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Michelin Tyre Test: Meeting the Power 6 and the Power GP2

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Michelin is a company that needs no introduction, over the years their rubber has done all the talking for them. Their entry into the road racing market started with a bang, we are of course talking about 1976. The story of ‘76’ was an epic one, Barry Sheene won his first championship title on his XR14 500 cc Suzuki, Suzuki won their first title in the premier class and Michelin carried home their first-ever circuit racing title. The rest is history as they say…

Image source: Suzuki History

Fast forward to the present day, Michelin has 130 years in the tyre manufacturing industry, over 500 race wins and 33 world titles in the FIM world championship. Although history is set aside, “Mich” still carries out their track first and production later philosophy, where their tyres are developed first on the track before they ever hit the company’s production line for mainstream manufacturing. All of this intensive on-track and in-the-field R&D work with top riders winning races on the MotoGP stages has concreted Michelin as a trusted leading motorcycle tyre manufacturer, not only for the track rider but for the everyday rider too.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

I myself am a big fan of the Michelin Power Cup series track-biased tyres and I’m currently testing their high mileage heroes, the Road 6. On a recent trip to Almeria Spain for the 30 years of KTM Duke launch, I was surprised to see Michelin Europe stepping in as the new Duke range tyre sponsor. Not only did they sponsor the launch, but they allowed us to try out two of their newcomers: the Michelin Power 6 and the Power GP2.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The Power 6 greeted us on the opening day’s ride on the KTM 390 Duke. We got to have a little taste on a 150 km ride through Almeria’s tight and winding country roads as well as pushing the Power 6 on an even tighter and more competitive KTM parking lot gymkhana session.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

I’m not going to beat about the bush, I was originally scratching my head when I saw an overkill Michelin on a 390 Duke. But, Michelin understands that the under 400 cc motorcycle market is growing much like KTM does. The factor that plays a major role is that in the Eastern, Asian and African countries where sub 400 ccs sell like hotcakes, the 400 cc motorcycle is the biggest bike most will ever lay their eyes on—a 390 Duke is equivalent to a 1390 Super Duke R to many riders in that sense. So just like KTM going balls to the wall in tech and hardware on their 390 Duke, Michelin has now made their Power 6 range available in smaller sizes.

Photo credit: KTM

Replacing the Power 5, we see the Power 6 build on its everyday usability and increase its sportiness. From the stunning Barcelo Cabo de Gata hotel we headed out onto a sunny but chilly ride up the twisty countryside of Almeria. Right off the cuff, the Power 6 was lent over onto its cold sidewall without any trouble. It reminded me a lot of my Road 6s, especially when it came to confidence right from the word go. The Power 6 aren’t touring tyres, but with that being said they offer a much quicker heat up and a soft sidewall that inspires confidence and on the 390 Duke you could feel a lot of feedback through the suspension thanks to the tyres.

As mentioned, they aren’t touring tyres but Michelin has brought some knowledge down from their Road 6. What they’ve done on the Power 6 for 2024 is focus on increasing the mileage and offering better grip in both wet and dry conditions. With Michelin choosing to focus on these aspects it just goes to show that Michelin understands that although riders want grip for sporty riding we also want the extra mileage for the occasional road trip we may plan on doing.

Photo credit: KTM

Without going into major detail on the carouse of the tyre (we will do this later in the year), we feel that the Power 6 is going to be the go-to tyre for the daily rider in the Michelin range—for the rider that wants to do it all with less compromise.

Next up we took a trip down to Circuito de Almería, a track that has birthed many MotoGP riders such as Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa and it’s also a track that many riders use as a preseason training camp. The reason why so many riders flock to Almeria is not just because it’s a Western movie ghost town, but because the circuit lends itself to practising all of the most technical aspects of riding a motorcycle. You’ve got blind double apexes, sharp chicanes, fast sweepers, off-camber corners, hard braking sections from top gear and flowing rhythm sections.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

KTM and Michelin also felt that this would suit the almost 200 horsepower animal that’s now the 1390 Super Duke R and R EVO. Again, this was a motorcycle launch not a tyre launch so we had no idea what Michelin had fitted on the bikes. Without tyre warmers, we climbed onto the ‘Beast’ for an early morning track session.

I swung a leg over the ‘R’ fitted in the familiar Michelin Power Cup2 and headed onto the cold and dusty circuit. It took about 3 laps before I got comfortable and for that riding on-ice feeling to go away. Once the tyres warmed up, the Cup2 Michies stuck to the circuit like melted cheese to a toaster.

Photo credit: KTM

It was only on my second session where by chance I took a Duke outfitted with a different tyre. Cold track, dust and loads of wind, but this time grip from the third corner on. I thought to myself: “Maybe the track temperature has picked up because these tyres feel like they’ve just done a few laps and are already up to temperature.” My thoughts were wrong, they were Michelin’s new Power GP2.

The Michelin Power GP2 is a track tyre homologated for the road, a tyre that’s meant to live two lives. Michelin says that the GP2 is an evolution rather than a revolution, their sole objective was to increase the dry and wet weather grip levels for those who wanted a fast weekend warrior track day tyre but also something that could grip on the road.

Photo credit: KTM

After spending over six 20-minute sessions out on track, it got me thinking: what would make you buy a GP2 over a Cup2? Out of recent experience and being more of a fast road rider and less of a fast-track rider, the GP2s stood out as the choice for me. The GP2 warms up much quicker, it offers better grip in bad weather and road conditions and it’s a tyre that’s going to give you better mileage on the road.

Even after 2 sessions on a set of Cup2s fitted to a Super Duke, the wallet is going to hurt. The fact is track days are an expensive hobby so if you can buy a tyre that’s going to suit your riding skill, it might just suit your budget too and even get you more track time in the long haul.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

It goes without saying, that the GP2 is an awesome tyre for supersport, middle-weight and even super naked motorcycles. If you are looking for a sporty tyre that can do both road and track riding on the weekend, the GP2 will keep up and maybe even surprise you.

We will inform all of you as soon as these two new Michelin tyres arrive and we look forward to giving you a more in-depth writeup soon. As for now keep an eye out on AutoCycles website for any updates and pricing.

Photo credit: KTM
Bjorn Moreira
Bjorn Moreira
My name is Bjorn Moreira (Senior Editor at ZA Lifestyle) and I always long for the next adventure. Why yes this may be a problem, but I’m what you call a #LIFEAHOLIC which I have been since my very first breath. My passion leads me to enjoy capturing memories on camera, riding motorcycles, cycling and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors.
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