New tyre launch: Michelin Road 5

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Already available for purchase, Michelin’s new Road 5 sports touring tyre replaces the firm’s hugely popular Pilot Road 4.

With the original Pilot Road launched back in 2002, this fifth-generation adaptation boasts both improved performance in the wet and dry, as well as better longevity than the previous Pilot Road 4.

To achieve this, Michelin has developed an all-new tread pattern known as ‘Michelin XST Evo technology’, which uses a mixture of sipes and wells. These sipes get progressively wider throughout the tyre’s lifetime, meaning it can continue to disperse water for longer.

The Road 5 also uses a dual compound on the front and rear, with a harder, longer lasting middle section and softer shoulders of varying rigidity for greater dry weather handling and stability.

The front tyre, known as the ‘2CT’, features two types of all-silica compound – one for the middle 44% and then another for the outer shoulders. At the rear, the 2CT+ is comprised of an all-silica central crown, with the shoulders made of a slicker all-carbon black compound.

To find out if these claims ring true, we tested the Road 5 at a sun-kissed Monteblanco Circuit, Spain, as well as on a challenging 75-mile road ride through the surrounding mountains.

The track riding was divided into two sets of three laps; one session on a standard Ducati Supersport and then a second aboard a BMW S1000XR. On both bikes, the tyres were quickly up to temperature – offering fast enough steering and inspiring confident lean angles, despite such short sessions.

With speeds nudging 150mph down the long front straight on the larger XR, the tyre felt incredibly stable, too. It was also great under heavy braking, biting the tarmac purposefully all the way back down to second gear from top, ready for the sharp first right-hander.

More time on circuit may have revealed a different result though, as this is not a dedicated sports tyre and Michelin themselves freely admit that those wanting to take their bike on track would be much better suited to their sportier Power RS range.

In order to test wet weather performance, we also tried the tyre on the track’s inner skidpan, taking part in sharp braking tests from around 70mph to 40mph, as well as a swerve test aboard both a Yamaha MT-10SP and Triumph Street Triple 765 RS. 

On both bikes, it was another impressive result. Working in tandem with their ABS systems, the Road 5 will bring you to a halt in a stable and collected manner.

Under acceleration, it scores highly once more. At fast road riding pace the rear never once broke traction and, should you so wish, there’s still enough grip to hoist the front wheel into the air (as demonstrated by the Michelin instructor…)

Cornering ability is also good, allowing for swift changes of direction and some degree of lean. Although nowhere near the extent as on dry tarmac, it’s ample for real road scenarios.

Finally came the road ride and with 75 miles of tight switchbacks and short straights to contend with I opted to try the tyre on Kawasaki’s Z650 and Yamaha’s MT-07.

Much like the morning track session, the 5s were quickly up to temperature and offered a reassuring level of grip, never once braking traction at the front or rear and always remaining planted when banked over at full lean.

At speed, they also felt very stable – with the only hiccups coming from the Yamaha’s twitchy front end, which occasionally liked to shake its head over larger ruts and bumps in the road.

The Michelin Road 5 offers ample real-world wet and dry performance. Although it easily coped with track riding element of the day, it’s less suited to this role and riders wanting to scratch that trackday itch should look elsewhere.

Although we tested the standard Road 5 there is also a trail version, which uses the same tread and compounds, with a slightly tweaked carcass, to accommodate a higher centre of gravity and softer suspension.

Road 5 sizes

Front120/60/17 – 120/70/17
150/70/17 – 160/60/17 – 180/55/17 – 190/50/17 – 190/55/17

Road 5 trail sizes

Front 110/80/19 (available now) – 120/70/19 (launches in June)
150/70/17 (available now) – 170/60/17 (launches in June)

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