By Pete Martini
Michelin is back to making a big push in the motocross tire market with its all-new Starcross 5 line, which they say offers huge improvements over the previous Starcross 3/4 line. To prove it, the brand set up a ride day on Tuesday to let industry types try them out.
Cahuilla Creek MX Park; Anza, California.
What Went Down
Private ride day on a national-style track, open all day for maximum riding time. Mechanics mounting your choice of tires, with all four Starcross 5 options available to try. They also served breakfast, lunch, and cold refreshments, and a tented media presentation area, brief professional over view of the facts and benefits of the Starcross 5, and an overview of the extensive R&D that went into the development were available. Plus, longtime Michelin rider Travis Pastrana was on hand, hanging and riding and even doing a backflip, of course.
Starcross 5 is actually an entire new line of tires, offering four options for all conditions imaginable: Hard, Medium, Soft, and Sand.
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Riding started right after the media presentation, and I opted for a set of Starcross 5 Softs. After having them mounted on the Racer X 2015 KX450F, I completed two separate thirty-plus-two motos on the very sandy and technical national track. To my delight the tires hooked up extremely well in the slippery, soft sand. The soft sand and elevation changes Cahuilla is known for served as a perfect test for traction control and putting horsepower to the ground, and the Starcross 5 didn't disappoint. As the conditions worsened and the track got dryer throughout the day the tires continued performing. I didn't feel the front wheel push at all while corning. Whether it was tight 180s or long sweepers, the tires never felt unpredictable or unstable under power and my confidence was never wavered. The KXF tracked well and felt stable and nimble as ever. All in all I enjoyed the performance and feel of the Starcross 5 Soft, and I'm eager to try the Hard, Medium and Sand as well.
After attending the media intro, I left knowing Michelin is serious about making top quality and top performing tires for the off-road market for years to come. It’s cool that they’ve introduced four different terrain combinations for the tires all at once, and by the way, all four variations are offered for eighteen- and nineteen-inch rear wheels. For the off-roader set that still likes eighteen-inchers, it eliminates having to mix and match front and rear patterns.
Michelin launched these new tires because they’ve developed major technological advantages through other tire lines over the years, and wanted to apply them on the motocross side. According to the press materials, the new casing design incorporates stronger, higher density materials that reduce weight up to 15 percent without compromising strength or durability. Also, the sidewalls are engineered with Comfort Casing Technology (CCT), which provides exceptional shock absorption that reduces rider fatigue, and the new casing design has been engineered to optimize the size of the tire’s contact patch, for precise steering and traction.