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Michelin Scorcher Tires Review – Why They’re Harley’s Best OE Tire Yet

You’ve probably already seen them and just never noticed, but they’re there, and it’s a big deal. The Michelin Scorcher tires. It’s Michelin’s new line of tires that are coming from factory on many new 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They’re Michelin’s new Scorcher series, including the Scorcher 11, Scorcher 21, and Scorcher 31. Michelin’s been working closely with Harley-Davidson for the last ten years to develop the new tires to manufacturer’s specs.

Why do manufacturers want to be the original equipment tire?

Tire manufacturers stand a lot to gain from being the OE tire on a given model. That means they’re the tire which comes standard on all production units. It means a big order for Michelin and leaves them with big rubber shoes to fill. Not only do tires have to meet the manufacturer’s standards (some tires are even built with the needs of specific individual vehicles in mind), the tire manufacturers also need to meet the huge demand being an OE fitment represents on Michelin’s production and supply chain. Given that these two juggernauts continue to work together, it seems like everything rolling smoothly.

Not only does being an OE fitment tire represent a huge volume of sales of Michelin tires to Harley-Davidson, there are statistics from the tire industry which show that many users are likely to replace their current tires with the exact same ones. A lot of people won’t change tire brands and will stick to what it came with from factory. In other words, Michelin’s aim isn’t just to meet or exceed Harley-Davidson’s expectations. They want to do the same with you to get you on that second pair when it’s time to replace your motorcycle tires.

Michelin Scorcher Review

Lastly, being the OE tire of a brand like Harley-Davidson shows that Michelin isn’t just making kick-ass sport and sport touring tires. The move solidifies Michelin’s name in the cruiser realm as well, especially when we consider how synonymous Dunlop tires were with Harley-Davidson for so long. I can’t tell you how many kilometers, on all of the Harleys I’ve owned over the years, have been on D404s. I personally am excited for a change.

What’s the right tire for my Harley-Davidson motorcycle?

This is all great news for current-year Harley riders. There are many different Scorchers out there:

Scorcher 11 – Perfect for aggressive, sport-oriented cruisers like Sportsters and V-Rods

Scorcher 21 – Developed specifically for the new Street platform

Scorcher 31 – A more traditional in look designed for Dynas and similar classics

So how will the new OE-Fitment Michelin Scorchers line-up do in real-world testing? For that I reached out to my friend Xania Khan. Xania’s been a familiar face in the Toronto motorcycle scene in the last few years. She makes her away around the Toronto HOG chapter gatherings, and other big events in the city. If memory serves me right, Xania will do about 15,000 miles a year on her Sportster, and it’s her primary method of transportation. Michelin hooked us with a free set of tires to install on her bike in exchange for a fair and honest review. These are her words:

By Adele Mabley

Michelin Scorcher tire review by Xania:

Every aspect of your bike is important and critical to optimal performance but trusting your tires in all types of weather and on varied road surfaces is critical. Having taken my 2016 Harley Davidson Iron 883 in for my major maintenance at 25K km in May, I was advised that new rubber would be something I should be considering. I’m no professional in tire review, simply stating my opinion on how I felt and my bike handled with a new set of tires.

A couple days before I embarked on a three-day long weekend road trip, I had a brand-new pair of Michelin Scorcher tires installed on my bike. I figured this would be the perfect time to really break them in and given the monsoon-like summer we’ve been having, an opportunity to test them out in wet weather. 

From a comfort perspective, I could immediately feel the difference once I hit the highway. The tires felt comfortable, the ride was smooth, and my Sportster felt like it had a little more gusto while I was flying down the highway.

Canadian weather didn’t fail; it rained on our first day. While I’m no stranger to rain riding, the elements just add another layer of heightened senses to the equation. This is where trusting your tires on wet roads is critical; it’s one less thing to worry about. It didn’t take long for me to fee completely confident and safe with the Scorchers. After a few turns at 80 km/h, I was still enjoying the ride. I got a great sense of the traction and stability from my new Michelins. Something every rider wants to feel. 

We faced quite a bit of technical riding on our second day. It was full of incredible twisties and sweepers. Performance and handling was not an issue. I was actually cornering much better than I ever had with previous bikes. This was probably the best performance I’ve had with this bike. Those tires gripped, behaved, and cornered like no tomorrow.

We also encountered some unexpected “off-roading” on dirt roads. The Scorchers hung in there and got me through some tough times and sketchy terrain. By the end of the three days, I got off that bike with bigger smiles than I ever had before.

By Jeff Turner
Give Xania a follow on Instagram @xaniakhan.

Note: For those of us on older models, like my 2006 Harley-Davidson, the Michelin Scorcher line isn’t backward compatible, so you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Based on everything I’ve seen from Michelin and from Xania’s experiences on the bike, the Scorcher seems like the way to go for Harley-Davidson riders. Assuming you’re lucky enough to have the right size available for your motorcycle.

Buy NowContact us if you need help finding your size.


About Adrian from YouMotorcycle

I started riding motorcycles in 2007, founded YouMotorcycle in 2009, and was working in the motorcycle industry by 2011. I've worked for some of the biggest companies in motorcycling, before going full-time self-employed in the motorcycle business in 2019. I love sharing his knowledge and passion of motorcycling with other riders to help you as best I can.


  1. These tires came on my 2018 Fatboy.I noticed a line around my front and back tire.And a flat spot in center about 1 1/2 wide around both tires.Took my motorcycle to dealership.My back tire had white cords showing front tire still had line and flat spot.dealership said they wouldnt warranty my tires.They said rear tire was only good for 5000 miles.They said a rock must have done damage to front tire.Somebody needs to check into this before someone gets killed.Cannot ride my motorcycle but my truck can get me over to see my lawyer.

  2. I bought the highly recommend scorcher and it didn’t even last the summer. No hard riding , no burn outs . 11,000km of normal riding . A person can’t afford to keep doing that.

  3. my girlfriend’s 2013 sportster 1200 custom came with Michelins , and at 13,100 km they’re still fine

  4. Go them on my 2012 xl1200x.
    Good in the dry , nightmare in the wet..

  5. Hello…. 2010 FXD,14k on the bike. Bought used with 2800 miles and had Scorcher 31 still on front( back was a Dunlop, don’t know reasons) Going to replace with OE Scorchers or Commander IIs. Any thoughts? Likes or dislikes especially the Commander IIs. Mostly weekend riding but now retired may take on longer trips. Thanks……….Ride Free-Ride Safe……

  6. Bobby G. Athey Jr.

    I bought a brand new 2016 Lowrider S with Michelin Scorchers on it, and I was really surprised how well they actually performed. I was so pleased that at 8500 miles I replaced the rear tire with another Scorcher, and the front is still in good condition, although I think the front tire will get replaced this summer so going into the fall I will have a very good set of tires for 2022.

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