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