A Useful Review – The Michelin Power Gravel Tire

I’m revisiting a gravel tire from Michelin’s Power series, called, obviously enough, the Michelin Power Gravel. I originally reviewed these after riding them on fire roads in Northern California. I’ve been riding the 35mm width, which is, for my purposes, a bit small for riding in Sonoma County, because the rock can be so chunky. Big rocks have the ability to compress a 35mm tire all the way to the rim if hit with enough velocity. The Michelin Power Gravel was a nice enough tire on those fire roads, but I remained concerned about flats until I went back to a wider tire.

Next, I mounted a pair on the bike I’d been keeping in Memphis. Tire choice for off-road use in Western Tennessee is not easy. What works in the dry doesn’t usually work in the wet there and you get both in extremes. The Power Gravel features triangular-shaped blocks—actually, they are a bit more pie shaped—and the point is oriented to hit the dirt first. In Memphis, where the dirt has been on the firm but not hard side there, the tires were incredible. The traction was truly surprising and they rolled quickly. They even felt reasonably quick on the pavement.

I’ve since taken that bike and these tires to Seattle, where the summer dirt is of a hero variety that I don’t often encounter. I rode some singletrack near Issaquah and was honestly shocked by how well these things gripped in corners. At one point, I entered a turn only to realize I needed to brake hard, so hard, in fact, that I managed to break both tires free and they made a funny sort of zipper sound on the dirt. The sound amused me enough to make me laugh.

The upshot here is that while the tire seemed nice enough before, it wasn’t well-suited to the conditions I was riding in. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to ride it in some environments where it can shine and I’m far more impressed with this tire.

The Michelin Power Gravel comes in four sizes: 33, 35, 40 and 47mm wide, all 700C. I tend to run them between 35 and 40 psi, but on gentler surfaces, I’ve gone even lower without a single flat. Retail on the tires is $79.99 ea., but online they can easily be found for less than that. 

Final thought: Every tire has its track.

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