Confession: I have been using worn out tyres for quite some time now. You know the old story – they’re too good to throw in the bin but they won’t last 2 more weeks. I had half a dozen tyres like this, so on my training bike they went – until they all finally wore out one by one! Cornering at any kind of decent speed with squared-off tyres is noticeably poor (unpredictable) and several of my training partners were leaving me for dead. So with the last tyre well and truly gone, I recently decided to treat myself to a pair of Michelin Pro 3 Grip tyres.
Quite the opposite of their “Race” siblings which come in every conceivable colour combination, with the “Grip” versions, you can have any colour you like so long as it’s dark grey. I don’t mind that, because the only tyres I ever buy are either dark grey and/or black.
Tyres are the one consumable that we go through a lot of here at Tenerife-Training. I’m continually on the look out for any tyres which can give me an edge in terms of the performance per dollar spent. I bought these Michelin Grip tyres knowing full well that they probably offer the worst “mileage for money” of any current tyre, but quite frankly, I don’t care. I’m not going to equip my rental bikes with them. This pair is destined for my own personal road bike.
If it’s not clear already, these tyres are all about GRIP, and they offer it in abundance. That’s due to two things: tyre profile and a super tacky rubber compound.
Know that I live and work on the island of Tenerife, where there is barely one straight, flat section of road anywhere (just look at all the spaghetti-like road outlines at top of this Blog if you don’t believe me). It’s the ideal place to practice climbing, cornering and descending. And with these new clincher tyres mounted on my rims, never before have I felt so in control of my road bicycle. Handling is reminiscent of my old Bridgestone BT090 sport bike tyres – the ones you can lean over at 45Â° or more until your motorbike pegs scrape on the ground! So is the scrubbing in period.
I found myself letting go of the brakes and just diving into corners that I was previously (and unknowingly) afraid of. I don’t use a speedometer anymore, so I have to try and calculate my entry speed all the time. Now, I don’t have to worry so much. If I go into a corner a little faster than I normally would, these tyres allow me to confidently lean over and regain my line. I’m impressed!
I have tried many other brands including Michelin Pro Race 2, Continental GP3000, GP4000, various brands of Hutchinson and Maxxis and last but not least, Conti Competition tubulars.
Comfort is not something that can easily be judged, but they do give me the impression that are a bit more forgiving than what they replaced.
It goes without saying that you can’t have you cake and eat it too. All that grip comes at the expense of longevity. For example, I’ve never seen the central mould line on a tyre wear down so fast (it was gone within the first 50km). Potential buyers will already know that. They’ll also know that these are special use tyres. I.e. if you intend on riding straight lines all the time and not doing any hard braking or cornering, leave them on the shelf for somebody else to play with. They might just help in wet conditions, but for me a wider tyre can do that more effectively and cheaply.
The only downside for me is not a question of mileage as you might expect. It’s that these tyres are so grippy, they actually pick up quite a few small stones and bits of gravel and fling them off at the downtube & seat-tube. I sure hope my frame’s paintjob stays intact, because I’d rather not give these up!