Tour Reports

I’m more than happy to announce that RoadTrooper has it’s 1st official sponsor, Platinum Motorcycles in Bray, Co Wicklow (www.

Mark at Platinum Motorcycles servicing my RT for the trip

Mark at Platinum Motorcycles servicing my RT for the trip

Mark, a BMW qualified mechanic and specialist at Platinum Motorcycles has kindly sponsored my 2011 European Tour starting in September which will entail an approx 6,500km run through the French, Swiss, Italian Alps down as far as Gorges du Daluis where I’ll run along Gorge du Verdon, Gorges de Nesque, Mont Ventoux and the Dents du Midi (the Southern Teeth) mountain range. From there it’s the Ardeche before crossing over to the west coast to ride along the highest passes of Route des cols Pyrenees winding in and out of France, Spain and Andorra before heading further south into Alicante and Murcia. Weather willing I’ll be crossing at least 45 high Alpine/Pyrenean passes between 900 and 2,700 meters, so hopefully plenty of great photos.

2011 Tour Map

2011 Tour Map

Originally I only planned to ride the Pyrenees this year but with Marks help I can now plan a longer trip. Apart from servicing and getting my ageing 02 BMW R1150RT ready for the tour, Platinum Motorcycles are donating a spanking new set of Michelin’s new Sport Touring Pilot Road 3 tyres.

Hailed as the next generation of duel compound tire and with Internet rumours stating miraculous wet weather grip and longevity for sport touring bikes it’s hard not to be reservedly interested. But what’s the story on these tyres? So far I can’t find any proper reviews on them! And already Michelin has come out to try and stop misleading information and rumours as to the tyres purpose by removing all recent online links to a review of these tyres where a UK sportbike mag (either Bike or Ride) did a wet track test with an expert rider on a sports bike wearing PR3s reporting he could consistently drag a knee.

Michelin Pilot Road 3 donated by Platinum Motorcycles for this 6,500km road test

Michelin Pilot Road 3 donated by Platinum Motorcycles for this 6,500km road test

Michelin has now categorically stated that these tyres are not for sport bikes or for track days, put these on an R1 and you wont be a happy puppy for example! The Bike/Ride mag’s expert might get away with it, but let’s face it, most of us bikers do not have that level of skill in the wet. With all this mess and confusion over their release on the market no wonder people have been slow to buy them. Personally I think Michelins marketing department has dropped the ball on this one, but with the good rep the PR2′s have I’m more than happy to try them, either way it’s now definitely clear that these tyres are only for the bigger Sport Touring bikes, which is right up my street.

Up until now I have not been able to find any reviews where the PR3 tyres had actually been tested on a Sport Touring bike on a proper tour. Even Mark at Platinum Motorcycles could not really comment on these tyres, the Michelin Road Pilot 2’s are a very popular tried and tested set of rubber, so far my own preference has been the Metzler RoadTec Z6. I guess as Mark is now stocking the Pilot Road 3’s he is more than interested in knowing the real value of the new rubber and I’m the perfect guinea pig for testing them!

And testing the fook out of these tyres is exactly what I’m going to do! Loaded down with the usual baggage needed for a 2 week bike tour, I’ll also be carrying 2 camcorders, 2 cameras with various lenses, tri-pods and other camera equipment on an already fat, overweight R1150RT!

I’ll be riding and testing the Pilot Road 3’s on roughly 2,800km of French/Spanish motorway, 2,700km of B roads and 1000km of Alpine/Pyrenean passes chewed up by harsh winters, and that’s before I spend another week riding around Alicante, Valencia and Murcia bringing in the total riding distance at approx 7,500km within 3 weeks!

Mark at Platinum taking off the old tyres and slipping on the new PR3's

Mark at Platinum taking off the old tyres and slipping on the new PR3's

Testing these tyres on wet roads will probably come into effect when I hit the Pyrenees in early October as autumn should be well set in by then. For those of you that may have not toured in Spain, you may be unaware that the Spanish roads are a nightmare when wet, a slightly different tarmac composition than in France and fine dust blown up from Africa (yes, even in northern Spain) polishes the Spanish roads into an almost perfectly smooth surface. Add the usual oil/diesel spills built up over a dry summer, autumn rain, and fallen leaves the roads on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees should be the perfect fecken death trap to test these tyres on after which I’ll spend a week riding around the Alicante/Murcia region where the roads will still hopefully be baking hot.

