Product Review

Michelin StarCross 6 – Inspected

Author: David Hogan

Posted:

When Michelin brings out an all-new range of tyres, you need to sit up and take notice. For Michelin, New ranges don’t happen every season in the dirtbike category of tyres.

They are known for high-quality products that are designed to provide high performance and durability. To have that quality means a lot of R&D goes into these tyres and hence they don’t release products very often. Because they are working on a range that will outperform the market for an extended period.

The StarCross 6 range does exactly that. Michelin has brought an all-new technology to the Off-Road Dirtbike tyre scene. Silica technology has been around in road-going tyres for some time now. But has never been in a dirt bike tyre before. Michelin is now the first to utilise this technology for dirtbike tyres. The Silica technology is the base for the major changes to the Starcross 6 range that leaves them in a vastly different category to their previous range of StarCross 5’s. Particularly due to the Silica technology the grip when new and grip when worn is drastically improved. But here are some of the comparisons between the previous Starcross 5’s to the all-new Starcross 6 range.

The StarCross 5 range was known for a few things

  • High Performance
  • Soft Side Walls
  • Higher Tyre Pressure requirements 15-17psi
  • Limited range – Soft, Medium and Hard
  • In my personal experience a tyre that would chunk/slice knobs in my favourite version the “Soft” whenever the ground got a bit harder than intended.

The StarCross 6 Range in comparison  

  • Maintains a high performance with claims of even higher performance over a longer lifespan
  • Stiffer sidewalls. The casing of the tyre has been beefed up. When you handle these tyres you will notice the difference straight away. You will, unfortunately, notice the difference with tyre changing as well if you do it yourself. But it’s not a massive difference. Just make sure you are not greedy with your lever placements and ensure you are working the tyre on evenly and it works out just the same in the end.
  • You have the ability to run a more conventional tyre pressure of approx 12-13psi. For those running Bib Mousse. Tyre pressure obviously isn’t a concern. But the stiffer side wall will put less pressure on the mousse meaning it should last longer. Meaning you can run it a bit longer than in past as it begins to soften as the tyre wall will compensate now compared with the softer Star Cross 5 range.
  • Due to the silica technology, they should no longer chunk or slice knobs off the tyre in the majority of circumstances. Meaning the life of the tyre will dramatically increase. Something that will offset the price of the tyres. They are a bit more expensive than others but with these performance improvements and extended life. You will be in front on the track and on the bank statement over the course of the season. 
  • The StarCross 6 range is covering more of your riding terrains. With Medium/Soft, Medium/Hard, Hard, Mud and Sand tyres now available. Something that I particularly missed from the range previously was the Sand Scoop. The New Michelin Scoop looks to be the business end of a solid Sand track lap time.

So the StarCross 6 range is covering a lot more terrain types and should give you the ability to have the best tyre in all circumstances.

AlwaysMoto was lucky enough to test out the Medium/Hard version of the StarCross 6. For both front and rear options. These were placed on the test bike for 2023 with AlwaysMoto the GasGas EC350F. We went with the 80/100-21 front and 110/100-18 rear. Familiar sizes for us and something that is nimble for tight tracks and making inside lines easily.

Michelin Starcross 6 - Med/Hard

First thoughts on the tyre. It is visually aggressive and has a smoother-looking carcass than the StarCross 5. The Knob height on these StarCross 6 is visibly taller. As you roll onto the track you will notice the usual high grip levels of a Michelin tyre. Solid lean angle confidence and plenty of drive from the rear on corner exit. Am I going to claim the 16% improved grip when new and 19% increase in grip when worn stats as quoted by Michelin? No. Statistically, that is over a number of test rider’s responses on a scaled measure. Am I going to say that I had ample grip and was confident to throw the bike into any situation without fear of the tyre slipping? Yeah. I had confidence in the tyre within 3 corners. 

Now let’s clear something up here with grip and performance. The Medium/Hard, in my opinion, is not going to be the highest-performing grip option in the Starcross 6 range. Without testing the Medium/Soft tyre at this point. I would expect that it is better again for grip and performance based on the previous ranges being grippier in the soft version. But the Medium/Hard is the tyre that I will go to every time for durability and long-lasting grip. We have had this tyre on the GasGas now for a few weeks. I’ve been putting some time on it during my return from injury.

The wife has also been turning laps on it. She is no slouch on a dirtbike having raced for 20yrs+ and done Women’s Nationals for MX and OffRoad. The bike has been on rocky terrain and a few hard-packed MX tracks. Totalling around 8hrs ride time. The rear tyre has a slight (very slight) rounding of the drive edge. But outside of that, the tyre is brand new. It’s barely worn at all! In previous tyres of the soft and medium StarCross 5, I would have at least lost a knob or two or really shown signs of wear on all aspects of the tyre. It’s really impressive how new this tyre still looks after this many hours knowing the terrain I ride on and what I’ve done to tyres in the past on these tracks. From a durability side, this tyre is worth every dollar.

So what about the performance? As we said above. It performs really well. Can I compare it to the rest of their range at this point? No, I haven’t tried those Medium/Soft or Sand or Mud options as yet. I can tell you I would happily get a set of these Medium/Hard tyres on my bike so I can run the one set of tyres all year round from a durability standpoint and still have enough grip to rail a flat dusty corner with confidence in my front end. 

As soon as we test any of the other tyres in the range of these new StarCross 6’s you will be the first to hear about it here with another AlwaysMoto inspection on fullnoise.com.au

If you want to get your own set of Michelin StarCross 6’s on your bike. Head down to your local dealer.
To find out more about the range of Michelin Tyres head over to https://gasimports.com.au/brands/michelin/

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