Engineered by Michelin to combine the very low rolling resistance of the "Pro 2 Race" and the incredible tack and rain capabilities of the "Pro Grip", the "Pro 3 Race Service Course" does not disappoint. I have been racing on the Pro 3's all year and though I was at first reluctant on their claimed ability to roll faster (used the Pro2's in TT's) and grip better (used the Grips in techy crits and rain days) than anything produced before them, eventually I came to realize these tires aren't just a bunch of hype... they actually increase performance and ride quality. Pair the Pro 3's with a nice set of Laytex Tubes and you get a springy, grippy almost (ALMOST) tubular quality "pingy" ride. Though I never flatted the Zipp Tangente Tubular's while training on them daily this summer, I must admit this morning it was relieving to set out on a little spin without having to lug around a spare tire taped to my seatpost and a lingering fear of being one shard of glass away from shelling out $80.
The only other clincher tire I have ridden extensively that even comes close in terms of all around ride quality have been the Vittoria EVO CX's... these are bad ass as well, but in extreme situations like say a 40K TT or a 10 corner crit in the pouring rain, you want to go with the Michelin's... they are simply a better performing tire.
I got many miles out of my Vittoria's and wore the tread on the rear tire flat, but I would give the nod to the Michelin's in terms of overall performance... the Vittoria's do look very nice though!
Laytex tubes give you a more supple and vivrant ride. In my opinion the rumors that they puncture more easily than butyl tubes are rubbish. The only downfall moderately worth mentioning is that laytex tubes will lose more air overnight than a butyl tube. Big deal!
Here is a shot of the Michelin Laytex tube that I was running with the Vittoria's. The black marks are from the inner casing on the Vittoria tire as the tube adhered itself to the tire's casing for lack of talc powder. It is VERY important you talk your tubes before installation. Why? A talc'd tube will flat less (can wiggle inside the tire) and will sit in the casing of the tire better(think ear deafening explosion of tube after pumping up to max pressure for the first time becuase the tube was pinched out of the bead against the rim).
Don't forget to remove the little straw that sits over the valve. i.e. "Why won't this dang valve through the rim?!"
Pretty cool stripes if you ask me. Seafoam Green not your thing? No big deal... the Pro3's come in other colours to best suit your vanity needs.
Contrary to clincher tire mounting tradition, you mount the tire towards the valve core, not away from it. This is especially important if you are mounting the Pro3's on a carbon rim.
A thin coat of wax-like substance will be on your new Pro3's. If you plan on pushing them hard from the blocks, take a razor and scrape the substance off with a razor blade. *note: i am not scraping in the above picture, just showing you the residue that comes off the tire. scrape with the blade away from the direction it is moving... think "sweeping the floor".
Happy bike ready to go! Hey! Who stole my watter bottles?!
Click to purchase the Michelin Pro3 Race's and Michelin Laytex Tubes.