Michelin Power Gravel 35mm and 40mm Tires: At The Finish- by Guitar Ted with N.Y. Roll
The Michelin line of gravel tires is fairly new and we were curious as to what this well known brand had cooked up for riders of off-pavement roads and trails. The tires have been used and tested thoroughly, so we have a final word on these treads now. The older posts are linked here for your convenience. Please check those out for technical specs and more on initial set up and use. One more thing- the Power Gravel tires do come in a cyclo cross friendly size which we think would make a great “grass course” tire, in case you were wondering about that. Now on to our final review of the other two Power Gravel tire sizes.
Ride Performance: The Power Gravel 40mm tires continued to be great tires on dry gravel and were better if the gravel was more clear of loose rock. Dry dirt roads were very fast while riding these tires. N.Y. Roll used the 35mm size and agreed that drier conditions suited these tires by noting, ” All in all, I would say these are a tire I would run (in) basically any dry hard gravel surface race.” Looser surfaces, mud, or deeper gravel tended not to favor this tire, although N.Y. Roll noted that the 35mm size seemed to cut through to harder ground at times for him.
The other notable thing we both experienced was that the puncture protection belt caused us to have to lower our pressures to obtain our preferred ride feel in comparison to other tires. That said, neither of us had any issues with flatting or leaks due to punctures. N.Y. Roll said, ” I did put these tires in harm’s way and I got zero punctures. So the protection strip did not fail, which is a huge plus.” So, having to lower pressures isn’t really that big of a deal since we both did not feel that negatively affected the speed of the Power Gravel tires. Having the puncture protection is nice from the standpoint of peace of mind.
N.Y. Roll was also impressed by the dry conditions traction of the Power Gravel 35mm tires. He had a dirt single track ride and another ride with some short, punchy climbs dotted with switchbacks on these tires. Both times he was noting how the Power Gravel tires engaged the surface and seemed to grip without slipping out when putting the power down.
When it comes to negatives there aren’t many. The Power Gravel tires are definitely not all around conditions tires though, so that may not work for some riders out there who need a tire that will tackle varied riding scenes. Again, we agreed that as long as things are dry, packed, and not loose, the Power Gravel tires are a great choice. However; the Power Gravel tires exhibited wear much sooner than we are used to seeing. N.Y. Roll noted a rounding off and knob height reduction with the rear tire after about 700 miles. While the front seemed to be okay, we were a bit surprised to see this. Guitar Ted’s tires do not have as many miles, but rear tire wear was also noted on his 40mm tires. So, that is a ding on the Power Gravel tires from our viewpoint since we feel harder surfaces are best with this tire, but harder surfaces will also accelerate the wear issue we noted.
While Guitar Ted did not note any tubeless issues, we’ve documented N.Y. Roll’s issue with his front tire on a HED Belgium rim already in our previous posts. This just to point out that rim choice seems critical with the Power Gravel tires and anything more closely adhering to a UST dimension seems to be more friendly than rims that are not closer to that standard. It is impossible for us to list which rims would work, but we are confident WTB rims work well and Stan’s rims are probably not a great choice here. This is another great example of what is wrong with tubeless bicycle technology these days. Why we cannot have a single standard across all rims and tires is as frustrating for us as it is for many of our readers. But that’s another story……
At The Finish: The Michelin Power Gravel tires are a great tire with caveats. Keep conditions dry and fast and you’ll be happy. The wetter or looser the terrain gets the worse off these tires will perform. Fast is good, but with the Power Gravel tires, it seems to come at the expense of accelerated wear, especially on the rear tire. Finally, we experienced the sometimes frustrating issues with rim and tire incompatibilities with regard to tubeless set ups. While this issue is not specific to Michelin, it certainly has to be noted that it is an issue that may make these tires not suitable to your existing wheel set. Especially so if you run Stan’s rims since they are notorious for not being a good fit with tires that most closely adhere to UST standards.
This left us with a bit of a conundrum when coming up with a final verdict on the Power Gravel tires. On one hand we can see ourselves using these tires again on our own rigs. N.Y. Roll, despite having all the trouble he had with his front tire, had this to say, ” I am going to keep these tires in my quiver. Even with the issue of the rim and tire combo I am not going to ding it too hard.” On the other hand, if your wheel set is not the best match here, and if you can’t see yourself burning through a rear tire in less than a thousand miles of use, then it gets harder to give these tires a thumbs up. Add in the fact that the Power Gravel tires are more of a dry conditions specialist and the tire gets even harder to recommend if you need an all arounder.
We’re going to call it a great race day tire for drier, harder packed conditions. It probably isn’t a great choice for a training/recreational use tire due to the wear issues we noted. The puncture protection belt is a winner but you’ll have to experiment with lower pressures to tease out the best ride feel. Beware of the rim interface issues and if you have a rim that is a better fit with UST type product, then the Power Gravel should be a good match here.
NOTE- These tires were purchased by N.Y. Roll and Guitar Ted separately and neither of us were bribed nor paid for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.