Michelin Road 5 launch | Riding Gear + Equipment | Tested
Chris Dobie has just returned from Seville, Spain where he attended the world launch of Michelin’s new Road 5 sports touring tyre. Here are his first thoughts.
Michelin appears to have hit its goals of increased levels of dry and wet weather grip with its Road 5 tyre. The increase in dry weather grip is achieved with all new rubber compounds and Michelin’s patented 2CT and 2CT+ which we tested at the launch of its Power RS tyre last year http://amcn.com.au/editorial/16417/
Improved wet weather grip is delivered via its new XST Evo sipe technology
The route for the road ride was a three-hour blast through the mountains just outside of Huelva, Spain. My ride was a Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX. Within 500 metres we were negotiation our first roundabout. I had the big Kawasaki into Full Power mode as I leaned it over and gave it a decent kick in the guts. The tyres were not even bothered. Once into the twisty section, and with a couple of faster bikes to chase, I was rolling the tyres from edge to edge, making to most of the softer compound on the shoulders where the tread pattern is almost non-existent. The wasn’t a hint of protest from back or front.
The BMW S1000XR and Ducati SuperSport models enlisted for the track session provided a good cross-section of Michelin’s target market for the Road 5. Despite the low-to-mid teen ambient temperature, the tyres warmed quickly, and I had my knee on the deck by turn 4, impressive stuff again from the softer compound rubber on the shoulder of the tyre.
Riding the BMW, I was nudging 250km/h at the end of the straight where the bike felt stable, with just a hint of squirm as I pulled up its bulk.
A full day in the hands of an experienced track rider is outside the design brief of the Road 5, but in the hands of a track day newcomer they will be more than up to the task and will be ready to return to daily commuter and touring duties afterwards.
Wet and wild workshops
Michelin claims a Road 5 tyre with 5500km of use will offer an equal or superior level of wet-weather grip as a brand new Pilot Road 4. To prove this, we were spectators to a practical demonstration by one of the Michelin test riders. Two identical Suzuki GSX-S750s were used; One fitted with a set of worn Road 5 tyres which we were told had clocked up more than 5000km, the other had a brand new set of Michelin Road 4 tyres fitted. We watched the rider throw out the anchors at 110km/h with enough vigour to lift the rear wheel. Three runs were made on each bike, and the Road 5 won the shootout 3-0.
ACT+ Adaptive casing technology
Michelin’s patented Adaptive Casing Technology plus (ACT+) system is one of those tricky bits of technology you can’t see, but you can feel it at work.
ACT+ provides a soft crown for straight-line stability, while simultaneously offering a stiffer sidewall for better feel and cornering. A single variable-angle casing ply adapts to the load applied to the tyre under hard acceleration, braking, or cornering. Each end of the ply is then doubled back on itself so it overlaps inside the sidewall of the tyre to provide extra sidewall rigidity for improved cornering stability and feel.
Watch Michelin’s official video about its ACT+ technology here https://youtu.be/nprej7YapgY
New rubber compounds have been developed for the Michelin Road 5, using the latest generation elastomers and formulations.
For the front tyre, Michelin chose its 2CT dual-compound technology, as used on the Road 4. At the rear, the new 2CT+ dual-compound technology is used, bringing it inline with the Pilot RS which also has a 2CT (front) and 2CT+ (rear) combination.
XST Evo sipes
Michelin’s XST Evo sipe design is derived from its XST X car tyre technology and adapted for motorcycle use, Michelin says it keeps grip levels at their optimal throughout the life of the tyre.
The tread pattern features a combination of sipes and reservoirs designed to slice through the surface water and improve its water-clearance capacity. As the tyre wears, the sipes reveal wider grooves to increase its sea-to-land ratio, maintaining the same level of water disbursement capabilities.
Watch Michelin’s official video about its XST Evo technology here
Tyres like Michelin’s new Road 5 offer dry-weather grip levels superior to what we expected from full-blooded sports tyres not too many years ago. At the same time, wet weather grip has also steadily improved.