Michelin Powercup TLR Tyres Review
Michelin are perhaps not the first brand you think of when looking for a high performance road tyre, but the Michelin Powercup tubeless ready tyre may change that.
The Michelin Powercup is part of their Competition Line group of tyres and it is the first offering from them which is tubeless ready. It comes in a range of widths from 25mm to 30mm with either black or tan side walls; the pair I got my hands on were a 28mm tan set. They were fairly straight forward to set up, similar to most other tubeless tyres I have used on my wheelset. By that I mean they needed some good quality sealant and the help of an air compressor to seat them properly.
Once inflated to around 60 PSI these were ready for testing. In comparison to some tubeless tyres, I found these seemed to hold pressure well. Perhaps due to the ‘tubeless shield technology’ Michelin use to strengthen the sidewalls; although I still always checked the pressure before rides regardless.
Not only have I had tested these tyres myself over several months, they have also been the tyre of choice for my race team (Hutchinson-BrotherUK) this season, so together we have really put them through their paces!
Michelin Powercup – Speed
A crucial factor in any tyre choice, low rolling resistance is important to minimise losses and maximise speed. Michelin have drawn on MotoGP technologies for these tyres to improve efficiency and ultimately make them faster. When testing I immediately noticed an improvement in this area compared with a previous set of tyres which boded well for the season ahead. Since that first ride myself and team-mates have used these tyres in countless races and time trials. We have been impressed with the performance and found they roll well.
Michelin Powercup – Grip
This was an area that some teammates were nervous about, especially considering the amount of faith you put in a thin strip of rubber when cornering at speed! Michelin claim that these tyres have ‘efficient handling and stability in both wet and dry conditions thanks to the MICHELIN Gum-X compound‘. This is a technology Michelin use to alter the characteristics of the rubber to best suit the requirements of the tyre.
An early season race over all terrains at the Cicle Classic was a baptism of fire for these tyres, but they came out on top with all riders suitably impressed. Even when taking aggressive lines through gravely corners at pace the tyres gripped and there was no sliding out. I have had similar results in my own testing, using them over different surfaces and in both the wet and dry and found the grip to be very good.
Michelin Powercup – Durability
Michelin utilise a technology called Aramid Shield here to improve the puncture protection and overall life of the tyre, whilst keeping the weight down to not adversely affect the performance of the tyre. A 3 x 120 TPI (threads per inch) cotton casing sits below the rubber tread, and within this sits a very high density aramid reinforcement. This, Michelin claims, ‘provides strength at the summit of the tyre to significantly reduce the number of punctures’. Over the course of the season, across a fleet of bikes being raced week in week out, the number of punctures could be counted on one hand, and I myself didn’t suffer one (no doubt that will taint my luck for next season!).
These tyres were a surprising success and get a big tick for all the key factors you’d look for in a great tyre. They won’t break the bank, should provide miles of worry free cycling, and if you fancy doing something more competitive they won’t slow you down!