Michelin City

Michelin City

I’ve been riding the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme in a 32-622 and 37-622 for the past couple of years. The Schwalbe is widely regarded as the best touring tire on the market (which also makes it an excellent commuting tire). It has a high thread count which makes it light and supple, it uses a state-of-the-art puncture-resistant layer, and it uses Schwalbes’ latest rubber compounds. The only drawback is its shockingly high price (~$75).

Often, the stock tires supplied on production bikes are not top-of-the-line. Such is the case with the Civia Bryant I purchased a few months ago. It came spec’d with Michelin’s City tire in a 32-622. The City is a relatively inexpensive (~$30) commuting tire with a low thread count (33 tpi compared to the Schwalbe’s 67 tpi) which makes it heavy and, at least theoretically, stiff. I have a set of Supremes I was planning on putting on this bike, but I have to say, I’ve been enjoying these Michelins so much that they’re going to stay on the bike until they either wear out or punctures become an issue.

On paper, the City should provide a harsh ride due to its low thread count, but I haven’t found this to be the case. In fact, I really like its road feel; it’s lively, surprisingly grippy, and it does a great job of muting road shock, even at my usual 60-65psi. It is a heavy tire, and I’m sure the rolling resistance is higher than the Schwalbe’s, but my commute times haven’t changed, so these are non-issues for me.

With flat season ramping up, the true test is coming. I also have to see how they wear over time. I’ll report back later this year and let you know how it goes. In the meantime, if anyone has been riding this tire, I’d love to hear how it’s working out for you.

35 Responses to “Michelin City”

  • Jeremy says:

    Alan,

    What constitutes ‘flat season’ in Sac? I lived virtually flat-free in the Bay Area for years, but have found that flats tend to follow rain storms on the roads here in Boston. Well, that and ‘pothole season’ in March.

  • Richard says:

    I rolled these for about 2 yrs and found they were a decent tire for the price. Unfortunately I have to ride over a lot of glass for my commute, and that was their eventual undoing. I decided it was time to upgrade after about the 6th or 7th flat. However, they corner nicely and they were plenty grippy. On my other bike I use mid-grade vittorias (Adventurers?) with tuffy liners and have avoided the flats a lot better.

  • Nico Forte says:

    Sounds like a good tire, having passed some initial tests. But, as you said, the big hurdle, at least in my mind will be the thorn test. Looking forward to reading your findings.

  • Dave says:

    In a blind test, I think I’d be hard pressed to tell you the thread density in the tire casing of any tire. I think a 1% difference in tire pressure would be more noticeable.

  • Cloudcrusher says:

    I’ve been rolling on continental gator skins for about two years flat free. In Chicago none the less. fast tire, long lasting, i’m sold.

  • Tim D. says:

    I run a 40 Michelin City (it really measures about 43mm) on the front of my commuter. It’s been on there for about 2 years and it hasn’t gotten a puncture yet. Of course, I don’t have to deal with nasty thorns, but I do inadvertently hit patches of glass now and then with no problem. The rubber is running low on it, so I imagine punctures could become more common, but so far the kevlar band is holding the glass shards at bay.

  • arevee says:

    My experience with Schwalbes is that they are indeed very flat resistant, but I don’t like the ride. They feel heavy and harsh riding. They don’t seem to handle particularly well either. My Schwalbe experience is with Marathon Supremes. I’ll stick with something a little more flat prone and comfortable. Having done much cycling in the 70′s and 80′s, an occassional flat is not a big deal.

    I’m riding Panaracer Pasela 700×38 and Grand Bois Cypres700 x 32. These are more to my liking.

  • Alan says:

    @Dave

    Agreed. I’m interested mostly in two things: shock absorption and puncture resistance. A tire that reaches a good balance between those two is a tire I’ll like, regardless of the tpi.

