Not all gravel is rugged, rocky and demands a treaded tire to dig into the dirt, Michelin’s Power Adventure gravel tire is a slick option that caters toward hardpack and rough asphalt where fast rolling and durable characteristics trump all-out traction.
I previously tested Michelin’s Power Gravel which quickly marked itself as one of my favorite gravel tires and as summer has properly set in, it was time to switch to the slicker Power Adventure to see how it performs on more parched terrain.
Design and specifications
Michelin only has two gravel tires in their range and the Power Adventure is aimed at transitioning from tarmac to light gravel. The tread reflects this with a slick center portion and a treaded outer edge. Michelin says they have specced this tire with their Gum-X compound which is said to add a little more durability. The casing uses three layers of 100tpi sheets which are stretched bead to bead for full tire protection.
Michelin offers the Power Adventure in black or ‘classic’ sidewalls and four sizes ranging from 30mm for endurance road and on to 36mm, 42mm, and 48mm for fast gravel. I have the 42mm size tire to test which is a good balance for mixed surface days out. My test tires weigh in at 447g which is decent considering the tire's toughness. For comparison, the slightly grippier and racier Schwalbe G-One RS 40mm weighs 471g, Panaracer GravelKing Semi-Slick 43mm has a quoted weight of 480g, and the WTB Byway in 44mm is claimed to weigh 499g.
Fitting the tires and setting them up tubeless was hassle-free, with the tire bead eagerly popping into place on the wide Prime Orra Carbon gravel wheels with a blast of air from a Lezyne Digital Pressure Overdrive floor pump.
The combination of a slick center channel means they roll very well on the road and hardpack gravel alike. Lean in and the shallow block tread along the edges quickly engages to give a reliable grip. The transition is smooth as well so I felt very confident leaning the Power Adventure into corners at speed.
Looser surfaces were going to start exposing the Power Adventures speed focus, although in its 42mm width there is still enough of a physical footprint to keep it predictable if the trail's top layer is broken up.
Although the Power Adventure offers good levels of comfort in its 42mm format, be careful trying to eke out more cushioning by dropping to lower pressures. Although cornering remained stable when being run at sub 30psi for me, resistance against impacts was greatly diminished and I felt a number of sudden and unexpected blunt rock-to-rim impacts at lower pressures.
I might have been unlucky, but one such impact was enough to crack a rim. It's impossible to say whether another tire would have resisted the impact enough to avoid such damage. Despite clattering a rock hard enough to right off the rim, the tire remained inflated with no pinch holes to the sidewall which is very impressive. In fact, over the 1,000km plus of testing I didn’t have a single puncture. The tread wear after testing is minimal so far and there is still plenty of kilometers left on my review tires.
I expected the Power Adventure gravel tire to be a very similar ride to the Power Gravel which previously impressed me. Its all-weather grip, durability, and rolling speed are very good which gives plenty of confidence when riding across mixed surfaces
Power Adventure tires are not as capable of being run at lower pressures as their treaded compatriots though. Being a slick tire, that's not so much of an issue as the terrain it’s designed for will call for higher pressures anyway. It's not an uncomfortable tire but if you're looking to maximize bump absorption with lower tire pressures it can be easy to fly too close to the sun.
Tech specs: Michelin Power Adventure Gravel tire
- Price: $79.99 / £54.99
- Weight: 447g
- Sizes: 700 x 30mm / 36mm / 42mm / 48mm
- Colors: Black, Classic