REVIEW: Michelin Pilot Street 2 tyres for motorcycles
After the launch of the Michelin Pilot Street 2 tyres for motorcycles in the small displacement market, Michelin Asia dropped off a pair of the round, black things at paultan.org’s office for it to be put through the paces. In this case what we requested, and got, was a pair of Michelin Pilot Street 2 tyres in 110/70-17 and 140/70-17 for the front and rear.
Fitting was to a 2016 KTM Duke 250, which we felt was representative of the type of bike this tyre would be fitted to. Michelin does make the Pilot Street 2 in a variety of widths and sizes to fit many smaller motorcycles and scooters which shows something of their intentions to penetrate the lucrative two-wheeler market in South-East Asia.
The first iteration of the Pilot Street for smaller bikes from Michelin raised concerns about wet weather grip. This is perhaps something Michelin should have taken into account considering Asia does tend to have a large amount of water falling from the sky.
Tyres are, of course, something of a subjective thing when it comes to testing. There are many variables that have to be taken into account and most usually tyre testing is something done in a controlled environment like a racetrack.
However, Michelin wanted the Pilot Street 2 put in the “real world” as they put it, and thus we found ourselves in possession of a set of said tyres. Here’s what we thought of Michelin’s small displacement motorcycle tyre.
Our first issue on receiving the Michelin Pilot Street 2s was fitting them on a suitably-sized motorcycle. As it happened, there was a Duke 250 lying around and it mysteriously made its way home and the Pilot Street 2s mounted.
The tyres replaced on the Duke 250 were of a certain Italian brand and while having provided sterling service, it was about time for the rear to heading for that artificial reef in the sky. Having a direct comparison between what would be considered premium rubber on the Duke 250, we set off to see if Michelin had indeed delivered some much needed improvements in the Pilot Street 2.
First off, we did notice a certain stiffness in the sidewall and Michelin says the Pilot Street 2 was developed using techniques and technology from its MotoGP know-how. But the most immediate thought on our first ride with the Pilot Street 2 was the amount of feedback we were getting from the front end.
Riding around on city roads, the Pilot Sport 2 felt, well, planted would be too strong a word. It was more a feeling of the rider knowing what the front tyre was doing and being able to predict what was likely to happen next.
This extended to the rear tyre as well, but to a slightly lesser degree. Pushed to the edge, the Pilot Street 2 rear gave lots of hints it was no comfortable and though we did not get to record insane lean angles, low speed and high lean angle cornering showed the tyre was perfectly comfortable being there.
We do not think the Pilot Sport 2 would give way without warning when pushed hard and for most street riders, will perform very well as a sports tyre for small bikes. Finding the limit would require the use of a race track, definitely and a small displacement motorcycle biased towards speed work than an all-rounder street bike like the Duke 250.
Under hard braking, the Michelins did the job and did it quite nicely, proving to be stable even with a heavier rider like the author on board. With a lighter rider, braking performance was even better, given a rather unscientific method of measurement by using a line on the road as a brake marker and seeing where the Duke 250 finished up.
Cruising on the highway at speed, in sixth, the front of the Duke 250 didn’t exhibit any sense of twitch or nervousness. A little experimentation with tyre pressures found the Duke 250 and Pilot Street 2 complemented each other at about 2.2 Bar in the front tyre and 2.62 Bar in the back with a 84 kg rider on board, solo.
No comments from us about wear or longevity as we have not had that much time to rack up the miles on the Pilot Street 2s. However, the odometer has been clocked and we might report back in a year or so to see how the tyres fared.
For those asking about pricing, we were not provided with any numbers by Michelin as at time of publication and will update this article the moment we receive a formal notification. In the meantime, Michelin has assured us the Pilot Street 2 is available in the published sizes and at any authorised Michelin Malaysia motorcycle tyre dealer.
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