  • Robin Hillier says:

    @arevee
    It’s interesting to see that you find Schwalbes harsh and heavy compared to paselas. Just goes to show that everything is relative. I consider myself lucky to have got a pair of Schwalbe 35x700c (same as 37-622 believe it or not) Supremes as standard on my Cube commuter. The rear met its match when a broken bottle mixed into some pine needles cut through the rear when I was carrying a heavy load. I replaced it with some Continental 35-622 City Contacts. Guess what, I found them harsh and heavy! Also, although the tyres both measured the same width, I found that the Schwalbes more balloon-like shape offered greater comfort while still rolling more smoothly. For me, they are the best I’ve found yet, but now I’d be interested to try something like the Paselas if they aren’t so expensive.

  • Mike C says:

    I have been riding Michelin City on my commuter in a 700×35 (actual 35) for about 3000 mi. and have had 0 flats. Prior to that I was commuting on my old MTB with 26 X 1.75 City for about 4000 mi with 0 flats. As a tire for commuting I think it is perfect. Wears well, flat resistant, not excessive rolling resistance, and cost effective. The puncture-resistant layer is only about 2 mm thick. The Michellin City Pilot uses a puncture-resistant layer that is ~5 mm, similar to Schwalbe for maximum resistance if needed and is still much cheaper than the marathons

  • Andrew J. Smith says:

    My tire of choice for my 27″ wheels are Continental Gatorskins. They look to be about 38 mm and they are awesome! I’ve tried Schwalbe Marathons and kept getting pinch flats even at the maximum recommended pressure. With the Gatorskins, I always keep them at ~5 psi above the maximum recommended pressure. I know this can increase rolling resistance (jumping the bumps instead of rolling through the them), but they feel great and last a long time.

  • clever-title says:

    I have Michelin City 32s on my commuter. No complaints in the last 1.5 years with them. Though I did use a Slime tube on the back wheel as some insurance against having to deal with the IGH.

  • Dave says:

    Funny, I feel the same way as Alan regarding the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. They ride great and I’ve gone >2000 miles so far without a flat. Knock wood! For me, puncture resistance without excessive weight is the magic formula. Mine are 700 x 32 and I generally keep them >85 PSI. I actually prefer the livelier feel.

  • Alan says:

    @Jeremy

    Flat season here coincides with summer when goatheads litter our trails. July/August seem to be the worst.

    Alan

  • Rootchopper says:

    I agree with arevee. Schwalbe tires ride stiff. They also seem to be much harder to get on the rim. (I have actually had blow outs when they didn’t seat properly. I’ve never had this happen with any other tire.) I use Panaracer Pasella (with TourGuard) on my commuting/touring bike. They give a comfortable ride with decent flat resistance. The only problem I have had is that the sidewalls have a tendency to give out before the treads. I figure if I can get 3,000 miles out of a tire, commuting year round, it’s done it’s job.

  • Steve says:

    For more than a year I used the Michelin City @ 26×1.4 (35-559) for the rear of my Ryan Recumbent Vanguard. I never had any problem with flats, even though on my commuting route I have to deal with broken glass and goathead-shaped thorny seed pods. I think the City makes a good ride with good tread life and traction.

  • Phil says:

    I use to use Vredestein Spiders until they went out of production. At the moment I have a Bontrager Comfort on the front and a 2.3″ Tioga on the back, and I’ll run these until they wear out or tear. Then I’m switching to Schwalbe Big Apples- I love balloon tyres.

  • Julian C says:

    I’m just about to put on a pair of Specialized’s current edition of their Armadillo casings. I’m also wondering how firm the ride will be.

  • JohnnyD says:

    Have both tires on 2 different bikes. Supremes on the rear of my TE and love the tire for it’s suple grippy feel and low rolling resistance. I run the City’s on my commuter (converted mtn Bike) for the last 1.5 yrs. Really enjoy these tires as well. Great road grip even when roads are wet. They just feel really nice under foot for a commute.
    Front tire still has plenty of tread left and no puntures. I had my first rear flat a couple of weeks ago thanks to a dry wall screw. Very hard to get tire on and off. If I had 2 irons with me it would have been easier. ButI bought another City to replace the old one.
    City:
    Pros: Cost less, grips road, puncture resistance is good (IMO), just feels right on a commuter (intangable).
    Cons: Hard to get on and off rims.
    Supreme:
    Pros: Fast, grips road, puncture resistance is good (IMO), feels like this tire was made for my TE (intangable), easy on and off.

