Michelin Power Competition 25c, fun with maths.

Right then, let’s get serious and talk about tyres, clinchers specifically, none of that glue nonsense here. Everyone has their favourite tyre. The truth is I quite like very many of them. Indeed, I’ve only ever had issues with a few tyres (Conti 4 Season I am looking in your direction). Tyre choice can be very personal but, at the end of the day, you need them to go as fast as you can make them, grip well and ward off the puncture fairy.

It’s a weird one. For an age it seemed that every rider just bought Conti 4000’s. There were some other choices. People with tans, lithe long legs and rake thin figures bought Vittoria Open Corsa. People with beards and leather saddles bought Veloflex tan walls. People who wanted something mainstream but different started to get into Schwalbe. And, silently in the darkness, some people talked about how good Michelin stuff was.

From my perspective of wandering around the internet people occasionally chucked in Michelin as “oh and you might also want to look at” rather than being up there among the best. The thing is they were producing the Pro 3, and that was very good. They followed up with the Pro 4 and I can’t speak highly enough about how they were. They produced the legendary Krylion which people bought in volume when they discontinued it. They made an Endurance version of the Pro 4 which did replace it, and that too was well received. Yet, the battle, it seems, became Conti v Schwalbe. Indeed, the rise of Schwalbe is one of the more interesting stories of recent years.

Look, Michelin didn’t invent the tyre. Depending on your viewpoint that honour goes to John Boyd Dunlop or Robert Thomson, and probably the latter. But they did invent the removable one. Charles Terront won the inaugural Paris-Brest-Paris on Michelin’s prototype pneumatic removable tyres in 1891. Michelin are the biggest tyre manufacturer in the world. They should know a thing or two. So perhaps it’s a bit surprising when they don’t get the first shout out when the matter of which tyre comes up.

I have to say the Pro 4 were brilliant tyres. They rode well, made a swooshy sound and I never got one to flat. I had the 25c version and they ballooned up to a quite massive 27c on 15c rims. A good and a bad thing depending on whether you have clearance. They lasted for ages. I confess, I have no idea why I changed away from them other than the fact that the competitors (GP4000iiS and Schwalbe One) looked sexier. #shallow

Enter the Power Competition. I’ve opted for the 25c version once again to provide that bit more volume. This time they don’t come up quite as over sized despite them being fitted to a 17c rim (more on that later). I’m left with a few mm of clearance in the bottom bracket area of the Supersix.

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First things first. Consider this to be an impressionistic review or, if you like, a commentary on the data that’s out there. For that is all I am currently equipped to give. I have no power meter so I can’t measure my watts in order to confirm whether the claims made about these tyres are true. It’s also quite impossible to construct a test, myself, where I compare them against specific other tyres in specific situations. But, I’ve ridden and lot of tyres and can tell you how I feel about them. I’ve added quite a few links in so you can decide whether you feel that these are a tyre that’s worth considering.

Anyway, sciency stuff first. Michelin are the world’s biggest tyre manufacturer (after Lego, seriously, look it up!). An enormous amount of research each year goes into the properties of tyres and how those properties affect fuel consumption. Clearly getting a tyre to be perfect is a hard task. One of the matters that most greatly affects fuel consumption is rolling resistance. Better rolling  = better MPG. And that translates quite well to the cycle setting. It’s pretty straightforward, less rolling resistance  = easier to move. So if you put the same wattage into your ride in given circumstances then you will be further ahead at any given point. It’s not the whole story, as alluded to earlier. A tyre might be more or less grippy in the corners. There might be a trade off in ride quality or puncture protection. It may be the world’s fastest tyre but otherwise rubbish.

Michelin’s Claims

Specifically they claim that you will see the following improvements.

– 10 watts 1 min 25 secs gained over 40 km at 35 km/h

– 25% rolling resistance

It sounds grand. You’re going to be faster, it seems. The problem is, faster compared to what? Anyway, I have no way of testing this stuff. But here are some useful things to have a look at. If you ever want data on a tyre go to those who know what they’re doing. In that respect the place I always look first is Bicycle Rolling Resistance and here’s a link to the actual review Rolling Resistance Review of Michelin Power

It’s definitely a site worth bookmarking. They have the kit. I’ve stuck a few (25c) tyres into their drop down and this is what we get. (Full Credit goes to Rolling Resistance for this data). I’ve added in some popular tyres, some with the addition of latex and also stuck in the venerable Conti Gator Skin in as well for a laugh. I’ve put the “winner” (at 100 psi, given that we are dealing with 25 tyres) in each box.

Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg)
Model Grand Prix 4000S II Power Competition One V-Guard
Rolling Resistance 120 psi 12.2 Watts 10.9 Watts 12.3 Watts
Rolling Resistance 100 psi 12.9 Watts 11.8 Watts 12.8 Watts
Rolling Resistance 80 psi 13.7 Watts 13.6 Watts 14.0 Watts
Rolling Resistance 60 psi 15.5 Watts 16.6 Watts 16.6 Watts
Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg)
Model Grand Prix TT Pro 4 Service Course Pro One Tubeless
Rolling Resistance 120 psi 9.9 Watts 14.9 Watts 11.0 Watts
Rolling Resistance 100 psi 10.5 Watts 16.0 Watts 11.6 Watts
Rolling Resistance 80 psi 11.8 Watts 17.6 Watts 12.8 Watts
Rolling Resistance 60 psi 13.9 Watts 20.1 Watts 14.8 Watts
Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph, Load: 42.5 kg)
Model Gatorskin Grand Prix 4000S II Latex Tube Open Corsa CX III Latex Tube
Rolling Resistance 120 psi 19.3 Watts 10.6 Watts 11.7 Watts
Rolling Resistance 100 psi 20.2 Watts 11.1 Watts 12.2 Watts
Rolling Resistance 80 psi 22.0 Watts 11.8 Watts 13.0 Watts
Rolling Resistance 60 psi 26.2 Watts 13.3 Watts 14.6 Watts

There are some interesting conclusions which might be drawn from that set of data.

  • The Michelin Power are the leaders of the next gen clincher + butyl inner crowd.
  • At high pressure (120 psi) a tubed Michelin has less rolling resistance than a tubeless Schwalbe Pro One.
  • Replacing a butyl tube with latex has a massive effect on rolling resistance.
  • The Michelin Power has not been tested with latex tube but the site claims that “I’ve tested a lot of tires with latex tubes already to know the difference will be 1.5 watts lower RR @ 120 psi / 8.3 bars compared to the 100 grams butyl inner tube used for this.
  • With that in mind a latex tube should see the Michelin drop to 9.4 watts at 120 psi.
  • The Grand Prix TT still has less rolling resistance overall. (Though playing with latex will affect this result as well). 
  • The Gatorskin should be a good winter training tyre to give you a proper workout!

 

Chain Reaction Cycles have also produced a video of their experiences and you can see that below. Power meters were used and, it appears, Michelin’s claims are borne out. That said, in the CRC test, at Michelin, they are borne out against the old Pro 4 and not their competitor tyres.

My experiences

So, it appears that there’s some fair justification for Michelin’s claims. Let’s talk about my experience of them, namely how they feel and how they ride, how easy they are to put on and, you know, whether they avoid the fairy.

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Michelin claim 215g for a 25c tyre. That’s pretty good actually. I weighed both mine before putting them on and both were in the ballpark. Indeed both were actually a few grams lighter than claimed. There’s an initial protective coating on them as well and it may be that a further gram or so might be saved when that wears off. Their weight compares very favourably with the GP4000iiS and One which are notionally 225g each. Every little helps.

Installation wasn’t particularly hard though I did manage, through ham fisted impatience, to wreck one tube. I have a BBB easy tyre lever on the way which should help with installation of tyres. It was much easier than a G-One onto a Revo. My recollection of the old Pro 4 was that they were a pretty easy fit but that the Endurance (Pro 4) were virtually impossible. It will be interesting to see how the new Endurance fair in that respect.

Once one they measure up as quite wide/high on my rim. In the ballpark of 26mm wide to be exact (my caliper isn’t the best). But, visually at least, well down on the balloon tyre exploits of the Pro 4 at 25c. Those things were massive. You get a nice, decent shape on these on my 17mm internal Quattro wheels.

The labelling isn’t great. It’s not awfully sexy (Conti and Schwalbe are much better looking). Also the printing of it was a bit squiggled on one of the pair. But I don’t care too much about this. In common with Schwalbe but less so with Conti the tyres aren’t awfully black and come up very slightly grey. Given how quickly they get covered with road dust this isn’t massive.

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I paid a shade under £30 (once I’d factored in British Cycling discount) at Chain Reaction Cycles They do seem to be one of the only stockists, along with Merlin, at the moment.

