Motorcycle Owners Club

Honda CG125 but also some universal motorcycle information

Michelin Pilot Sporty Motorcycle Tyre Review

As of March 2014 there are a few Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres available in a few shops.
But I expect when they run out of stock, there will be no more.

At last a tyre using modern materials and design with performance to match
is available for the most common 125cc motorbikes as well as many 50 to 250cc.
No matter if you're a learner, commuter, advanced, sports, city or countryside rider
the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyre is my most highly recommended tyre for you.

The most important thing you learn with motorcycling over time
is how the quality of the tyres can transform or ruin your riding experience and safety.

The tyre quality not only affects how well the bike handles, brakes, swerves, feels and comfort.
But can also cause an accident or help prevent one.

The Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres are available in loads of different sizes to fit many 125cc
and other motorcycles Michelin Pilot Sporty website.
They are tubeless tyres that are designed to be used with a tube (inner tube) if fitted to a tube type wheel.
All wheels that have spokes are tube type wheels; even if a wheel does not have spokes it may or may not be tubeless design.

I put a pair of 2.75 - 18 Front, 90 / 90 - 18 Rear on a Honda CG125 (front disc brake model).

I have covered around 50,000 miles with tyres around those sizes on several different bikes
between 100 and 250cc, over many years (I passed my motorcycle test a long time ago).

So I have experience in how such narrow tyres should perform
(narrow tyres are normally found on most 50 to 250cc bikes).

The Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres have been used
in every weather condition and roads in the UK all year round.
Except in snow or ice (I draw the line with riding any motorcycle in those conditions).

They have been on small roads, large roads, motorways, steep roads, very strong gusty side winds,
near freezing conditions, over 30c weather and rain.
As well as very tight bends, long distances (250 miles in a day), city traffic jams at rush hour,
pot holes and roads whose surface is disintegrating.

The tyres have performed incredibly well and I cannot fault them in any way (which is even more incredible).
They are so far ahead of other tyres I have used in the past (similar sized tyres).
Read my Pirelli City Demon Tyre Review to see what happens when you use a bad quality tyre.

Cornering (going round bends)

These tyres grip so well I cannot get them to slip or wobble no matter how hard I go in to a bend.
I would say the cornering abilities are sports level,
but my bike does not have the ground clearance and I do not have the training to try and get my knee on the ground.
The tyres are so well behaved, predictable, forgiving, it does not matter if you're a learner or an advanced motorcyclist,
they will go round the bend easily.
The tyres also easily let you change your line in the bend and even in the middle
(I cannot say the same for other tyres I have used in the past).

Stability

The tyres are very stable including in a straight line
(the tyres are not twitchy or diving in to corners to quickly or severely unless you want them to).

Braking

The grip, stability and feel from the tyres really improve the braking power
and control including under very heavy and emergency braking.
Not only can you stop in less distance, but can do it without the tyres wobbling / squirming or complaining.
You can swerve at the same time with ease unlike many other tyres
(very handy in an emergency or just rushing to the red traffic lights).

Swerving

These tyres can swerve around things very quickly and easily.
So well it could easily prevent certain accidents.

Side winds

Due to the high level of grip and the profile of the tyre (you only need to lean slightly to get tyres to lean in to the wind);
side winds have far less impact on the bike and rider than other tyres I have used in the past.

Comfort and Feel

These tyres give lots of feel of the road surface and yet are also very comfortable.
It might seem impossible to have both at the same time, but these tyres are advanced modern tyres and manage it brilliantly.

Wet weather

They still grip well (you always loose some grip in the wet with any tyre); despite having a semi slick design,
the Silica in the tyre probably helps.

Wear rate

The wear rate is good, that's almost unbelievable due to the high performance of the tyre,
the Silica in the tyre is probably responsible.
On a Honda CG125 Front Disc brake model,
I managed to wear the rear tyre out after around 8000 miles (mileage will vary depending on riding style and weight).
But the front is hardly worn at that mileage (so should last at least twice the mileage).

Rolling Resistance

These tyres have very good low rolling resistance.
You first notice it when you try to push the bike around by hand.
But you also notice it when the engine is moving the bike
and especially when going up hills or when you have a lot of weight on the bike.

