Designing a high-end motorcycle tire that prioritizes performance is a bit of a balancing act. When it comes to racing, weight is everything. In fact, the reason that some high-end performance parts are so expensive is because they are made of lighter materials than their counterparts.
In the world of tires, however, nearly all manufacturers are working with the same materials. You can’t make extremely light carbon-fiber tires and simply charge more for them, like some other parts.
Reducing the weight of tires by simply using less rubber quickly becomes a dangerous game. Sport bike tires are very thin and they can wear down easily. However, this isn’t some conspiracy by the tire manufacturers to get you to keep shelling out hundreds of dollars on their tires. The reason the tires are thin is because they must remain as light as possible to stay competitive.
Enter Michelin and their new Power Pure tires. The company claims that they have found a way to keep the same tread depth and overall size of their existing high-performance tires, while also reducing the weight by two pounds. The secret is their Light Tire Technology (LTT), which uses exotic aramid fibers to achieve a weight significantly below that of their competition.
Two pounds may not sound like a lot, but a quick physics lesson is in order. Since the tires rotate, a concept known as rotational mass comes into play. Essentially, this means that they will contribute more to the overall weight of the vehicle when the bike is racing. Michelin says that two pounds of tire weight is equal to about six pounds of wheel weight. Some high-end racers will spend thousands of dollars on magnesium wheels that can reduce bike weight by this much- but you’ll only spend a few hundred on the Power Pures.
In addition to the LTT feature, the tires also come with the Two Compound Technology (2CT) that is found on other Michelin motorcycle tires, such as the Power One. The 2CT designation means that the tire utilizes a harder compound on the center for more durability while keeping a softer compound on the surface of the tires for better handling.
It’s easy to dismiss these features as simple marketing speak, but nearly all the reviews of the new tires agree that the technology is there and it truly does make a difference. The LTT offers significantly-improved handling, while the 2CT helps ensure that the tires don’t wear too quickly.
While these tires can be used on the track, they are mainly made for the sport bike rider who spends a lot of time on the street and highway. With 12 percent of the tire covered in tread depth, there’s enough grip here for safe riding on the roads, and they are DOT-legal. Essentially, these are the tires for the rider who wants something approaching race-level performance out on the street. Unlike true race tires, however, you won’t need to buy new ones after just a few rides.
Michelin’s slogan is “A Better Way Forward,” and in the case of the Power Pure, we’d have to agree. They may be a bit more expensive than some competitors, but the difference in performance is definitely noticeable, and you are shedding some significant weight for the money.