As the first to develop easily removable bicycle tires (what we know as clinchers), Michelin stamped their authority on bike racing in 1891 at the Paris-Brest-Paris road race. Their win in Paris began a long string of victories that nearly spans the history of the bicycle. The PRO4 Service Course Tire is the 4th generation of the only clincher tire to ever win on the cobbles at Roubaix, and it's one of four tires in the PRO4 lineup. The PRO4 Service Course is an overall better tire than its predecessor, the PRO3 Race. This comes by way of a few significant changes, but the important result is that this tire is slightly more durable and, at the same time, faster.
Of the four models in the PRO4 series, the Service Course offers the best balance of longevity and performance. It's different than the PRO3 in nearly all regards. Michelin's new dual compound rubber is a bit harder in the center. This allows the PRO4 to uses 7% less energy when riding in a straight line than the PRO3. It also uses new elastomers and silica for extra grip on the shoulder portions. And while the casing uses the same 110 tpi fabric, the shape differs on the new tire. It sports a sharper profile that offers quicker transitions to steep lean angles and increases the surface area of the contact patch once leaned into turns. Both the new compound and larger contact patch increase the turning traction potential of the PRO4 Service Course by a good margin over the PRO3 Race – an astounding 16% better on wet roads. Expect similar improvement on dry roads as well.
One standout quality of the PRO4 is its flat resistance -- again, think about Paris-Roubaix. On the one hand you get their full-tread, nylon high-density breaker to resist insults from typical road garbage. But you also get sidewalls that -- at least to us -- have a long track record of blowout-resistance for gravel-happy rides. Both the AG2R La Mondiale and Project 1t4i teams will rely on their durability on the roads of Europe this season.
The Michelin PRO4 Service Course Tire is available in Black, in the 700x23c size.