Michelin Pilot Road 3 Review

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Michelin Pilot Road 3 Review

This is a discussion on Michelin Pilot Road 3 Review within the 3rd Gen Z1000/Z1000SX/Ninja 1000 forums, part of the Kawasaki Z1000, Ninja 1000, Z800, Z750 & Z-750S category; Well, I've logged ~1,900 miles on my new Michelin PR3 tires and thought I would share my observations thus far. First, a little backgroud on ...

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    Rising Star quick66's Avatar
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    Michelin Pilot Road 3 Review

    Well, I've logged ~1,900 miles on my new Michelin PR3 tires and thought I would share my observations thus far. First, a little backgroud on why I decided to try a "sport touring tire" on a bike that came factory equipped with a "sport" tire. My 11' N1K came from the factory with Bridgestone BattleAx BT-016 tires. These tires performed well, provided excellent grip irrespective of temperature, reasonable warm up times and very decent mileage. I got 4,618 miles out of the factory tires with very spirited street riding (no track days). In all honesty, I could have probably squeezed another 500 miles out of them, but was keen to try another tire. The second set of tires I had on the bike were Dunlop Sport Max Q2s. When purchasing these tires I went to a 55 series in the rear, so it's not an apples to apples comparison with the stock rubber. The Dunlop Tires were superb in terms of grip and insipring confidence in riding. The tires warm up very fast, had very linear turn in, and really helped me improve my riding. I felt like I could take any corner with confidence, and never second guess the tires. I put exactly 3,106 miles on the Q2s and they were worn out. They weren't down to the cords, but measured tread depth of the rear tire (using my Mitutoyo digital dial calipers) was 1.3mm. I actually ended up low-siding my bike on my last ride on the Q2s. I think the root cause for my mishap was due to a number of factors. I had just fueled up a couple miles before I went down. I think I might have gotten some diesel fuel on the tires while at the filing station. It was also very cold out the morning I went down (low 40s). Lastly, I went down in a turn that I'm very familar with (slightly sharper than 90 degrees) which happened to have a painted crosswalk at the start of the turn. In hindsight, I was over confident and the conditions were poor. Lesson learned. Enter the Michelin PR3s...

    So after my experience with the above tires combined with my mishap, I thought it would be wise to try a sport touring tire. My expectations for the PR3's were/are:

    - Increased tread life
    - Improvided traction in wet conditions
    - Near sport tire grip

    The PR3s have shown very little signs of wear in almost 2,000 miles. There are no unusual wear marks, no balling up of the rubber, they literally look almost brand new. I have been running stock pressure (36f/42r) and have experimented with pressures as low as 32f/38r and everything in between. I have not yet had the occassion to get caught in the rain with these tires, but I have ridden over wet pavement in canopied sections of some of the roads I ride during early morning outings. These tires have never given me any indication that they wouldn't provide good traction on wet roads.

    I live just North of Atlanta and we have been experiencing some of the hottest days on record this summer. I have spent a lot of time riding in 95+ degree heat and a few days with temperatures as high as 106. Here's where I've been a little dissapointed with the PR3s. When riding aggressively in these conditions I've noticed on a number of occassions that the PR3s will "walk" once you get over on the tire about 1/2"-3/4" off the very edge. Up until that point the tires are very linear and predictable. A lot of the roads I ride on (Hwy 60, Hwy 180, etc...) have lots of tar snakes on both the straights and the turns. When I pick my line for a turn I often find I've moved over as much as a foot or more from where I thought I should have been due to the tires sliding. This has caused me to have much less confidence in the PR3 as compared to the previous two set of sport tires.

    I realize that comparing the PR3s to a sport tire is an unfair comparison, but honestly I expected a little more from these tires. The pluses of these tires are what appears to be exceptional tread wear, very decent traction and they are super quiet. The downside in my experience is that they don't hold the pavement in hot weather nearly as well as a sport tire.

    These tires are also pretty pricey. I think if you're someone that likes to take the twisties at a moderate pace and want a tire that will perform well in a variety of weather and provide good tread life then these tires are for you. If on the other hand you're one that likes to push the bike closer to its limits you might want to stay with a sport tire.

