New tires always dress up a bike, and the Michelin Anakee IIIs that I slipped onto my BMW F 800 GS more than 5,500 miles ago were no exception. An upgrade of Michelin’s popular Anakee 2, the IIIs are a 90/10 on-/off-pavement tire designed for big dual-sports and adventure machines. Initial testing on the local twisties showed great traction and performance on the pavement. Turns out, their dirt performance is also impressive.
Michelin claims 20-percent more rear tire mileage over the Anakee 2 and enhanced wet grip from a new silica-enhanced tread compound. The novel tread pattern—Michelin calls it “variable groove ratio”—uses various angles, shapes and positions of tread cuts to clear mud, disperse water and grab the ground. The overall pattern is said to slow down the weird wear patterns common in tires with large tread blocks. So far, it’s working on both my front and rear tires. Michelin also reworked the casing for added rigidity; the advertised benefits are better maneuverability and “precise handling.” And no worries about riding two-up with luggage on these tires—the rear 150/70-R17 69V and front 90/90-21 54V on my GS have load ranges of 717 and 467 pounds, respectively.
The curves of California Route 33 provided a good sport run and the Anakees answered the call with quick, predictable roll-in, great traction and a comfortable ride over miles of high- and low-speed corners. Put a check mark next to maneuverability and precise handing. Next up, the temperature challenge—triple digits for 100 miles into Death Valley, with a peak of 115 degrees. Following that were 50 miles of gravelly washboard that included a trip to the remote Racetrack Playa, then a rough dirt road over Hunter Mountain. A good day’s ride and no unpleasant surprises from the Anakees, save for a big “Uh-oh” in a sandy corner. Chalk that up to fading light and a tired rider. The next day’s ride followed a sandy, dusty four-wheel drive track in the southern Sierra. I had no problems with traction or control after lowering tire pressures to 28 psi from the 37 I’d run over the high-speed gravel.
My second test was a group ride that also included Route 33, where the Anakees exhibited good roll-in and excellent handling through the corners even though they were squared off from commuting. In the dirt, I took some grief for having the streetiest tread in the bunch, but made it down every loose track, up every hill climb and across miles of Mojave sand without a hitch. Later, I rode them in the season’s only rainstorm and was happy with the wet traction, though I didn’t press things on roads slick from rain-loosened oil and grime.
The IIIs have performed well in any situation, and deserve serious consideration for any big do-it-all bike, unless you’re heading to mudville. And that mileage claim? After 5,500 miles I wouldn’t hesitate to make another Death Valley adventure run with them.
Michelin offers the Anakee III in seven rear sizes, all for 17-inch wheels; six are radials and one is a bias-ply. There are also seven front sizes, split between 19- and 21-inch rims, with three radials and four bias-ply tires. MSRP for the tires tested is $276.95 (rear) and $198.95 (front).
For more information: See your dealer or visit motorcycle.michelinman.com
(This Gearlab review was published in the November 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)