Michelin have had their pro range of tyres around for quite a while and it seems that (at least according to reputation) that they get better with every iteration. The Pro4 is the first tyre I’ve tried from their range, but I know many riders who run on the Pro3’s with no complaints.
I wasn’t expecting much, as I’ve been very happy with the Continental GP4000s’s, these were purchased on a whim, as these were on sale at the time and I was looking for something that would add a bit of colour to the ride.
The quality is great – the tread runs straight, the markings are clean and clear. There doesn’t appear to be any irregularities throughout the length of the tyre.
The colour is in the right place. Many other brands have the coloured section of the tyre contacting the road, which means it gets dirty in no time. The colour on the Pro4’s is restricted to the sidewalls. However this does not mean they won’t get dirty – it will just take longer. The colour is on the inside too – this was real helpful in finding punctures.
The grip is excellent. Around corners, and especially on rough, coarse, and loose surfaces it is predictable – no skipping or hopping like the Conti’s did. I think this is related to the profile of the tyre. Most tyres, including the continentals, and pretty even in tread distribution, so that the final profile when inflated is rounded. The Pro4’s however, place more rubber in the middle of the tyre, so that the profile is more diamond shaped – this means that it is flatter on the sides, which equals more rubber on the road around corners.
The rubber compound is also something worth mentioning. Whilst it does contain silica it feels similar to the black chilli compound on the GP4000s, perhaps a bit more sticky. And they seem much more predictable in the wet, especially on painted surfaces, where the GP4000s felt like you were riding on ice, these give a bit more feedback.
The construction of the tyre is top class – 3 layers of rubber, , and from what I can tell, a nylon carcass. The sturdy construction means you won’t expect (m)any punctures in the first 1500km or so, however as the tyre wears it will start to pick up fragments of glass, metal fragments, flints etc from the road, mainly due to the sticky compound. In 4 weeks I had 9 punctures and I found all of them were from items that became deeply embedded in the tyres and worked their way through to the inner tube.
From a wear perspective, you could expect about 3,000km from a tyre, which is pretty much the same as any other tyre you could purchase at that level. The weight is comparable to top tyres, being around the 300 gram mark they are pretty impressive.
Overall, they look great, have the right rubber in the right places, and offer excellent grip. As a racing or training tyre I think these are excellent, as an all-purpose tyre they are perhaps too sticky so punctures could be a problem.