Cruiser tire buyers take Command with latest addition
Dave McMahon, Senior Editor
June 11, 2012
Filed under Features
New rubber technology drives Commander II to longevity heights
Michelin asked for consumer feedback, and the result has been groundbreaking.
The new Commander II tire for cruisers arrived in 2012 with enhancements in the areas of both longevity and performance in wet conditions. New rubber compounds were formulated to meet the long mileage demands of cruiser customers, while not compromising wet grip and handling, according to Casey Morris, two wheel manager of marketing and communications for Michelin North America, Inc.
“Commissioned third party tests show that the Michelin Commander II rear tire lasts nearly twice as long as its main competitors, the Metzeler ME880 and the Dunlop D407/408,” Morris said.
In addition to the new rubber configuration, the Commander II’s handling and feedback use Amplified Density Technology, whereby the rigid, high-density carcass architecture allows for increased feedback and exceptional maneuverability.
Finally, a unique tread pattern and premium sidewall treatment that compliments cruiser bike styling meets the demands of riders.
“We conducted consumer surveys to determine what cruiser consumers wanted from a tire. The top three items were longevity, handling and feedback and an updated, modern look,” Morris said. “We feel we hit a home run with this tire by being able to answer the needs of the cruiser consumer.”
Julie Wilson, parts general manager at Thornton’s Motorcycle Sales in Versailles, Ind., says the dealership has seen the Commander II perform well in its first few months on the market.
“We’ve been selling the Michelin Commander II tires, and that’s for cruiser tires, and for sport bikes, we’ve been selling the [Michelin] Pilot Power 2CTs,” she said.
Morris said that because the Commander II offers consumers a longer lasting and better handling tire with modern, unique styling, “dealers are selling a product that’s hassle-free. It will cause their customers to be pleased with the service and recommendation that the dealer made.”
The Commander II’s square bead package aids in the ease of installation as well by improving the primary air seal when mounting and inflating.
“The dealers have reacted very well to this tire and the sales have been very strong in the first season,” Morris said. “Whether they are familiar with our other motorcycle products or even our passenger and light truck products, dealers and consumers are familiar with the Michelin brand and the fact that we produce quality products.”
The Commander II kicked the year off by taking “New Product of the Year” honors at the V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati. It’s offered in 15 sizes in bias and radial construction.
Silica Rain Technology, featured on the Commander II radial tires, integrates silica into the tire’s compound to improve grip in cooler temperatures and on wet pavement, without compromising tread life, according to Michelin.
For the majority of Commander II tires, which are bias-ply, new tread compounds were developed to match the characteristics of the SRT-infused radial.
The Commander II’s tread pattern design was influenced by Michelin’s popular Pilot Road series.
Longitudinal grooves in the tread pattern evacuate water to enhance grip in wet conditions and the tread pattern has been optimized with computer design to maximize mileage.
The Commander II’s 90-thread ply provides increased density compared to conventional ply tires.
Nearly all Commander II rear tires use Aramid fiber as part of their construction to allow for low weight and increased casing rigidity while providing stability at high speeds, the company said.
All of these features, including the stylish sidewall and tread pattern, resulted in the Commander II tire debuting as original equipment on the Indian Chief Blackhawk Motorcycle.