There's a serious battle going on between tyre makers for who can make the fastest-rolling race-orientated tyre. Michelin's entry in the fray is the Power Competition and it's a goodie with excellent grip, decent puncture resistance and low rolling resiatance.
The Power Competition is the successor to the Pro 4 Service Course, a tyre that road.cc rated very highly a few years ago. This year Michelin revamped its entire range and the new range-topping tyre uses a brand new carcass and compound with a thinner Aramid Protek puncture resistant belt sandwiched between the two, and it comes with some heady performance claims.
For a tyre aimed at racers and demanding performance cyclists who want the fastest equipment, Michelin claims that the new tyre offers a massive 25% reduction in rolling resistance over the tyre it replaces, amounting to a 10 watt power saving which can save 85 seconds over 40km at 35kph, based on testing by independent Finnish company Wheel Energy.
Road.cc doesn't have the facility to accurately test this claim, but over at Bicycle Rolling Resistance they found the new tyre to offer the claimed reduction in rolling resistance compared to the old Pro 4, which puts it above the Continental GP4000S II and Schwalbe One tyres.
In the real world, the new tyre is certainly fast. Back-to-back testing against the old Pro 4 tyre reveals a small gain in speed over familiar roads, using a power meter and cycling computer to compare the old versus the new. The new is faster, not by a huge amount, but in the current climate of marginal gains, every little difference counts.
What of its other qualities? The new rubber compound, called Power Race and derived from the French company's MotoGP division, gives the tyre a very sure-footed feel on a wide range of road surfaces. It's excellent in the dry, providing a very secure feeling through the corners when leaning the bike right over.
On wet roads, it's more confidence inspiring than the Schwalbe One but Conti's GP4000 just edges the Michelin Power Competition, based on my own feelings testing the tyres at the same pressure (80-95psi depending on the weather) and on the same bike and over the same roads, trying to rule out all variables.
Puncture resistance is on a par with the previous Pro 4, a tyre that took a huge step forward from the older Pro 3 in terms of durability and resistance to puncturing. I've punctured just the once through the many hundreds of miles I've so far clocked up, and that came from an unsighted pothole on a dark country lane. I've not yet punctured from anything piercing the carcass, even on some of the country lanes littered with thorns from hedgerow trimming. Durability is impressive and the tread is still in good condition with no holes or cuts to the tread or sidewall to report, and the wear rate is decent considering it's a lightweight race tyre.
You get a choice of two widths, 25 and 23mm. I tested the latter because that is what was sent for review, I would have leant towards the wider tyre personally. Still, the 23mm tyre does measure up a tiny bit wider on some rims so it is closer to 24, which gives you a bit more volume. Despite its width, it's comfortable tyre with that supple and cushioned feel that comes from high-quality lightweight race tyres.
Fast and grippy tyres good for wide range of conditions and favourably priced compared to their main rivals
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Michelin Power Competition tyre
Size tested: 23-622 700x23C
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Michelin Power Competition tyre delivers performance and efficiency thanks to a special new compound developed for MotoGP - The pinnacle of 2 wheeled motorsport.
The pure performance compound delivers huge improvements over its predecessor the Michelin Pro4 Service Course. A 10 watt reduction in rolling resistance equates to the Power Competition being 1 minute and 25 seconds faster over 40 km, at a speed of 35 km/h. This is a huge huge 25% reduction in rolling resistance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
10 watts less rolling resistance than Michelin Pro4 Service Course (1 minute 25 seconds over 40 km at 35 km/h)
25% less rolling resistance than the Michelin Pro4 Service Course tyre
Compound designed for speed and efficiency
Disc brake ready
Weight: 195g, 215g
Size: 700x23c, 700x25c
Casing: 3x180 TPI
Slightly heavier than the claimed weight, but still very light
Even the 23mm width tyre provided decent comfort and cushioning
At RRP it's favourably priced compared to its main rivals
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A very fast and grippy lightweight race tyre
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Godo grip in wet and dry and feels fast
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Puncture resistance is the main tradeoff
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Michelin has managed to improve an old favourite and it's a good choice, at a good price, for anyone in the market for a lightweight race tyre
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.