Michelin has been making motorcycle tires since 1892. For context, that’s 11 years longer than Harley-Davidson has been making motorcycles. Now, it is out with its latest tire range for sport-touring motorcycles: the Michelin Road 6.
The folks at Michelin explained that the Road 6, with 100% Silica Technology, continues to make incremental gains in both grip and durability – qualities that tend to oppose each other – while preserving performance and comfort. The resulting Road 6 offers the dry grip and handling of the previous-generation Road 5, but with improved wet grip, stability, and longevity.
For a seat-of-the-pants evaluation, Michelin supplied a set of Road 6s in the GT spec, which is reinforced for the added weight of heavier sport-tourers, to mount on my 2014 BMW R 1200 RT. When the tires arrived, I noticed they share the more rounded, less pointy profile I’ve come to expect from Michelin’s sport-touring tires. (I’ve run Pilot Roads, Pilot Road 2s, and Pilot Road 3s on my Honda ST1300, and Pilot Road 4 GTs on my RT.) The rounded profile means turn-in is linear, not abrupt, which helps deliver smooth, predictable transitions. That familiar characteristic inspires confidence in the bike’s handling and stability – especially on a big sport-tourer loaded with gear or a passenger – and it was immediately apparent with the new Road 6 GTs.
Michelin invented dual-compound rubber for motorcycles. The latest evolution, called 2CT+ in Michelin-speak, is designed to enhance stability in strong acceleration, cornering, and heavy braking. The dual-compound construction has been standard on rear tires in the Road range, but with the Road 6, Michelin applies it to front tires too.
The Road 6 also features a new Michelin technology called Water Evergrip, a sipe design that allows the tires to evacuate water consistently, even as they wear. A cross-section shows each sipe starting narrow at the tread’s surface, then flaring inward. With normal wear, the sipe grows shallower but also wider. Michelin designed special 3-D, metal-printed molds to manufacture tires including these clever sipes. Combined with revised angles in their sister grooves, they help achieve a constant void ratio, so water evacuation capabilities remain constant regardless of lean angle.
To see for myself, I went riding in a downpour. On wet, curvy roads in my home region of western Massachusetts, my RT shod with Road 6 GTs felt planted across a wide range of speeds and during intentionally hard braking.
As the deluge continued, I stopped in a parking lot to get some photos. A man in an SUV pulled up.
I’m fine, thanks.
“Why on earth are you out in this?”
I’m evaluating some new motorcycle tires that are designed to be better in wet conditions.
“That’s nuts. Go home!”
Thanks, I’m heading in that direction.
I was able to ride several hundred more miles on these tires before the publication deadline, though obviously it will take several thousand miles to report that they’re still as good in the wet as when new. That said, the new Water Evergrip technology is an innovative concept that takes some cool engineering to pull off.
As for tread life predictions, close to a quarter million miles in the saddle has taught me that tire life varies with the quality of road surfaces, how much weight a bike carries, how hard a rider accelerates, brakes, and turns, and no doubt other factors. Time and distance will tell.
The bottom line so far? I really like how these new Michelin Road 6 GT tires feel on my RT.
For more information, visit michelinman.com/motorcycle.