    I think your intial feelings are spot on.

    Side note: I hate conti’s. I have tried several and just do not like them for one reason or another.

  • doug in seattle says:

    “It has a high thread count which makes it light and supple…”

    You’re kidding, right? Marathons are the exact opposite of light and supple in my experience, regardless of thread count. They put a lot of rubber on those things!

    My camper has 37mm Schwalbe Marathons. I chose those because they are durable, fairly flat resistant, and designed for harsh touring conditions. For that they excel, because a loaded camping bike would handle and perform poorly even with nicer riding tires. After a year of use, they have gotten two flats: a single staple on a country highway and a small cut from a rock on a high speed gravel descent. When I unload the bike, their disadvantages become apparent: the bike is sluggish feeling and not lively at all. Of course, it’s a camping bike and not designed for fast fun riding, but it was a lot better when it had Paselas, which I love well enough but not for heavy duty touring in the Northwest.

    For commuting I have 32mm Paselas without Tourguard. Over the years I have come to disregard flat resistance as an important quality in my tires, since I get so few and they’re easy to fix anyways. I’d rather have a bike that is more fun to ride all the time rather than slightly less flat prone on those rare occasions when you might get a flat. Besides, I’ve come to learn how to avoid flats pretty effectively — even in pot-holed urban Seattle, I’ve gotten one flat on the way to work in three years, all on non-kevlar tires.

  • Alan says:

    @doug in seattle

    The Marathon Supreme is not to be confused with the standard Marathon – they’re totally different tires. In 32-622 the standard Marathon weighs 640g, compared to the Marathon Supreme at 375g.

    Alan

  • Steve Butcher says:

    I’ve been riding Michelin City 32-622 tires on my commuting bike for about 2 years. My commute is pretty short at 3 miles one way but it is over a mix of gravel and asphalt ranging from smooth to rough. I’ve found the tires very comfortable and durable. I’ve yet to experience a flat and the tread hasn’t shown any appreciable wear. I’ve also got City 40-622 on my bike I use for exploring the rural back roads in my area. I’ve had them for just a few months but they are really comfortable on gravel and don’t give up too much in traction for a semi-slick commuter tire though I’m not really into riding fast on gravel.

  • Rider says:

    32-622 … what size is that?

    Can you translate?

  • Alan says:

    @Rider

    32-622 = 700x32C

  • Alan says:

    Hey, thanks to all of the Michelin City riders who chimed in with their experiences. It seems to be a popular tire and most everyone seems to be getting good mileage and puncture protection. It’s nice to have found an inexpensive commuting tire that rides comfortably and holds up well.

    Alan

  • arevee says:

    Forgot about bikes with internal hubs. I might care a lot more about punction resistance if I had to deal with changing a rear flat on an IGH bike. I have to admit that I have a very heavy cargo bike that I’ve considered mounting Schwalbes on to avoid having to deal with flats on that monster of a bike.

  • Nate says:

    I have had had Michelin City tires (700 x 35) on my bike for almost four years now and maybe 3000 miles. I used to have Vittoria Randoneur tires on the bike and really like the ride, but the tires seemed to wear quickly and when it came time to replace them they were beyond my budget as a grad student. So I bought the Michelin City tires for $22 a piece. For the first year the tires made me nervous every time I took corners at high speed because they made made a squidging noise. I would tell myself that this was proof that the tires were digging into the pavement and thereby giving me significant traction. However, I still found the noise disconcerting. After the tires wore a bit the noise went away. I think I still have another 1000 miles in the tires. They’ve been worth the money. I’ve never had a flat.

  • Jim says:

    I have a theory that tyres with a flat section of tread along the center of the tyre roll faster than other comparable tyres that have tread ‘cuts’ through the centre. These Michelin City tyres seem to have the flat section, while Marathon pluses do not for example.

    @ Nate, I too have noticed similar noises, but I think they come from the small bumped textures on some treads, or at least the increased amounts of cuts that most tyres seem to have at the sides of their treads, compared to the smoother sections in the middle. These side cuts are obviously there for water dispersal, but they do seem to make a tyre a bit more drifty and noisy in a turn when you lean them over. At least that’s what I have found.