Now, if that’s not a good test of Michelin’s new rubber then I don’t know what is! When I’m done I’ll post my review of the tyres along with photos of what’s left of them.

Along the way I’ll be making progress reports when Internet availability allows, I’ll also be filming the best motorbike roads with 2 Drift HD170’s, 1 mounted on my helmet and another on the bike, so there will be plenty of new vid’s for the RoadTrooper YouTube Channel.

From the end of October I’ll be uploading on weekly in-depth descriptions of the route’s, roads, places to stay, photos, video’s, must ride roads and of course downloadable GPS routes to help you plan your motorbike trips for summer 2012.

If you want to get yourself a set of Michelin Pilot Road 3′s right now just give Mark at Platinum Motorcycles a shout, he will be happy to supply and fit them for 270 Euro.

For a closer look inside Platinum Motorcycles BMW Specialist in Bray, Co Wicklow check out my experience having my RT serviced there in my next blog Pre-Tour Servicing at Platinum Motorcycles

Reviews 4 Responses so far

4 Responses to “RoadTrooper’s 2011 Alpine/Pyrenean Tour Sponsored by Platinum Motorcycles!”

  1. Guy says:

    Looking forward to this – you’ve provided plenty of route info for me already, but Pyrenees is somewhere I want to go.

    I’d like to know though whether you use the radio on your RT (I see you have the arial)? Is it worth it while riding on the autoroute for example? Or just a bit gimmicky?

    Bon route!

  2. gpsroutes says:

    To be honest Guy the only reason the arial is there is because I never bothered to take it off ;) I might just stick a flag on it if I’m on a charity run or a little Santa Claus at Xmas to get a smile outa my daughter :) Outsite of that it’s about as much use as NAMA lol…

    Personally I really dont get why someone would want to go for a radio on a bike. When I bought the RT back in 2002 the radio was a 680Euro extra, it’s insanely overpriced and just adds another kilo to an already overly heavy bike.

    It’s also a bit pointless if you want to listen to a GPS or rider to pillion coms and it’s easily stolen as the lock for the radio pocket is easily picked or broken, at least on an RT! I use the radio pocket for holding sun glasses, a disk lock, visor polishing cloth and a small First Aid Kit.

    Also if that handbag Britney Spears or an ad for female sanitary towels come’s on while your pulled up at traffic lights beside some lad on a Busa or a MILF in a convertable while crusing the prominade in Cannes, well your going to look like a right tool, lol! I’ve see that happen to a lad on a Goldwing, and between the ad for tampons and his tassled leather jacket I nearly wet myself laughing at the poor sod….

    As for myself I use one Sony Bluetooth transmitter (40Euro) with a 3.5mm jack that plugs into a 2Gig Sony MP3 player (50Euro), a set of Sony sterio in-earphones (14Euro) that plug into a Bluetooth receiver (12Euro).

    So for 116 Euro I can listen to my music which drops out for the Garmin GPS voice directions. The earphone’s also work well (but obviously not as good as proper ear plugs for protecting your ears) and I can clearly hear music/GPS even at motorway speeds.

    Hope this helps..


  3. Ron McGregor says:

    Hi Denis

    Looking forward to you arriving for your stay with us tomorrow. We have wifi access or you can use our computer to upload photographs and messages on your blog so you can keep it up to date for all your followers.

    You are in for a treat. We have sunshine predicted for the next week and today we have clear blue skies and it is 23 degrees so you should get some great photographs of the cols that surround us.

    Been recommended a superb route for bikes just across the border into Spain on the A1605 (had 6 bikers staying this week and they tried it and said it was wonderful).

    See you soon.

    Ron and Carole
    Chalet le Chapeau Bleu Bed & Breakfast
    Midi Pyrenees

    • gpsroutes says:

      Hi Guys,

      Sounds great, I’m about 250km north of Lyon tonight, hopefully hitting the Alps by tomorrow night and it looks like I’m heading into a heat wave, 28 degrees before the end of the week. I really hope it’s still blue skies by the time I get into the Pyrenees. See you then..


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