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Slippery Pilot Road 4

670cc

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I bring up this topic out of curiosity about others' experience. I am running a Michelin Pilot Road 4 up front and it is now well into it’s second half of life. When I was in the Smokies last spring and the tire was mid life, I noticed the front tire slip out a few times in corners. I though it to be very unusual. but I didn’t think too much more about it. Now back in my home state, I am having a lot of trouble with this front tire sliding in corners, like I never had before, and regardless of tire wear condition. I have narrowed the problem to corners that have light, fine gravel sprinkled on the hard pavement. This road condition is common here, but I have not had this problem with any other brand or model of front tire, regardless of how worn they were. Looking at the PR4 design, the few off center tread grooves are small and run perpendicular to the rotation direction. The rest of the tread pattern is just small sipes that wouldn’t do much for grip on a loose surface. This observation has led me to think more about tread patterns when picking out a tire for road surfaces I often encounter. In conclusion, while I don’t dispute the common claim that the PR4 is/was a great tire for wet and dry pavement, I’d say it is a horrible tire for roads with scattered fine debris.

This topic has come of interest to me now because I have never experienced such bad sliding on any other front tire in the past. I realize the PR4 is history now that the Road 5 is available, but has anyone noticed the same sliding characteristic with a PR4 or even with a Road 5?


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dduelin

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To the question - No.

Sipes and grooves evacuate water and have nothing to do with dry grip. In fact they reduce it in the trade off with wet performance. The grippiest tires for dry surfaces are slicks that have no sipes at all.

My concern would be how the tires hook up again after slipping on the dirty surface and Michelin touring and sport touring tires seem to do that pretty well. The Bridgestones I've favored in the past seemed to hook up again as well.
 
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Janus

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I haven't noticed anything like that on my R5s. I probably don't push the bike as hard through corners as you do though.
 

670cc

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To the question - No.

Sipes and grooves evacuate water and have nothing to do with dry grip. In fact they reduce it in the trade off with wet performance. The grippiest tires for dry surfaces are slicks that have no sipes at all.

My concern would be how the tires hook up again after slipping on the dirty surface and Michelin touring and sport touring tires seem to do that pretty well. The Bridgestones I've favored in the past seemed to hook up again as well.
The tire does always hook up well once past the slippery surface. The slide is a little freaky but owing to dirt bike experience, I suppose, I correct it and move on. So, that's the good thing.

I have run one and a half PR4 rear tires and did not notice them sliding more than any other tires. The front PR4 seems to be the worst.

I assumed the tread groves had something to do with grip on loose surfaces, in addition to diverting water. The more dirt oriented the tire is, the bigger the groves and spaces between tread blocks seem to be. I know from experience what I like and don't like, but I admit that tire design science is not something I fully understand.
 
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the Ferret

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I have run so many sets of Michelin tires PRs, PR2s,PR3s,PR4's, PR4 GTs, and 1 set of Road 5 's. When its time to put new rubber on the NC it will either be a Michelin or a Pirelli Angel. The Michelins are a little better in the rain for me, but the Pirelli's seem equal in the dry.

I have not come across the particular situation you have with dirty corners. If we have a dirty corner it has full size gravel in it from either rain washing out gravel driveways, or trucks pulling trailers dragging it out into the road while cutting the corner.

Sand would suck in a corner.
 
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I've run lots of road 4s and 5s on various bikes.

On the NC I've gone through 3x road 5 fronts, the fronts 'bake out' around 14k before hitting the tread wear markers at 17k. It's not something I noticed to be tied to gravel in particular, but there is definitely less surplus grip and a more skatey feel if you start pushing your luck.

I don't have detailed mileage data from the pilot road 4s, but I remember them being done long before the actual tread wore off the tire.
 

melensdad

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I don't have detailed mileage data from the pilot road 4s, but I remember them being done long before the actual tread wore off the tire.
I don't care about the tread wear markings on any tires, I go by 'feel' and if the tire starts to feel skittish then I replace the tire. Some folks brag about how many miles they get our of their tires. I don't push that type of limit. To my mind the tire is there to hold traction. I ride it until it doesn't hold traction. When it doesn't hold traction I replace it.
 

