I rode it with almost no fuss and when I came out of the corner, the curse in my Shoei was replaced with the
Michelin Power RS front tire, which provided grip when I braked hard and deep into the corner.
Michelin calls it a “defining moment” for motorcycle tires, a moment as important as when it
launched the first radial motorcycle tire in the 1980s. That’s the whole explanation. According to the French company, the Power RS offers of it of it grippy, agile and stable, more grip in wet weather than the Pilot Power 3 and Pilot Road, which it replaces in the Michelin range. That makes it Michelin’s best all-purpose rubber offering: suitable for year-round road riding in a variety of conditions and temperatures (tested up to 6 degrees), but with a lot of performance in store for cyclists. the fuse on the track.
That performance window isn’t new: Mezlerer’s Sportec M7 RRs do the same, as do Pirelli’s Diablo Rosso IIIs and Dunlop’s Sportsmart tires. Sport tires like these are the standard and you have to choose between touring style tires that perform in all road conditions (but are pretty useless on the track) and more track oriented sticky track tires that perform under the hood. on a cold and wet autumn road trip is a thing of the past. With its supposedly better wet grip, agility and stability, Michelin’s Power RS claims to take that performance and push it even further.
The Power RS has been in development for two years and the compound and construction technology used in it is twice that of production, so while the concept of a sports tire that is just as capable on the track as it is on well established, I still expect to be impressed with the Power RS.
Before sampling the delights of a circuit that hosted the opening round of MotoGP less than a week ago, my first taste of the new Power RS is a little less glamorous: riding a Yamaha R3 in a dusty and partly wet parking lot to test wet performance and get a feel for the Power RS’s agility. It also reminds us that these rims aren’t just for 200hp sport bikes – they’re offered in sizes 110
front and 150 rear, meaning they’ll fit bikes around 300cc.
A tight little lane in the parking lot emphasizes the ease with which the Power RS goes from crown to shoulder and hard braking on a wet section of the test track isn’t enough to startle the front tire or ABS when the tire sinks and brings brought me to a stop in much less time than expected.
And I expected it to be fine on wet roads: with a minimal amount of rutting, it looks like a barely cut slick. But while there are slots that only take up 6% of the Power RS’s face, they’re strategically placed in the center where they’re probably most useful on a wet road.
When it came time to dig a little deeper into what the Power RS can do, Michelin collected many of the latest and greatest superbikes,
including the Ducati 1299 Panigale S, Honda Fireblade SP, BMW S1000RR, Aprilia RSV4, Kawasaki ZX- 10R. and R1 and R1M.
First there was the chance to test the outgoing Pilot Power 3 against the new Power RS: three laps on the Pilot Power 3, then back to the pits to switch to the same model of Power RS studded bike and do three more laps . As I was walking through Losail following the front rider, I realized the Power 3s had enough grip for the moderate pace we were riding.
The next three laps with the
Power RS-shod R1 weren’t fast enough to really understand the grip the rear tire could provide under hard acceleration, but the way the front felt when I leaned the R1 into the corners and I picked it up. the start was better: sharper, more precise and more stable, as the bike went from upright to on its side. Obviously, compared to the R3, the R1 is a heavier, more powerful and more demanding bike to ride, but a first time testing the Power RS on a 200hp bike echoed my previous experience that they stable and smooth in the corners .
THE REAL The chance to familiarize myself with this new tire came shortly after, as I rode the Ducati 1299 Panigale S towards the exit of the pitlane.
The Power RS’s heat up quickly and after a few laps I’m already confident that I can get the front tire where I want it. Turns four and five come together to form a long right-hander that keeps me accelerating and turning later. No matter what time you try to turn or how many corrections you have to make, the front tire quickly adheres to your chosen line, without a trace of protest.
The rear also takes as much abuse as I can dish out. Coming out of slow corners I pull the throttle earlier and earlier, and no matter what I do with my right hand the rear just digs in and hooks up, always keeping that supportive feel and communicating its grip well so I always have the confidence I need to get out of a corner.
next session in a BMW S1000RR with traction on the lowest setting and an idea of where the track is headed, the orange TC light on the dash goes crazy every time I approach the throttle without standing fully upright. † Still, the rear tire is unfazed by the force applied to it and when I break traction it goes smooth and gradual and I know where I stand.
The sheer amount of grip and confidence that the Power RS offers is due to new connections front and rear. The compounds have been developed by Michelin’s own chemists,
meaning no other tire manufacturer has access to them. The front tire uses a new black carbon compound on the shoulder, for the best possible grip on dry surfaces when banking. The rear has been given a softer compound in the middle to help with stability and acceleration.
It certainly feels like it’s worth it: side grip is an asset and while I make some mistakes I can take some liberties with the front end.
In terms of stability, the Power RS is very stable. No matter what bike I was on, when I was accelerating hard on the start/finish straight, the rear always felt firm in its connection to the track. Hitting my brake mark and pulling the anchors at over 200mph speedometer just keeps the front end sticking to the ground and whatever bike I’m on I had immediate confidence in the grip and ability to go hard to brake.
This stability is due to the new ACT+ housing of the Power RS. To provide optimal stability and support, the sidewalls, shoulders and crown of the Power RS are basically separated. This means that the crown can be softened, allowing the
center of the tire to flatten a lot under acceleration, while the sides of the tire provide more support. It’s all done thanks to a single-ply carcass that folds on itself, meaning the center of the tire has a radial construction and the sides have a cross-ply construction.
Once I felt like flying through Qatar, the new Michelin Power RS certainly had enough grip for me. The front is tacky and communicative, and the rear has the supportive, grippy feel you need when riding a 200 horsepower bike around a MotoGP track. Sure, it looked like they’d grabbed a stick, but they weren’t completely destroyed and I’m curious how they handle the British roads.
The Michelin Power RS is now available for around £250 per set and more information can be found by clicking here.