review

Michelin Power Road Tyre 2020

8
£42.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Fast, compliant, lightweight, grippy and durable fit-and-forget tyre for racing and performance-minded cyclists
Fast
Compliant
Grippy
Durable
Light
Easy to fit
Weight: 
258g

The Power Road is a new top-end race performance tyre from Michelin, available in tubeless and tubed versions. I've been testing the tubed type in 28mm width and it's fast-rolling and lightweight with good durability. It's everything you want in a race tyre.

I've always rated Michelin tyres among the best, as far back as the old Pro tyres and more recently with the Power line. The Power Endurance and Power Competition tyres impressed when we tested them a few years ago, although Simon reckoned there are faster all-rounders than the new Power All Season.

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The brand new Power Road is designed to be a very good all-round tyre, described by Michelin as ideal for 80 per cent of typical riding conditions, for training rides to a road race. That sounds like a fit-and-forget tyre for many people, and with 23, 25 and 28mm widths available, there's going to be one suitable for most riders and race bikes.

According to Michelin, developing the new tyre was the work of surveying more than 1,000 consumers and working closely with the Cofidis professional cycling team, ensuring the new tyre delivered on its aims of being durable, efficient and safe.

Key to the new tyre is the X-Race Compound. It's a silica-based material with more rubber on the top of the tyre, with grip levels steered by feedback from the Cofidis team to ensure it works well in the dry and wet. Michelin decided on a level of grip to suit the demands of the pros, and transferred this to the Power Road.

Michelin Power Road tyre9.JPG

Underneath the tread is a 3x120 TPI construction, with a new Aramid bead and puncture protection from a high-density cross-laid material the company dubs Aramid Protek+. It has been widened across the top of the tyre, compared with the Power Competition introduced last year, to reduce the risk of a puncture. This adds a little weight but should be a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Michelin has also improved the robustness of the tyre sidewall over the Power Competition, after its survey found that while that tyre was acceptable, riders wanted more sidewall durability.

Michelin Power Road tyre12.JPG

There is a tubeless version of this tyre – it's in the post – but for the past few weeks I've been riding this clincher tube type, fitted to my go-to Cannondale Synapse. Testing conditions have varied from dry to wet with a good side-order of mucky roads, the ideal extreme scenario for assessing a new tyre's vital factors like grip and durability.

I was impressed with my first ride on the new tyres at the worldwide launch, where I got to ride them on Mont Ventoux, but a more serious assessment has taken place on my local roads. I have to say I'm just as impressed after several hundred miles of riding.

First, the tyres feel as fast as the many other good top-end race tyres on the market right now, with a rolling resistance good enough to match a Vittoria Corsa Speed or Continental GP5000. Modern top-end tyres are getting to such a high standard that splitting the differences in the real world is incredibly tricky, but it does mean the chance of buying a duff tyre is massively reduced.

They don't feel sluggish at all, nor do they feel too firm or wooden, as inferior tyres can tend to. With the 28mm width and low pressures, the ride quality on my poorly surfaced local roads is very good. Supple is a word bike journos like to pepper a tyre review with, and these new Michelin tyres certainly have that desired compliant quality that ensures they feel silky smooth.

> Buyer's Guide: 34 of the best road cycling tyres

I've managed to avoid punctures (but now I've typed that I'll inevitably get one!). I'll put that down to either good fortune or the Aramid Protek+ doing its job, and that's despite following a few hedge-trimmers along narrow country lanes recently, and one foray onto a gravel track when my planned route went awry.

Grippy and durable

Grip from the new rubber compound is reassuring on wet roads and when descending through fast corners. I came down one big descent the other day with a few lovely switchbacks, the surface was damp with a few streams trickling across near the apex, and the telltale signs of dropped oil in various places. With the new tyres, I was able to confidently pick a clean line through the bends without having to scrub off too much speed, lean the tyre over and feel it grip as I passed through the most dangerous bit.

I've ridden several hundred miles so far, so you could call this more of a first ride review than an in-depth one, but so far durability is commendable – I'll continue to ride and monitor the tyres and will update if anything changes. There are no visible signs of damage to the tyre, either in the sidewall or across the top of the tyre. That's a good thing given that Michelin intends these tyres to be good for all-round use as well as suitable for racing.

In a world where so much choice can lead to confusion, it's nice to have a fit-and-forget tyre that is just going to plain work for you in every situation, from racing to training, without giving cause for concern. For more durability-minded cyclists Michelin's tougher Power Endurance might still be a better choice, but for ride quality and performance as well, these might be just the ones.

As I've said, this has been a test of the 28mm tubed clinchers; there's a pair of 28mm tubeless tyres arriving soon, so I'll be able to see how they compare.

Value

Costing £42.99, these are competitively priced against other top-end performance tyres. At RRP, a Continental GP5000 (£59.95), Vittoria Corsa Speed (£54.99), Specialized Turbo Cotton (£61) and Schwalbe One (£52.99) all cost £10-£20 more, so it's clear Michelin has been aggressive in its pricing strategy.

Bring in the inevitable discounting and these look a stellar choice if you're in the market for a top tyre this season.

Verdict

Fast, compliant, lightweight, grippy and durable fit-and-forget tyre for racing and performance-minded cyclists

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Michelin Power Road Tyre

Size tested: 28mm

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Michelin says:

The Michelin Power Road comes in a choice of two versions: Tube Type and Tubeless Ready, a high-growth segment. Its latest-generation X-Race Compound is optimised for the world of racing and combines grip on wet and dry roads with efficiency.

The MICHELIN POWER ROAD's siped shoulders and silica-based compound deliver outstanding lateral grip to provide cyclists with superior safety when cornering at speed, particularly in damp conditions.

The crown of the Tube Type version has been reinforced using Aramid Protek+ technology (which features very-high density cross-laid strengthening) to significantly reduce the risk of puncturing by forming aramid triangles that maximise protection in spite of their light weight.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Michelin:

Michelin's best road tyre for competition and training.

More rolling efficiency. Allowed by its casing and sculpture for a sporty ride.

More robustness. Thanks to its aramid top reinforcement and its 3x120 TPI casing in the flanks.

More longevity. Thanks to the X-Race Compound designed to optimize the wear of the tread.

MICHELIN tube type tyres can be mounted on a metal or carbon hook rim with a butyl or latex inner tube for even more efficiency.

X-Race Compound : New rubber compound that combines rolling resistance, grip and wear to improve tyre longevity.

Grip Design: Safety on the angle (cornering).

Aramid Protek+: Extra Puncture Protection.

Bead: Foldable.

Width: 23c (Black only) / 25c / 28c (Black only).

Casing: 3 x 120 TPI.

Weight: 223g (23c) / 235g (25c) / 255g (28c).

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Excellent performance in the wet and dry.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

So far durability has been good.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

They're a good weight for a 28mm tyre.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

The volume of the 28mm-wide tyres provides good comfort.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

They're a chunk cheaper than key rivals yet offer very high levels of performance.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Provide good performance in a range of conditions from training to fast rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Compliant and grippy feel on the road and durability is good for UK conditions.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The logo colours are a bit loud if I'm being picky.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

They are about £10-20 cheaper than key rivals from Continental, Schwalbe, Vittoria, Specialized and others.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A very good tyre for the performance-focused cyclist, for racing and training rides.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

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