The Breakdown

The new Michelin Road 5 tires grip the wet or dry road better than its predecessor the Pilot Road 4 did. It does better on wet asphalt thanks mainly to larger openings in the tread and improved siping design. These new tires wear slower on the center section than the PR4 as well, meaning longer life and better value for the money than ever. Some riders may feel they’re too “cushy”, but they’re my new favorite all around tire hands down.
Overall
Pros
Terrific grip on wet or dry terrain, Reasonably priced based on longevity, Absorbs undesirable road vibration without removing desirable feedback, Available in 9 different sizes, 2CT and 2CT+ technology/design built in creates a stable tire that performs at any speed
Cons
Larger tread openings throw small stones frequently, Road 5 GT tires for heavier bikes not available until 2019, In hard cornering, there is a “wiggle” sensation

My Bike Needs New Sneakers

2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2SX SE.

My 2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2SX SE eats its own feet, so to speak.

A worn out Bridgestone Battlax rear tire.

Worn out Bridgestone Battlax rear tire

These 200 horsepower and supercharged Ninjas are renowned for wearing out rear tires in less than 2500 miles regularly. By keeping my bike in medium power mode I was able to get 5600 miles out of the stock Bridgestone Battlax tires, but now it’s time for something better when switching to full power.

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Michelin Pilot Road 4?

Michelin Pilot Road 4 tires

Michelin Pilot Road 4

My friend Steve has forgotten more about motorcycles than I know and is the first person I talk to when looking for good advice. He’s been running Michelin Pilot Road 4 tires on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 for years and highly recommended them. He regularly gets over 6000 miles out of a rear even on that behemoth bike of his so I was leaning that way for sure.

Michelin Road 5

Michelin Road 5 tires.

Michelin Road 5

Then I heard about the newest improvement on the PR4 tires and decided that was the way to go instead because these tires are supposed to be longer lasting AND get better traction than the PR4 especially on wet roads.

You can see from the photos above the tread grooves in the center are fewer in number, shorter in length and project outward in straight lines. They’re also about twice as large across giving the tire almost a dual sport tread like on an 80/20 adventure offering.

Michelin PR4 on the left and Road 5 on the right.Michelin PR4 on the left and Road 5 on the right.

Sipes

New Michelin Road 5 installed on the front of a Ninja H2SX SE.

A new Road 5 tire installed on the rear of a Kawasaki H2SX SE.

A KTM duke leans into a right turn.

Photo Michelin

The extra large gaps allow these tires to retain good traction in wet conditions longer as it wears down while the smaller treads won’t. It all comes down to the tapered sipes coming off the large openings wearing away more quickly on narrow openings compared to these larger ones.

Michelin might be onto something here.

Michelin claims even after 3000 miles a new Road 5 tire will perform just like a brand new PR4.

That’s saying a lot and the kind of bragging that demands a WBW hands-on review.

More Bragging

Michelin Road 5 tires being tested on a very wet road.

Photo Michelin

Michelin produced this test video at their track on wet pavement to showcase just how good the new tires are compared to other big competitor ones. It creamed the others in this video from YouTube.

The Continental Contiroad Attack 3, Pirelli Angel GT and Metzeler RoadTec 01 were distant seconds behind the Road 5 tires. These are all very good tires that plenty of people will argue are the best, so my gut tells me they’re not mistaken and it will come down to each individual’s personal preference in choosing one tire over another.

I haven’t personally tested all those tires and so I can only speak to what I’ve found with the Road 5 in this review.

First Impressions

Michelin Road 5 tires installed on a Ninja H2SX SE.

Riding away from the shop after having the new rubber installed back and front I immediately noted how much more insulated I felt from the road compared to the Bridgestone Battlax tires I had spent 5600 miles on.

It was downright lovely! The harsh rigidity of the Battlax was glaringly different compared to how these Michelins smoothed out all the cracks and bumps in the road. It really added to the bike’s suspension noticeably.

Unlike sections of the Dempster Highway, I rode back in June which was so soft I had no feedback from the road I could still feel connected solidly to the blacktop despite the Michelin cushions I was now on.

I’m smiling already and I’m not even home yet. A good sign.

