I cannot recall where or why I purchased a couple of Michelin Lithion 700c x 23 bicycle tyres but I did and hence I have worn one of them out on my Giant CRX 1 Flatbar and one on my Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd. Both bikes are used as all year round commuters or where in the case of the CRX 1. Please note that before we go further this is not a review of the Lithion 2 which now replaces the Lithion tyres that I used.
The wear data given here is reflective of the use of the two Michelin Lithion tyres. The first tyre saw life on the rear of the Giant CRX 1 which was used as a wet and dry weather commuter and second tyre did 383 km on the front of my Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd before being swapped to the rear. It died at 2,593 km when it had a blow out.
The first Michelin Lithion tyre lasted 2,373 kilometres and based on a replacement cost from CRC of AU$16.76 this worked out at AU$0.0071 or rounded-up one cent per kilometre. The tyre incurred two punctures at an average rate of 1,186 kilometres per puncture. So on the face of it is not a bad value tyre in terms of cost, wear rate and puncture rate. Even based on the replacement tyre, the Michelin Lithion 2 at a cost of AU$20.76 from CRC this would still be a economical tyre.
The reason I retired the tyre was that the canvas of the tyre was starting to show through in a couple of places.
Okay that is the data, but how did the tyre perform? I am not big into rolling resistance and I doubt I could tell the difference between one 700c x 23 tyre and another of similar quality or rating but with this tyre I would say it does have a bit of dead feeling about it; that is it does not feel as fast as other tyres I have ridden on, e.g., Michelin Pro 3 Race. This tyre grips okay in the dry and I am comfortable taking my tyre “test corner” (downhill, dead bitumen, sharp left hand corner) at around 40 km/h with this tyre on the rear in the dry. It feels like it is gripping good in the dry.
In the wet however my feel with this tyre is not the same. In fact I have had one out on a roundabout (smooth wet surface and I suspect to much speed on my part) where the backend just went without any notice or chance of saving it. Also on my “test corner” I scrub off a lot speed getting down to 25 to 30 km/h as I don’t feel comfortable with the Michelin Lithion in wet conditions.
So in summary, a reasonable value tyre, good for dry weather commuting or training if you want a 700c x 23 mm tyre, but not one I would be comfortable doing lots of wet miles on.