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.
INITIAL NOTES & IMPRESSIONS
(First 200 Miles)
||Michelin Macadam 50
|Balancing Weight Needed: 10g
||Michelin Macadam 50
|Balancing Weight Needed: 52g
||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."
||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
||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.
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
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 anomolies
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
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.
||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."
Between 3/4 and 1/2 tread life.
||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
remarkebly with none of the "notchy" handling characteristics and loss of
"nimble-ness" of wearing tires.
About 1/2 tread life.
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
||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
Rear about 5/6th Spent
||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.
|Tire Wear, Longevity
|Tire Wear, Evenness
|Rating 1=POOR, 5=EXCELLENT
as compared to similiar sport-touring tires
||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.
||Superior handling, rear tire wear.
||Terrible front tire cupping, rear traction when tire is "cold."
Copyright ©1997 Ted Verrill
Last Update, 02/21/97