Conclusion

The reason I believe the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyre performs so well is the design and materials Michelin have put in to it.
Tyre technology on the race track has improved substantially over the years
and has been filtering down to larger engine road motorcycles (wider tyres).
Michelin has modified the race tyre to make a road going version.
A review of the Michelin Pilot Sport Tyre
(the Michelin Pilot Sporty has evolved from) http://www.motorcycle.com/products/michelin-pilot-sport-3530.html

The Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres "tread design derived from the Pilot Sport tyre for superbikes"
Like the Sport tyre the Sporty has Silica in it which improves many aspects of the tyre.
All of this and more makes for a very advanced and modern tyre that performs in every way miles ahead of older materials,
construction and design.

According to Michelin the Pilot Sporty tyres :
"Rubber compound - a versatile rubber compound is used, incorporating silica,
which results in excellent performance on dry roads,
whilst also ensuring good traction in the wet; without compromising on the mileage achieved.
Construction - the tyres are of bias construction, with two plies, which help both resistance and increase rider comfort.
The tyre also incorporates a reinforced bead base to improve handling and safety and also ensures the tyres are easier to fit."

I very highly recommend the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres for every type of rider.

If you're a learner they will make it easier to learn and require less skill to ride the bike.
They will also be more forgiving when you make mistakes, make you safer and may prevent some types of accidents.

If you're an advanced rider you will be able to get far more out of the tyres.
You will probably be amazed at how well a small bike can handle and grip compared to a larger bike
(since larger bikes often have high quality tyres on).
In the past small bikes often had outdated and primitive tyres
compared to the large bikes and especially the large sports road bikes.

For other universal tyre information please see my Tyres page.

Update

Since publishing the review above 8 months ago,
I have had feedback from other people and done some extreme testing of the tyres.

I have met an ex motorcycle riding instructor who has decades of experience with 125cc bikes and tyres.
He uses a Honda CG125 with a Front Disc brake to get around his large city.
After my advice he has tried the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres,
he has pushed the tyres far harder than I could due to his abilities and training.

He corners around the city at extreme lean angles
(all of the tyre tread is used and worn; do not try this without advanced training on any tyre).
Travelled in torrential rain downpours,
so the road is 100% covered in water (so aqua planning / skidding off is a problem for bikes and cars).
Carried a passenger, combined weight was over 25 stone (he is not light himself, somewhere between 16 and 18 stone).
And many very steep hills (some on 70mph roads) and badly maintained road surfaces.

He reports the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres are the best he has ever used on small bikes, in fact a lot better.
Due to his skill and training,
he pushes tyres far harder and beyond their abilities than normal riders (he corrects the slides and wobbling).
But for the first time, he has a tyre that he cannot find the limit of its abilities.
He also found the wet performance to be much better than any he has used before,
he finally got the front to slip slightly
when riding through standing water in the pouring rain while cornering way too hard on a smooth drain cover.
Like me he highly recommends the Michelin Pilot Sporty
as the best tyre for any type of rider including learners and advanced riders.

Learners of different abilities are all going mad about how brilliant
the Michelin Pilot Sporty is compared to the tyres they had before.

I have been hearing the same thing from motorcycle dealers, where customers have told them how good they are,
and it does not seem to matter what make or model of bike they are on,
all the customers are going mad about how good they are.

I have been extreme brake testing the tyres;
this required massively increasing the brakes to put more pressure on the tyres.
I still failed to find the limit of the tyres,
even the ex-motorcycle riding instructor failed with the same braking power and a passenger down a very steep hill
(over 25 stone combined).
I tried 60mph on a straight level road in perfect condition with no other traffic around
and slammed on the brakes as hard as I dare.
I could not believe how quickly and in such a short distance the bike came to a complete stop,
it was 3 times less than I was expecting and 2 times less than I could have imagined,
in the end it was me chickening out since I did not want the rear wheel lifting off the ground or me going over the handlebars.
Learners please note,
do not try this type of breaking (emergency stop) on any bike or tyre without advice from a motorcycle riding instructor.

I have also briefly tried a bike with a 250cc engine and still could not find the limit of the tyres.

So my message to everyone is I and others very highly recommend you put the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres on your bike.
Even if your existing tyres are hardly worn or even brand new,
if you could try the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres,
I bet you would throw your existing tyres away and forget how much they are worth.

If you're a learner, ask your motorcycle riding instructor if they have a bike with Michelin Pilot Sporty on.
If they have not, ask why not, if they have never tried the Michelin Pilot Sporty they owe it to their customers to try it.
Tell them to read this review to see why they should try them and also let their customers try their bike.

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