Innovation requires finding solutions in areas that make conflicting, seemingly irreconcilable demands on product performance. In a tyre, it’s all about maintaining balance. In theory, improving performance in one area means making sacrifices in another. Refusing to accept that premise, Michelin develops technologies that make it possible to simultaneously improve performance in different areas. That’s the price of progress, which is meaningful only if advances are made across the board. And that’s what Michelin has achieved with the Anakee 2, a new tyre for the market’s top-performing adventure touring bikes.
The Michelin Anakee 2 improves performance in two areas that no other adventure tyre has been able to reconcile – enhanced longevity and superior grip on wet roads. This balance was achieved thanks to the Michelin Group’s unique strategy of transferring racing tyre solutions to road tyres.
The goal of the new Michelin Anakee 2 is to enable safe driving on wet roads thanks to outstanding grip while delivering a level of wear-resistance that extends tyre life.
This performance has been confirmed by CERM (Centre d’Essais Routiers Mécaniques), an independent organisation that conducts tests and studies for the automobile and motorcycle industries. CERM carried out a series of tests in 2008 comparing the new Michelin Anakee 2 to two of its direct, major-brand competitors.
The results speak for themselves—the new Michelin Anakee 2 delivers at least 29% more total mileage than the other tyres tested. This additional mileage was obtained without affecting the other fundamental performance qualities that Michelin requires of its tyres. One of these is safety, since the Michelin Anakee 2 provides the same level of grip as its competitors in situations were adherence is reduced – such as on wet surfaces.
The Michelin Anakee 2’s longer tread life creates two distinct benefits. The first is for the individual. Michelin’s new tyre generates savings for users, who will be able to ride 29% further before changing their tyres than they would on either of the two competitors’ tyres.
The second benefit is for society as a whole. A tyre that lasts longer has a positive impact on raw material consumption. In other words, if, to achieve a given mileage, fewer tyres are manufactured then fewer end-of-life tyres must be disposed of as scrap.
The tyres in the new Michelin Anakee 2 range are part of the radial adventure tyre category. With this family of tyres – and motorcycles – riders usually have to choose between enhanced grip or longer tyre life. The choice isn’t always easy:
Softer tyres offer superior grip, thereby ensuring safe riding even in difficult weather conditions, such as on wet or cold surfaces. However, soft compound tyres have the disadvantage of wearing faster than harder tyres.
To last longer, tyres need to be made with tougher rubber. Hard compound tyres have a longer lifespan and experience less wear during sudden acceleration and braking. The trouble is that hard compound tyres provide less traction than softer tyres and consequently deliver inferior grip on wet surfaces.
Michelin has reconciled these conflicting demands. The new Anakee 2 combines adherence and wear-resistance – meaning safety and longevity – thanks to a rubber compound that integrates technologies developed and tested in MotoGP racing.
Racing is used as a testing ground because there is no more demanding discipline. MotoGP bikes must meet seemingly insurmountable challenges. Powered by 240 hp, these bikes can reach speeds of more than 340 km/h yet weigh less than 145 kilograms. All of these demands must be managed by a contact patch made of just a few square centimetres of rubber. To handle these power outputs, tyres would have to constantly be made wider, which is obviously not possible. So the solution involves creating new rubber compounds that are capable of delivering optimal performance in ever more demanding situations.
The Michelin Anakee 2, like all of the tyres in the brand’s two-wheel ranges, leverages these advances. For Michelin, racing is not just about winning. It also provides a means of validating – in extreme conditions – technologies that will then be used in tyres for amateur motorcyclists. This is the first time ever that an adventure tyre integrates so many innovations developed for track racing.
The Michelin Anakee 2 uses a rubber compound formulated especially for race tyres called C-RAO (for Compounds-RAcing Optimization). It is made with exclusive 100% synthetic elastomers (called Michelin Racing Synthetic Elastomers), a new silica compound used in Michelin MotoGP rain tyres, and new 100% synthetic resins (High Tech Synthetic Compound, or HTSC).
Another original feature of the Michelin Anakee 2 is its use of different rubber compounds for the front and rear tyres. The front tyre is designed to ensure precise handling, while the rear has been developed to transmit engine torque.
Engineers constantly have to make choices when developing new technologies. Working on interdependent technologies separately offers the possibility of improving one area of performance without sacrificing another. This approach underlies all of Michelin’s fundamental advances. Our engineers, for example, have separated individual components (the tyre from the wheel), structural elements within the same component (the tyre’s crown from its sidewalls) and properties of the material itself (rubber compounds).
Michelin invented the first detachable bicycle tyre in 1891. Prior to that date, tyres and wheels were glued together. As a result, repairs were long and difficult. Since the tyre and wheel functioned as a single unit it was impossible to modify tyre properties independently of wheel properties.
Michelin filed a patent for the radial-ply tyre in 1946, thus laying the foundations for the modern car tyre, which is still the industry benchmark. This type of tyre separates the mechanical properties of the tyre crown from those of the sidewalls. As a result, the tyre belt is more rigid; guaranteeing better handling and longevity, and the sidewalls are more flexible, offering greater ride comfort and reduced rolling resistance.
In 1984, Michelin’s first radial tyres were tested in Grand Prix motorcycle racing and very quickly set new performance standards. Since then, Michelin has won 350 races and 26 world championships in premier-class racing.
In 1987, Michelin leveraged its experience in competition to introduce the first radial tyre for road motorcycles: the Michelin A59 X and M59 X. Radial technology provides a critical advantage in terms of resistance and stability at high speeds, as well as consistently superior, long-term road performance, riding comfort and wear-resistance.
In early 1990, Michelin introduced silica in its track racing tyres. This innovation marked the beginning of a new era of supremacy for Michelin, especially in races run on wet surfaces. By adding silica to the rubber compound used in motorcycle tyres, Michelin established a new benchmark for grip on wet and damp tracks.
Now, in 2008, the Michelin Anakee 2 is a direct descendant of this innovation. Its silica-based rubber compound provides both wet grip and longevity. The Michelin Anakee 2 is in the tradition of the Michelin Pilot Power, which was launched in 2004. The Michelin Pilot Power was the first road tyre to integrate the C-RAO (Compounds-RAcing Optimization) rubber compound developed especially for racing tyres.
The Michelin Anakee 2 incorporates three ingredients that are identical to those used in MotoGP racing tyres. They enable the new tyre to deliver both very long tyre life and superior grip on wet roads.
In 2008, Michelin is launching the Anakee 2 for the market’s top-performing adventure touring bikes, such as the Aprilia 1000 Caponord, BMW R 1200 GS, Honda 1000 Varadero and the Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom.
Although the tyre is just being brought to market this spring, it has already been approved for use on the BMW R 1200 GS, Europe’s best-selling high-performance adventure touring bike.
110/80 R 19 59H
110/80 R 19 59V
150/70 R 17 69H
150/70 R 17 69V
The Michelin Anakee 2 will be available from early June.