Michelin Pilot Power 2CT vs Pilot Power 3

2CT-front-usedI’ve been running a set of Michelin Power Pilot 2CT’s on my track Daytona 675 for the past year. In that time I have done 15 track days in all weathers from cold wet to super hot and these tyres have never missed a beat. I’ve done nearly 2,000 miles (3,200 km) on them and as you can see from this shot of the front taken after first session of my 15th track day on them, they still have quite a lot of rubber left on them.

I’ve found the 2CTs to be brilliant in the dry in temperatures ranging from 12C – 35C (53F – 95F). Some users report that the tyres grip, grip and grip and then break away suddenly. I’ve personally never found this to by the case but this could be helped by a combination of the following:

  1. I always warm the tyres up for one to two laps depending on the track and temperatures
  2. The Daytona 675 only puts out about 112 horsepower at the back wheel so the rear isn’t be likely to be suddenly overloaded by 150+ horsepower of a litre sports bike
  3. my riding style is pretty conservative and I’m not overly aggressive on the tyres in corners and out of them

Despite the above, I have occasionally been quite aggressive on the front tyre under braking and I’ve never had the slightest scare from the front end. In fact I can sometimes hear the front tyre “howl” when turning in for a corner. In short the 2CT is an amazing track day tyre. If you’re the kind of rider that is likely to encounter both damp and dry conditions and is starting out on track days as I was last year, then I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value for money and competent tyre than the 2CT; a pair of which will set you back around ¬£185 (US$ 300) in the UK.

Because I’m off to Spain next week for four days on track at Cartagena, I decided that I would fit some new tyres before I went out because I didn’t think my existing 2CTs would last 4 days on such an abrasive track. Since there’s always a strong chance of rain in October and November, I wanted a track tyre that would offer me good handling in both dry and wet conditions. I initially looked at the Michelin Power Supersport, but I figured that as good as this would be in the dry it wouldn’t be much fun in the wet. That left me one choice in the Michelin range, and that was the new Pilot Power 3.

Coming up with a better all round road/track tyre than the 2CT must have been a hard task for Michelin. The result of that effort is the Michelin Pilot Power 3 which essentially replaces the Pure. Don’t confuse this new tyre with the road going Pilot Road 3 which is not designed for track use (although some riders do). I have some¬†Pilot Road 3s fitted to a Street Triple and they are without a doubt the best wet weather tyre I have ever ridden on. They inspire huge confidence and provide amazing grip levels in either the wet or the dry.

tyresWhen the Pilot Power 3 launched, Michelin recommended it as a 50:50% road:track tyre. That message has recently changed because the tyres are now recommended as 85:15% road:track use instead. All the rider reports that I’ve read for the tyre rate it as a better tyre than the 2CT in all areas but especially in the wet. However I did read one user test report from a track day rider who complained that the tyre became “greasy” under hot and hard track riding conditions and that they thought that the 2CT was still the better track tyre of the two.

PP3-2CT-comparisonTechnically there are quite a few differences between the two tyres even though both use a dual compound. Visually you can see that the 2CT has fewer grooves cut into the tyre but that the grooves run to the edge of the tyre. The Pilot Power 3 has more grooves for better water dispersal but these grooves don’t reach the shoulder of the tyre. The design of the new tyre makes a lot of sense for wet weather. In the rain, you typically keep the bike upright – even in corners you’ll be trying to limit your lean angle. The extra grooves should dispel water from under the tyre more effectively than the 2CT.

My only real concern with those extra grooves is that there could be less contact patch at lean angles less the 40 degrees which might mean less confidence as you’re rolling into the turn or getting the gas on rolling out of the turn. Beyond 40 degree lean angles, the tyres will be running on the slick section near the edge which also has the softer shoulder compound (compared to the middle).

2CT-plusOne aspect of the Pilot Power 3 which is different to the 2CT is the new 2CT+ technology which extends the harder middle section under the softer shoulders (on the rear tyre). This should give more stability and reduce any “squirm” when accelerating out of corners despite the lighter weight and more flexible nature of this new tyre.

PP3 RubberAccording to Michelin, the Power Pilot 3 lapped 4 seconds a lap faster in the dry and 4.5 seconds a lap quicker in the wet compared to the older 2CT tyres (presumably on their test track). I’m not sure what percentage lap time improvement that is because Michelin don’t quote the absolute original or new lap times. If you assume a 100 second lap time, then a four second reduction in lap time equates to a 4% improvement which is pretty significant.

For the first day at Cartagena with mid-afternoon air temperatures around 26C (79F), I started with tyre pressures of 31 psi front and 30 psi rear. Because I spent the first day learning the track, my pace was pretty sedate (more so than normal!) and I wasn’t really giving the tyres a hard time. As you can see from the photos below, these pressures were probably a little too high as the tyre appears to be showing some tearing.