    Personally I'm not sure if I would buy these tires again. This review is not intended to be a knock against Michelin or these tires in particular. I've owned many a Michelin tire over the years on a variety of vehicles and have always been very happy with them. I think this is more a case of a sport touring tire not stacking up to a sport tire.

    HTH....

    P.S. I found the following article and it seems to match up pretty well with my experience...

    Michelin Pilot Road 3 road test review | Motorcycle Safety News
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    Supreme Being jjsC6's Avatar
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    Thanks for the write-up. I put PR2's on mine based upon the good results I've had on my Concours (I'm on my third set of PR2's on it). I feel that the PR2s are at least as good as the 016's. BTW, like your area, tar snakes have become an epidemic here in Texas over the last couple of years.
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    Rising Star quick66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjsC6 View Post
    Thanks for the write-up. I put PR2's on mine based upon the good results I've had on my Concours (I'm on my third set of PR2's on it). I feel that the PR2s are at least as good as the 016's. BTW, like your area, tar snakes have become an epidemic here in Texas over the last couple of years.
    Interesting... Michelin (per the link I provided in the OP) says the PR3's are better than the PR2's in every aspect. What tire pressures are you running and what temps are you riding in? I've had the suspension on my bike completely reworked by Traction Dynamics (just up the road from me) and I ride my bike pretty hard in the turns.
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    Supreme Being jjsC6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quick66 View Post
    Interesting... Michelin (per the link I provided in the OP) says the PR3's are better than the PR2's in every aspect. What tire pressures are you running and what temps are you riding in? I've had the suspension on my bike completely reworked by Traction Dynamics (just up the road from me) and I ride my bike pretty hard in the turns.
    I keep the tire pressures around 40/41. I ride in very hot weather here the Houston and surrounding areas. Keep in mind that our curves are few and far between, and most of them tend to be faster sweepers. There are a couple of roads we run that have very mediocre pavement at best, and those roads are where I am likely to feel a little tire slip at times. I have yet to feel the PR2's slip at all on the Ninja. On my Concours I feel a slight amount of slip occasionally, but that bike weighs 200lbs more than the Ninja.

    As to Michelin's claims, they could be true - I don't know. I'm familiar with the roads you run and I'm sure that you have a better feel for the traction than I do. I run the curves fast - on my first time out on a set of new tires the chicken strips are gone. But how we accelerate out of curves, or brake into them could be a lot different. If I had your roads to run every weekend I might be able to judge them better.
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    Up-And Comer Z CHEF's Avatar
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    Nice write up I just switched my rear for a PR3 mainly to get some extra mileage and will do the front soon(was running PP 2 ct) feels comparable to me so far just hoping the extra miles will justify the price difference
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    That's a good article you linked to. My personal experience mirrors yours. Tire feel is subjective so unless you're doing a blind lap time test on a track, you should never say one tire is stickier or better than another when you ride on the street. Usually what that really means is that tire provides better feel and/or feedback for that particular person. PR2s or 3s are never going to have as much grip as a sport tire like the 016s, especially in the heat due to their silica content. The Q2s are leaps and bounds above the Pilot Roads in terms of grip. There's a lot of misinformation on the internet.


    Quote Originally Posted by quick66 View Post
    Well, I've logged ~1,900 miles on my new Michelin PR3 tires and thought I would share my observations thus far. First, a little backgroud on why I decided to try a "sport touring tire" on a bike that came factory equipped with a "sport" tire. My 11' N1K came from the factory with Bridgestone BattleAx BT-016 tires. These tires performed well, provided excellent grip irrespective of temperature, reasonable warm up times and very decent mileage. I got 4,618 miles out of the factory tires with very spirited street riding (no track days). In all honesty, I could have probably squeezed another 500 miles out of them, but was keen to try another tire. The second set of tires I had on the bike were Dunlop Sport Max Q2s. When purchasing these tires I went to a 55 series in the rear, so it's not an apples to apples comparison with the stock rubber. The Dunlop Tires were superb in terms of grip and insipring confidence in riding. The tires warm up very fast, had very linear turn in, and really helped me improve my riding. I felt like I could take any corner with confidence, and never second guess the tires. I put exactly 3,106 miles on the Q2s and they were worn out. They weren't down to the cords, but measured tread depth of the rear tire (using my Mitutoyo digital dial calipers) was 1.3mm. I actually ended up low-siding my bike on my last ride on the Q2s. I think the root cause for my mishap was due to a number of factors. I had just fueled up a couple miles before I went down. I think I might have gotten some diesel fuel on the tires while at the filing station. It was also very cold out the morning I went down (low 40s). Lastly, I went down in a turn that I'm very familar with (slightly sharper than 90 degrees) which happened to have a painted crosswalk at the start of the turn. In hindsight, I was over confident and the conditions were poor. Lesson learned. Enter the Michelin PR3s...

