Fast, light,...and fragile
Written: Feb 18, 2004
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Light weight, low rolling resistance, good cornering/handling, high quality construction
Cons:Expensive, light weight makes the tire too fragile
The Bottom Line: An excellent race tire for light riders on smooth clean roads.
For years, my road bike tires have always been the second most expensive, second lightest model offered by whatever tire maker I was buying from. Since I don't race, it's a little hard for me to justify paying a big premium for the lightest tire possible, especially if running a superlight tire means more punctures.
Last summer I broke down and bought the Michelin Pro Race, an extremely lightweight 700x23C racing clincher. It was love at first sight, and first ride. Just unfolding the tires and mounting them on the rims, I felt like I was handling a superior product. The casing had a very supple feel to it, lightweight but strong. Out on the road, my bike felt lighter, quicker, but just as stable as ever (but I'm afraid my legs were no stronger than before). The tires gripped as well as any I had used before on 45 - 50 mph descents, behaved well when cornering and braking hard, and rolled better than any tire I can remember owning before.
The honeymoon fizzled out after a few hundred miles, though. I probably had more flats in one year of riding on those tires than in three or four years on my old cheaper, heavier tires. The tires are well made, but the lightweight construction simply does not resist punctures. Much as I enjoyed riding on those tires, I will not be riding on them again this year. Instead I will go back to a slightly cheaper, slightly heavier Michelin clincher.
The Pro Race would be an excellent racing tire for a lighter person than myself (160 lbs) riding on very smooth, clean roads, but a good quality tubular (sew-up) tire would be just as light and would probably last longer. For a rider weighing more than 150 lbs, though, it's hard for me to justify this tire for racing or training.
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