A couple of years ago I was invited to visit Michelin’s proving grounds in South Carolina. They’ve got multiple test tracks, labs, presentation area and its all surrounded by enough woods that … well you wouldn’t dream up the limits of what you could do in those woods unless you’re a felon or a fiction writer. The facility is big, okay? We did some pretty scientific tests comparing different tires and the folks at Michelin proved to us their then new Power Competition tire was faster than everything else we rode, and they used our legs against us to prove it. Crazy effective.
I was excited that they were going to offer the entire range of Power tires (Competition, Endurance, Protection + and All Season) in three widths: 23, 25 and 28. (What I was really excited about was 28mm width.) It took a little while to get a set of the All Season tires in the 28mm width and then a while more to get the rain to show up to make it worthwhile to mount them.
Michelin’s Power All Season is a competition-grade tire. While it doesn’t use all of the same materials as the Power Competition, is uses the same quality of materials in the tire. It’s the best tire they offer for riding in the rain, full stop. Changes relative to its predecessor tire include: a 15 percent increase in grip, a 20 percent increase in puncture resistance at the tread, and a gain of 20 seconds over 40km at 45kph. Michelin reports the 23mm size weighs in at 235g, the 25 comes in at 270g and the 28 is just bit heavier at 295g; my sample 28s each weighed in at 296g.
Practically speaking, the All Season has notably more grip than the Competition in the wet, but a bit less than the Competition in the dry. It’s not as fast as the Competition (on any surface) and it’s distinctly heavier as well. It is however, longer-lived and much more robust than the Competition. The All Season is, in fact, not just the grippiest tire in the wet, but Michelin’s most durable tire in the Power lineup.
I’ve been riding in the rain a lot lately. So much so, that I’ve stopped caring about riding in the rain. My only concern is getting my bike clean afterward and making sure I don’t lose a chain or any bearings. Fenders help, of course, but that’s a matter for another review. I’ve ridden these tires on rough roads, on roads smooth enough on which to lose traction, not to mention over all manner of non-road stuff like manhole covers, Botts’ Dots, vinyl stripes and those new bumpy things in crosswalks that are known as truncated domes and are a new part of ADA regulations to help delineate roads and driveways from sidewalks. They are alleged to be fairly grippy, but there have been any number of reports of people slipping on them and falling; several municipalities in California have been sued by people who have fallen on them. Compared to paint and vinyl trips on roads, these truncated domes are the slickest things I encounter and I have to pass over them to get to one of the bike paths I regularly ride.
The first time I ever rode over any of those truncated domes in wet weather I nearly broke my ankle. The tires slipped and I just managed to get my right foot out of the pedal and down to the ground, but I rolled my ankle because I was so late getting my foot down. I was able to arrest the rest of my fall by grabbing the crossing signal. Every other road tire I’ve ridden (and even a couple of gravel tires) has slid to some degree on those things when they are wet. One road tire even slid on them in dry conditions.
I’ve been over the truncated domes at least a dozen times on the Power All Season 28s and have yet to slide even once. Let me add: After a complete absence in slides, I became an idiot and decided to start hitting them at weird angles or even with the bike in a slight lean. They have yet to slide. I hesitate to even write that because it sounds like some miracle cancer cure made from dog hair, peanut butter and scissors.
On smoother surfaces, both in dry and wet conditions, the tires will make that high-pitched sound of squishy rubber I associate with new sneakers on a tile floor. My ears equate it with great traction.
Regarding their puncture resistance, I can say that I have nearly 500 miles on these tires, and almost every mile has been ridden in the rain. I have yet to suffer a single flat. I find that remarkable for two reasons. The first is that there’s a busy road to Guerneville I like to ride, but because semis drive that road, I try to ride as far to the right as humanly possible. I’ve ridden through more gunk than I can identify. There had to be some glass or sharp, or poky, metal in there. Had to be. I can’t help but recall how a tire engineer for Continental told me that the who reason we flat more in wet conditions is that water acts as a lubricant on all the stuff that can cut or poke through a tire.
While I took nicer images in good lighting, I realized I wanted to show the tires now, after I’d ridden a fair number of miles on them to give a sense of how they wear.
These tires are not tubeless ready; I still ride with tubes on all my road wheels. Michelin says the inflation range for the All Season 28 is from 4 bar to 6.5 bar (58 to 94 psi). I’ve been running the front at 72 psi and the rear at 75 psi and on some of the roads around here that may have been a bit much. Suggested retail for the tire is $49.99, which is a real surprise to me, considering how many tires are in the $75 range.
Final thought: I’d like the rain to stop, but if it doesn’t, I’m good, thanks to this rubber.
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