Review by Troy Siahaan
[The Michelin Pilot Road 2 Motorcycle Tires Review was originally published in the September 2007 issue of Rider magazine]
The world of racing is a cutthroat arena. Everyone involved has one common goal in mind–winning. The lessons learned at the track eventually trickle down to the everyday rider who’s just looking to take a Sunday cruise.
Take Michelin, for example. In 1984 it was one of the first to test motorcycle radial tires in Grand Prix racing. Three years later saw the introduction of the first radial tires for street use: the Michelin A59 X and M59 X. Now radials are commonplace. Its latest development has been with two-compound technology (or 2CT for short). It’s first two examples, the Power Race and the Pilot Power 2CT have been a great success for the racer and track day set, but there was nothing for the touring rider.
Until now: Michelin’s newest tire, the Pilot Road 2 is designed to “reconcile the irreconcilable” challenges in tire design–long tread life and optimum wet grip. To achieve the former, the center 20 percent of the rear tire is constructed from the hardest of three compounds in the Michelin stable, while the rest of the tire utilizes a medium, softer, compound. The same compound on the edges of the rear tire makes up the middle 60 percent of the front tire, with Michelin’s softest compound on the edges. Wet traction is accomplished with an aggressive tread pattern with a gradual increase in width from the center to the shoulders to help dissipate water faster.
I paid a visit to Michelin’s wet-weather testing facilities in France to try these tires for myself. The afternoon of riding ventured through the French countryside and ended at the test track for some wet laps.
Riding through the canyons the PR2s came up to temperature quickly and never missed a beat. Turn-in was simple, thanks to its rounded profile. Once leaned over, edge grip was impressive. Not once did it want to spin or slide.
At the test track we attempted to do our best laps aboard bikes equipped with the Pilot Road 1 tires. Afterward, we would do the same thing on identical bikes fitted with the Pilot Road 2s. Attached to all the bikes were data acquisition systems similar to the ones used in MotoGP. In fact, MotoGP star Colin Edwards was on hand to help us make sense of it all.
Riding the wet track with the PR1s was downright scary. The rear would spin at a crack of the throttle, and at times I had no control of the bike as both tires were sliding. The telemetry supported my findings as Edwards pointed out that I had the back tire “spinning like a top!” The best time I was able to manage with the PR1s was a 1:25. It didn’t take long to become a believer in the PR2s as they provided immediate grip. The rear would still spin, but it was much harder to break them loose. Most importantly, they never gave the uncontrollable sliding feeling like the PR1s and I was able to push a little more. Once again, the telemetry supported what I felt. Wheel spin was down dramatically and my overall corner speed was significantly quicker than with the PR1s, resulting in my quickest lap of a 1:22.
Needless to say, a three-second difference is very impressive. With the Pilot Road 2 now you, the touring rider, have a tire with awesome grip and durability for the long haul. They come in many of today’s popular sizes and vary in price depending on size so check with your local dealer.
For more information see your local dealer or www.michelin-us.com