SCOOTER TYRES GO DUAL-COMPOUND
MICHELIN POWER PURE SC
The new product from Michelin employs the dual compound technology used to date only for motorcycle racing tyres. The following are the technical details and its behaviour on the road.
THE INCREASINGLY crowded and coveted scooter tyre market with its constant stream of new developments makes differentiation more and more difficult, even for brands in the premium segment. But the game is certainly worth the candle when the trend is indisputable. In Italy, the segment of scooter tyres with speed ratings equal to or higher than P (150 km/h) has increased by no less than 30% in recent years. In Europe it has even reached 73%, according to data published by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA).
So Michelin has launched Power Pure SC, a dual-compound tyre for scooters, designed particularly for riders looking for a sporty drive, who enjoy the lean angles of a fast tyre with unhesitating grip on acceleration and braking, and want to be on first name terms with safety on dry and wet roads. And naturally without conceding anything in terms of longevity. “Our preferred target” – confirmed Filippo Bettati, head of motorbike and scooter marketing at Michelin Italy – “are the drivers who are more demanding when it comes to performance; in other words, the owners of scooters with up to 125 cc of engine capacity, at least a third of whom ride or used to ride a motorcycle.” According to the statistics quoted by the French company, 8 in 10 riders use their scooters every day, the majority for commuting to and from work.
A sporty character
More sporty drivers want the combination of something that is both useful and enjoyable. This emerged from a recent survey carried out by ETRMA and according to which tyres are essential for driving safely in cities and must be dependable not only for everyday use but also in any conditions, for lean angle, accelerating and braking to guarantee vehicle behaviour that is both rewarding and dynamic. “Our response with the new Power Pure SC” – Bettati emphasized – “is based on the use of Michelin 2CT (Dual Compound Technology) which derives from competitions” and has been used since 2005 for the Power Race hypersport tyre and is now available also for scooters - the other half of the two-wheel firmament where the company based at Bibendum seems to be intent on removing any remaining inferiority complexes by comparison with motorcycles. Gianfranco Bonfadini, commercial director of the two-wheel product line at Michelin Italia, said: “Power Pure SC is a sport premium tyre for the scooter market. It is distinguished by performance combined with safety, longevity and driving pleasure”.
Balanced, sincere and fun
“Contributing to this is the dual compound, soft on the sides to the advantage of grip, hard in the centre to the advantage of feedback and longevity, and a tread design that was inspired by the ‘fountain’ tread used for the high-performance motorbike tyre Power Pure, which is very effective on dry and wet roads”.
The dual compound divides the tyre into three sections: the central area of the tread (just over a third of profile width) where the stress is greatest and where the harder compound gives better mileage and greater responsiveness, and the side areas where the soft compound gives grip for safe lean angles and accelerating when used for sporty driving. It is the result of work by the Michelin research and development centre, in which the French group yearly invests almost 600 million euros.
Radials on the way
Already on the market in 19 sizes (from 110/90-12” to 120/70-15” for the front, from 130/60-13” to 130/80-15” for the rear) with a conventional structure, Power Pure SC replaces the Pilot Sport and by the end of the year a radial version will also be available for the big Yamaha Tmax 530 and BMW C600 Sport scooters with sets of 120/70 R15 and 160/60 R15. Some sizes in the new range appear to overlap with those of the City Grip series, a tyre launched in 2010 and a bestseller in Michelin’s scooter offer. “It is a way” – Bonfadini explained – “of offering users two choices depending on habits and driving styles. Power Pure SC is only slightly more expensive: on average, the difference in price between the two products is not more than 3-4% and longevity is totally comparable”. In Italy, the new tyre is positioned in a segment with a total of about 630,000 tyres, of which radials represent not more than a tenth, and for which expected growth this year is 1.5%.
• A compound for two wheels - The evolution goes on
Twenty years ago, the silica-based reinforcement of compounds was introduced and was an innovation that rewarded Michelin’s commitment to competitions, especially those on the wet. Two years later, in 1994, the dual compound tyre made its debut at the MotoGP 500 championship. It was the start of the gradual acceleration of technological transfers from the motorsport circuits to the two-wheels used every day. However, it took ten years for the innovative 2CT double compound to debut with Power Race, the racing tyre homologated for streets, but the crescendo has begun.
The new-generation dual compound technology literally left the track in 2006 with the Pilot Power tyre for sport motorcycles used on the road. Benefitting from the new invention that combines Michelin Racing Synthetic Elastomers (MRSE) with High-Tech Synthetic Compounds (HTSC) to bring them up to temperature faster, was the hypersport Power One. The same one with three compound technology (3CT) that is now available for track day enthusiasts in the 16.5” slick version for the rear. Which raises the technological complexity by increasing the performance level in parallel: three different tread compounds, medium in the centre, extra-soft on one side and soft on the other, the latter mounted on the side that is subjected to greater stress, which depends on whether the circuit has more left or right turns.