Hang On: The Michelin Power All Season

Hang On: The Michelin Power All Season

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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9 comments

  1. Hautacam

    How is the tread holding up, cut-wise? I like the way that Michelins ride but the tread on their road tires have always fallen prey to deep cuts and gashes way too early (like in the first 500 miles). I use other brands on my road bikes as a result. Michelins are my go-to cx tire though.

    1. TomInAlbany

      It’s not the whole tire but, the image above looks very good w.r.t. cuts. I can’t imagine Patrick wouldn’t have shown us a cut-filled patch if there was one.


    2. Author
      Padraig

      I have the same need to lie to you all about these tires that I have for an addiction to heroin. If these things didn’t impress me mightily, I wouldn’t have written about them.


    3. Author
      Padraig

      I haven’t found a single cut in the tires. I agree that Michelins used to suffer terrible, premature fates. Had one suffer an inch-long cut on my first ride. To quote a mentor of mine talking about farming turkeys, “They just look for ways to die.” The Power All Season may sell more poorly than it should due to people’s memories of the Pro 4. And to Paul’s switch to the Conti GP 4000, this tire rides a hell of a lot better.

  2. Paul

    Agreed on the wear comment above. I used to ride Michelin Service Course 3 (with nice red side walls that matched the bike!), but they wore out and I suffered de-lamination of the tread rubber. I now use Conti GP4000

  3. MattC

    Shame they arent tubeless. I have switched to tubeless 28s for the road (lets face it, I have tubeless for everything…28s, 35s, 45s on the gravel bike, and of COURSE my FS niner 2.65s) and wont be going back to tubes EVER (ie, I am having REAL great luck w/ all of them). Not too many tubeless 28s out there yet…I hear Conti is FINALLY making one…but I have the Schwalbes for now and no complaints. I would love to give these a go but not till they are TLR. But thanks for the scoop on them…ridden many Michelins in the past and they were all good.

  4. Davo

    I gotta pile on the tubeless or else bandwagon. I’m running everything from fatbikes to road bikes tubeless. Gravel, of course, MTB the same. I only run tubes in the bikes I want to get flat tires. What bikes do I want to have flats on? None.

  5. Hautacam

    Thanks for the follow-up, Padraig. I wasn’t implying that you were lying, or hiding anything in the pic; I was just asking a follow-up question about a different aspect of tire performance based on my prior experience with other road tires by the same brand. I’m sorry if my comment left any other impression. Based on your review and follow-up I’ll definitely look at these as a real option going forward. Thanks as always for a great read and website.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      I didn’t take your question as any sort of passive-aggressive assertion at all. You’ve been commenting for long enough that I know you’re no troll. I just try to be transparent in my justifications and/or thinking. Yep, it’s a great tire and I look forward to them creating a tubeless version.

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