Michelin Road 5 tires are made in Spain.

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My Experience On Wet Road

After putting the Ninja in full power mode and taking some photos I headed for the mountains with their twisty roads and unpredictable weather. The secondary highway leading to Canmore, Alberta called the 1A is my favorite local road to ride because of the view and the variety of road surface. Great for testing out new tires!

Michelin Road 5 rear tire.

Mother Nature certainly obliged by dumping rain on me most of the way there.

I was very impressed with the wet road and dry road grip. As advertised the Ninja held beautifully in corners or straightaways. I even got to try it on some gravel which had been pulled out from side roads onto the 1A. A typical and expected hazard out in the mountains.

Zero grip issues to report. These Road 5 tires made the Ninja feel like it was on rails.

Let’s See What She Can Do…

What about high-speed performance you may ask? No problem.

Without divulging exactly what speeds I attained on the bike I can tell you these tires are perfectly stable right up to the last 20% of this Ninja’s top speed when a slight vibration starts to show up but is never scary.

My rims took a pounding riding up to Dawson City through numerous construction zones and may have taken some damage so that may be part of the vibration problem. Bear in mind that the vibration doesn’t show up until the bike reaches… how shall I put this? Supersonic speeds?

Even what is universally considered high speeds feel very ordinary on these tires and motorcycle. Again, I’m smiling and congratulating myself on making a wise purchase.

The Downside?

Do I have any complaints about the Michelin Road 5 tires? A couple.

Michelin Road 5 rear tire installed on a Ninja H2SX SE.

I took them on a 2000 mile ride through the Rockies with a riding club I belong to in order to see whether Michelin’s claims were justified about longevity. That’s when I found two things I’m not crazy about in these tires.

Rock Chucker

I encountered a lot of construction as expected during the short Canadian summer on the trip, and so I was riding through patches of pea gravel and dirt often. There weren’t any traction issues through that mess, just the opposite in fact.

That grippiness is part of the problem. The larger openings in the tread are adept at picking up gravel and tossing it indiscriminately at my friends behind me.

The boys didn’t enjoy being pelted with hundreds of paint-pounding projectiles, and so, gave me lots of room anytime we encountered a road crew.

Cornering Wiggle

We rode some amazing routes in Southern/Central British Columbia. The roads near Kaslo and Ainsworth are nearly the Canadian equivalent to the Tail of the Dragon in the US for all the sharp twists, switchbacks and turns found thereabouts. Man, was it fun on a performance oriented machine like the H2SX is when wearing grippy tires like these.

In a few extremely sharp corners I noticed that when I really leaned hard the friction patch shifted from the harder center section of these tires fully onto the much softer sides and gave me a noticeable “wiggle”. It’s only natural I suppose that would happen when shifting the weight around, but it’s unnerving the first few times.

The stock Battlax tires didn’t do this until they were already worn out, and at that point, it wasn’t so much a wiggle as it was a wild transfer from the flat center portion over some tall ridges built in then down onto the worn edges.

Michelin Road 5 tire where you can see the softer side rubber contrasted with harder centre rubber.

In the photo above you can see the softer side rubber contrasted with the harder center layer rubber.

Smooth Edge

You’ll also notice the edge of these Michelin tires distinctly lack any grooves and tread. This is the softer rubber layer that sits in a cradle of harder rubber extending from the middle section down underneath the soft layer right to the bead. It keeps everything stiff underneath, but race tire sticky on the edges when you lean further than 35 degrees.

Michelin feels most riders won’t lean further than that when the road is wet, so there’s no need to tread out on the edges. That’s accurate about me for sure. Smart design! You can spot the change in compounds in the photos I took of the tires quite easily. It’s layered like a cake.

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Longevity

So how are the tires wearing now that I’m rapidly approaching the 3000-mile mark? Absolutely as advertised even with a savage, tire-hating H2SX working them over.

There’s very little wear on them on the whole. Even some of the rubber hairs are still hanging around at this point most surprisingly.

A photo of a brand new Michelin Road 5 rear tire after installation on the Ninja H2SX SE.

Photo above is of the brand new Road 5 tire after installation on the Ninja.

