Last year, Michelin’s Pro 4 Service Course clincher booted out the previous incumbent of the French firm’s all-rounder fast road tyre slot, the Pro 3 Race. It promised an improvement in rolling resistance along with 16 percent greater grip on wet tarmac, superior resistance to cuts and punctures and greater “agility” thanks to the tread profile, which is raised in the middle to create a hint of an egg shape. This in turn leaves the sides of the tread slightly flatter than they would be were the profile semi-circular, putting more tread on the road when leant over.
It is, said Michelin, “capable of going faster” than the older model. In the right hands, presumably. Perhaps what the venerable French firm means is that its cornering limits, in the rain especially, are higher. Certainly, there’s plenty of dry weather grip to play with. But, while it is always nice to have more grip when cornering, using the extra adhesion is not something every rider is keen to try to do, given that the penalties for overconfidence can be severe.
Of more use most of the time is an improvement in rolling resistance; it is always there, always helping. For sure, run at my regular 95 front, 105 rear psi for 23c rubber, the Pro 4 SC’s feel both zingy and floaty over regularly rumpled tarmac, which is where any excess is most keenly felt. We’ll have to run them back to back with competing rubber to be sure how good they are.
What is not in question is the toughness of the tread, which has, so far, shrugged off without even a suggestion of a cut the worst that the flints of Surrey’s back lanes can do. There’s said to be an increase in tread life; we’ll get back on that one in another 1,000 miles. And the tread profile-boosted handling characteristics? How about stable but incisive steering? That’ll do to be getting along with while we try them out in a few other machines.
So, first ride impressions: fast, comfortable, grippy, tough, agile… and, with white sidewalls, rather pretty.
More soon on RCUK
Michelin Pro 4 Service Course £30.00; Black, White, Digital Blue, Dark Blue, Ivory, Pink and Red, 700x20c, 23c, 25c