The fourth iteration of the popular Michelin Pilot motorcycle tyre has increased braking ability, longer life and a wider range of operating temperatures.
Michelin marketing director for motorcycle tyres, Christophe Duc, says wet braking distance is 17% shorter than its closest rival.
At the same time, he says the tyre has 20% longer life than the Pilot 3, which means it will be good for another couple of thousand kilometres on most sports touring bikes.
Speaking at the Australian press launch of the tyre at Gasolina motorcycle restaurant in Melbourne’s Southbank, Christophe said the braking and wear improvements largely came from a small adaptation of the “sipes”.
These are the thin cuts on the tyre that were introduced when the Pilot 3 was launched in 2011. Sipes help pump water away from the contact patch, increasing grip on wet roads.
However, Michelin found that the leading edge of the tyre just behind each sipe was wearing away quickly and distorting the rubber between each sipe. To keep that part of the tyre from distorting, they chamfered the leading edge. It’s a simple adaption, but Michelin claims it works and it helps improve braking distance and tyre wear.
The French company says independent tester DEKRA (Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein or German Motor Vehicle Inspection Association) found that the tyre has 17% shorter braking distances on wet roads, compared with its nearest rival.
At the same time, Michelin says the tyre has 20% longer life, but the number of kilometres you can expect will depend on rider behavior, the type of roads they ride, the load they carry and the type of motorcycle.
Another new technology is the combination of radial and bias plies in the tyre structure, laying them down at different angles. Bias ply increases the load carrying capacity of the tyre but makes the ride harsh, so the radial play takes care of that. Christophe says the dual angle technology was one of the main reasons BMW has chosen it as one of their tyres of choice for the R 1200 RT. It is also one of six patents registered during the development of the Pilot 4.
Since 1994, Michelin motorcycle tyres have also featured dual compound technology with a hard compound on the centre of the tyre for longer wear and a softer compound on the edges for improved grip. This ensures the tyre wears out evenly throughout its life to give riders confidence.
Michelin Oceania regional manager Justin Siebert says prices are about 5% higher than the Pilot 3, but he points out that the rider’s cost per kilometre will be lower due to the longer tyre life.
The tyre has been tested on 60 bikes over two-million kilometres in cold and hot temperatures and has a working temperature range from -5C to 45C which should suit Aussie tourers.
The front and rear tyres come in 19 different sizes and will be suitable for a wide range of sports and touring motorcycles from naked bikes right up to heavy tourers such as the Yamaha FJR1300 and BMW K1600, but not the Honda Goldwing. However, Christophe says it will be “our next frontier”.
The Pilot 4 is available now in three varieties, Road 4 Standard, Road 4 GT and Road 4 Trail.
Meanwhile, Dorna has just announced that Michelin will be the tyre supplier for the MotoGP from 2016.
Michelin Pilot 4 varieties
Road 4 Standard
Front: 120/60 ZR17, 120R70 ZR17
Rear: 150/70 ZR17, 160/60 ZR17,180/55 ZR17, 190/50 ZR17, 190/55 ZR17
Road 4 GT
Front: 120/70 ZR17, 120/70 ZR18
Rear: 170/60 ZR17, 180/55 ZR17, 190/50 ZR17, 190/55 ZR17
Road 4 Trail
Front: 110/80 ZR19, 120/70 ZR19
Rear: 150/70 ZR17, 170/60 ZR17