)

motorcycle.michelinman.com

Review: Florian Neuhauser

 

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