From road.cc these look great but are only in a 23mm width…..
Michelin’s Pro 4 Grip tyre is the latest addition to the French tyre manufacturer’s Pro 4 range, and uses a new rubber compound for increased traction in the rain along with a puncture belt to better ward off punctures. The practical upshot is a puncture resistant tyre with great traction in the wet, and little weight or rolling resistance penalty.
That makes it an ideal choice for winter riding. The roads are in a bit of state; the winter hasn’t been kind to them. And the persistent rain calls for a tyre that is grippier than the standard tyre. With a specific rubber compound Michelin claims the Pro 4 grip offers a 15% increase in grip compared to the Service Course variant of the same tyre. There is also a siped tread pattern on the shoulders that the regular Pro 4 doesn’t have.
Another change beside the rubber compound is the profile of the tyre. Michelin say they’ve shaped the tyre to offer a larger contact patch when leaning the tyre over, to increase cornering grip over the regular Pro 4.
The only way to find out is the tyre is indeed as grippy as Michelin claims, is to do a comparison test with the Service Course. So that’s what I did. On a wet rainy day, I rode a set route twice, on the same bike and wheels, first on the Service Course and then on the Grip tyres. I used the same tyre pressure and wore the same kit, to try and rule out any variables.
Firstly, the tyre showed good rolling resistance. Despite its extra weight there’s very little real-world difference, in such conditions, when riding along a straight road and fully upright. Lean over into the corners and push the tyres onto their shoulders, replicating the same lean angles, and there is a tangible increase in grip. You can push the Grip a little harder than the Service Course. But as Michelin’s claims indicate, it’s marginal and the difference between the two tyres wasn’t night and day. Yes you can certainly feel a bit more grip available, the tyre feels more secure and planted compared to the Service Course. Very steep climbs covered in rain water were also another area that showed the Grip to offer just that, more grip than the SC.
Not only is the Grip about offering extra grip, but it boasts better puncture resistance as well. Michelin have developed an Aramide reinforcing ply specifically for this tyre, and it’s located in the crown and shoulder, so that’s protection right across the tyre. They claim it’s 20% more puncture resistance than the Service Course. I’ve been running these tyre on my steel winter training bike, riding daily, for the last few months, and I’ve not suffered a single puncture.
Not a conclusive test I know, punctures have a lot to do with luck and I’m having a good run at the moment. However, inspecting the tyre shows that the surface is in very good condition. There’s a lack of holes, cuts or impregnated glass that a few other tyres on test bikes are showing after riding through the same winter weather.
All things considered, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with these tyres. I’m a fan of the regular Service Course, the Grip builds on that tyre with the extra puncture protection and grippier compound, with really no drawbacks. So it’s a bit heavier, but not so much that you’ll notice, and riding through the winter a little extra weight when it’s used to prevent punctures is no bad thing.
It’s not a slow tyre, so you could fit it to your best bike for winter riding, and take them off for the summer. Equally, they’re a good set of tyres for year-round commuting and touring, where the puncture protection and extra grip trumps outright weight and rolling resistance performance.
The only downside is that they only offer them in a 23mm width. C’mon Michelin, make them in a 25mm.
A commendable tyre from Michelin that offers great puncture protection and increased grip in wet weather.