Michelin Power RS
When a new product is released and the manufacturer boasts a massive improvement over the model it is replacing it always makes me feel a little cynical. Michelin launched the new Power RS tyre back in January 2017, in what seems like an amalgamation of the pilot power 3 and the power supersport Evo tyres. The new Power RS has a completely new construction, compound and tread pattern, all derived from Michelin’s experience in the past few years providing tyres for Moto GP machinery.
The tyre is made up of multiple compounds, the centre is made up of their 2CT+, which is 100% silica (Good for longevity) and the shoulders are made up of 100% carbon black (Good for grip). These compounds are wrapped over their Adaptive casing technology+ (ACT+) casing. The Variable Groove Ratio tread design is a thing of beauty. It is very aggressive, it has huge tread blocks in the centre of the tyre but very little of the edge of the tyre. The logic to this (speaking as an engineer) is great, get the tread where it is needed to remove the water, from the road surface, in the centre of the tyre for when the bike is upright or has small lean angles. Realistically, you’re not going to be pushing hard in the wet and using the full tyre width so why put tread there? Having tread on the tyre edge sacrifices contact patch with the road surface and therefore the dry grip available when cranked over.
The tyre is 100% road legal with Michelin branding it as a fast road tyre with occasional track day use. I am not a track day rider, nor am I a fast road rider. I am normally the person that everybody else is waiting to catch up, which made me think is it a suitable road tyre?
Looking at pictures I was still slightly concerned about them in the wet. I had done some research before to see what they were like in the wet, but there was no information about, I couldn’t find a real world review anywhere. Michelin had launched the tyre at the Losail Track in Qatar. A country in the middle of the desert and which has about 3 inches of annual rainfall. Because of this, all the press that attended the launch got to play with the new tyre got to do so in a warm and dry environment. Not a Cold, wet night in Stoke like me.
I got them mounted up and balanced by a friend of mine who has always done my tyres for the past 8 years through all my cars and bikes. The first thing he said was how surprised he was at the weight of the tyre itself. He said it was extremely light, and the lack of tread grooves. They do look like a cut slick tyre, and on my travels, I’ve had so many questions asking what tyres they are and if they are legal and people are surprised to hear they are. Completely! Straight out the box, they are grippy, despite being told to take it easy for the first 50 miles after about 5 I was attacking roundabouts, (please don’t try this at home) with a big beaming smile on my face. They get very warm and feel extremely grippy. I had a leisurely cruise around south Shropshire hills, and it was a fantastic day. These tyres are amazing. Rain too isn’t a problem. I have been caught out a few times in the wet stuff, at first, there was a slight bit of apprehension about riding in the wet on a track day tyre, but as soon as I got going this went away. I think the fact the tyres run quite warm helps, I stopped off for fuel and the road itself was completely wet, but the tyre was dry within seconds. I also went out for a ride with Ben in the wet and he noticed the tyres kicking up large rooster tails of water, so it gets rid of the water too. In terms of feel in the wet, I have had no issues, or nervousness or anything untoward they have been great.
All the above I have had them on for just over 3500 miles at the time of writing (23/10/17). The wear on them looks fantastic, I have been playing around with the pressures and they do like to be run quite low, much like a track day tyre. I settled at 34F&R although now autumn and winter are coming and the ambient temperature starts to drop I’m going to start experimenting with pressures again so the tyre doesn’t get too cold. I think they are a great all-around tyre so far if they last me another 1500 miles, (pretty sure they will, they look hardly worn after 3500 road miles). I am running slightly lower than recommended pressures for the road, but higher than what Michelin recommended for the track. They do get nice and warm to the touch after a ride, which is great and I am also starting to get some nice wear patterns on the edges, nothing too serious but still proof that they are being used. I am yet to venture on track with them so I can’t comment on how they behave when given more of a battering. As with any tyre though it all comes down to riding style, what you are riding and where you are riding it. I am very happy with them, and will definitely be buying another pair when these are done.