Day1-PP3-Front
Day1-PP3-Rear

Day2-PP3-RearFor day 2, with similar air and track temperatures to day 1, I reduced the tyre pressures down to 30 front and 29 rear. I haven’t included a picture of the front as it looks pretty similar to the previous day.

You can see how the rear tyre is now showing a lot less tearing despite the fact that I was now running (slightly) faster lap times than the previous day and a greater lean angle. The tyre shows a much nicer wear pattern with that slight “rippled” surface running from the center of the tyre towards the point at which the rubber compound changes.

Day3-PP3-Rear-AllFor day 3 with air temperatures of around 27C (80F), I reduced the tyre pressures down to 28 psi on the front and 27 psi for the rear. These pressures were recommended by the tyre services guy that was onsite at the track.

Although I was slightly dubious about these lower pressures, it turned out that they were fine and the tyres performed really well on track, and the rubber looked better for it at the end of the day.

Just as a point of reference, other (fast group) riders running Metzeler Racetecs were using tyre pressures around 22-24 psi for the rear and 24-27 psi on the front.

Day3-PP3-Rear
Day3-PP3-Front

Before I ventured out on track the first day, I was worried that these new Power Pilot 3s would be too road orientated and wouldn’t really be a good track tyre. However, by the second day, I really started to trust them and used increasingly greater lean angles. Despite the hot conditions, and super abrasive track surface they performed superbly. They never once squirmed, twitched or felt greasy despite the high air and track temperatures. In fact it felt like I was going around the track on rails; even when I inadvertently applied the throttle or brakes too suddenly mid-corner.

In those four days at Cartagena, I estimate that I rode over 400 miles with plenty of heat cycles (up to 7 per day) as I was not using tyre warmers. After all that abuse, these tyres still look in amazing condition with plenty of tread and rubber left on them. The grippier tyre shoulders do exactly what they claim, and the neither the front nor rear tyre ever gave me any heart stopping moments.

The real question is whether I would buy the Power Pilot 3s again, and whether I would buy them over the 2CTs which are around 20-30% cheaper. The answer is a definite “yes”. I think all Michelin’s claims for the new Power Pilot 3s are true, and that they really have produced a brilliant supersport road tyre that is also perfect for track day use.

Update: May 2014

pp3-rear-10daysI’ve now used these tyres on 10 track days; eight in Spain and two in the UK at Silverstone. The tyres have now done approximately 1,000 miles. 800 miles of those miles have been ridden on the abrasive Cartagena track and the remaining 200 miles have been ridden on the faster Silverstone circuit. I’ve now also run the tyres with and without tyre warmers and I’m still really impressed with them.

pp3-front-10dayYou can see from these two photos that they still have lots of tread left, and despite many repeated heat cycles, they still feel as good now as they did when I first fitted them last year. I’ve now used them in hot and cold dry conditions but I’ve yet to ride them on track in the rain. When I do, I’ll report back again.

Update: October 2014

I recently switched to a set of Pirelli Rosso Corsas and you can read my comparison review of the Michelin Power Pilot 3 vs the Pirelli Rosso Corsa.

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19 thoughts on “Michelin Pilot Power 2CT vs Pilot Power 3”

    1. Glad it was useful to you. I couldn’t find a lot of information about these tyres before I bought them which is why I created this review. Finding information on the net is not helped by Michelin’s confused naming strategy for its tyre range!

  1. Great write up! I was under the impression that the 3’s had a different rubber compound than the 2’s. It seems they have the same compounds, just the placement and tread pattern is different.

  2. Great review, hard to find a side by side comparison. Just bought these for my Street Triple. Can’t wait to give them a run.

  3. Excellent review! I have the 2CT’s on my Ninja now and I thought they might be nearing replacement. Not only did you confirm my suspicions that they may have quite a bit of life left in them but you sold me on my next set, too. Thanks for the info.

  4. I have these on my GXSR 1000 K6. I went with a 190/55 on the rear and road the local twisties for 2 1/2 months before I went to a track day. It poured rain that morning and the track had standing water. First session I was questioning how far I could twist the throttle…second session I started pushing it…absolutely no slip on corners at all. Buddy of mine on his 2012 ZX10R with whatever the factory tire was kept telling me how high he had his traction control set and how he could feel it kicking on damn near every corner and I was right there with him. No slippage :)
    The following weekend 13 friends and I trailered our bikes to Arkansas for a 3 day weekend. ..550 miles on all sorts of different surfaces and hot humid days. Never had a bit of trouble. I ride this bike alot and since picking it up in April I have almost 5000 miles on it over the 8000 it had when I bought it. I should mention the day I bought it I put the Power 3’s on…so 5000 miles on my tires and I feel that I can get 2000 more on the rear…4-5 more on the front…I personally do not see how Michelin can improve on this tire!!! Oh FYI on the track I ran 28f and 27r tire pressure.

