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Written by Enzo "Del Fuego" Stoini    Monday, 15 March 2010 22:41     E-mail
Michelin Pilot Sport

As you may, or may not know I recently had a relatively catastrophic failure in the rear tyre department. My beloved Conti twist was flat, punctured, dead... fortunate timing though as it was also as bald as a Brazilian... I don’t know why that makes sense... do people from Brazil have some sort of Male Pattern Baldness issue? Anyway that is irrelevant for now; the rear was bald, and flat. Time for a new one and as the front was still the original Dunlop, now horrendously out of shape and not that inspirational when originally fitted I decided so splash out on a matched pair of donuts for the much abused Suzuki UZ125.


A trip out to Cycletreads yielded a pair of Michelin Pilot Sport’s for an extremely reasonable price, fitted and once again on the road my first impression of the new rubber was less than favourable... where the Conti’s (after a brief scrubbing in period) inspired confidence that more than matched my ability the Michelin’s felt twitchy, almost slippery on the road. So I did what any intelligent reviewer would do with a tyre that felt less that comfortable... I gave the Suzuki to Hollywood... I’ve had my share of meetings with the tarmac! And? He thought they felt great, so it must just be my riding style that doesn’t fit with the tyre. After a few hundred kilometres with this rubber I have gotten more comfortable with it but I am still hesitant pushing hard on the street.

My original opinion was that the main issue is after thousands of kilometres with the Twist’s the harder compound of the Michelins is noticeable. However the truth of the matter is that they have plenty of grip... this was proven with a trip to the TSR test track with the Suzuki (ridden by me) setting our fastest lap bar none, yup, faster than the T-Max, faster than EVERYTHING (god I love this little guy!).  The timed laps were balls out and the only thing limiting the time was the fact that the centre stand was frequently on the tarmac. With a lighter rider (giving a bit more ground clearance) I would say there is another second to be found. I had no problem with the tyres giving ground so my impression that they are less than sticky would appear unfounded.

With this in mind the only thing I can put my lack of confidence down to is the shape of the tyre, even with heavy lean on the track the tyres are not wearing anywhere near the edge of the tyre, which shows that the lean is sharper (?) than the Conti’s... Hollywood likes a razor sharp direction change whereas I prefer a more progressive motion. This explains his ease with the new setup and my... let’s say unease.

Rounding it all off the Michelins are a good tyre, wear seems to be good and grip levels are high, even on the track so the choice is yours, just be aware of the difference that the tyre profile makes to the riding experience. I wouldn’t get them again but this is only because of my preferred style. If you love the point to point, knife edge direction change you will probably love them! And if you are in Auckland talk to Cycletreads, awesome service and very good value for your cash.

Last Updated ( Monday, 15 March 2010 23:13 )


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