How do they feel? Well, as I said earlier, they went straight onto the new Quattro wheels. That does make back to back comparisons with the already excellent Schwalbe One quite difficult. They do feel a little faster mind. Whether it’s the aero quattro or the lack of rolling resistance I do find it’s that little bit easier to get everything going and then to keep it all going. They feel, for want of a better word, swooshy. The Pro 4 were like that. They make a nice swooshing sound as they move along which I don’t tend to experience with the Conti or the Schwalbe. I’ve no idea if swooshiness is a fair measure of performance but I quite like it.

Puncture resistance, to date, has been excellent, i.e. I have not had one. My route to work is pretty good in places, very poor in others and the last 4 miles along the Taff Trail sees various bits of detritus and tree debris waiting to pounce. I’ve had no issues yet. Grip in the dry is excellent. Grip in the wet is untested and, I am sorry, it’s likely to stay that way. I don’t anticipate anything other than being on a par with other similar tyres in this respect.

So far these appear to be very good tyres. Consider this an introduction to them and to a really rather excellent website that deals with these things properly. Too often there are reviews on the big sites which say no more than my own, i.e. they appear to be faster. Don’t take my word for it, or Michelin’s claims, the figures appear to be borne out by independent data. If you’re still in the world of clincher tyres you really should take a look at these. They deserve to be mentioned every time the question comes up and not just because a few lone posters claim that they’re worth it.

I’ll report back at regular intervals to tell you about my experiences with them.

UPDATE 21st APRIL. I had a puncture, oh dear. Sidewall as well and, frankly, I am not not keen on repairing those. Was it bad luck? Possibly. I was on the outside of traffic and it may have got caught on a cat’s eye or something. What to do? Doesn’t look like it can be fixed and perhaps the sidewalls are a bit fragile. I will report back soon.

So, I decided that, for the type of riding I do a more robust “race” tyre might be better and returned to the Schwalbe One. I think that the Power is an incredible full on race tyre but there may be a trade off in puncture resistance. That’s to be expected. I say this on the evidence of a single puncture but, the thing is, it’s the first one I’ve had on road in 6 years. In addition the view of bicycle rolling resistance was that this version is down on the previous one and the nearest competitors. I reckon if you’re doing a crit (on clinchers) or are happy to take the risk on a triathlon etc, these are just the ticket. They are incredibly fast. Add a latex tube and you’re at the upper limit of what clincher technology can currently provide!

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15 thoughts on “Michelin Power Competition 25c, fun with maths.

  1. Will be looking forward to your future thoughts as the miles build up. I don’t know anyone else who runs these tyres and I don’t know why not. They seem to test and review well. I’ve got some of the 24mm S-Works Turbo clinchers to try out once my current GP4000S tyres wear out.

    What was your issue with Conti 4 Seasons?

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    1. Many many punctures over a couple of miles. Luckily within sight of the bike shop. Swapped those out to Durano Plus (for commuting) and never had an issue. Bad batch? Could be. It’s weird how no-one thinks about Michelin yet, clearly, they must sell or they’d exit the market. Perhaps they are more prevalent in other markets? Mate has just finally ditched his old Krylion. I reckon they’ve done tens of thousands of miles. Slightly cracked but not the worst condition I’d ever seen!

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      1. Hmmm, strange. I’ve done 1000’s of miles through harsh British weather on 4 Seasons with minimal issues. My problem with GP4000S tyres is the weak sidewalls (a trade-off for lighter weight). They’re fast, but according to those charts the Michelins are faster.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Any chance that Michelin will let you have some Power Endurance and Power All Season so you could do a comparative review Chris?

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  3. Is the load of 42.5kg the weight downwards on the wheel? Of so even with the weight split between two wheels on a bike I think that is to low a load. The results may stay relatively the same with added weight but it’s not a given. Or an I looking at this wrong?

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    1. Per wheel I believe, so where you have a 100kg bike and rider (heavier than my setup) wheel load is I think taken to be roughly 45/55. So they’re testing for an average between front and rear for a slightly lighter setup. That’s my understanding!

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      1. Thx for the reply, just checking I was reading it right.
        I’m rolling with Continental Grand Prix 4000s II 28mm paired with Ultegra wheels(tubeless rim nightmare to get tyres on) 100psi back 95psi sometimes lower. Wow they roll good. I used to always go to 120psi ish on the road but in finding better speed with lower pressure now and more confidence on the descents.
        Pro3’s on summer bike starting to wish it would take 28mm.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Invest in an easy tyre tool! I’ve got a BBB one, and will get some pics in on the test. It will not work quite as well for inner tube setups but for tubeless it should be a boon. It pulls the last section over the rim easier! like a giant mole grip. Report soon!

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