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HISTORY

125 years of passion
and performance

Michelin's history with motorcycles has been defined
by rich human experience

The imagination and intuition of those dedicated to research prompted Michelin to invent novel solutions and motorcycle tyres which were increasingly stronger and more efficient. From the original removable tyre to the Radial solution of the 1980’s, and from the Golden Arrow models of the 1930’s to the latest MotoGP technologies which are shaping the future, Michelin has always considered the motorcycle as a means of passion and innovation.

It all started in 1891 with a flat tyre

It all started in 1891 with a flat tire

Edouard Michelin was witness to an English tourist getting a flat tyre. This incident led him to conceive of an inner tube and removable tyre, a stroke of genius which launched the operation of his small factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France. That same year, the success of this new system was highlighted by the victory at the inaugural Paris-Brest cycling race by Charles Terront, whose bicycle wheels were made with inner tubes. The feat had an immediate impact in the world of two-wheelers and within a few short years took the motor vehicle sector by storm.

The first motorcycle race

The first motorcycle race

At the end of the 19th century, it was difficult to tell motorcycles and automobiles apart. The term “motorbike” was used to refer to motorised tricycles which, like the famous De Dion Bouton, went on to win several racing titles using Michelin pneumatic tyres. It was the Werner brothers from the Paris region who first used the term “motorcycle” to designate their bike, which featured a powerful and reliable engine whose original technical documentation recommended Michelin pneumatic tyres.

The first tyre ads devoted entirely to the motorcycle

The Golden Arrow and Zig Zag era.

The first tire ads devoted entirely to the motorcycle

At the beginning of the 1930’s, Golden Arrow and Zig Zag tyres, devoted entirely to motorised two-wheelers, enabled Michelin to release the very first 100% motorcycle-based ads and brochures. World War II brought motorcycle tyre development to an abrupt halt, and it wasn’t until the end of the 1960’s that it would really take off again with the arrival of Japanese motorcycles.

The 1970's: Michelin's comeback

The 1970's: Michelin's comeback

The 70’s were a turning point in the history of the brand. Michelin won several titles during this decade, most notably in 1973 with its first victory with Jack Findlay, who won the Senior Tourist Trophy. And then in 1976, the year in which Barry Sheene won the GP 500 with Michelin. And finally, in 1977, the record-breaking year which saw Michelin win the 50, 125, 250, 350, and 500 cm3 World Championships.

Innovation: at the heart of all Michelin research

Michelin, whose goal is to enhance mobility and create value while respecting clients, human beings, and the environment, has always managed to innovate and distinguish itself from the others by integrating innovations such as silica in the composition of motorcycle tyres, as well as ZR and Michelin 2CT technologies.