Michelin’s Road 6 has arrived to continue the development of a hugely successful sports-touring tyre range.
It carries on where the popular Road 5 leaves off, promising a blend of wet weather grip and long life.
Michelin say both are improved over the outgoing Road 5, with in-house data suggesting wet weather grip is up by 15% and independent tests showing it lasts 10% longer.
Seeing as the Road 5 has been a highly-regarded tyre since its launch in 2018, that suggests Michelin could have another winner on their hands.
As well as the ‘standard’ Road 6 for regular bikes, there’s also a Road 6 GT for grand touring machines, as there has been for previous versions.
Michelin says the improved performance comes from a combination of a redesigned tread, new raw materials and a revamped construction method.
The grooves in the tread now make up 14% of the overall tyre surface, which Michelin says is responsible for better grip in both wet and dry conditions. That percentage remains the same as you lean the bike over, ensuring consistent feedback.
The sipes that have given more recent Road tyres their distinctive appearance remain in place on the Road 6.
The idea is that they cut through any water on the road, sucking it into the grooves and helping the main contact patch maintain grip.
A compound made from 100% silica further boosts grip in wet and cool conditions, and there’s Michelin’s 2CT+ (2 Compound Technology) that has a harder rubber underneath the compound that comes into contact with the road.
The architectural structure that brings benefits involves the 90-degree arrangement of the tyre plies at the crown of the tyre and a different ply fold at the sidewalls to give comfort-boosting flexibility without affecting stability.
A tyre casing called Aramid Shield also improves feedback and handling, say Michelin.
The French company claim the “handling and responsiveness of the tyre are optimised to provide riding pleasure and fun without compromising on safety”.
If all of these changes aren’t exactly visible, then the final development might be. Michelin call it Premium Touch Design and they say it allows them to create texture in the new tyre’s sidewall, giving shades of grey to make the tyre markings stand out.
The Michelin Road 6 comes in a range of sizes covering six fronts and eight rears in the regular tyre, while the meatier Pilot Road 6 GT comes with one front and three rears.
The new tyre arrives 20 years after the first in the series - 2002’s Pilot Road.
The original tyre and the subsequent Pilot Road 2 were relatively conventional, but the Pilot Road 3 was a massive step on when it arrived in 2011. Its siped tread pattern was a revelation and the amount of wet grip was a significant improvement over other tyres at the time.
The Pilot Road 4 continued in the same vein before the ‘Pilot’ part of the title was ditched with the launch of the Road 5 in 2018.