Michelin Power Competition tyre - review - Road Cycling UK

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Michelin Power Competition tyre – review

Fast, lightweight and very grippy (in the dry) race tyre from Michelin

Michelin impressed us with a series of lab tests when we first went out to experience the new Power range in March. We said then that we needed more time on them to build a definitive opinion on their performance in the real world – and now we have.

In our hands, we’ve got the fastest, lightest versions of the Power range: the Competition. Michelin claim (and have partially demonstrated through their own testing) a ten-watt saving over the existing Pro 4 Service Course tyre when rolling at 35km/h for a rider and bike package weighing 70kg.

The thing is, there aren’t many regular 60-62kg riders out there – myself included, currently weighing in at around 80kg, plus bike – so how does this translate in the real world I arguably more closely represent?

In short, very well. I can’t accurately measure the actual wattage saved, but the reduced rolling resistance I experienced when shod to some Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels was a tangible improvement over the Mavic Yksion Pro rubber supplied with the hoops, and matched up well with the Continental Grand Prix 4000 IIs I generally use as my go-to race-ready tyres capable of all-round use.

The Power Competition is Michelin’s new flagship race tyre
  • Specification

  • Price: £32.99 each
  • Weight: 215g (25mm)
  • Sizes: 23mm, 25mm
  • Website: Michelin

On that front, the Competition tyres are genuinely suitable for all-round use, too. Throw broken UK road surfaces at it and the tyres roll with composure, dealing with the odd unavoidable pothole with ease. And, with the now-expected 25mm width, you get some real comfort thrown in too when you run them at around 70-80psi.

One of the really noticeable pluses of the Competition tyre is their weight, coming in at 215g for each in 25mm width. That’s seriously light, which is one of the reasons why they roll so well, and contribute to responsiveness when the road tilts upward. In or out of the saddle, acceleration is superb, and when coupled with a lightweight rim like the Ksyrium SLs, they’re a climber’s dream to ride.

Heading back down, grip is the most desirable quality. The rubber compound Michelin use derives from Michelin’s work in MotoGP, which relies on superior levels of adhesion when tilted over and aggressive angles. You can tell.

Rolling into corners at speed delivers nothing but assured grip in the dry. Even when feathering the brakes which can result in lesser tyres coming unstuck, I couldn’t get them to slip the road in the dry. Of course, slamming on the rear can cause a lockup on a looser surface, but in general I was incredibly impressed with the stopping distances I experienced.

That grip performance doesn’t quite extend to the wet. If we follow through on the MotoGP link, you’d expect a tyre in that arena to have more tread to shed water and improve grip, and the same probably applies here. The treadless surface means that water can’t be shed as effectively as it might on dedicated all-weather tyres, or indeed the benchmark Continental Grand Prix 4000 IIs, which themselves feature small nodules for that very function, and the Yksion Pros, which have thin yet comprehensive tread lines throughout.

The result of this is a slightly skittish feel in wet weather – as you tilt the bike, you’re not quite sure how much grip you’re going to get, so you end up just feathering back slightly to play safe. However, it should be noted that I’m comparing them against some well-endowed rubber in this instance; as a general rule, they’re still reliable. Michelin do also have the All-Season tyres in the Power range, which offer a claimed 15 per cent improvement in grip on slippery roads, but it will cost you in rolling resistance.

The Competition offers superb grip in the dry and while that’s not quite matched in the wet, it’s still reliable in slippery conditions

Back to the Competition and there’s also an Aramid Protek layer thrown into the mix, designed as the primary source of puncture protection. I didn’t experience any flats, and the layer did keep out the odd nobules of flint which had become wedged in the outer compound (my locals roads are particularly prone to this).

Sure, you may not want to use a tyre like this through the depths of winter – and Michelin will no doubt point you to the more durable Michelin Endurance or grippier Michelin All Weather, but there’s a decent level of protection here.

Conclusion

The Michelin Power Competition is a fast and grippy performance tyre which is superb in the dry, in every scenario, and generally reliable in the wet. Highly recommended.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Low rolling resistance
  • Very impressive grip in the dry

Cons

  • Highest standards not quite matched in the wet

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