Michelin Route 5 Reviews | Sport-touring motorcycle tire test
The Michelin Road 5 aims to satisfy one of the most demanding segments of motorcycles: the sports tourism category. This requires tires that deliver exemplary performance in a wide range of conditions.
First introduced in 1996, the Michelin Pilot Road Series, now simply known as the Road Series, has been a competitive option for those who need performance and mileage, as well as all-season capability. A tall order, because a touring motorcycle tire should be everything for everyone.
I tested this new rubber set on mid-weight and 1-liter bikes, covering the entire range of the sport segment. Test mounts included the venerable Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR and Yamaha MT-10, the rugged KTM 1290 Super Duke GT and Ducati SuperSport, the roaring Triumph Street Triple RS, as well as the fiery Yamaha MT-07. I tested the Michelin Road 5 tires in a mix of driving conditions across the countryside of southern Spain and in Monteblanco circuit east of Seville.
Michelin completely redesigned the Road 5, hoping to give it greater capabilities than its predecessor, the Pilot Road 4. Due to changes in rubber mixes, the addition of ACT + (Adaptive Casting Technology) ) designed to improve the rigidity of the carcass and the new XST Evo progressive sipes (X-Sipe Evo technology) aimed directly at driving on wet surfaces, Michelin seems to be on the right track. (Note: the sipes are the grooves in the tires that direct the water)
The Road 5 aspires to deliver a higher level of performance in all conditions, with a strong emphasis in the wet. In fact, we’ve seen some of these technical approaches from Michelin before in the Power RS, a pure sport tire. While these two product lines serve different purposes, engineers have seen fit to borrow heavily from the Power RS ââto bolster sport into sport tourism.
At a glance, the Michelin Road 5 is a double compound tire with several tricks up its sleeve. Return to Fold is the patented dual compound 2CT and 2CT + technology. A harder crown rubber compound is encapsulated by a softer compound on the shoulders to provide excellent mileage while still allowing sport-worthy grip on the edge of the tire.
This allows for a longer range of use before the profile of the motorcycle tire begins to align (lose its shape and interfere with the tire’s cornering ability), a problem commonly associated with single compound tires. In practice, this mix of compounds still provides a more than adequate feel and good road grip, even on uncompromising sports machines such as the Tuono, MT-10 and Street Triple RS.
There’s more to this dough mix at the Michelin factory. The front tire uses 100% silica rubber, which brand engineers say has superior wet properties than race-inspired carbon black compounds.
To help the speed demons in all of us, the rear tire uses a harder silica-based crown compound, while the shoulders are made of carbon black grippy materials. Additionally, the harder compound essentially covers the softer shoulder rubber, giving it a solid base and contributing to overall stiffness at the edge of the tire.
This section of the Michelin Road 5 rear has a lack of tread and sipes for a specific reason: it is designed to be used only in dry conditions and comes into play above 35 degrees of lean angle. . Michelin believes that most riders will never exceed this amount of bank when in wet conditions.
The ACT +, which comes from the Power RS, contributes to the stability of the Road 5. It is a ply that wraps around the bead of the tire and reinforces the sidewall, as well as the shoulder to ensure a more great stability when cornering at high speed.
These attributes, combined with the neutral profile of Michelin Road 5 tires, strike a balance between good rates of turn and overall stability. During my ride in the Andalusian mountains, this aspect of Road 5 was most pronounced aboard the Tuono, a motorcycle that I know intimately.
Compared to its stock tires, the handling of the Tuono has been slightly subdued, making it a more accessible and less aggressive package. While riding on power out of the turn, the rear tire showed no sign of cracking under pressure and remained stuck. In contrast, the MT-07 benefited greatly from the sportier Michelin Road 5 tires and provided much more confidence than the stock option.
While driving down the street provided great real context for Michelin’s new kicks, I also did three laps in the Ducati SuperSport and BMW S 1000 XR. In terms of handling, the smooth, soft tip remained consistent. On hard braking I felt a few twists, but it goes far beyond the scope of this sport touring tire. If you are going for your first track outing and just want some advanced training, you will be totally safe with these on your machine.
Where Michelin Road 5 tires really shine compared to its predecessor is in the wet. I completed six wet laps on Circuito Monteblanco aboard the Triumph Street Triple 765 RS and the Yamaha MT-10. With a soaked circuit, the XST Evo sipes helped move water around, allowing the contact area to adhere well, resulting in better feedback and confidence in wet conditions.
For riders who have to deal with both wet and dry conditions, this is an invaluable feature. Entering corners with the Road 5 in wet conditions allows for an admirable amount of feedback, which any rider can benefit from, even during track braking.
When braking hard from 70 mph, the feedback is quite noticeable, allowing riders to confidently make emergency stops and maintain traction. I simulated this experience with a small chicane, forcing me to brake hard while avoiding objects. The improvement in wet traction was noticeable. Commuters who face mixed conditions will benefit greatly from this improved wet grip.
It is inevitable that a tire will lose grip and performance over time. As the rubber wears down, the sipes lose their ability to move water because they become too shallow. To solve this problem and mitigate the degradation in performance, Michelin turned to 3D metal additive manufacturing, which allowed engineers to create very complex and dynamic molds that typical production methods are unable to produce. This new process facilitates the XST Evo tread.
Thanks to these unique molds, the slats have trapezoidal shaped chambers at their base. This allows them to move the same amount of water that they would have at the point of purchase. As the tire wears out, the trapezoidal sipe chamber can provide an equal amount of wet grip.
In addition, it also allows the tire tread to have a similar flex after prolonged wear. To illustrate this point, Michelin claimed that a set of Road 5 with 3,100 miles on them has the same wet braking performance as a brand new set of Pilot Road 4 tires.
Of course, increasing mileage is always on the minds of sports tourism enthusiasts and Michelin claims that the total mileage between the Pilot Road 4 and Road 5 is equivalent. In this case, the Road 5 has dramatically improved its wet performance, as well as its dry capability, while also extending the tire life, which we can all appreciate.
Cyclists looking to handle a variety of weather conditions, while still enjoying good levels of performance in dry, wet or mixed conditions, should have the Michelin Road 5 on their radar. Dry driving may be relative to its forerunner, but wet handling capabilities, paired with Road 5 XST Evo technology, make the Michelin Route 5 a tempting offer for those who spend a lot of time on two wheels.
Michelin Road 5 motorcycle tire dimensions
- 160 / 70×17
- 160 / 60×17
- 180 / 55×17
- 190 / 50×17
- 190 / 55×17
Michelin Road 5 Motorcycle Tire Review