Michelin Long term tyre testing - Michelin Power RS and Avon Spirit ST rubber

Suzuki GSX-S750 long termer

You can’t use summer track-friendly rubber when the mercury drops. Or can you?

Use supersports rubber for wet commuting? Are you mental??!!
Fabulous all-round supersports tyres
They're not available free on the NHS as an accident prevention strategy

TO OUR long-term test Suzuki GSX-S750, and its current rubber solutions. Regular viewers might recall that we’d fitted some Michelin Power RS tyres over the summer, in order to sharpen up the seven-fiddy’s sporty skillz. I rode on the RSs at the tyre’s launch in Qatar last year, and they worked incredibly well at Doha’s baking hot desert circuit. Michelin only brought full-beans litre bikes, and even going as fast as I could, on S1000RRs, ZX-10Rs and R1s, I couldn’t provoke the slightest misbehaviour from them.

As I reported earlier, they did seem a bit much for the 750 on track, with a quick session at Silverstone tying the roadster’s suspension in knots a bit. But as sporty road rubber, they were spot-on whenever I had a blast on the Queen’s highway. Fast warmup, oodles of grip, great feedback – they got a big tick in every box, and I’ll gladly recommend them for the hardest of road rider.

When the clocks went back though, I got a bit nervous. Surely any tyre which was up for a 200bhp track thrashing in the Middle East desert will panic a bit trundling along a soaking wet A24 in the North Surrey cultural desert?

With that in mind, I got on the telefonino to our good friends at Avon tyres, and asked for a set of their trusty Spirit ST sporty touring tyres. Like the Power RSs, I’ve tried these before in their natural habitat and happily recommend them for all-year road use.

As luck would have it, though, I had a last-minute bikey job on the 750 before I got the chance to fit the Avons. An early morning start meant I didn’t want to disturb the neighbours with my F1-level Yamaha Tracer Akrapovic race exhaust note, so the 750 was the obvious choice, even with the sport rubber in place.

I just had to take my wee girl to Kingston, which is about five miles away. It was a cold, damp morning, so I set off carefully, with the traction control turned on, and a gentle right wrist. We got to our destination, and I dropped her off, waiting half an hour at the event she was attending before jumping back on the bike – certainly long enough for the tyres to cool down completely again.

On the way home, I gave the throttle a bit more of a go, and was impressed how the tyres felt. Even with just seven or eight degrees on the thermometer, totally soaked road surface, fallen leaves everywhere, the Michelins felt really good. None of the precarious, riding-on-eggshells feel you used to get with hardcore sporting tyres – just plenty of grip, and enough feedback to really press on a bit. Even after turning off the traction control, everything went really well...

Okay, it’s a fairly simple, urban route, rather than a load of 100mph sweepers, but what braking, accelerating and roundabout surfing I had to do through the urban sprawl was really impressive. What was even more impressive was when I arrived home though. I have to park out the front, then go through the house, open a side gate and take the bike through. This takes a couple of minutes of course, but when I got through, locked the gate, and then parked the bike outside my garage, I caught sight of the rear tyre. Was that a wisp of steam? Really?

Yep, the tyres were actually drying out before my eyes – they’d generated enough heat to start to evaporate the water off them, even now, three or four minutes after stopping. I grabbed my trusty IR thermometer, and had a quick look at the tyres and the ground. Stunned, I then grabbed my phone, and videoed it…

As you can see – the ground is 8 degrees C, and wet (really wet in places). And the tyres are nearly 20 degrees, more than five minutes after parking up. That’s enough to feel warm to the touch, and clearly enough for the Michelins to work really well, even in cold road conditions, after just five miles of urban use. Impressive stuff!

I’ll still be fitting the Spirits though. Their extra water-clearing tread will be a boon in standing water, where the Michelins’ slick edges might let me down. But what we have learned is that the Power RS is very much an all-round supersports tyre, and is more than up to use in wet and cooler conditions. Smart!

More details on the Power RSs:


And the Spirit STs: