Roadtest – Michelin Scorcher 31 Tires


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.


We selected the 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King to test the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires. Road King motorcycle courtesy of San Diego Harley-Davidson. (SDHD). Michelin Scorcher 31 tires courtesy of Michelin North America.


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.

Rear Tubeless Tire: Michelin Scorcher 31 – 180/65 B16 (81H)

Front Tubeless Tire: Michelin Scorcher 31 – 130/80 B17 (65H)















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.


Tire Construction: Tire tread is the most obvious part of tires but what supports that tread is critical to both comfort and safety. The sidewall is where load support and handling characteristics reside. The bead is where the tire mounts to the wheel ensuring a snug, no leakage fit. The backbone of tires, just underneath the tread, is known as the carcass and runs bead to bead. Note the multiple layer construction and carcass cords that run angled side to side. Superior engineering and tire construction. Photo: Michelin North America.


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…

Thank you for reading my blog folks.













About Michelin Motorcycle Tires


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)


Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.





  1. Clifford C. says:

    Hello! I’ve been reading your weblog for some
    time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent work!

  2. Vernita C. says:

    Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for
    your next write ups thank you once again.

  3. Gerard S. says:

    I’ve found the scorcher tires very slippery in the wet and cold on my 16 FXSB. Done with them. I’m going to replace them with Dunlop’s like on my 80 FXWG.

  4. Leon T. says:

    I seriously love your site.. Great colors and theme. Did you build this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my very own site and want to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos!
    Thank you Leon…Site is from WordPress. Built it myself using HTML code for the most part. Thank you for reading my blog. — MJB

  5. minecraft says:

    Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.

    I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  6. minecraft says:

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it
    for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from.
    many thanks

  7. minecraft says:

    This post is actually a nice one it helps new internet visitors, who are wishing for blogging.

  8. Trisha B. says:

    Rattling good info all over your blog. Good review of the M tires. Thanks.

  9. Rochelle E. says:

    Good web site you have here.. It’s hard to find quality writing
    like yours. Thank you for the information. Just bought new Michelins for my bike. Take care!!

  10. Callie L. says:

    Very good look at the Scorchers. Thank you.

  11. Kutz M. says:

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.

  12. Melanie F. says:

    I like this article. Just learned a lot about motorcycle tires. Time for me to get new Michelins on my Sportster.

  13. Willy O. says:

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Appreciate it! Searched all over the place for info on the Scorcher 31s and came across your article. Thanks.

  14. Stich O. says:

    I read this blog post completely. it’s an awesome article. Been looking for info like this on tires for a while.

  15. Michael T. says:

    Good post here. I’ve found Michelins to be real smooth but with a low mileage life. They wear out too fast for long distance riders I find. I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos! Love your blog.

  16. Ron F. says:

    My first ever HD is a 2016 Ultra Limited Low that came out with Dunlop tires. Absolutely the worst bike tires I have ever had. After coming within inches of riding off the mountain at the dragon in Tenn due to the no exiting ability to round a corner even at low speeds. After replacing them with the Michelin Scorcher 31, OMG what a big difference! Now my bike falls into the curves. 16,000 miles and the back tire is thin but the front only half worn out. An amazing tire! Getting another set of scorchers this week, but of course everything I drive has Michelin tires .

  17. Dean Y. says:

    Thank you for the great post. I looking to buy these Michelins next week.


    Sounds like a great article, but tell me…I have Dunlops on my 2013 Road Glide Custom which just turned 25k, almost 15k on this set but my only complaint is that the Dunlops are slick in the rear, I can break her loose real easy with a quick twist of the throttle and under hard breaking she locks up easier than my tires in the past.

    Metzlers didn’t last as long but had much better grip. Don’t get me wrong, the Dunlops handle like there’s no tomorrow. I can lean her over onto the boards and she runs true @ 100+… So running in S Texas heat am I gonna get similar mileage and as good if not better handling and traction???

    Added note…. being in the car business all my life, It’s common knowledge that manufacturers don’t put the highest rated tire on their vehicles, so I’m skeptical about HD using premium grade tires out of the gate??
    Good observations Michael…As you could tell from my blog post, the Michelin’s are good tires from a grip/control standpoint. Ride Safe Out There. – MJB

  19. Frieda D. says:

    Hey There. This is an extremely well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post.

  20. Mike T. says:

    I have the scorchers on one of my Harleys and dunlops on my other one. They both have 5000 miles on them and the dunlops are shot. The scorchers have almost no wear on them. Just ordered a set to replace those dunlops. I have noticed a huge difference in handling and obviously tire life. Great review. You mentioned every complaint I had about the dunlops and all the good about the scorchers.
    Thank you for your note/experience with these tires Mike. — MJB

  21. Tony K. says:

    Very good post, thank you for your insights on these Michelins. I will be changing from the stock Dunlops to these Scorchers for my next set. Certainly love your website, keep on it.

  22. Scott M. says:

    If I went with your rule to change tires every 8500 miles I would be on my 5th set of tires this year. Also at the cost of $600 a set I would spend $3000 so far this year in tires. Are you related to Richie Rich.
    Hi Scott,
    Tire change intervals are a function of riding style, road quality and personal sense for safety. I tend to ride hard and power shift with enthusiasm around southern California where roads are full of pot holes and deep cracks. I have taken my tires to 10,000 miles a few times in my riding career but don’t recommend it. — MJB

  23. Barry H says:

    I love my commander 11 that I have on my 2007 FLSTC. I’m about to purchase a front tire for the same bike. I hope your new ones last longer than a Dunlop. I found the Dunlops to be too hard and not as road responsive.

  24. Tyler Z says:

    This post is really good. I am investigating upgrading to the Scorchers when my Dunlops get around 8,000 to 9,000 miles on them. Thanks to your post.

  25. Matt M says:

    Have had the Scorchers on my 2012 Sportster since I have owned it. My first rear tire came off at 18,500 miles (end of my first riding season on my off the showroom floor bike) .. my first front was yanked at 30,000 miles!! Along with another rear.. 43,000 miles now and no plans to change either tire soon. These scorchers have been great, although with my riding style the wet pavement traction is not so good even trying to slow down. Living on the sidewalls has gotten me excellent tire wear!

    Hi Matt…your tire miles numbers don’t add up based on my riding experience…Recommend you change your Michelin Tires…get new tires asap. You are a candidate for a bad blow out experience if you are putting over 20,000 miles on any motorcycle tire. Ride Safe Out There. — Motorcycle Marc

  26. Boyce P says:

    Love to see a road test of Scorchers on my Yamaha VStar 1100…are they available for Yamahas?
    My understanding is that the Michelin Scorcher brand of tires has been designed in collaboration with Harley-Davidson engineers specifically for Harley-Davidson models. This said, Michelin makes excellent tires that fit a wide selection of motorcycle brands so check in with your Yamaha dealership to see what specific Michelin tires they would recommend for your bike. — Motorcycle Marc

  27. Ken says:

    I ride an Indian Chieftain and would like to see tests done with it as it is a little more power.

  28. Bill at Patriot Customs says:

    How do these compare to the Commander 2’s? Just got a set for my Heritage.

  29. Goertzen P. W. says:

    I like all the reasons for liking this tire. How long did you get to ride them and do you think that you can get more miles out of a set.

  30. Alex H. says:

    Good tires the Michelins for handling and feelimg the road. Don’t seem to get much more than 8,000 miles on them though. I find the Dunlops more durable to 10,000 miles but a harder ride. Not as smooth.

  31. Ken - Harley Rider says:

    Did you test on an Indian Chieftain yet?