Fast, light, grippy and impressively durable, Michelin's latest top-level Pro4 Service Course tyres are perfect for summer racing and training.
Michelin revamped its road clincher tyre range at the end of last year with the introduction of the new Pro4, a range which now encompasses tyres for a range of conditions. They save the best for the Service Course though, the lightest and fastest tyres.
Now in its fourth generation, the tyre is an substantial improvement over the old Pro3 in every way; grip, speed and durability. I've clocked up about a 1,000 miles so far, including mostly training rides on my local rides, plus my first couple of road races. I've had one puncture in that time, and that came during my first road race when I hit an unseen pothole. The inner tube showed evidence of an impact flat, with the telltale parallel slits. The tyre sustained no damage.
The performance is excellent, with a marked improvement in rolling resistance over the old Pro3. The old tyre never felt fast, though performed well in roll down tests. The Pro4 however feels rapid out of the box and even compared to the reasonably light Pro4 Endurance tyres they replaced, the transformation in the bike's speed and handling was profound.
One of the key changes Michelin made to the Pro4 is in the tread compound and shape, in pursuit of improved durability and grip. No easy task: extra grip usually comes with a softer compound at the expense of durability. The Pro4 uses a bi-compound silica and elastomer compound with an egg shaped tread shape. This means when you're riding in a straight line, the contact patch is smaller, and when you lean over, that patch increases in size. Extra grip with good rolling resistance.
The most notable difference compared to the older tyres is the tread compound is much more durable and resistant to cuts. In this regard the Pro4 is a big improvement. Where the Pro3 was fragile and looked tatty after a few rides, the Pro4 still looks box fresh.
Grip from the revised tread compound and shape is phenomenal, with a staggering lean angle possible when you get the bike banked over in the corners. You can really lean on the edges of the tyre and they feel planted and secure. In the rain and on mixed surface conditions they offer a confidence inspiring level of feel. Perfect when you're hurtling through a tight corner at 60kph in a large bunch. Michelin claim a 16% wet road grip improvement over the old Pro3.
Considering they're a lightweight tyre aimed at racers, they're surprisingly comfortable. We put that down to the supple sidewall, which allows the tyre to conform to the imperfections of the road. For the record, I've been testing the 23mm tyres at an average tyre pressure of 95 psi front, 100 psi rear.
You can even choose from six colours, and 20, 23 and 25mm width.
Fast rolling, grippy and durable tyre ideal for summer racing and training. The Pro4 Service Course raises the bar.
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Make and model: Michelin Pro4 Service Course
Size tested: 23mm
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?
The MICHELIN PRO4 Service Course is not only safer but it is also an average 16 percent faster when
cornering on wet road surfaces*.
These improvements were achieved thanks to its optimised dual-compound technology which features:
* Wider lateral bands for optimal grip at all angles of lean,
* New compounds incorporating new elastomers and silica for extra grip at the shoulders.
The tyre's new, more pointed profile optimises the contact patch when leaning into corners for extra
grip, as well as enhanced agility.
At the same time, the specific compounds employed by the latest
dual-compound technology provide superior rigidity for the central
part of the MICHELIN PRO4 Service Course's tread band – the part
of the tyre which is exposed to the biggest constraints – for even
longer tyre life.
Finally, the MICHELIN PRO4's resistance to cuts, thanks to the
presence of a nylon high-density breaker beneath
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The MICHELIN PRO4 Service Course delivers the best trade-off between sports performance and long
tyre life. The achievement of the engineers is to have simultaneously enhanced its speed, safety,
agility and resistance.
They don't cut up badly like the old Pro3.
Rolling resistance and grip is benchmark stuff, they score really well in both tests.
I've only clocked up 1,000 miles, but so far they show no signs of wear or cuts like the old Pro3s used to.
200g sets them in the ballpark.
Surprisingly supple sidewall makes for a comfortable ride, for a 23mm tyre.
They're certainly not cheap, but they're no more expensive than the competition. This is a race tyre afterall.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For racing and training and fast summer sportives, if you want the best, look no further. An excellent tyre
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip through corners inspires a lot of confidence.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can't think of anything yet.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
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.