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Michelin Pilot Power 3 Tire Review

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Michelin’s Pilot Power 3 offers a more flexible tire carcass which enhances road feel and makes for a more entertaining experience.
Considering the ever increasing power-to-weight ratio of newer sport-oriented road bikes, it’s no surprise that motorcycle tires are one of the first wear and tear components in need of replacement. Michelin offers a fresh rubber option with its newly released Pilot Power 3. The latest version replaces the Pilot Pure and is targeted to motorcyclists who spend most of their time riding on the street but still want the performance for an occasional day at the track.

Similarly to the Anakee III dual-sport tire (read about it in the Michelin Anakee III Tire Review) the Pilot Power 3 makes use of an updated profile making it more responsive. The construction of the tire’s plies was also tweaked for added bump absorption/flex during braking and more stiffness near maximum lean angles.

The Power 3 continues to incorporate the French company’s dual compound tread zones, only with a twist. While the front tire is of conventional design with a softer rubber flanked (25% tread surface on either side) between a more durable compound at the center (50% tread surface), the rear hoop takes things further by incorporating what Michelin calls its 2CT+ technology. This design incorporates a harder mixture throughout the base of the tire. A softer rubber formula is layered on top comprising 80% of the tire’s surface area when new. This was done to reduce squirm effect when accelerating hard off corners. It also enhances stability at lean.

The tread pattern was also altered for improved traction on wet surfaces while simultaneously enhancing wear characteristics, which amounts to added durability. Yet the design still incorporates a slick-like zone at the edges for superior maximum grip on dry roads when the lean angle is in excess of 40%.

(Left) The Pilot Power 3 features a sharper profile aiding steering response. (Center) The rear Pilot Power 3 continues to feature Michelin’s dual compound technology with a twist: the new 2CT+ formula uses a layered compound strategy for added drive grip stability. (Right) Updated compounds and tread pattern enhance both wet and dry grip as well reducing irregular wear as the tires age.

We had the opportunity to spend about 45 minutes on the tires via a spirited street ride through curvy stretches of blacktop aboard a current generation Suzuki GSX-R600. The Power 3s feel similar to the outgoing Pure model with a flexible carcass that provides a high level of road sensation during both braking and turning maneuvers. Some might be alarmed by the degree of tire flex but it adds to the experience and allows the rider to better ascertain what the bike is doing compared to a more rigid tire. The tires were neutral and changed direction easily with minimal steering effort. Outright grip was excellent and we’d have no hesitation using it for a track day. During our riding loop some wet pavement was encountered and the tires were surefooted with zero slip or traction-related issues.

Michelin reps mentioned that the new Power 3 gained some weight in its redesign as compared to the lightweight Pilot Pure. While we didn’t get a chance to weigh the new hoops, we did lift and handled it during the video shoots and the lightness of the rear tire was noticeable. While we applaud Michelin at trying to raise its already lofty bar in terms of road
Michelin Pilot Power 3 Highs & Lows
  • Great wet and dry grip
  • Carcass gives outstanding feel
  • Neutral steering feel
  • More expensive than previous generation
  • Durability still uknown
performance, we didn’t have enough time seat time to determine if the tire is indeed better than the generation of rubber it replaces. Still, considering the abundant grip and rich road feel we would consider purchasing a set for our motorcycle.

The Michelin Pilot Power 3 Front Tire and Michelin Pilot Power 3 Rear Tire are available at Motorcycle-Superstore.com
SIZES: Front: 120/60-17, 120/70-17 Rear: 160/60-17, 180/55-17, 190/50-17, 190/55-17
MSRP: $184.95-186.95 (front) $233.95-292.95 (rear)

