We love all-surface riding in the drops, and we especially love fatter tires on road bikes. Michelin tickled our fancy yesterday by introducing a 700x28c version—called the Endurance—of its popular Pro4 tire on a fun 17-mile road and gravel ride to the Hoover Dam and back.
Not only do we love fatter tires on road bikes, we appreciate when tire manufacturers make tires that are actually larger than the advertised size; in this case, the Pro4 Endurance measures a titch under 29mm wide. Wider rims and wider tires also mean a larger contact patch, which may slow speedsters down a bit on the pavement, but provide better traction in the rough stuff. Michelin set out to provide better cornering grip while making sure there’s ample puncture resistance, because flats suck on any surface. We hate buzz-kill tires that can’t handle small rocks.
Grip and puncture resistance
According to the company’s internal surveys, Michelin found that for 76 percent of riders, puncture resistance in gran fondos was key, while competitive racing enthusiasts also look for reliable grip on wet roads. Apparently not everyone who races use tubulars. Michelin uses three 110TPI layers in its casing, with an HD Protection anti-puncture layer that runs bead to bead, the full width of the tire.
Sidewall cuts are also a buzzkill, and Michelin made sure a reinforcing layer increased puncture resistance by 40 percent, according to internal and third-party testing by the Finnish wheel company Wheel Energy. The Bi-Compound tread was specially developed to provide exceptional wear resistance while also improving grip on corners. More mileage means a happy rider. Our media posse was flat-free after commandeering our bikes over some pretty sketchy terrain, where most riders kept their tire pressure at or near 65 to 85 psi. The preferred range, according to Michelin, is 58 to 88 psi, depending on rider weight and terrain.
The 700x28c Endurance was in development for two years. More than 1.5 million tires in the Michelin Pro4 range have already been sold worldwide since it launched three years ago.
The $60 Endurance tire will become available in January 2015, with an OEM spec in 2016. Weight wasn’t available, but the 25c Pro4 weighs 245 grams.
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