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review

Michelin Lithion 3 tyre

8
£26.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Quality all-round tyre for training purposes but it would be nice to see more width options
Better grip levels than its predecessor
Good puncture resistance
Only 23mm and 25mm widths available
Weight: 
264g

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Considering its price, the Michelin Lithion 3 punches well above its weight, offering a decent level of grip, rolling resistance and durability for around half the cost of many top-end race tyres. The only downside is that they are limited to narrower sizes than many riders use these days.

I've used Michelin's Lithion tyres for years, especially when I was commuting 10k miles a year in all weathers; that was mostly down to price – they were cheap – and at just £26.99, the Lithion 3 hasn't changed that.

> Find your nearest dealer here

There's no point saving some cash if you are getting punctures left right and centre, or the tyres are wearing really quickly, but in my experience the Lithion 2 never had those issues, and that is backed up by Jez's review here.

Their only real downside was that the grip levels weren't amazing, especially in the wet, but for this Lithion 3 things have got a lot better thanks to a new rubber.

The Lithion 3 uses Grip Compound which was developed for Michelin's Power All Season tyre, and straight out of the box they feel tacky to the touch.

2020 Michelin Lithion 3 700x25

Out on the road the compound works well. Grip levels in the dry were absolutely fine for taking corners and roundabouts quickly, but it was in the wet where I really noticed the difference over the previous version.

There is just that little bit more adhesion, so you don't need to be quite so tentative when banking the bike over. They don't quite have the same confidence-inspiring levels as the previous tyre I was using on my wet weather bike, the Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather, but those are about 20 quid more expensive.

Against something like the Continental Ultra Sport II, which is found on a lot of new bikes and is around the same price, the Lithion 3 has the edge for wet weather grip.

Michelin_Lithion_3_tyre_fitted_2.jpg

Rolling resistance is okay. The Michelin isn't super-fast and the three layers of 60TPI (threads per inch) used in its casing construction and the Grip Compound rubber mean that it isn't the most supple tyre.

It never felt sluggish, though, thanks in part to a reasonable weight of just 264g per tyre – only 29g heavier than Michelin's claimed weight for the 25mm Power Road Tyre, which is part of Michelin's top-end race performance range.

Puncture protection has been good throughout testing, although that has probably been helped by the extremely long period of warm, dry weather we have had. That said, I have also managed to cover about 200 miles on wet, grit-strewn back roads without issue.

> Top tips on how to avoid a puncture

As you'd expect at this price, the Lithions aren't tubeless, and you only get two width options: 25mm as tested, or 23mm.

Initial fitment was quite tricky as there isn't a lot of give in the sidewalls, and it was a real struggle to get them over the edge of the wheel rim. My usual trick for this is to fit the tyres without a tube and leave them for 24 to 48 hours to stretch a little bit, which did the job: when I popped one edge off and slipped a tube in, everything seated on fine, with just a small amount of help from a tyre lever. Removal and refitting after that on a selection of rims was easy enough and I'd have no qualms about having to fix a puncture at the side of the road.

Michelin_Lithion_3_tyre_fitted_3.jpg

As for value, the majority of tyres that we get sent in for testing here are in the £45 to £65 bracket, so the Lithion 3 certainly stands out, coming in less than £30.

It's not alone though – competition comes from the likes of LifeLine, an in-house accessory brand of online retailer wiggle, with its pretty decent Prime Race available in 23mm, 25mm and 28mm widths for just £16.49.

Continental has released an updated third version of the Ultra Sport which we haven't had chance to test yet, but going by previous iterations it should be quite a similar tyre to the Lithion. Prices online are around the £20 mark, and they are available in sizes up to 32mm.

> Buyer’s Guide: 35 of the best road bike tyres

Overall, the Lithion 3 tyres are competent all-rounders. They don't massively excel anywhere but they deliver decent performance across all of the attributes you'd want from this type of tyre and they achieve that without a massive price tag.

Verdict

Quality all-round tyre for training purposes but it would be nice to see more width options

road.cc test report

Make and model: Michelin Lithion 3 tyre

Size tested: 700x25

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 distributor Silverfish says, "Featuring increased grip in wet and dry conditions, this lightweight road bike tyre comes with a new silica compound for enhanced durability - you'll get even more miles out of the Lithion 3 than you did with the impressive Lithion 2.

"With low rolling resistance, a 3x60 TPI carcass, lightweight skinwalls, and puncture protection, the Lithion 3 Road Bike Tyre packs everything you'll need in a training tyre."

It is a competent training tyre that overs decent grip, performance and durability.

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

Michelin lists:

More Durability

Thanks to a rubber compound enabling you to ride longer.

More Strength

Provided by its 3X60TPI casing.

More Grip

Thanks to Grip Compound technology which provides excellent grip in the wet.

Folding bead

Sizes: 23mm or 25mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

A lot cheaper than the majority of tyres we test on road.cc with this kind of performance – though it is still undercut by a couple.

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

It's a competent road tyre for not a lot of money.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Improved wet weather grip.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

No 28mm size.

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

There aren't many tyres in this price range, at least not with this kind of performance, but there is some top competition from the likes of LifeLine and Continental.

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

Overall it's a lot of tyre for the money, offering decent levels of grip, speed and durability. The only real downside is that there isn't a 28mm width available in the range, like many other brands offer.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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7 comments

Avatar
Stroker | 3 years ago
0 likes

For the same price... Best the Lithion 3 than Lifeline tyres? Conti's Grand Sport Race are close in price too.

Thanks.

Avatar
aegisdesign | 3 years ago
0 likes

You only have to look at the prices these actually sell at online to realise what a bargain they are for fast commuting and training tyres. The Lithion 2 was going for about £12 at times. No compalints from me. The wet weather performance on the Lithion 2 has always been fine for me compared to other 'budget' tyres I've used (Hutchinson Equinox, Vittoria Zaffiro and Rubino). That they've improved it in v3 can only make a good tyre better.

Avatar
abusivemonk | 3 years ago
0 likes

I used to use the older Lithion 2 tyres, which I thought were superb value for money. Over the last couple of years however, as rims have gotten wider/tubeless compatible, I've stopped using them. Michelins just seem so much tighter to fit than any other tyre brand. Last time i fiited the Lithion 2 to a wheel took me about 20 mins and lots of swearing. I wouldn't fancy doing on a rainsoaked road. I took them off after only about 50 miles and replaced with some Contis which are so much easier to fit. 

Avatar
EddyBerckx | 3 years ago
0 likes

Any chance of a review of the lifeline prime race you mentioned?

Avatar
Simon E replied to EddyBerckx | 3 years ago
0 likes

EddyBerckx wrote:

Any chance of a review of the lifeline prime race you mentioned?

Linked in the mention of Lifeline in the article (though easily missed):

https://road.cc/content/review/185729-lifeline-prime-race

Avatar
srchar | 3 years ago
0 likes

Used to ride Lithion 2s when I was feeling particularly parsimonious, but now pay an extra tenner for a Conti GP GT. The difference is more than worth it.

Avatar
60kg lean keen ... replied to srchar | 3 years ago
0 likes

Snap - I also used to ride Lithion 2s but now on Conti GP GTs. Yes the 10ish pound extra is worth it, but may these 3s will match them?

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