Michelin Pilot Power 3 Photos
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Michelin Power One Race Tire Review
The Michelin Power One treaded race tires were the Official Tire of this years Superbike Smackdown.
After decades of domination during the era of 500cc Grand Prix racing, and more recently, the first five seasons of MotoGP competition, Michelin vanished with hardly a whisper having lost out to Bridgestone as the MotoGP spec tire supplier three years ago. The French tire brand didn’t stop developing sportbike tires, however, and the proof is its Power One line of high-performance motorcycle tires...
Find out more in the Michelin Power One Race Tire Review
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ElliottB46   September 16, 2013 09:34 AM
I've always used Michelin Tires. From the original Pilot Powers to Pilot Power. I have never used any other tire manufacturer since I started riding Supersports. Now to the tires. AWESOME! That's the best way to describe them. I put them on my GSX-R 600 and I was not let down. Feedback on the street and my track days is awesome! I have never felt more confident in my tires. After normal street riding, and the tires warm up, the tires begin to display their true handling capabilities. Which is extremely gratifying and powerful at the same time. On long rides down to the Bay Area to hangout with my nephew, they provide a ride not as ridged as the Bridgestone S20's my friend has on his GSX-R 600. This series of tire was great prior to this. But, somehow, Michelin found a way to make it better. Hats off to them. Keep 'me coming Michelin! Where to get them for a excellent price: I've always purchased my tires through cyclegear. Then one of my sergeants Informed me about a website where I can get a great deal on tires. So I checked it out, and to my surprise he was spot on. I saved quite a bit of money by buying from them. Gas money for my Saturday, Sunday, early morning and late night rides. I encourage all to by their tires of choice through Motosport.com You can purchase a set of these tires for under $300. Thats Front and Rear! Also if you're in the Military or a Veteran they will give you a military discount. So, Michelin Pilot Power 3's + Motosport.com = WEEKEND NIRVANA!
kshiroma   May 7, 2013 08:34 AM
I've had the Pilot Power 3's on my '11 ZX6R for a little over a month or 2,800 miles. Having replaced the Power Pures after only 4,300 miles I immediately noticed an increased effort in handling at high speeds. In south Texas the hot roads and long straights (or lack of twisties) quickly wear a flat spot on the center of the tire. After scrubbing in the tires and hearing of boasts of longevity it prompted me to ride the Three Twisted Sisters in Texas Hill Country. On cornering although flicking the bike onto a line took a more deliberate effort the trade off was in stability through the corners. In the rain they performed as well as the Pilot Power 2CT but the carcass of the tire leaves much more room to lean (esp. in dry conditions). I will be doing a track day next month, I'm eager to see how it holds up and how much milage I will be able to put on them. If I can get over 5,000miles with aggressive riding / commuting I will definately continue to purchase these tires. I do have concern that the number of heat cycles will harden the tires too much before they wear down. I'll repost when I replace them.
motousa_adam   April 24, 2013 06:54 PM
@ AM - I too would like to see how these tires compare. I think the Power 3s will be superior but it be close for sure.
motousa_adam   April 24, 2013 06:52 PM
@Piglet2010 - the tires these days are pretty much ready to go right from the get-go. As long as you're tire pressure is right and get some heat into them they will offer great grip pretty much rightaway. Adam
mchale2020   April 22, 2013 07:57 PM
I've been using the original 2CTs since they were released and recently put a set on my 2009 R1. I've always had good luck with the originals at track days and on the street, so I was interested to see how the PP3s would do. I'm about positive they need about a hundred miles to be properly broken in, as I got a little bit of slip coming out of a corner whilst standing the bike up and gently rolling on the gas after installing the set. Fortunately, the break away was manageable and smooth, so I was impressed that my ham-fisted riding didn't moon shot me into the ditch. Showroom fresh, the tires also feel really stiff but have softened up nicely since then. Now I've got about 650 miles on the tires consisting of mostly back road blitzing. Once broken in, the tires have a nice 'squish' to them mid corner that gives me a little bit more feel for steering. They also grip incredibly well, with aggressive second gear roll ons exiting a bend being drama free. Some of the switch backs that I ride that go hard right, brake hard, then hard left don't upset the rear tire, even when the fueling harshly cuts on and off from each segment and the back end wants to buck but the rear tire never gets out of line. The front end is also very eager to tip into a corner. As a casual observation, one thing I've noticed is the physical profile of the tire is very steep compared to the original Dunlops. Whereas the old 190 rear tire looks wide and 'fat', the Michelin is very pointy, almost to where it looks like a SV650's 160 rear. As far as riding on the street goes, I'm pleased with the PP3s. They've made hustling my otherwise stock R1 through mountain passes very fun and predictable, which is a feat in itself considering how convoluted these bikes are set up from the factory. I'm using 36 psi in the front and 42 psi in the rear at the moment and haven't found any reason to do otherwise. I'm not sure if I will be hauling my bike to any track days this season (just rather rent from Keith Code nowadays), but I know on the original 2CTs I could get enough lean angle to where my elbow was just barely hovering over the asphalt without any complaint from the bike and then fire out of a corner and these PP3s feel like a solid improvement, so I don't think anyone will be disappointed by the newest generation. Just remember these are still street oriented tires, so they need time to warm up and ultimately aren't meant to be ridden on the ragged edge of aggressive braking and acceleration like a hardcore race slick. Michelin also predicts these tires should last longer than the old 2CTS, so the extra premium is justified. Overall, I'm satisfied with my tires and I don't think you can go wrong with them. Of course, any tire at this price should perform well and really the biggest influence for me to roll with Michelin for as long as I have was how my mom always insisted on using them for her Volkswagen when I was kid so my opinion is probably bunk anyway.
AM   April 18, 2013 04:11 PM
I would like to see how they compare to the S20's from Bridgestone.
Piglet2010   April 18, 2013 04:03 AM
I will likely replace the Power 2CT's on my F4i (after they wear out) with the Power 3. Would be nice if they came "pre-scuffed" so one did not have to be extra cautious until the mold release compound is gone.