Michelin Pilot Road 3 Tires Review

Among all of the different types of motorcycle tires out there, those we have the highest expectations of are certainly sport-touring tires. If a sport tire wears out quickly or a street-legal knobby squirms a bit in corners, no one is taken aback.

But sport-touring tires are expected to stick wet or dry, handle well, wear like iron, run quietly and comfortably and carry big loads. The already huge variety of bikes they have to do all of this on is expanding, too. Now that more sportbike riders are commuting on their formerly weekend-only machines, for example, they also need a tire that works in the wet and lasts longer than one lap of the turnpike.

Count some adventure-bike guys in that growing group too, and in fact for this test of Michelin’s new Pilot Road 3 sport-touring tires we decided to try them on a Suzuki V-Strom 650. Like most S-T tires the Pilot Road 3s have no offroad pretensions, but neither do many adventure-touring riders. If you have finally accepted the fact that you’re never going to set a wheel on a dirt road unless it’s being repaved, the only argument for keeping those blocky trailie tires on your adventure machine is that they look cool.

Well, so do the Pilot Road 3s, especially since they have Michelin’s new XST Sipe Technology, a series of narrow channels and reservoirs running among the tread grooves that store and force more water out to the sides, away from the contact patch. The varied depth and performance of these additional sipes helps the Pilot Road 3s wear more evenly and outperform the previous 2s in the wet for the life of the tire, a critical sport-touring edge. Michelin says it has also updated its 2CT dual-compound technology for the 3s to give them four-percent better longevity than the 2s. Dual-compounding puts harder rubber in the center of the tire for straight-up wear resistance, and softer rubber in the cornering tread for better grip (illustrated below).

Michelin’s Pilot Road 3 sport-touring tires
Michelin’s Pilot Road 3 sport-touring tires

Our Pennsylvania-based test rider reported that levering the 85/15 percent onroad/offroad-biased tires off his 2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650 and spooning on the Michelin Pilot Road 3s had a dramatically positive effect on the bike’s handling. He says the bike tips-in more smoothly now, the tires are quieter and have great grip, and that he’s riding faster and braking harder with more confidence in the wet or dry.

Michelin Pilot Road 3s come in tubeless radial sizes to fit most adventure, sport and sport-touring bikes. The 180/55ZR-17 rear is also available in a “B” version specifically designed for loaded sport-touring or riding two-up.

We’ll have another report after  we get a chance to mount a set of Pilot Road 3s on a genuine sport-touring bike. Based on our positive experiences with the former Pilot Road 2s on FJR1300s, the Concours 14 and others, however (and the 3’s shared profile, load capacity, etc.), the Michelin Pilot Road 3s should offer the same enhanced capabilities on these bikes, too.

For more information: See your dealer or michelinmotorcycle.com

Michelin’s Pilot Road 3 sport-touring tires
Michelin’s Pilot Road 3 (front), showing the 2CT dual-compound design


Michelin’s Pilot Road 3 sport-touring tires
Michelin’s Pilot Road 3 (rear)


  1. Bought a set for my 2004 Honda st1300. I have about 250 miles on them. So far they are much quieter and give a firmer feel that the OEM Bridgestones I was running. A lot less wandering when pavement has overlay and grooves. I got 10,000 mile out of the Bridgestones, so we will see how these perform.

  2. With over 3000 miles on the rear, and due to an unfortunate run in with rock 1000 miles on the front, I can tell you that these tires out perform the OEM Bridgestones on a K1600GTL. Both wet and dry road performance are exceptional. I use to worry about braking and painted lines in the rain with the OEM tires. They are no longer a concern. The rear shows little sign of wear. So I am trusting that these will surpass the 7000 miles I got out of the OEM’s.

  3. I fitted a set of pilot road 3s to my SV1000 about 6 months ago and i must say they are awesome tires , i have run up just over 4000km on them so far in all weathers and they stick great . I can easily get a knee down in the dry but ive also had my knee down in the wet while going round a roundabout and they never gave a hint of slip . I have had full sport tires that didnt stick as good as these do . Because i live in New Zealand we have lots and lots of corners and my tires tend to wearout on the edges long before the center of the tire gives up, i am very pleased with the wear so far and think im about a third worn so far . I have another set waiting in my shed to go on as soon as these ones are done…… might be a while yet hehe . In short these are the best sport/touring tires i have ever used and while they are a s/t tire they surpass some dedicated sports tires in outright grip and are the best tire ever in the wet….. so good infact there is little differance between my wet and dry riding…. i cannot recommend these enough and unless someone brings out a better tire i will STICK (pardon the pun) with these 😉

  4. I just bought a set of Michelin Pilot Road 3 tires and I will let you know how they handle I do alot of ridding I have a 2008 Honda CBR 1000RR I have put over 4000 miles on my bike in the last 3 months. I am doing a test to see what tire will handle the best here in Pryor Oklahoma and the surrounding areas.

