Michelin Pilot Sport HD Folding Bicycle Tire With Reflective Sidewalls

23 Jul

My oldest road bike is reserved for riding in inclement weather (rain and winter slush). For several years I used  Continental Touring Plus tires on this bike because they are lightweight, puncture resistant and have an aggressive enough tread pattern to make it easy to ride in the rain. Unfortunately, these tires are also very difficult to work with, i.e., they are hard to get on or off the rim. I know one experienced bike mechanic who broke three tire levers just trying to get a pair of these on a bike. For some reason it seems like I only get flats on rainy days, and fiddling with Continental Touring Plus tires in the rain is not a task I enjoy. As a result, the last time I replaced the tires on this bike I took a chance and switched to Michelin Pilot Sport HD folding tires—and I am so glad I did!

Michelin Pilot Sport HD Bicycle Tires

Michelin Pilot Sport HD Bicycle Tire

Michelin Pilot Sport HD tires are a part of the Michelin City Trekking tire series and are made with their “Protek Compound rubber mix” which provides “antioxidant ingredients and a reinforced architecture.” These tires have anti-puncture reinforcement and are designed for urban fitness riding, i.e., for those who like to ride road bikes in places that are not usually desirable due to broken glass and road debris.

I only have about 1,000 miles on these tires, but have been extremely impressed with how well they handle on both wet roads and dry pavement. They hold the road extremely well and corner better than any other tire I’ve tried. I’ve used these tires during many hours of heavy rain and have found that the inverted tread pattern helps move water out from under tire in a very efficient manner.

Michelin Pilot Sport HD Folding Bicycle Tire

Michelin Pilot Sport HD tread Pattern

In my opinion this tire offers a very low rolling resistance considering that they are designed to run at a fairly low tire pressure. On the sidewall of every bike tire you will find both the minimum and maximum pressure the tire is capable of handling. If the tire pressure goes below the minimum you run a very high risk of getting a pinch flat; if the pressure goes above the maximum you have a good chance of blowing out the tire and will certainly have a very bumpy ride. The recommended minimum pressure for the Michelin Pilot Sport tire is 44 psi and it has a maximum pressure of 87 psi. The tire pressure you should use depends on your weight—light riders can drop the pressure down towards the minimum while heavier riders should inflate towards the maximum. In the case of the Michelin Pilot Sport tire they suggest that riders weighing 132 pounds or less inflate the tire to 44 psi; riders weighing 220 pounds or more should use 87 psi. Michelin has included a weight and psi chart of the side of the packaging for this tire.

Like the Continental Touring Plus tires, the Michelin Pilot Sport HD tires have reflective sidewalls which increases visibility in low light situations. A ride in the rain almost guarantees that you will also be riding in low light—and when a the headlights from a car hit the sidewall of this tire the reflective strip can be see from at least a quarter of a mile away.

Michelin Pilot Sport HD folding bicycle tires retail for around $40 each and are available in four sizes (700x28c, 700x32c, 700x35c, and 26×2.3). These tires all have a thread count of 30 TPI (threads per inch). A low thread count usually means a less supple tire, but one that is more puncture resistant. The 700x28c tire weighs 402g. You should be able to find this tire at just about any bike shop—if the shop does not have it in stock they can order it for you.


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10 responses to “Michelin Pilot Sport HD Folding Bicycle Tire With Reflective Sidewalls

  1. billgncs

    July 23, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    that is interesting, especially about the low pressure. I am used to riding at 100 psi with my continentals but the lower pressure should make the ride better.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      Even just a few less pounds of pressure can make a big difference on how the bike feels on rough roads. Of course, lower tire pressure can increase rolling resistance.

  2. dfmw

    July 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Reblogged this on crisp clean clear and commented:
    folding tires are invaluable for touring and the daily commute. good post.

  3. Holly J

    July 24, 2012 at 6:52 AM

    I wish I knew how to ride a bike. Yes, I’m one of those freaks who never made it pass my training wheels.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 24, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      Holly — just stop at your local bike shop — they will be glad to get you on a “big girl” bike (and you will enjoy every mile you ride).

      • Holly J

        July 24, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        I’m scared but willing to give it a try:) I actually know just the shop.

  4. anniebikes

    July 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    I like the idea of reflective sidewalls. My spoke reflectors seem to keep breaking and I forget to replace them.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM

      You will love these! Several times I’ve passed through an intersection and then had a motorist pull up beside me to ask about the tires. They work a LOT better than reflectors and don’t add any weight to the tire.

  5. Michael Lee McRoy

    July 30, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Hi Im still kind of new at this so this might be a dumb question, The tires on my bike say 700x40c I see the biggest size these come in is 700x35c so would these fit on my rims or be to small? I think i would like to go to a less knobby tire than what i have on now.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 30, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      Michael — The 700x35c tire should work on your bike — that is a standard size tire for both touring and hybrid bikes. The “700” tells how big the wheel is, and the “35” tells the width of the tire. Thus, a 35 is slightly narrower than a 40 (about 1/10 of an inch). However, the Michelin Pilot Sport tire “widens out” a bit when installed, so I doubt if you could even tell the difference between the two tire widths.


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