Michelin Commander III Motorcycle Tires Review | Gear

Michelin Commander III Tires

I can say without hesitation that every car tire purchase I’ve made has been done somewhat grudgingly, with safety and practicality being the primary concerns. When it comes to new motorcycle tires, the return feels more worthy of the investment. The Michelin Commander III tires proved this in spades.

In a word: Giddyap!

When I was asked to review the Commander III tires on my Harley‑­Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, I was a little nervous, but not because I questioned the quality. Michelin has been my brand of choice for car tires for years, but that is primarily because of their reliability in the snow and ice where I live. But I don’t ride my bike on snow and ice. I assumed many of the same attractive attributes of traction and grip would apply on a motorcycle, but was I attuned enough to my bike to recognize the difference between these new tires and my old ones?

Michelin Commander III Tires

The answer was immediately “Yes.” 

There are two versions of the Michelin Commander III: Cruiser or Touring. Given the weight of my bike, I went with the Touring, which has less siping than the Cruiser tires for better stability. The potential tradeoff is less grip in the rain, but Michelin says the 100% silica‑reinforced rubber in the tires’ compound addresses this. I haven’t yet taken my bike out in a deluge to test this claim, but on a curvy road leading up to a nearby ski resort, I hit a decent storm and didn’t sense any slippage at speed.

Another feature of the Commander III is the aramid tread plies on the rear tire, which are also supposed to contribute to stability. The tires also have a more rounded profile than the previous Commander II model for better handling when the bike is leaned over. This is where that “giddyap” comes from. 

After having them mounted, when I hit the numerous sweepers on the 45‑­mile trip back to my house, I had a hard time keeping to the conventional wisdom of riding conservatively on new tires. It was almost like the Commander IIIs were pushing me – dare I say, showing off a little. But I refused the temptation. I promise…ahem.

Beyond performance, something else I was looking for in my new tires was longevity. Weighing in at two‑­plus bills, I’m not exactly slim, but I’m also not one of those hefty Guiness World Record twins many of us remember seeing sitting on motorcycles in pictures. Nor am I a super aggressive rider, and I diligently check my tire pressure, so I was disappointed when I got less than 4,000 miles out of my previous rear tire.

Michelin claims 25% longer tread life relative to its competitors. I can’t confirm this yet, as I have only logged about 1,200 miles to date. But so far, they still look new, and with many riders reporting nearly 20,000 miles from their Commander IIIs, I have my fingers crossed for similar results.

The Michelin Commander III tires are available at online retailers or your local dealer in 11 different sizes starting at $180.99 for the front and $210.99 for the rear.

See all of Rider‘s tire reviews here.


  1. I will never run lll’s again on my motorcycles. I’m glad you didn’t experience slippage but I did twice in one day a hour or so apart once in rain changing lanes on interstate and the second time in curve on wet but not raining pavement. Changed out tires that had 1/2 tread left.


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