review

Michelin Power Gravel tyre

9
£44.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Fast, grippy high-performance gravel tyres that work best on dry or firm tracks and trails
Fast and grippy on hardpacked gravel and dusty tracks
Well priced
Not as supple as some of the competition
Weight: 
467g

The Power Gravel is Michelin's answer to the ever-expanding gravel/adventure market, and it has a lot going for it. Durability is good, as is the grip, it offers plenty of puncture protection, and the price is very competitive too.

The Power Gravel follows a similar theme to many other gravel tyres on the market, as in it is covered in small knobbles for grip on loose surfaces without sacrificing overall speed. It's a format that works, especially when the tracks are dry and dusty.

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Thankfully for me, the majority of my local gravel routes are properly laid tracks for moving military traffic around. They don't change much even in the winter, apart from the odd puddle here and there, so I could get away with using the Michelins all year round.

If you ride on bridleways or tracks in your local woods in winter, you'll find that the tread isn't deep enough for grip on wet mud. For these kind of excursions you'll need something with much deeper knobbly bits.

Michelin Power Gravel 700x40C 2.jpg

For this time of year, though, when the trails have dried out, the Power Gravel is a quality tyre – and not just for the off-road sections but also for the tarmac when stringing those sections together.

Like most, I need to ride on the road for a few miles to get to the gravel, and I found the Michelins to offer decent rolling resistance for a wide and treaded tyre. It's no race rubber but it never felt overly draggy when on the flat or climbing.

Grip is okay as well, although those knobs on the shoulder won't see you wanting to get your knee down through a tight bend, with less rubber on the road for grip than you would have with a slick road tyre.

Off-road action

Once away from the road, the tread really starts to work. The knobs are deep enough that they just grab hold of the stones enough that you don't slip around too much, and should you need to get out of the saddle to climb they don't break traction easily.

Their medium tread size also means they absolutely fly, giving them the feel of an off-road race tyre rather than one that is aimed more at outright grip, which makes them huge fun.

Michelin_Power_Gravel_Tyre_Fitted_2.jpg

The only thing I would say is that they aren't quite as supple as similar tyres such as the Continental Terra Speed or Schwalbe G-One Bite. It's not a massive issue, but you get just a little bit more feedback from those two, telling you what is going on beneath the tyre and how it is reacting.

Taking bends at high speed sees the shoulder tread do its thing by bringing extra traction to stop you sliding out. It's most noticeable in the woods on some dry singletrack; changing direction quickly felt really confident as I was darting through the trees and avoiding the roots and rocks.

Running them tubeless means you can have the pressures quite low and this really helps the tread bite in soft ground, although even at 40psi they were surprisingly grippy on dry mud trails.

Compound choice

For the construction Michelin has chosen its X-Miles compound which, it says, is 'a rubber compound providing abrasion resistance associated to a thicker layer on the crown which increases durability'. They have certainly stood up to my many rides and miles on the gravel trails, which include all sizes of aggregates.

Michelin Power Gravel 700x40C 1.jpg

Next comes the main carcass, which is created from three 120tpi layers, and beneath that a Protek puncture protection layer that runs from bead to bead rather than just under the central tread like you get on a road tyre.

For this 40mm size, that build equates to 467g which compares well against those two other tyres I've just mentioned (the 38mm Schwalbe I tested was 455g; the 40mm Conti 428g). It is also available in 33mm and 35mm widths.

As I mentioned earlier, the Power Gravels are tubeless ready, and I had no issues with getting them all set up on some Sector gravel wheels. Thanks to the flex in the sidewalls I could stretch the majority of the tyre over the wheel rim to get it seated just using my thumbs, with only the last section needing to be eased on with a tyre lever.

Using just a floor pump, the bead of the tyre located quickly with the edge of the rim, and after getting the pressure up to about 50psi the tyre was seated all the way round.

Leaving the tyres to settle overnight before putting the sealant in saw them lose about 20psi, which isn't bad so the sidewalls aren't too porous, and since adding the sealant I've only had to top them up with air about once a week.

Value

Compared with the Schwalbe and Continental tyres already mentioned, which I reckon are the closest direct competition to the Michelin – plus I've put extensive miles in on all three – the Power Gravel is really good value.

Michelin Power Gravel 700x40C - boxed.jpg

As I said, it isn't quite as supple as the other two, which takes just a little bit away from the ride, especially at speed. That's probably something that bothers me more than it will many of you, as I really like to be able to feel every little thing going on through the bike all of the time.

The thing is, the Michelins are only £44.99 – that's £14 a tyre cheaper than the Schwalbe, and £15 less than the Continental.

> Buyer’s Guide: 25 of the best gravel bike tyres

With that kind of saving I'd happily sacrifice a bit of feedback. In every other respect they all feel as fast and offer equally great traction in similar conditions, though I'd also say that the Michelins are more robust than the Schwalbes.

Conclusion

So there you have it: in my eyes the Michelin Power Gravel offers similar levels of performance and durability to some of the best tyres out there, but at a very competitive price.

Verdict

Fast, grippy high-performance gravel tyres that work best on dry or firm tracks and trails

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Michelin Power Gravel tyre

Size tested: 700C x 40mm

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, "Maintain grip, performance and strength on roads and trails."

These are some very good gravel tyres that work pretty well on the road too.

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

Michelin lists:

Compound: X-Miles

Type: Tubeless Ready

Use: Off-Road, Gravel

Protection: Bead 2 Bead Protek

Bead: Folding

Casing: 3x120 TPI

Inflation Pressure: 43.5 - 72.5 psi

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

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

Excellent all-round performance on the gravel and dry mud, plus they work well enough on the road too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great grip and performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not quite as supple feeling as some others on the market.

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

Compared to the Continental Terra Speed and the Schwalbe G-One Bite, the Michelin is a very good price, and stands up well to plenty of others in the market.

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

Very close in performance to my favourite gravel tyres but at a much cheaper price.

Overall rating: 9/10

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,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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