MOTORCYCLE TIRES – Where the rubber meets the road.
Motorcycle tire brands…You name it, I’ve likely spun it over my 45 years of motorcycling. Dunlop, Metzeler, Avon, Shinko, Pirelli, Continental and others…all are good. Not all are great. Let me introduce you to a great motorcycle tire, specifically designed for Harley-Davidson motorcycles…the Michelin Scorcher 31 tire.
For this tire review, I connected with the Marketing Pros at Michelin North America and the good folks at San Diego Harley-Davidson to select the best motorcycle for this tire test. With guidance from SDHD’s General Manager, Ty Miller, we agreed that the new 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King would offer the best overall tire test experience.
The importance of tire design.
Tread design on motorcycle tires is based on the manufacturer’s best estimation of the rubber configuration required for different riding styles and road conditions. For example – Sport Touring, Touring and Cruising motorcycles need special tires that will promote nimble handling on a variety of roads. One needs a totally different tire design for Enduro, Dual-Sport or Off Road Dirt riding.
Look at the unique tread design on the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires.
Note the continuous center-tire groove that runs down the middle of the tire. This groove is matched on each side with straight-line, angled grooves as shown in the photos below.
Here’s my take of the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires
Traction & Grip – The SDHD Road King used to test these tires comes powered by the 107ci Milwaukee Eight engine. It’s a powerhouse, high-displacement motor (1746cc) that is quick off the starting line and will even spin the rear tire changing from 1st to 2nd gear should you want it to. Traction and grip are essential safety features for riders under such power. I found the Scorcher 31 tires to be surefooted and planted in both dry and damp road conditions and at different acceleration speeds. These tires are real road huggers.
Stability, Smoothness & Handling – I tend to have a sporty, fun temperament no matter the ride I’m on so stable, smooth handling is what I go for with my motorbikes. My body position is typically cruiser-style, straight back up with feet forward. This riding approach requires that my tires meet the road solid and stable, smooth and sure, with a sensitive lean-the-bike response when I need it. The FLHR Road King is no crotch rocket but it’s one of the best handling bagger-cruisers on the market today. I’ve ridden Harleys mostly equipped with Dunlop and Metzeler tires over the years and must say that the Michelin Scorcher 31 just felt smoother and more road sure to me regardless of road condition or handling challenge.
Tread Wear & Tire Life – A good sign of a great tire is that it will wear evenly all over its surface. Best I can tell with this Michelin tire design, wear should be evenly distributed throughout the useful life of these tires assuming you avoid under-inflation or over-inflation of your tires. Speaking of “useful tire life”, I have found motorcycle tire life span to top out at five years or 8,500 miles, whichever comes first. You should get new tires when either one of these rules-of-thumb measures occurs.
Tire Construction – Michelin’s rubber pros teamed up with Harley-Davidson engineers to design the Scorcher 31 tires to qualify as original equipment replacement tires for several Harley-Davidson models. The rubber compounds are all new combining durability, grip and tread life.
Temperature Management – Temperatures during my Michelin Scorcher 31 tire test ranged from 58 degrees fahrenheit during early southern California morning rides to 70 degrees mid-day to 100 degrees hot during a desert run. I experienced no noticeable riding control change during this wide temperature range. This tells me that heat dissipation and tire temperature flexibility works as designed on the Scorcher 31.
Weight Impact Management – I tested the Michelin Scorcher 31 brand as a single, 220 pound six-foot rider, no passenger. The running weight of the Road King is around 814 pounds. Total weight under test conditions was around 1,034 pounds give or take a few donuts. Tire pressure was set 36 to 38 psi in the front and 40 psi in the rear with the front tire pressure adjusted upwards and downwards by a pound or two depending on the temperature of the day.
Overall Value – The Michelin Scorcher tire brand is different. It has been designed specifically for Harley-Davidson motorcycles and delivers a series of benefits as opposed to just offering one or two superior tire traits typical of other motorcycle tire brands. First, the Scorcher 31 is a great handling tire. I felt no skips or slips during my tire test rides. Second, tire contact patch traction was excellent! These tires are real road huggers. Third, the Scorcher 31 offered a really smooth ride no matter how many pot holes or tar cracks I ran over. Fourth, they were quiet…very little road noise regardless of speed from these tires. And last but not least, they offer great value for your hard-earned dollar. Speaking of value, click here for $40 off your next set of new Michelin motorcycle tires.
The 2017 FLHR…King of the Road.
Michelin and Harley-Davidson engineers worked together to develop the Scorcher tire line to specifically meet the high performance control and handling demands of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Michelin Scorcher Tires are original equipment and approved replacement tires for V-Rod, Dyna, Sportster and Touring Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and the only original equipment tire for the new Harley-Davidson Street Rod motorcycle.
Need new motorcycle tires for your Harley-Davidson? Save money here!
Get a $40 rebate from Michelin when you buy a set of new Scorcher Tires. Offer ends July 31, 2017. Click on banner below for details.
The Bottom Line
Tires are the most safety-relevant part of your motorcycle. They also help define the style, shape and balance of your motorcycle look and profile. They’re the only link between you and the road so you cannot compromise on quality or fit when it comes to selecting motorcycle tires.
Make sure to match your tire selection to the engine power of your bike. Big displacement motorcycles need superior, high quality tires…great tires. Best I can tell, you and your Harley-Davidson motorcycle will cruise with confidence with Michelin Scorcher 31 tires.
For my dollar and riding style, I recommend this Michelin tire brand for your Harley-Davidson motorcycle…very high quality construction and superior handling characteristics.
Ride Safe Out There…
Michelin North America is a $10.76 billion dollar company employing 22,000 employees. The company manufactures tires for all kinds of vehicles, including motorcycles. Michelin is known for its extensive research, development and testing engineering competence.
About Harley-Davidson in San Diego, California
SDHD began operations in 1915. New York Myke Shelby bought the dealership in 1993 and over the years, turned it into one of the top rider destinations in southern California. Today, Ty Miller & and NY Myke’s daughter, Jen Milller, run the place keeping customers at the forefront of everything they do. Under their leadership, SDHD has become one of the biggest, baddest and best Harley-Davidson dealerships in the world.
About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)
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