Michelin is making some impressive claims for its recently released Pro3 Race tyres, the successor to the popular Pro2 Race clincher tyre. Having visited the Michelin research facility in France and witnessed the levels that Michelin take their tyres during the long testing phase, RCUK is prepared to believe that claims of 40% better cornering grip and 20% more grip on the straight may just stand-up.
To find out just how well these tyres stack up, Richard and I fitted a pair each to find out how they perform. Richard put a pair on his time trial bike and I on my race bike, which has been frequenting a well-known London crit circuit recently. Once considerable miles have been put into the new rubber, a full review will follow, but for now, here’s some first ride impressions.
David fitted a pair to current test rig, the Felt F4 with Mavic’s R-SYS wheels:
‘Crystal Palace is a circuit renowned for featuring tight corners and high-speed bends that require a high level of nerve to carry the most speed. Confidence in your tyres is paramount and the Pro3’s provided a noticeable increase in traction on the Tarmac, when compared to paired Continental Attack tyres and the previous Pro2 tyres. The bike and wheel setup remained the same, and the speed of attack around the corners was the same – but it soon became apparent that I could corner faster with the Pro3’s, allowing places to be made up through the corners and less loss of speed.’
Richard fitted a pair to his Scott TT bike and rode a tough time trial:
‘Out of the pack the Pro3s look and feel fast, with an impressively thin carcass and tread that shouts ‘minimal rolling resistance’ – exactly what you want for a rolling 50 mile TT with a bumpy old surface. However, for some reason that might relate either to the extra grip of the tread compound or to the silent running of the tyres, rolling resistance seemed a little higher – not much – than that of Conti Supersonics. That low hushed hissing sound emitted by fast tyres has a lot to answer for. More testing is needed, but one thing’s for sure; cornering grip is excellent. Furthermore, resistance to cuts and punctures seems equally impressive.’
While these are only first impressions – more miles and different rides need to be ridden – it’s quickly apparent that the tyres do provide better grip in riding situations such as crit racing that require great cornering adhesion.