Since being exiled from Grand Prix motorcycle racing by the spec tire wave that’s swept over much of motorcycle roadracing competition across the globe, Michelin has been hard at work spending those budgetary millions that would normally go to racing team sponsorships and putting them to good use in continued research and development for tires that the average sportbike rider can buy. Case in point: Michelin has introduced not one, but two new models of sport tires for 2013. A replacement for the Power Pure, the new Pilot Power 3 is intended for those who mostly ride on the street but make the occasional foray to a track day, and boasts completely new construction and compounds. For those who venture to the track more often, the new Power Supersport replaces the old Power One Street track-day tire, and features a similar construction and compounding philosophy to the Pilot Power 3 that is geared toward 50 percent “hypersport street riding” and 50 percent track days.
Pilot Power 3
The new Pilot Power 3 de-emphasizes the Light Tire Technology featured in the Power Pure in lieu of a different carcass construction (2CT+, a new variation of the 2 Compound Technology) that is aimed at improved cornering stability, especially when accelerating out of turns. While the front Pilot Power 3 has the same outer 25 percent spread of soft compound on each side of the tread profile as the Power Pure, the rear Pilot Power 3 trades the Power Pure’s 40/20/40 soft/medium compound profile ratio for a 25/50/25 spread identical to the front tire that sports a new tire casing design. Additionally, all-new compounds front and rear are claimed to significantly improve wet and dry grip.
The longer-wearing medium compound of the Pilot Power 3 not only occupies the middle 50 percent of the tire tread, but it also extends underneath the softer compound on the outer 25 percent of each side of the tread profile to give it additional support during aggressive cornering. Both front and rear tire profiles have been subtly altered to enhance feedback and handling with the new rear construction, with a different tread design that has slightly more siping on the mid-portion of the profile than the Power Pure. Combined with the new compounds, Michelin is claiming that the Pilot Power 3 tires are able to lap 4.5 seconds quicker than the Pilot Power 2CT in the wet, and four seconds quicker in the dry (curiously, Michelin’s data charts only gave a comparison to the Pilot Power 2CT that was introduced back in 2009, not the Power Pure introduced in 2010 that is being replaced by the Pilot Power 3). Michelin is also claiming a 20 percent increase in mileage over the Pilot Power 2CT.
The Pilot Power 3 will be available in 120/70ZR-17 and 120/60ZR-17 fronts, and rear tires in 160/60ZR-17, 180/55ZR-17, 190/50ZR-17 and 190/55ZR-17 sizes.
Replacing the Power One Street (basically a street/track-day version of Michelin’s Power Race DOT racing rubber), the new Power Supersport uses the latest generation of compounds developed from the company’s extensive participation in the FIM World Endurance Championship. The Power Supersport also employs the same rear tire construction as the Pilot Power 3, with the harder compound extending underneath the softer compound on the shoulders for better support and stability under aggressive cornering. The same 25/50/25 soft/medium/soft compound spread across the front and rear tread profile is used as well, which is a marked difference from the Power One Street’s 37.5/25/37.5 front and 12.5/75/12.5 rear compound distribution.
The Power Supersport’s tread pattern is similar to the Power One, but with slightly more siping in the center and middle portion of the profile’s shoulder, giving the Power Supersport a 7.5 percent void ratio (the percentage of tread siping across the tire’s complete profile face) compared to the Power One Street’s 5.0 percent. This is intended to work with the Power Supersport’s new compounds to make for improved tread longevity as well as overall grip compared to competing brand’s track-day tires.
The Power Supersport will be available in 120/70ZR-17 front and 180/55, 190/50, and 190/55ZR-17 rear sizes. Pricing was not available at press time.
We have both the new Michelins on hand, and are in the process of putting them through the SR wringer to give you the full scoop on their performance on American tarmac. Stay tuned.