Saturday, May 11, 2013

Michelin Pilot Road 3: tyres change everything

Well I bit the bullet and decided to fit the same tyres I had on the Hyper to the Multistrada, the Michelin Pilot Road 3s. Stoked I did, they have transformed the whole bike.


Iummed and ahhed over the Pirelli Scorpions that came stock on the bike, and I figured for the type of riding I do, which is mostly road, I probably wouldn't get the all round satisfaction out of them most days compared to the Pilot Roads. They are a really great looking tyre too, I love that tread pattern.

 


 Typical Melbourne and typically me, it was a wet shitty day that I had the change over organised, so I was a little freaked riding home in the wet with my new hoops but I made it easy enough. A lot of my panic is inner panic, need to get a grip and just let the bike do the work sometimes, but having said that my inert inbuilt panic comes from a bad experience on my first ever road bike and my first ever brand new hoops.

No one bothered to tell me back then that these things were coated with something and needed scrubbing in. First corner I come too I tip in and the bike just slid away from me without any warning. Scratched and bruised (ego mainly) I limped back to the shop for the all-to-late explanation. These days that memory sticks with me and I am always that bit more cautious about scrubbing in new tyres.

 The first thing I noticed about my new rubber is that they are round. More to the point the Scorpions it came with were square. So square in fact you could see the flat spots both front and rear. I took it to Duc City to get my service light switched off and a software update, and Sean just looked at me peculiarly after sussing out my tyres, and I knew at that point the whole reason I was not really having a great time on the way back from Queensland was my rubber.

 Fair enough I did 2,500kms on them on the way home but I think the whole 6,000kays done on the bike by the previous owner was squirting up and down the freeway. I remember vaguely thinking, shit this steers differently, must be the new bike. Then thinking trying to tip in, hmm the bars aren't responding, the bike isn't tipping, she won't get over, all sorts of random bits of chit-chat going on in my head on the way home and I put it all down to me and my riding skills combined with the new bike.

 I didn't think that maybe my tyres were square. The PR3s on the other hand inspire a certain level of confidence in me and I feel really good tipping in. They stick beautifully in the hot, and in the wet they really hang on. Clearly I don't have the words to explain tyres and what makes them good, but I do know when my bike feels solid on the road.
 
 I took a couple of mates with me out to Yea for a spin over the weekend and really got to scrub them in and it's amazing just how sticky they feel. I think they heat up a bit quicker than Pirellis which is a good thing if you do lots of short blasts commuting like I do. On top of that, they are a really cost effective alternative to the Scorpions.

 I also found that some workshops I visited (I got three quotes on both tyres) charge a ridiculous amount of labour for changing a tyre, and some charge nothing instead including it in the tyre price. There was a $400 range of difference between these, fitted and balanced, and the Pirelli Scorpions at another workshop. How screwed up is that? All told in the end, I got the new PR3s changed over for just shy of $500. I could have scored the Pirellis for $100 more but I didn't see the value in it (but I do love their tread pattern as well) for the kind of riding I do. My advice to  you, shop around and make sure you know you are paying for what you get.

What tyres are you running on your ride?