New tyre and a cold winter’s day

I pulled the back wheel out of the ZX14 yesterday and had a new Michelin Pilot Road 4GT fitted. The GT is an interesting evolution of the Michelin Pilot Road (sport- touring) series in that it is specifically designed for heavy motorcycles and has a combination of bias ply and radial ply in its construction. There’s some more info on the Michelin site HERE
but a better overall explanation on MC News HERE. It has a hard compound center, and the edges are medium compound. Mind you, feeling the center section (OK, I’m resorting to American spelling in this post just to appease my spell checker!) of tread it actually feels VERY soft  to touch – so ‘hard’ is a relative term in this case. .

Below is a pic that I took last night before the tire had been used. Note that the sipes and tread grooves don’t go right out to the edge of the tire as they do with the PR 3.

This was my first ride for a few weeks after a burst of wet winter weather and being away on holidays, so I was keen to ride. I took a familiar route inland from Geelong to Forrest to visit the Red Dog (pictured previously in this post), have a hot chocolate and a friendly chat with the owner, Emma. Did I mention that it was pretty damn cold this morning?

From here I took to the twisties to Apollo Bay, confident that the new tire was scrubbed in. From Apollo Bay I ran the inland section of the Great Ocean Road to Lavers Hill, then Gellibrand then down to Colac. This route offers the best combination of fast open sweepers and tight hairpin curves, though care is needed this time of year. There are some slippery, mossy spots and some damp corners under the tree cover.

The scenery along this route is pretty special as well! One of my favorites, where the GOR crosses the Aire River.

After a stop at the Gellibrand store for another hot drink, I continued on to Colac and dropped in at Steve’s place on the off chance that he was home. Fortunately he was and we had a great catch up and a look at the progress of his most recent Norton model 18 restoration. Steve’s just had a crack at his first paint job – pretty impressive I think. Well done mate! I wish I had your skills.

I took the highway home and arrived back in Geelong just before dusk, just as it began to get really cold again.

The ZX14 felt great now that it has a pair of PR4’s on it. However, realistically it’s too early pass judgement on the PR4 GT. I’ve been caught before with a new concept tire that felt great at first but after a few thousand kilometers was terrible on my specific bike. Even the highly rated PR3 that came off the rear had some scalloping on it that I think is quite unacceptable on such expensive tyres. The scalloping issue is reasonably common when one speaks with ‘real world’ riders, but hardly gets a mention in MC magazine tyre review articles.