When I purchased my ZX10R it came with a brand new set of Road 4’s. Now, having completed approximately 2500km’s and 2 track days, its time to let you know my thoughts on them.
Michelin state the Road 4’s are just as comfortable cruising to work as they are tearing up your favorite corners. I’ve done all that and even dabbled with them at the track. The GT part means that they have a stiffer/stronger carcass making them suited for heavier sports touring bikes like your VFR1200’s and BMW K1300’s. I’ve got no idea why the previous owner of the mighty ZX10 put the GT variety on, but hey, they are new tyres so of course I’m going to use them!
The first thing I noticed with the tyres, is the shear amount of grooves in them. Not only are there your normal sized larger grooves, but in addition to those there are tiny little groves. Michelin call them sipes. The sipes are there to disperse water and improve wet weather performance. And the Michelin’s are a very good wet weather tyre for the most part. I’ve had the chance to use them in the rain on various occasions and the only time they broke traction was under reasonably heavy acceleration. Give them a boot full at higher revs and they will let loose big time, but at normal to above average speeds they are great.
In the dry, I like their neutral feel. They offer no surprises and tip-in easily and evenly all the way to the edge. Overall grip levels are good, but not fantastic. For everyday cruising and spirited mountain riding they are perfect, but if you are really going to push the limit, I’d suggest looking elsewhere (and Michelin does too).
One thing I did find with the Road 4’s is coming out of slow bends or taking off while turning (at an intersection for example) they would squirm and slip slightly. This wasn’t concerning in any way, more of a warning to not get over zealous.
On the track, the Michelins are surprisingly good. I found I was able to keep pace in the intermediate group quite comfortably, but any faster and they will hold you back. The places you come unstuck are lean angles (this is a sports touring tyre at the end of the day) and ultimately, grip levels. At high lean angles you simply run out of tyre and they start to slide.
After several sessions the tyres heat up and traction suffers, especially on corner exits. If you have a set on your everyday bike and want to hit up the track, don’t let the Pilot 4’s stop you, you’ll still have a blast just know their limits.
In regards to wear, I found after roughly 2500kms and the 2 track days the tyres had approximately 70% tread life left. There were no flat spots and tip-in was still great. I would expect at least 10000km’s out of a set.
Overall, the Michelin Pilot Road 4’s are a good tyre. They really can do it all and suit commuting, longer rides or your favorite twisties. It’s only when things get proper quick that you see their limitations.
Would I buy a set? If you were looking at the standard ‘non-GT’ spec I would lean towards no. I buy what is best deal at that time and the Bridgestone T30’s are IMO as good, if not better for less ($399AUD front & rear fitted last I checked). But if you were running a heavier sports tourer (AKA Blackbird, VFR1200 etc.) the GT’s start looking like a very good option.
Until next week, keep it OnTheBackWheel…