Michelin Commander II Tires Long-Term Review: 11,000-Mile Update

In September 2015, we began a long-term review of Michelin’s Commander II tires mounted on a 1985 Honda Magna VF700C. The goal was to provide a unique insight into how the tires’ performance and durability would compare to the same model tire on a 2007 Harley-Davidson XL883R Sportster.

Michelin Commander II Tires Long-term Review:  Honda
One of the stops on my last ride before this update on the Michelin Commander II tires on this Honda VF700C was Viola, Wisconsin. It’s the ancestral home of S&S Cycle, and still home to the company’s R&D Center.

When we wrapped up the review on the Commander IIs mounted on the Sportster, they had been in service for 10,896 miles. As is usually the case, the front tire had enough tread to keep going for perhaps another couple thousand miles. However, the rear tire had a 14-inch-long area where the entire outer tread layer of compound was worn away, revealing the substrate.

As of this writing, October 31, 2021, the Commander IIs on the Honda Magna are still very serviceable, though they exceed the expert-recommended length of service maximum of five years from manufacture. The mileage is notable because, at this point, the tires have 10,996 miles on them—100 miles more than the point at which the rear tire had worn out on the Sportster.

The front tire looks good in profile and tread depth and after 10,996 miles, looks good to go for quite a few more.

Frankly, I had wondered if the rear tire on the VF700C may develop a premature wear-through on the outer tread layer of the compound after having been locked into a 20+ foot-long skid in an effort to avoid a collision with a whitetail deer in August 2017.

Though no flat spot was visible when I checked the Michelin tire after the skid, I couldn’t help but wonder if there would be some impact on the wear overall of the rear tire. At this point, there doesn’t appear to be any degradation of significance.

Michelin Commander II Tires Long-term Review:  Rear Tire
The rear Michelin Commander II looks fairly good in tread depth but flattening of the cross-tread profile is evident in this image after 10,996 miles.

So, the review continues, though additional miles will be limited until spring. Keep it clicked on UltimateMotorcycling.com for more on this review, as well as our long-term looks at Pirelli Sport Demon tires on a Triumph Bonneville T214, Dunlop Elite IV tires on a Harley-Davidson XL883R Sportster, and Continental ContiTour tires on a Harley-Davidson XLH883 Sportster, as well as our reviews of bikes, gear, parts, and accessories.