    So after my experience with the above tires combined with my mishap, I thought it would be wise to try a sport touring tire. My expectations for the PR3's were/are:

    - Increased tread life
    - Improvided traction in wet conditions
    - Near sport tire grip

    The PR3s have shown very little signs of wear in almost 2,000 miles. There are no unusual wear marks, no balling up of the rubber, they literally look almost brand new. I have been running stock pressure (36f/42r) and have experimented with pressures as low as 32f/38r and everything in between. I have not yet had the occassion to get caught in the rain with these tires, but I have ridden over wet pavement in canopied sections of some of the roads I ride during early morning outings. These tires have never given me any indication that they wouldn't provide good traction on wet roads.

    I live just North of Atlanta and we have been experiencing some of the hottest days on record this summer. I have spent a lot of time riding in 95+ degree heat and a few days with temperatures as high as 106. Here's where I've been a little dissapointed with the PR3s. When riding aggressively in these conditions I've noticed on a number of occassions that the PR3s will "walk" once you get over on the tire about 1/2"-3/4" off the very edge. Up until that point the tires are very linear and predictable. A lot of the roads I ride on (Hwy 60, Hwy 180, etc...) have lots of tar snakes on both the straights and the turns. When I pick my line for a turn I often find I've moved over as much as a foot or more from where I thought I should have been due to the tires sliding. This has caused me to have much less confidence in the PR3 as compared to the previous two set of sport tires.

    I realize that comparing the PR3s to a sport tire is an unfair comparison, but honestly I expected a little more from these tires. The pluses of these tires are what appears to be exceptional tread wear, very decent traction and they are super quiet. The downside in my experience is that they don't hold the pavement in hot weather nearly as well as a sport tire.

    These tires are also pretty pricey. I think if you're someone that likes to take the twisties at a moderate pace and want a tire that will perform well in a variety of weather and provide good tread life then these tires are for you. If on the other hand you're one that likes to push the bike closer to its limits you might want to stay with a sport tire.

    Personally I'm not sure if I would buy these tires again. This review is not intended to be a knock against Michelin or these tires in particular. I've owned many a Michelin tire over the years on a variety of vehicles and have always been very happy with them. I think this is more a case of a sport touring tire not stacking up to a sport tire.

    HTH....

    P.S. I found the following article and it seems to match up pretty well with my experience...

    Michelin Pilot Road 3 road test review | Motorcycle Safety News
    Last edited by Squidlius; 07-09-12 at 04:06 PM.
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    Rising Star quick66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidlius View Post
    That's a good article you linked to. My personal experience mirrors yours. Tire feel is subjective so unless you're doing a blind lap time test on a track, you should never say one tire is stickier or better than another when you ride on the street. Usually what that really means is that tire provides better feel and feedback for that particular person. PR2s or 3s are never going to have as much grip as a sport tire like the 016s, especially in the heat due to their silica content. The Q2s are leaps and bounds above the Pilot Roads in terms of grip. There's a lot of misinformation on the internet.
    Good point, Squid. I just wanted to provide some honest feedback based on my own experience, but you're right it's very subjective. Had I read a post similar to the one I made before hand I might have looked at another tire. I never set off on a ride if the rain chance is high, so that part of the tire rates low on my list of needs/wants.
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    Up-And Comer Kzin's Avatar
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    From personal experience when it's this hot, tar snakes will cause that with any tire. It's the tar that is moving not your tire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quick66 View Post
    Good point, Squid. I just wanted to provide some honest feedback based on my own experience, but you're right it's very subjective. Had I read a post similar to the one I made before hand I might have looked at another tire. I never set off on a ride if the rain chance is high, so that part of the tire rates low on my list of needs/wants.
    It is all about finding the tire that fills your needs the best. If you don't ride hard enough to take advantage of the extra grip that sport tires provide, it doesn't make any sense to run them. All you're doing is throwing away money. Pilot Roads are a little more expensive but they can last twice as long as a sport tire.