A close up photo above of the rear Michelin Road 5 tire after nearly 3000 miles.

Close up photo above of the rear tire after nearly 3000 miles.

Only the very center of the tire is beginning to flatten out very slightly, but it can’t be any more than maybe a few millimeters total that’s rubbed off. This is a stark contrast to the Battlax ones that came with the bike from the factory which were easily twice as worn at only the 600-mile mark!

The Final Verdict?

2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2SX SE.

I’m sold on these Michelin Road 5 tires and grin about them like a cat who ate the canary. I’m not sure there’s much more to say about them. I wish I had 5000 miles on them to really know the whole story, but I can’t see anything changing much from here on out.

Michelin has done it again! I fully recommend these Road 5 tires.

Unfortunately, if you ride a really heavy touring bike like a Gold Wing or Harley you’ll need the Road 5 GT tires which aren’t going to be on the market until 2019. Until then, Michelin suggests buying the Pilot Road 4 GT tires which are awesome in their own right and don’t give up too much to the Road 5 tires in reality.

Plus you won’t be winging any stones at your buddies with the PR4s.

Don’t Take Just My Word For It

Revzilla’s Lemmy does a great video presentation about the Road 5 and talks about all the important features here.

*June 2019 Update: At ~5000 miles (8,000 kms)

I was asked to provide an update on the tire wear, so here are the photos and measurements this time to consider.

Rear Tire

Rear Michelin Road 5 tire after 5000 miles on Kawasaki H2SXSE

This photo above is the rear tire. You can now definitely see that the middle section is flattening out noticeably and slightly more pronounced on the right side than on the left. This is due to road crown working on it because of my typical riding position in the left tire track of my lane. My measurements back this up.

Measuring the Michelin Road 5 rear tire.

In the center sipes, I measured down to the wear bars to get 3.59mm remaining.

Measuring the Michelin Road 5 rear tire.

Measurement from the center sipes

On the outside edge sipes, I got a lot more at 5.61mm remaining. Clearly, I’m not spending enough time cornering, eh? Still, this is encouraging to me after so many miles on the rear of a 200 hp motorcycle.

I’m guessing I might get 8000 miles on the rear when it’s all said and done. Not too shabby.

Measuring the Michelin Road 5 rear tire.Measurement from the outside edge sipes of the rear tire

Front Tire

I was paying so much attention to the rear tire… that the front caught me by surprise! 

It’s nearly finished thanks to some pronounced cupping wear going on in the middle area as you can see in the photos below.

Measuring the Michelin Road 5 front tire

The inner sipes only have 1.68mm left before I’m at the wear bars. I inquired with my local dealership about this as I’ve NEVER worn out a front tire before a rear in my entire riding career.

Measuring the Michelin Road 5 front tire.Measurement from the inner sipes of the front tire

They tell me it’s not uncommon in heavy sport touring bikes to have this happen because of road crown working on it, unfortunately. I guess this Ninja isn’t quite as dainty as I thought.

The outer sipes are doing a lot better showing over 3mm remaining which is more what I was expecting to be the case at this juncture. 

Perhaps I need to reconsider my rating of the front tire, but overall I think these are still excellent tires.

Measuring the Michelin Road 5 front tireMeasurement from the outside edge of the front tire

Pros

  • Terrific grip on wet or dry terrain
  • Reasonably priced based on longevity
  • Absorbs undesirable road vibration without removing desirable feedback
  • Available in 9 different sizes
  • 2CT and 2CT+ technology/design built in creates a stable tire that performs at any speed

Cons

  • Larger tread openings throw small stones frequently
  • Road 5 GT tires for heavier bikes not available until 2019
  • In hard cornering, there is a “wiggle” sensation

Specs

 

  • Price (When Tested): Front $151.50 to $234 Rear $148 to $326
  • Made In: Spain
  • Alternative models: Road 5 GT (coming in 2019)
  • Sizes: 190/50 ZR17 (73W)
    180/55 ZR17 (73W)
    190/55 ZR17 (75W)
    120/60 ZR17 (55W)
    160/60 ZR17 (69W)
    120/70 ZR17 (58W)
    150/70 ZR17 (69W)
    150/70 R17 69V (Trail)
    110/80 R19 59V (Trail)
  • Review Date: August 7, 2018

 

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RevZilla

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30-day no-nonsense return policy
Excellent selection of all major brands
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Buy These Tires on RevZilla

2WHEEL

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Cashback!

