Early in 2019 Michelin released their fifth generation of the road series tyre. The previous Pilot road four was held in high regard, so surely the new Road 5 would be even better. Here’s my Michelin Road 5 review after 4000 miles of mixed road use.
2018 saw Michelin release a new fast road/track day tyre, the Power RS. Developed using Michelin’s Moto GP experience, it featured a brand new tread pattern, mainly in the centre of the tyre. This unique tread pattern came about as the design team wanted to give the rider the ultimate dry grip feeling. The team certainly achieved that goal, they give grip and feeling in abundance. The tyre carcass was also new and improved over the previous pilot power tyre.
The Michelin Power RS was a masterstroke, I had them on the GSXR and loved them. They gave great feedback in both wet and dry. The warm-up time is quick, this inspires confidence in all conditions, thanks to the vast amount of grip available. They handled wet weather surprisingly well for a more track-focused tyre. The downside, all this grip gave the tyre a short lifespan, only half the life compared to a touring tyre.
Looking at the new Road 5, it seems all Michelin did was add more tread to brilliant Power RS, change the name on the sidewall, and then release it. Job done. Sadly that’s not the case, the Michelin Road 5 uses an all-new tyre compound, layout, and carcass. It still features the distinctive tread pattern from the Power RS using spines, but with the added channels and unique holes from the Pilot Road 4.
The thinking behind the new tread pattern is to get the tread where it is needed to dispel standing water. While riding in the wet, there is a low chance of riding aggressively and with high angles of lean. The bulk of the tread is on the centre face of the Road 5. The outer shoulders are completely slick, which makes them great when conditions are dry and higher lean angles are needed.
As well as providing more grip when new, the redesigned tread boasts more grip when worn to 50% than the outgoing Road 4’s when new. The tapering design of the tread spines means they get bigger when worn. This keeps the same surface area the same despite getting smaller in depth. The same surface area allows a worn tyre to shift the same amount of water, as a brand new tyre.
With the added grip in wet conditions and excellent life, it’s a perfect combination for the workhorse GSX750F. I often do distance in all weathers on the GSXF, so it seems the ideal test bike. With a 150 rear, it’s much narrower than a 180/190 used on modern bikes, but the GSXF holds its own in the corners.
Since fitting in spring 2019, I’ve put 4K miles on them, with a mixture of commuting and pleasure. They have performed flawlessly, despite the narrow profile. They are happy to lean, feel incredibly planted when upright, with no-slip problems under hard acceleration or braking.
I have no doubt that these would be a great all year tyre for sports bike riders looking for something that can handle any weather. The Pilot Road 5 would also make an excellent track day tyre for cooler temperatures, for those wanting to sneak in an autumn or winter track day.
Road 5 life is good, after 4000 miles the treadwear is as I was expecting, there is still plenty of life left, even though the GSXF isn’t a large tyre chewer. I’m hoping for at least another 4000 before replacement. The rear end feels incredibly planted wet or dry, with no issues, much the same with the Power RS tyre I ran last year. The profile of the tyre hasn’t flattened out, even with heavy motorway and dual carriageway use.
I’ve kept to the standard manufacturer recommended tyre pressures, with this being a commuter. Checking pressures every two weeks, there is a slight drop, but I would say this is down to old pitted wheels more than anything else.
The price for a 120/70 & 180/55 combo is around £245 for tyres only. This seems to be around the ‘norm’ price for performance rubber, from most manufacturers.