A quality set of motorcycle tires is the most tangible performance upgrade you can make to a bike. And for 2013 French tire brand Michelin wants to earn your hard-earned dollars by introducing six new street tires designed to complement both new and old motorcycles alike. For dual-sport riders it’s offering a more road-focused Anakee III and true 50/50 on/off-road Anakee Wild rubber.
The new hoops are successor of the original Anakee (now 11 years old) and subsequent Anakee 2 released five years ago, while the Wild will replace the T63. Engineers were tasked with increasing performance on wet roads while simultaneously improving steering precision and feel thereby making it more fun to ride.
To accomplish this engineers altered the tire’s shape, making it taller at the center which equates to a more pointy profile. This increases turning response with lean angle and rider input. As the motorcycle changes direction and the tire transitions onto the shoulder, its contact patch grows by nearly 6% at 20 degrees of lean versus straight up and down. The contact surface continues to increase by almost 13% at 35 degrees. This is accomplished via the steeper profile and by altering the location of the bevel-cut tread sipes.
The compound of the tire was also tweaked with it incorporating a greater amount of silica (silica is a derivative of sand). More silica usually equates to added grip (think of it as higher-grit sand paper increasing the friction against asphalt). The tire’s carcass was also tweaked for enhanced stability and to mitigate weaving and that wallowing ‘lost’ feel that can at times be attributed due to heavy payloads and high-speeds.
(Left) The Anakee III gets a sharper profile for enhanced steering precision. (Center) The shape of the tire as well as the tread design allow the tire’s contact patch to grow with lean angle. (Right) The Anakee Wild is designed for 50/50 on and off-road use.
In an effort to demonstrate the Anakee III’s improved handling, Michelin outfitted a 2013 BMW R 1200 GS with a set as well as the Anakee II. We had the opportunity to ride both bikes back-to-back on a short coned-off parking lot course. As soon as we turned into the first corner it was readily apparent that the new tire is more responsive and lively feeling than the previous model. Where the old tire required a bit more bar lever input to turn Michelin’s latest dual-sport rubber steered with less effort and provided greater accuracy and more precise feel. That curious ‘fall into the turn’ feeling had vanished boosting rider confidence.
After the short drill we hopped on our dual-sport of choice, a BMW F800 GS and Yamaha Super Tenere, and spent a brief amount of time on curvy back roads to get a better feel for the tire. Our actual riding was limited due to an unusually tight schedule but it’s obvious that the Anakee III is a good tire. While it didn’t blow us away with any element of its performance, it did what engineers claimed it would do: It steers predictably with minimal effort and also had a fair degree of stability. Some of the roads we rode on were damp but lacked sufficient standing water to get a true assessment of its wet weather performance.
- Improved steering precision
- Adequate road grip
- Variety of sizes
- Insufficient riding time to get true performance assessment
- More expensive than the previous Anakee 2 tires.
The French tire company also claims that the increase in grip and handling doesn’t come with the penalty of outright durability. We’ll have to take their word on it, but look forward to spending more time on the tire for a more in-depth review.
*Keep an eye out for another quick review of Michelin’s updated Pilot Power 3 high-performance street tire and its Power One SuperSport street/trackday tire.
The Michelin Anakee 3 Adventure Touring Front Tire and Michelin Anakee 3 Adventure Touring Rear Tire are available at Motorcycle-Superstore.com
Front MSRP: $148.99 – $173.99
Rear MSRP: $180.95 – $228.95