Many riders feel the Michelin Pilot Road 4 tire is the best ever. Michelin says it's just made one that's even better.
Latest tire promises to improve upon Pilot Road 4 performance
Tires aren't normally the sort of thing anyone gets excited about, but as a huge fan of Michelin's Pilot Road 4 shoes – in my opinion, the best wet-weather tire available – news of the new Road 5 tire couldn't help but pique interest. Michelin says the Road 5 sport-touring focused tire will "provide riders with enhanced grip, comfort, and stability, particularly in wet conditions."
The bad news is you will have to wait until January 2018 to get your hands on them – longer for certain sizes of Road 5 Trail tires (if, like me, you roll with a 120/70 R19 in front and 170/60 R17 in the rear, you'll be waiting until June). Building upon the great performance of its predecessor, Michelin says the new Road 5 tire will at 3,000 miles still stop as well or better than a brand new PR4. The reason for this, the company says, is "patented XST Evo siping and ACT+ technology."
"The Road 5 tire represents a breakthrough in motorcycle tire technology," said Ross Shields, vice president of Two Wheel, Michelin North America. "With design and technology DNA incorporated from Michelin's leading research and development team, we are able to set a new benchmark for the effects of tire wear and performance over time."
The Road 5 tire builds on the design of not only the Pilot Road 4, but also Michelin's leading automobile tire, the Premier A/S. The tire's unique sipe feature is designed to evacuate water efficiently, which helps increase confidence during wet conditions. Living in the United Kingdom's rainiest city (Cardiff), I get plenty of opportunity to test various manufacturers' wet-weather claims and usually end up being disappointed (Gore-Tex, for example, is not the wünder product people would have you believe.), but have always been amazed at how well PR4s perform – to the extent that I don't even really think about wet surfaces.
The standard critique of PR4s, however, has been that they lose a fair bit of their magical ability a little earlier than most would like. Michelin claims to have resolved this issue with the Road 5 in borrowing tread design from the Premier A/S tire first introduced in 2014. Reportedly the tread helps maintain wet-braking performance as the tire wears.
In addition to optimizing wet grip, Michelin says its new Road 5 is designed to ensure "outstanding" grip on dry roads and "superior stability" compared with its predecessor. The design of the casing ply incorporates high angles and overlapping cross plies, which, the French tiremaker says, "allows for exceptional cornering stability while maintaining the high-flexibility in the crown for straight-line stability."
The new Michelin Road 5 will be available in two front and five rear sizes to fit a wide range of sport-touring motorcycles starting 1 January 2018.