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Ridden & Reviewed: Michelin Pro 4 Endurance Tires

May 24, 2013

It’s great to be able to try out new and different products on a fairly consistent basis. The shop’s buyers and sales reps alike have been really good about letting me get my hands on everything from bikes to cookbooks. One of my favorite things to try out are new tires as different rubber can really change the way a bike rides.

After my brief love affair with the Specialized S-Works Turbo 24s, and the realization that I couldn’t in good conscious run them when not racing (given my disdain for repairing punctures) I found myself in the buyers’ office dropping off some coffee beans (I know what keeps the wheels turning around the shop). There, Kelly asked me about the Turbo 24s and then patiently listened to me bemoan the Turbo’s apparent propensity for flats on open roads and then praise their amazing cornering prowess and ride feel. In an effort to make me feel better, or to get me out of his hair so he could get some work done, Kelly reached in to his bag of tricks and presented me with a pair of Michelin‘s new Pro 4 Endurance tires.

The Pro 4s are not really a new tire. In fact, I reviewed the Pro 4 Service Course last Winter. That tire, which leans towards the race end of the scale, became a favorite and got fairly good rotation in my tire selections over the course of the last 12 or so months. The Pro 4 Endurance, as the name clearly implies, is more of a training tire. After my frustration with recent punctures, I was ready for something burlier, but I wasn’t sure how far back I was willing to swing the pendulum, and I wasn’t at all familiar with how far afield of “race only” the Endurance might land.

boxed

New tires make a bike feel, well, new!

The Pro 4 Endurance is packaged just like it’s Service Course brethren. And, like the Service Course tire, it feels supple in hand and is a real bear to mount for the first time. Rather than use the Air Comp tube that Michelin recommends, I stuck with the latex tubes I’ve been running all year. The use of those tubes, which are lighter and slightly more puncture resistant than butyl tubes, combined with running the stock wheels on my Tarmac, is an effort to reduce as many variables as possible when trying out new tires.

The Pro 4 Endurance shows it’s intended purpose as soon as you toss it on a scale. This is not a race only piece of equipment. Rather, it’s meant to be ridden–for miles, and miles, and miles. Whereas the Service Course model sports a claimed weight of 200 grams, and the Turbo 24s came in just under that impressive figure, the Pro 4 Endurance came in at an average of 255 grams on the shop scale. I know. 55 or so grams. Big deal. But for folks that care (I’m not particularly one of them when it comes to road bikes) it’s a big deal. To me, the added weight was something I only noticed when staring at the tires on the scale.

Weight isn't everything, but for those that are concerned: 255 grams on average.

Weight isn’t everything, but for those that are concerned: 255 grams on average.

Mounted up, the tires look nice. I’d rather run an all black tire or something really retro with gum sidewalls. But the two-tone black and gray Pro 4 Endurance tires with their white lettering look good against the all black Tarmac and it’s dark gray accents. And the tires feel pretty good too on the open road.

The Endurance Pro 4 shines on smooth pavement. Of course ALL tires feel good on smooth pavement. But you get the sense that there really is an effort to create a tire that has some ride feel, some character while still being a bit burly to prevent premature wear. It wasn’t quite the fast feel of the Pro 4 Service Course model or the incredible grip of the Turbo 24s, but the Pro 4 Endurance felt quick and stable albeit quite firm in comparison.

Over rougher roads I could tell I was dealing with a tire that moved away from race-day only application. The tire didn’t grip as much over rough texture, particularly if going through a loose or bumpy corner. Not that I expected them to. The Endurance didn’t feel like it was going to let go, but it did have a tendency to bounce more even at slightly lower tire pressure than the Turbo 24s did. That’s the difference in ride quality changing tires can make that I was talking about earlier.

When I reviewed the Turbo 24s I wrote that most of my riding is just cruising around. Looking over my ride journal, since I put the Endurance tires on I haven’t had a chance to make it out to the Driveway even once or one of the myriad crits or stage races that have happened in just the last 4 or so weeks. But I have ridden the Pro 4 Endurance tires nearly 1,100 miles since April 16 and I’ve had one puncture that I can recall. And the tires seem to show no wear. Given their intended application, I think Michelin has the Pro 4 Endurance spot on.

Just one puncture that remember. It was hard to forget though.

Just one puncture that I remember. It was hard to forget though.

And that’s the rub when it comes to rubber. Where are you riding and how much are you riding? For what I’ve been doing lately, the Endurance may well be the perfect tire. Loads of miles over chip seal and worse with little concern for small debris, road seams, and small potholes. As much as I want to ride very high-end race tires all the time, the hassle of punctures and the cost of replacements versus sublime ride quality makes it an impractical bargain. I’m sticking with the Pro 4 Endurance and it’s like.

To thy own self be true. Especially when picking tires.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 18, 2017 7:56 pm

    I got 1400 miles out of my Turbo s 24s before they became glass magnets. Switched to Michelin Pro4 SC and thinking about the Endurance ones for my next round. I found the Turbo’s had no traction on wet pavement either… too much slippage on an incline from a dead stop.

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