670cc

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I've run lots of road 4s and 5s on various bikes.

On the NC I've gone through 3x road 5 fronts, the fronts 'bake out' around 14k before hitting the tread wear markers at 17k. It's not something I noticed to be tied to gravel in particular, but there is definitely less surplus grip and a more skatey feel if you start pushing your luck.

I don't have detailed mileage data from the pilot road 4s, but I remember them being done long before the actual tread wore off the tire.
Thanks for the comments. What you describe about them being done long before the tread wore off is interesting.

In any case, I have a new tire in stock waiting for me to install. I’ll just swap the PR4 out and be done with it.
 
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mooseonbass

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I have the PR4s and find them much squirrelier than the conti’s that I had. That’s the best description I have, they just don’t give me the confidence that I was used to.
 

670cc

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I have the PR4s and find them much squirrelier than the conti’s that I had. That’s the best description I have, they just don’t give me the confidence that I was used to.
Thanks for sharing your experience which is similar to mine. Maybe I'm not imagining things.
 

dduelin

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I've heard Michelin Pilot Roads called lots of things but never slippery. How old are the tires and how high is the scuff line?

The PR4 front has a hard compound molded in the center of the tread that is 50% of the width. Hard in the middle for long wear and the 25% on each side are a softer compound for grip. Maybe the tire is cornering mostly on the hard compound and giving you less traction than if it was ridden at greater lean angles.

If the tire is hooking up again after sliding on debris it wouldn't seem like grip is the issue but rather how it handles sand and gravel on the paved surface of the road.

The Road 5 front differs slightly from the PR4 as the hard middle is narrower at 44% and the soft sides are 28% each. I have no issue with the Road 5. It wears a long time under my 110 hp RT and never lacks for grip or confidence in the wet or dry. Sand is sand and any street tire will slide on it. It's my favorite sport touring tire.

I never cared much for the PR 2 and 3. Because of that I never tried the PR4 until I bought the 2013. It has a set of PR4s on it but they are 6 years old and 1500 miles used now. Because of the age I worked up to scuffing the tread to the edges. I have 575 miles on them now and feel good on them at least for this summer. I'll replace them in the fall when the weather cools.
 

Griff

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I was never happy with a PR4 on the front of my X-Adv. For that reason I changed to a Road 5 front and am very happy with it in conjunction with a 4 on the rear. I would have a 5 on the rear also if they were manufactured for that wheel size.
 

670cc

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After reading these helpful replies, looking over the tire shape, and analyzing the tire performance degradation over time, I have a theory and a conclusion. As dduelin described, the tire is a dual compound with a hard center. Engineers probaly attempt to predict how much wear will occur in the center vs the edges, for a given expected riding style. It is difficult for one size to fit all.

I originally was trying to determine why this PR4 front tire began to slide easily on loose debris in corners. I don’t use the brakes much, front or rear, and I don’t often log long straight interstate miles. So, more of my front tire wear is off center from turns, rather than on center. The PR4 being a dual compound with an abrupt transition from hard to soft, as it wears it begins to develop a ridge at the compound transition point. The tire cross section profile actually gets a point on it instead of being rounded. I now believe that in light to mid lean angles, the tire is running on this narrow ridge, giving it less contact patch and making it skid more of fine gravel. This ridge appears before the tread wear indicators are reached, and to Wheel of Steel’s point, the tires were ”done long before the actual tread wore off the tire.” I believe this is why I like single compound tires like the Shinko Raven so much is because throughout the entire life of the tire, the cross section rounded profile remains consistent and handling and traction stays good until the wear bars are reached.

In addition, later in life my PR4 tire became “squirrelly”, as mooseonbase noted, when I ride worn roads with grooves and tire ruts. I theorize that with this raised hard center, the tire tries to track the road imperfections. Sometimes even on pavement it feels like I’m riding on a steel grate bridge.