    • Hey,
      What do you think about the Pilot Road 3’s? I havent found to many reviews on these tires on 1000cc sportbikes. Im thinking about trying a set on my RC51

    • I’ve read a great amount of reviews for this tire ( Michelin pilot road 3 ) and just can say this. I daily drive a 08 CBR 1000RR with the road 3s. Rain or shine, from 30° slush on road 4 ‘ snow on ground in Idywild ‘Ca to very nice 78 °beach day for fish tacos in Leucadia ,CA to a pass through 122° Palm Springs on my way to Lake Havisu , Arizona. This is a SPORT TOURING TIRE ON A SUPER SPORT BIKE ! I ride the Ortega between the CA- 15 to the CA I -5 and Palomar Mnt ,CA to Lake Henshaw , CA with the occasional
      jaunt into The Montezuma road ( Motezumas revenge) just west of Borrego Springs ,CA . Freeway home and work Monday to Friday , Twisties Saturday and Sunday…. Get the point ? As of this week (03-03-2013) I’ve managed to accumulate 12,726 miles in 13 months with the rear tire just about to lose/wear past the center water sipes. The tires pressures were ranged @ 28 psi ft cold/ 30 psi rear cold rainy / inclement weather and run at close to Max sidewall pressures front and rear on dry weather above 72° that’s it. My driving style is considered moderate to aggressive ( smart/ not pu$$! ) . I live in Wildomar ,CA and am surrounded by a wonderful selection of road choices and Michelin has delivered as advertised period ! As always please consider/ consult vehicle
      and tire manufacturer comparability and ride within the tires design . Over all a great tire !!!!!

  5. I went from pilot 2 to the pilot road 3 on my 2011 Ducati Multistrada and i’m really dissapointed, since my point of view the performance of the rear tire is not safe as the pilot 2, over 100mph the bike dance on the pavement. I used it for 500 miles and I did balance at the Ducati dealer and other two places and the problem still, then i decided to re install the old pilot 2 and ride came back to perfect ! So the tire has a problem !

    • I’m just wondering, given the very positive reviews by other riders, whether there might be a defect in the rear tire you installed.

  6. I just switched to the Pilot Road 3 from Dunlop Roadsmarts (3 sets) for my 2007 Suzuki Bandit. Leaning the bike is so smooth and easy now – the difference is incredible. The Dunlop must have a odd profile, because it resisted turn in at first, and then dropped over. The Michelins are very smooth all the way to their edge. 200 miles so far and I’m loving them. I’m a daily commuter, but I haven’t ridden them in the rain yet. The Roadsmarts were very good in the rain, and even ice and snow, if ridden conservatively.

  7. I bought my 2007 Bandit with a failry new set of Dunlop Roadsmarts on it. I have travelled about 8000km (5000 miles) on them, and I have found that the edges are worn much more than the centre, which still has a heap of tread left. At this stage the tyres are near the wear block and the centre,harder section is sticking out prominently. I’m not sure what to replace them with. The Dunlops stick like glue, and I can’t fault them one bit when it comes to cornering grip dry or wet. I have heard that the Michelins don’t give the same level of grip but wear much smoother. I certainly don’t try to get the knee down anywhere on the road, but I do like to give her a kick in the guts every now and then. Any suggestions? I would prefer grip over wear rate any day.

  8. ” dual-compound technology for the 3s to give them four-percent better longevity than the 2s”

    How can they quantify 4%? That number is so small, why do they even mention it? 400 miles extra over 10,000. Tire pressure impacts are greater than design here.

  9. I am on my second set of pilot road 3s and I couldn’t be happier with the tires. I ride mountains, a lot of straight and sometimes all that with a passenger and I got about 10k miles out of them. Great tire, I won’t ride anything but michelin on my bike.


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