    I've been caught out in rain on Q2s and was very impressed by the amount of wet grip and feedback they provided on the street. I have a friend who is a nut and when it rained during a track day, he was the only one out there practicing in the rain. He was on a set of Pilot Powers and said the grip was great.
    Last edited by Squidlius; 07-09-12 at 04:33 PM.
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    Site Elder DJB, Lodi's Avatar
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    Last night, I was riding solo and was really pushing the limits with my PR3s. I was thinking at the time how I was impressed with the hold power and feel of this tire in the hot weather. A couple of times I crunched my boot because the peg folded up from hitting the pavement. I have ran in our rural areas with a variety of track ready sport bikes and honestly to the untrained eye you could not tell I was at any disadvantage because of the PR3s. A couple of pro riders commented that they were impressed with the N1ks cornering and performance. I have 2,500 miles and I am finally showing some wear where the stock tire would have been toast 700 miles ago.
    The one thing the front tire does that confuses me is when I am skimming the ground in 1st gear it doesn't seem to have a real center tracking ability when it is lightly touching the ground. Also when I am coming down from a wheelie it kind of squirmes a bit. I noticed this right from the start with the front tire where the stock tire did not do this.
    I am thinking about a steering damper to correct the head shake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJB, Lodi View Post
    Last night, I was riding solo and was really pushing the limits with my PR3s. I was thinking at the time how I was impressed with the hold power and feel of this tire in the hot weather. A couple of times I crunched my boot because the peg folded up from hitting the pavement. I have ran in our rural areas with a variety of track ready sport bikes and honestly to the untrained eye you could not tell I was at any disadvantage because of the PR3s. A couple of pro riders commented that they were impressed with the N1ks cornering and performance. I have 2,500 miles and I am finally showing some wear where the stock tire would have been toast 700 miles ago.
    The one thing the front tire does that confuses me is when I am skimming the ground in 1st gear it doesn't seem to have a real center tracking ability when it is lightly touching the ground. Also when I am coming down from a wheelie it kind of squirmes a bit. I noticed this right from the start with the front tire where the stock tire did not do this.
    I am thinking about a steering damper to correct the head shake.
    The PR3s are plenty capable, no doubt. I ride with some guys who swear by them and go crazy fast. The thing that makes me nervous is I like to have as big a safety cushion as possible and I've been behind those guys and have seen their PR3s squirming for traction at the limit when I still have a lot left in reserve on my Q2s. It's all about what works for you.

    Dennis, you said something in one of your other posts that caught my eye. You said with the performance gains you have now, sometimes the rear tire spins up when you nail it hard. That is why I don't like running Pilot Roads.
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    Site Elder DJB, Lodi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidlius View Post
    The PR3s are plenty capable, no doubt. I ride with some guys who swear by them and go crazy fast. The thing that makes me nervous is I like to have as big a safety cushion as possible and I've been behind those guys and have seen their PR3s squirming for traction at the limit when I still have a lot left in reserve on my Q2s. It's all about what works for you.

    Dennis, you said something in one of your other posts that caught my eye. You said with the performance gains you have now, sometimes the rear tire spins up when you nail it hard. That is why I don't like running Pilot Roads.
    Tony, any idea why the front tire does not track as straight as the stock? Makes me nervous and I was ponering a steering stabelizer to help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJB, Lodi View Post
    Tony, any idea why the front tire does not track as straight as the stock? Makes me nervous and I was ponering a steering stabelizer to help.
    I was pondering that. Are you still running my suspension settings and did it do that before you changed it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJB, Lodi View Post
    Tony, any idea why the front tire does not track as straight as the stock? Makes me nervous and I was ponering a steering stabelizer to help.
    Its not the first time I've heard this comment. I think all the "sipes" could be causing it, and it's one reason I've stuck with the PR2's.
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    Plus those PR3s are one UGLY looking tire!
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