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Michelin Road 5 Tires Image Gallery

17 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Don
    December 10, 2018
    Reply

    Miles ? What’s that ? Canada uses the Metric System. That’s Kilometers not Miles.

    • Avatar
      Jim Pruner
      December 12, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Don!

      I apologize for not providing an adequate Canadian translation. I’ll give both figures next time.

  2. Avatar
    Peter
    January 16, 2019
    Reply

    I would really expect more skill from someone who writes tyre reviews. Judging by the chicken strips the “reviewer” mostly tootled around – a real waste on a bike like the H2.

    And what does “maybe a few millimeters” mean – 2,3 … 5? I would expect a measurement on the brand new tyres and again after 3000 miles.

    And finally, I would like to know whether the reviewer got the tyres for free or actually bought them?

    • Avatar
      Jim Pruner
      January 17, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Peter!

      I’m the reviewer and appreciate the feedback you’ve provided. Allow me to unpack it a bit.

      I agree it would have been better to provide an exact tread measurement new vs after 3000 miles. That’s generally what most reviewers do and I will tow the line on the next one for sure. The reason I was so casual with the wear
      specs was because there realistically wasn’t any worth reporting by the time I wrote the review. These tires wear so slowly that 3000 miles is barely broken in. Really!
      I provided close up photos of the tread when new vs at the time of review to illustrate this. I felt there was more value in the photos than in giving tread depth measurements that you the reader can’t actually verify. Seeing is believing in my estimation.

      I purchased the tires from a local shop. I thought that was communicated in the write up in this section:

      “Even what is universally considered high speeds feel very ordinary on these tires and motorcycle. Again, I’m smiling and congratulating myself on making a wise purchase.”
      Whenever I’m provided a product for review at no cost I share that detail by thanking the distributor or merchandiser for offering it as such. If you’re implying that I took it easy on these tires or any other product I’ve reviewed on this site I’ll make it clear that nothing could be further from the truth. My reviews always have plenty of constructive criticism included. Even this one.

      Your “chicken strips” and “tootling around” comments are pretty funny and I think you realize it too. No one (myself included) can ride a 200 hp motorcycle gently. My Ninja makes it especially tempting to ride it like I stole it.

      The chicken strips on the worn tires are less than a 1/4″ in width and I leaned exactly 38 degrees with them several times during testing (the Ninja has an inclinometer on the dash so I know). More than adequate in my mind since the majority of riders rarely exceed 35 degree leans from what Michelin reports. This is mentioned in the write up too.
      I’m certainly no Valentino Rossi when it comes to my riding skill, but why would you want racing expert riding level reviewer analysis?
      WebBikeWorld is a source of honest and independent testing done by amateurs like myself. That’s the real value of our reviews. Our riding style is just like 99% of the people out there buying these products, because we’re ordinary folks. We’re different than the majority of what’s out there and that’s a good thing.
      The 2000 mile trip I took to test the tires spanned an excellent mixture of winding mountain roads complete with what I described as the Canadian version of the Tail of the Dragon, high speed highway riding and more casual back roads. It covered the whole range of use Michelin had in mind when they built these sport touring tires other than perhaps some racetrack riding.

      There’s plenty of valuable insight in this write up. I’ve since put another 3000 miles on these tires and I’m still completely happy with the performance and wear.

      Thank you again for helping me improve my reviews with your feedback. I hope you’ll continue to lurk, comment and enjoy the site.

  3. Avatar
    Eric
    March 2, 2019
    Reply

    On my Versys 650, after the factory Bridgestones I put on Pilot Road 4’s, much better, espeically in the wet. Then I went to Metzler Roadtec 01’s, Those were MUCH better in the dry than the PR4’s. Now I have the new Road 5’s and they are very comparable to the Roadtec 01’s, which came off at about 25% tread before the wear bars because of a puncture. For all weather commuting I definitely prefer the Road 5’s wet performance.

