Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Michelin XM1 Tyre Review

I try to change my car tires once every two years. They are an expensive thing to do. But as i commute daily, it is a small price to pay for safety. The last tire review i did was for Goodyear Duraplus - that was before they were officially launched in October 2009. I wrote in that blog entry that the Goodyear can last up to 100,000km before the next change. My mileage within the last two years was about 50,000km only. Technically speaking, the tires are at "half life". Only reason why i was "forced" to change it was because my rear left rim had a "invisible" dent that has caused the tire to eat up unevenly. Invisible in the sense that i might had driven into a pothole had a dent that wasn't immediately noticed unless i take the wheels out and placed it on the balancing machine to notice the uneven rotation.
I decided to test out another brand. Michelin, very much like Goodyear, has been supplying tires to the F1 race cars. So, they shouldn't be very much difference with regards to quality. Biggest differences i would say is the "Made in XXX" mark on both Goodyear and Michelin. All Goodyear tires less than 15inch in size are made in Malaysia. Michelin are mostly "imported" from Thailand with the higher range coming in from Europe.
I initially wanted the just launched (in July) XM2, which promises more improvement from the already acclaimed best seller XM1. But because the size i wanted wasn't available, i had to settle for XM1. Perhaps it is a good start so i would appreciate the higher/better range in the next tire change?
Having said all the above, i always know nothing is as important to know how to read the tire's "birthday". All tires has storage life of up to 5 years, with some claimed up to 10 years IF properly stored and cared. In our tropical temperature, the lifespan of the tires could be less. I would like to mark them as TWO years at most, as a benchmark.
The tire i purchase has a birth date of Week 9 in 2011 otherwise marked as 0911. Meaning, it has been sitting in the workshop for about 6 months before someone buys it (i.e. me). XM1 is a fast moving tires. Perhaps the only reason for this seemingly "old" stock was because my car tire size is 185/65/R14. Not many cars run on 65 series tires and it is difficult to find anything good for 14inches.
Most car manufacturer equates "powerful" car with larger tires and using "stability" as a marketing plot to shod cars with insanely sized car tires size. Even some 1.3liter cars now has 14inches tires shod, compared to 13inch as standard many years ago.
At this point of review, the tires has been driven around for about 6000km. A decent mileage to judge on the claimed fuel saving, comfort, noise, harshness the manufacturer rated for this tire.

The tire is what one would call an asymmetrical tire where the is distinct inner and outer part and need to be installed correctly by a qualified tyre technician. The tire wall has marking for OUTSIDE, meaning, the part with the word has to face outside.
And when you look from the front profile, you will see the tread's setup with the outer block being chunkier to lend a higher grip and the inner smaller to help disperse water.

It is obvious that there is four distinct grove as well to channel water out. Important as Malaysia is a tropical country that has it's fair share of heavy rainfall.
The tire is quiet as claimed. But after a while, once the ears get accustomed to the tire, you will hear rolling noise. I believe this attribute is "heard" in all new tires, especially so when the old tires has worn out and creates more noise than usual. What would be interesting is to see if this noise stays about the same as the tires wears off over the kilometers to come.
It has this technology that Michelin call Radial XSE which claims to improve grip, resist wear and improve on fuel economy. It has a Green X technology that sort of confirmed Michelin's commitment to energy efficiency and thus, lending good fuel economy.
Speaking of fuel economy, it is very subjective. It is often driven (no pun intended) by the driving style, maintainance of the vehicle and of course, the road condition (hilly terrain, flat road etc). Most cars are bench marked at 90km/h for comparable fuel efficiency or consumption. Driving around for the past 6000km, i would say my good fuel efficiency is because i am aware of the car capability and also good driving habit. Not really sure if the tire aid with this, but the numbers are no different from my old sets of tires.
By the way, i pump 40psi for my tires. It is way higher than the usual 30psi and definitely higher than "recommended" pressure. Bear in mind that these tires can take up to 50psi and usually, no one would pump it up to 50psi, or close. 40, through my experiment, gives the best compromise on comfort and superb gas mileage. However, inflate at your own peril and risk. I will not be responsible for any mishap you encounter from doing this to your own vehicle.
The tire perform as it should with no drama moments so far. It stops as it should though the manufacturer claimed it will reduce stopping distance by up to 7%. I am yet to test that out and no intention to do that. Always keep the front car (moving) about 15seconds away and you can safely steer away from any trouble. If you are a tailgater, no tires can save you from rear-ending the car in front by the way.
Performance on the dry and wet condition does not differ much and i would say that this tire perform (for now) as claimed. Perhaps, when i change my tires in 2 years time, i will be able to add in a final verdict like i did on the Goodyear Duraplus in the beginning of this article.
at 40psi, rear right tire. Wear rate is consistent.


  1. I am running on XM1 on the Myvi and already 3 sets of XM1 on the Camry. Money well spent. Tyre is very consistent in their performance, and the lasted much longer, on the Camry NCT 5 vs XM1, the XM1 actually last 10,000km longer. Plus the NCT5 starts to show it's age after 30,000km. Hard, noisy and do not perform well in the rain. Hardly a good choice. So that's I stick to XM1. Supposed to get the XM2, but introduction price is too pricey. 175/65R14 goes for RM260 per pc. So opted for the XM1 RM190 per pc.

    Good investment. And good write up bro!

  2. JeryC - Bro. Priced qouted to me on XM1 and XM2 is only RM20 different at the authorised shop in Sunway. :) For 185/65/14, it was RM220 and RM240 respectively, inclusive of installation and balancing+new valve.

    I will go for XM2 next, or XM3 if Michelin decided to give it an upgrade in 2 years time ;-)

    thanks for reading bro!

  3. 40PSI? You the man. Reminds me of Shang-pion, running his bike tyres at 55-60PSI.

    Thinking of downgrading my rims as 18" tyres are freaking expensive. The rims came standard with the car though :(

  4. 40Psi is still safe UL. Else, i won't risk my life over that 20-30% reduction in fuel consumption. Tires are rated mostly at 50psi MAX on the tire wall (for typical 60 series and above).

    ur car comes standard with 18 as they are the real daddy compared to the fake one runnign around ;-) GOing down to 16 and running on 60 perhaps? Now should be 18 on 45?

  5. Just to chime in... I'm using the XM2 195/60/15 tyres (rear) on my RWD car... as of today, they clocked 47,400km in 18 months. in a RWD car the rear tyres usually wear off faster compared to the front tyres but visual inspection seem to suggest the rear XM2 tyres are almost like new.

    The front tyres are BF Goodrich G-Force Sport, now about 77,500km (4 years old). Not much left before it reach the wear indicator.

    1. Fabian - looked like the front wheels are lasting very very long. :) I will be switching to full XM2 for my Matrix soon

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