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Ted's House
Michelin Macadam Test Report

Introduction

When Paul Glaves announced that he was looking for people to help him test new Michelin tires I jumped at the chance. Not only because they were free (but for the cost of shipping them back to Paul when they wore out) but because I was not happy with the current crop of tires available for the BMW K75S and looked forward to being able to test a new set of tires without having to worry about making an expensive mistake (re: Dunlop 591...)

Shortly after I exchanged e-mail with Paul, I received the tires via UPS (Paul sent them express so that I could have them mounted and "scrubbed in" before I left for Canada a week later...Thanks Paul!)

The tires are Michelin Macadam 50s, a 100/90-18 (56V) for the front and a 130/90-17 (68V) for the rear, and are made in Spain. My previous experiences with tires on my K75S include a Metzeler ME99 Rear that I liked but wore quickly & unevenly, and handled increasingly poorly as the available tread diminished, a Dunlop K591 Rear that replaced the Metzeler and handled quite well but wore out even quicker than the Metzeler (~3000 miles!), and a Metzeler ME33 laser Front that wore well, handled well, and was replaced with another about 400 miles ago.

Front Michelin Macadam 50
100/90-18 (56V)
Balancing Wgt Needed: 10g
Rear Michelin Macadam 50
130/90-17 (68V)
Balancing Wgt Needed: 52g

Initial Notes & Impressions
(First 200 Miles)

Mile/Tire
Date
Comment Miles/Tread
36,730
08/15/96
Mounted Front & Rear. Tires had no "Paint mark" so that balancing was more difficult and required more weight than usual. Also, the front tire does not appear to have "wear bars." Full Tread
36,840
08/17/96
I have had these tires for 110 miles and already have noticed some great differences between them and the Metzelers and Dunlops. The Michelins are not as quick to "break in" and I am not sure whether it is that they are extremely nimble or just packed with releasing compound but they are just a bit too easy to go into corners, and don't give back nearly as much feedback. 110 miles,
Full Tread

Notes & Impressions
Complete Test

Mile/Tire,
Date
Comment Miles/Tread
41,174
09/03/96
I put just under 5,000 miles on these tires in the last two weeks, with riding ranging from fully loaded high-speed highway slabbing to high-lean, high-speed corner cutting on the Cabot Trail and the mountain roads in northern Maine. The tires never let me down, not once.

Specifics:
Cornering: The tires are still very "fluid" with no perceptible shoulder of lean point. They respond very quickly and accurately. I was initially disappointed with the lack of feedback, but now find the feedback given to be quite adequate, and the lack of "extra" feedback quite refreshing.
Slabbing: The tires are equally as good as the Metzelers, and don't "wander" like the Dunlops.
General: The tires typically take 1 to 3 lbs of air every 300 miles, with lower pressures being very noticeable in terms of response and accuracy. They behave MUCH better on crack sealant and other road anomalies than any other tire I have used (with the Metzeler being the worst.)
Wear Patterns: The tires show no accelerated wear, partially due I think to Michelin's unique variable tire tread depth, from deep in the middle to shallower on the sidewalls. This practically eliminates the unpleasant "peak" I encountered on the rear of both the 591 and especially the ME-99.
Complaints: Sometimes the low level of feedback can make things a little too interesting. I almost ran off the road at one point because I didn't feel the bike change lines.

4,444 miles,
3/4 Tread
42,880
09/23/96
Over the weekend I attended a gathering in Chattanooga where Scott Adams pointed out to me the sever cupping taking place on the front tire. The "blocks" of tire in the tread pattern are wearing unevenly. The forward part of the tread blocks (the part that first hits the road) is worn about 1/16th of an inch more than the rear. This is uniform on both sides of the tire and around the entire circumference. I had not noticed this before so I cannot report on how long it has been there.

The Rear is holding up well and both front and rear continue to impress me not only on the highway but over the Foothills Parkway and through Deal's Gap (repeatedly...) The "slippery" feel  of the tires is gone and cornering with them is much more pleasant than with the Metzeler rear and not only par with the Metzeler 33/Dunlop 591 pair but more "fluid."

6,150 miles,
Between 3/4 and 1/2 tread life.
44,720
10/24/96
Both tires continue to hold up well. I continue to be quite impressed by the wear pattern, though I am a little concerned about the front cupping. Even though the tires are down about 1/2 life they continue to handle quite remarkably with none of the "notchy" handling characteristics and loss of "nimble-ness" of wearing tires. 7,990 Miles
About 1/2 tread life.
45,440
11/10/96

As you can see from the photo, the lowest end of the front tire tread "cup" has almost reached the wear point.

I have also become concerned with a few times the rear has given out when cold.

8,710 Miles
47,340
02/21/97
The cupping on the front tire has dipped below the wear line so I decided to replace both tires today. The rear tire still had an estimated 1 - 2,000 miles of tread left. I replaced the rear with another Macadam as I truly am impressed with the wear and performance. The tire remained "round" and lost none of the excellent cornering characteristics that the Metzeler rear never had, and the Dunlop 591 quickly lost to normal wear. I replaced the front with a Metzeler however because of the excessive cupping of the Macadam.

I found these tires to be a great tire in the rain and truly impressive both on the highway and in the corners. I found the life of the tires to be more than acceptable given the "sticky" nature of the tread, however much work needs to be done on the front tire to equalize the wear of the treadblocs.

10,610
Miles
Front Spent,
Rear about 5/6th Spent

Final Impressions

Front Not Recommended; While the tire was at least as nimble and held as well if not better than the Metzeler, the tread life was cut short by the severe cupping. Unless Michelin can fix this fault, I will stick to the Metz.
CATEGORY FRONT REAR
Tire Wear,  Longevity 2 4
Tire Wear, Evenness 1 5
Handling, Dry 4 5
Handling, Rain 4 4
Handling, Cold 3 3
Cornering 4 5
Stopping 5 4
Average 3.3 4.3
Rating 1=POOR, 5=EXCELLENT
as compared to similar sport-touring tires
Rear Highly Recommended; The tire performed quite well, with the only complaint that it took a while to "warm up" in the final wear stages. I was particularly impressed by the rounded profile of the tire, and the tire's ability to maintain a rounded tread profile where every other tire I have had "squared off" making sportier cornering unpleasant and unpredictable.
Wins Superior handling, rear tire wear.
Losses Terrible front tire cupping, rear traction when tire is "cold."

1995-2016, Ted Verrill

Comments? <contact@verrill.com>

"Red Light Insight" is copyright Ted Verrill, 1999