  • Dan says:

    I’ve been riding 28mm Michelin Cities for about a year now, and while happy with the ride thus far, am noticing a bulge in the sidewall at the valve. I installed new tubes, and reseated the bead, but a new bulge has formed. I never had that problem with the schwalbes, so I’m going back to the marathons before the problem gets worse.

  • Walter Enomoto says:

    Just wanted to let people know about the Schwalbe Citizen HS416 City/Touring tires. I just got a set of 26 x 1.75 tires on my re-purposed MTB/commuter and have about 100 miles on them with no flats or other issues so far.

    The thread design and profile seem to be similar to the Michelin Cities. Cost was about the same ($31/each). Handling is much improved over the 26 x 1.95 Specialized Crossroad tires that I had been running (until a sidewall blowout at speed).

    These tires run quiet and have adequate grip when leaned over. Even found myself riding in the big chain ring and 1-2 gears higher at time due to the lower rolling resistance compared to the Crossroads.

    I ordered these direct from Schwalbe USA along with a supply of Schwalbe SV13 tubes. These tubes do seem to hold air acceptably in the short time I’ve had these on.

    I was also impressed by Customer Service Rep Celeste Steindl’s assistance and responsiveness with this order and she was a pleasure to deal with.

  • Duncan says:

    I had the same problem as @Dan. After only a few months on Michelin City front and rear, the rear tire started to bulge in 3 different places on the drive side. Turns out just above the bead the fabric was unraveling without any noticeable provocation. No brake pads rubbing or fender stays or anything else that I could tell. I contacted Michelin and they were excellent about dealing with a local shop and reimbursing me for a replacement. I now have a Michelin City Pilot on the rear and it has been holding up well for the past 2 months and the Michelin City on the front is fine. I really like the ride on these compared to the Continental TownRides I was rolling before. Although, I’m comparing the TownRide performance at nearly 10,000 km to brand new tires, so we’ll see how I feel about the City and City Pilot, assuming they last that long.

  • Dann says:

    Just switched to the Michelin City last night in the REI parking lot. Had at least 5,000 miles on the back tire and at least 12,000 miles on the front. Back was a Schwalbe Marathon and the front a Vittorria Randonneur. I’m not expecting that many miles from the Michelins, but we’ll see. I loved the Vittoria and put up with the Schwalbe. The Vittoria could have gone longer, but the Schwalbe was full of holes all the way through the casing. Both tires ran without flats their entire use – except when the Marathon failed last night on the way home.

    Initial impressions after 7 miles:
    - The City is a taller and fatter tire – I’m running 700-32. Had to readjust the front fender to avoid tire rub.
    - The City has a much softer ride than I’m used to. I’ll increase tire pressure 5 lbs and see how that feels.
    - Cornering is good. Not quite as grippy as the Vittoria, but more so than the Schwalbe.

    If I can get a year out of a tire, and up to 5,000 miles I’m happy.

  • Alan says:

    @Dann

    Thanks for the report. I too like the Vittoria. Your comment on the Michelin having a soft ride is right on the money; this was the first thing I noticed about it. I really like the feel at around 65psi; just very smooth and quiet.

    Thanks,
    Alan

  • alan g says:

    Just bought two of these at $18 each to replace a Schwalbe Marathon that lasted on the rear for 2900 mi. We’ll see how long these last, but for the price I don’t see how I can lose. One caveat, The Marathon was a true 700×32, these run at least 700×34 on a Dyad rim, so you might, like me, have to rearrange that fender a little!

  • Pawel says:

    I am using Michelin City with protech for about14 months now on my commuter/touring bike. Bought them for about $20 dollars a piece and they exceeded my expectations. Tires are 700c x 40mm and so far I had logged 4-5 thousand miles on them. NO FLATS. Front tire still has a lot of life left in it (probably 1 more year) and I am getting ready to change rear as it is getting worn out. Not bad for 20 dollar tires. I used the same tires while touring fully loaded.

 
© 2011 EcoVelo™