I’ve been running the new Michelin Pilot Road 3s on my 2011 ZX-10R for 1800 miles. In that time I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve asked me why I’m running wets on my bike. I can’t blame them for thinking that, because Michelin’s new Pilot Road 3s have a very weird-looking tread pattern and don’t look like any other road tyres on the market.
At the heart of that weird tread pattern is the new ‘Sipe’ technology. These sipes are essentially the thin gaps in the tyre’s tread pattern which act to break the water film and help the tyre remain in contact with the road..
Each sipe is connected to a series of small wells that Michelin call reservoirs and these are used to store the water on contact and then release it once the that portion of tyre is no longer in contact with the road
So really, you wouldn’t think there’s much new here. Afterall, the tread pattern on your tyres has been designed to do exactly the same thing. Or has it? Not exactly, as the sipes sit between the normal tread pattern and are much more abundant than the usual grooves in your tyre. So while the sipes remove the water, the tread can work harder at finding grip.