    • Avatar
      Jim Pruner
      March 3, 2019
      Reply

      I’m glad to hear the Road 5 is working for you too Eric.
      I’m not sure what I’ll try after these tires. I don’t want to use the same ones because I want to be able to test something new, but on the other hand I’m a “if it ain’t broken don’t try and fix it kind of guy” at heart too.

  4. Avatar
    Simon
    March 10, 2019
    Reply

    Great review in my opinion. I have the new tracer 900 GT which came with Dunlop D222 & are a bit pants TBH, 3000 miles so far & showing quite a bit of wear. I had narrowed my second set down to Roadtec 01’s or the road 5’s. Think now I’m more swayed towards the road 5’s.
    Thanks.

    • Avatar
      Jim Pruner
      March 10, 2019
      Reply

      I’ve heard really good things about the Roadtec as well but haven’t tried them myself yet.

      I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either.

      Let me know how it all works out regardless of which way you end up going.

      Cheers!

  5. Avatar
    Bill "Bill" Barnum
    May 13, 2019
    Reply

    Has there been a release date for the GT version of the PR5 ?

    thank you

  6. Avatar
    Alex
    May 20, 2019
    Reply

    I ride a versys 650, i have no chicken strips (on the rear) and have got the tyres ‘peeling’ on a few occasions. I have 6500 miles on them already, the front is less than 1mm from the wear marker but the rear has about 2-3mm still to go! Great wear, good in all conditions (i have not tried snow or ice) and really grippy, I don’t notice any wiggle on cornering.
    I will buy these again.

    • Avatar
      Jim Pruner
      May 21, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Alex!

      Wow you must ride that Versys pretty hard!
      I’m at 4700 miles on mine now and my front still looks basically new while my rear is just barely beginning to show signs of the middle flattening out ever so slightly. They must build them differently in smaller or larger sizes,eh?
      Definitely excellent tires.

  7. Avatar
    Dan
    May 22, 2019
    Reply

    Thinking of getting Road 5 trail on my Guzzi Stelvio NTX, partly based on your review.

    She’s heavy, therefore hard I the rubber.

    Could you post an update about your mileage and tire wear?

    Thanks! I enjoyed your well written review.

    Dan

  8. Avatar
    Klaus Ross
    June 26, 2019
    Reply

    Hi there,
    Got 15000 km out of the last Set of Road 5’s in my ZX14-R and we do have some pretty shitty roads here “down under “.
    Regardless the road condition, they never failed to perform.
    Cheers
    Klaus

    • Jim Pruner
      June 27, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Klaus!

      Good job getting those kinds of miles out of your Road 5s! I’ve had other people tell me they also got 16000kms out of them too. I agree completely that these tires perform beautifully in all conditions. I couldn’t be happier with the traction I’ve always found running them.
      I’m not sure what to say about my front tire wear other than I don’t know how my H2SX SE can be so hard on them. I’m getting the same weird wear pattern on my front tire now as I did on the original Bridgestone S21 sneakers that came from factory. With the old ones I assumed they just weren’t up to snuff for such a powerful bike, but your big 14 has the same amount of horses if not more. Perhaps I do need to bring the bike in to the dealer and have them take a look.
      I think there’s an outside chance I’ll get close to 10,000 out of the rear tire at least if I behave myself out there.

  9. Avatar
    Kurt Snedker Mellergaard
    August 30, 2019
    Reply

    Hello there, after reading your comments I’ve just ordred a pair PR 5 I’ll mount them on a KTM 1290 Gt it is pretty tuff to the tires… Perelli Gt angel 5500 km rear tire so i’am expecting some more km to this tire ….I’am going on track 14/9 so I’ll se if it wrigles……
    Kurt
    Denmark

    • Jim Pruner
      August 30, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Kurt!

      I haven’t tried the Angel GT myself but have heard other Ninja H2SX SE owners really like them on their bikes and get good mileage from them. If you only got 5500 kms on them I’m not sure honestly if the Road 5 tires will do much better. It sounds like you really like to ride your KTM to the limit, my friend! Good for you! That’s a great motorcycle and it should be enjoyed.

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