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?
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
Contact us if you need help finding your size.