I now realize I had similar problems in the past with the dual compound front Dunlop Elite3 on the Goldwing. The dual compound interface ridge appeared mid life on the tire, where it got noisy and the handling went bad. I switched to Bridgestone Exedras for the front to get away from the dual compound Elite3 problems.

So in summary, dual compound tires, for my style of riding, develop handling and traction problems before the tread is worn and would cause me to have to scrap them early or suffer worsening handling and traction. My solution for me will be to avoid dual compound tires.
 

dduelin

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If I am not mistaken, only the rear Elite 3 was a dual compound tire. The front was a single compound.

One of the reasons I wrote off Michelin Pilot Road tires with the PR3 generation was weird lumpy wear patterns with abundant feathering and scalloping. I thought I'd never buy another but when I bought the RT it had 4500 miles on a set of Road 5s and the wear was smooth and symmetrical. That wear pattern lasted through the life of the tires and I've since worn out two more sets. In my opinion with the Road 5 Michelin seems to have figured out how to build a premium dual compound tire.

I think tire threads are very subjective due to the multitude of variables between riders and motorcycles. The best tire for one rider could be a poor choice for another.
 

670cc

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If I am not mistaken, only the rear Elite 3 was a dual compound tire. The front was a single compound.

One of the reasons I wrote off Michelin Pilot Road tires with the PR3 generation was weird lumpy wear patterns with abundant feathering and scalloping. I thought I'd never buy another but when I bought the RT it had 4500 miles on a set of Road 5s and the wear was smooth and symmetrical. That wear pattern lasted through the life of the tires and I've since worn out two more sets. In my opinion with the Road 5 Michelin seems to have figured out how to build a premium dual compound tire.

I think tire threads are very subjective due to the multitude of variables between riders and motorcycles. The best tire for one rider could be a poor choice for another.
Good to hear that the Road 5 sorted out the dual compound thing.

Back on the E3, I just pulled one off the Goldwing and it sure had a goofy wear pattern, and actually it was the rear tire. You’re right, Dunlop‘s description just talks about “Multi-Tread” on the rear tire. (Long story as to why I held on to an E3 so long, seeing as it’s an old model).
 
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Griff

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I was never happy with a PR4 on the front of my X-Adv. For that reason I changed to a Road 5 front and am very happy with it in conjunction with a 4 on the rear. I would have a 5 on the rear also if they were manufactured for that wheel size.

Thinking back I now recall that the reason I disliked the front PR4 was that it slowed the steering too much. I had the same issue with Anakee 3's on my former Triumph 1200 Explorer. They had similar profiles to the PR4's. A set of Dunlop Trailsmarts sorted the Triumph, and as I say above the Road 5 sorted the X-Adv. On my Strom I just went for Road 5 Trails from the getgo and they really suit that bike to the point that I have more leaned over confidence on it than any other bike I own.
 

TacomaJD

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I was never happy with a PR4 on the front of my X-Adv. For that reason I changed to a Road 5 front and am very happy with it in conjunction with a 4 on the rear. I would have a 5 on the rear also if they were manufactured for that wheel size.
I'm not very familiar with the X Adv, but thought they ran the same sizes as the NC and CTX line. What size is your rear tire that isn't available in a Road 5?
 

670cc

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Griff

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I'm not very familiar with the X Adv, but thought they ran the same sizes as the NC and CTX line. What size is your rear tire that isn't available in a Road 5?

As 670cc says.

For some reason I am now told by my dealer that the rear PR 4 is not available for the foreseeable future with a PR3 being substituted. That tyre is too sporty for the type of roads that I ride so I am going to give Dunlops a try instead.

I am wondering about the lack of availability of the PR4's for this bike and perhaps it is something to do with them being prone to punctures. On my X-Adv the last three PR4's have punctured, one of them being pierced three times. The current one also has a plug in it.
 
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