    1. Great feedback, thanks. I agree that Michelin are going to struggle to improve on the Power 3 – it really is an awesome all round tyre and like you I’m getting loads of use out of it. Also the tyre seems relatively unaffected by heat cycles which is a major bonus for a tracl tyre.

  5. GREAT review! Thank you,
    I had been running Pilot Power on my BMW 1150R for many years, getting 10k miles out of each rear tire.
    My BMW K1200s had Pirelli Diablos. Their traction was good, but I had
    to “fight them” through corners. (bike just wanted to go straight).
    I shredded these tires in 3100 miles – right to the cord. (Blue Ridge)
    I have put Pilot Power3’s. They have 8k miles on them, rear is pretty worn. (replacing next week with Road3’s).
    But I have been VERY happy with ALL my pilot tires over the years.
    power, power3, power road3. They stick to the road dry and are
    incredible in wet. They carve any corner, any time.
    Michelins are the only tires I will run…

  6. Thanks for the review, which is one of the first I’ve found on the web. I recently fitted a pair of Pilot Power 3s to my 636 Ninja. I’ve not done a track day with them yet, but have thrashed them around Europe on a number of spirited 3- and 4-day trips. Never missed a beat, and I’ve now put over 4k miles on them. Only changing them because it coincides with a big service, and they feel like they are starting to go off a bit.
    The bike came fitted as standard with Bridgestone S20s. Billed as a Hypersport tyre, I have to ask why they are fitted to a Supersport bike? I was so relieved to get them changed for the PP3s. Changing tyres is always such a big gamble, but I’d say I’ve hit the jackpot with these Michelins.
    Happy riding :-)

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I’ve managed a full year of track days on these tyres (13 in all) including 8 days in Spain and the tyres still have plenty of tread. They are starting to look a little cooked and I plan on replacing them soon. They do seem sensitive to tyre pressures and heat because I found when overinflated due to heating up more than I expected on a track day they can feel like they’re going off. Reducing the pressures generally sorted this out. I still rate these tyres highly although I may be tempted to try something else soon.

  7. I own a 02 CbR954RR and I have racing on the CT2’s for over 7 years. I have 3 set in my garage, I love that tire. I recently bought the PP3 due to its great reviews. I ran 32/32 cold and right of the bat i was not happy with it. The tire is round, the bike turn extremely quick , too quick. The grooves stop about an inch from the sidewall, and the sidewalls are very hard compared to the CT2. I put 150 miles, and ended up selling them for $100 US , and installing CT2 back again.

    1. I loved the CT2’s but also rate the Pilot Power 3’s.

      If the weather was warm did you try dropping the pressures? In decent (hot) weather I was running lower tyres pressures on the PP3 and they felt a lot better. Maybe they expand more than the 2CTs when hot and therefore feel stiffer?

      Neither the 2CT or PP3 are as good as the Pirelli Rosso Corsa in the dry… although both are better than the Pirelli in the wet!

      I’ve now invested in a set of full wets for wet weather track days and will stick to the Pirelli Rosso Corsas for the dry for the time being.

  8. Hi, just wanted to thank you for your review of the tyres.
    I’m just about to get a pair tyres for my Gsxr 600. I have been a fan of the Pilot Power tyres, but after reading the review of the 3’s I don’t think there’s any option! !
    I have enough confidence in Michelin to know that everything they make is brilliant.

    This review has been very helpful man.

    Thank you.b

    1. For street use the Michelins are good but for track use there are better tyres. At the moment, my personal favourites (for track) are the Continental RaceAttacks which are comparable with the Pirelli Supercorsa’s in the dry but infinitely better than the Pirelli’s in the wet. Just my 2c.

  9. I currently use this tyre on back of Hayabusa, mainly for weekend spirited riding in cold temp. They last forever which is a bad point for me as I can’t wait to get rid of them. I have found they will start to slide at ever opportunity and if I hit the white line they let go at only moderate speed. These French tyres are useless for road riding, wet performance installs no confidence at all
    It’s 2016 everyone makes better tyres than this they are old and outdated. Only get them if you want to do some burnouts on cheap shit tyres.

    1. I too have moved on from the 2CTs and the Pilot Powers. However I found them to be good tyres when I started out track riding.

      For spirited dry weather riding, I found that the Pirelli Rosso Corsas were amazing. However they were also shocking in cold and wet conditions.

      A tyre that I rate as good as the Pirelli Supercorsa in the dry and which is also hugely confidence inspiring in the wet is the Continental RaceAttack (Endurance) tyre. These are long lasting and amazing in all track conditions.

      I’ll add a write up of them soon

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