We raved about the new Michelin StarCross 5 Medium tires when they debuted. The innovative self-cleaning tread design and aggressive side knobbies were amazing on a freshly prepped motocross track, gripping at ridiculous lean angles and providing full traction for accelerating out of turns.With our non-stop penchant for all forms of off-road riding, we look for rubber that works well over various types of terrain, and can really go the distance. So, what better place to test the extraordinary than south of the border in Baja California?
So after a day of moto, we loaded up the trucks and headed to Ensenada to pre-ride the Baja 1000 course aboard a KTM 350 EXC-F shod with the same Michelin StarCross 5 Medium tires front and rear that we tested on the motocross track.The course included a virtual Mexican smörgåsbord of conditions from the classic dry desert rocky washes, to deep silt whoops, to alpine snow, and tree roots. If that wasn’t enough, each evening required snaking through potholed city streets in search of a hotel.Even when running 18 psi to avoid pinch flats, the Michelin StarCross 5 performed flawlessly, whether it was dicing through the conifers at 6000 feet or trying to make up time through the hot valley floor.The grip was superb and we were thoroughly impressed with the rate of wear, with none of the side knobbies breaking or notching, and the rest of the tire wearing evenly while still delivering good grip.Back stateside, and just for good measure, we took the same KTM 350 EXC-F with the Michelin StarCross 5 tires that survived a full day of moto, 600 grueling miles of Baja, and tortured it through an additional 90 miles of timed laps through our off-road test loop.Again, we were absolutely impressed. The grip has plateaued at what seemed to be about 75 percent, but for hard pack and blue-grooved, trails, the grip with the shorter knobs was even better.The Michelin StarCross 5 off-road tires shine well beyond motocross, and over the long haul they are a great value for a premium tire.
Michelin StarCross 5 Quick Facts
Sizes by compound:
Hard: 90/100-21; 110/90-19
Medium and Soft: 80/100-21, 90/100-21; 100/100-18, 110/100-18, 120/90-18; 100/90-19, 110/90-19, 120/80-19
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.