August 2 2012.

Michelin is celebrating 25 years since it launched the first radial motorcycle tyres for use on the road.

Three years after their competition debut, Michelin put radial tyres into commercial production. In 1987, the Michelin A59X and M59X started a revolution in high-performance tyres, allowing riders to explore the full potential of then-new sportsbikes like the Suzuki GSX-R and Yamaha FZR. Today, every middleweight and large capacity sportsbike is equipped with radial tyres.

Without the introduction of radials, sportsbikes would still have about the same horsepower that they had in the 1980s because conventional bias-ply tyres would not be able to handle the power of a modern 1,000cc sportsbike.

In 1983, thanks to the genius of Freddie Spencer, Michelin scored the first victory for a radial tyre (rear only) in a 500cc Grand Prix. The following year, Randy Mamola became the first rider to win a Grand Prix (San Marino) using both front and rear Michelin radials.

Radial tyres generate less internal heat than conventional tyres and because radials run cooler, the rubber compounds used in their construction can be much softer to offer enhanced cornering grip.

"In terms of tyres, the radial was the most important innovation of my career," says three-times world-champion Freddie Spencer, "a rider wants grip, feedback and durability. The radial was an improvement in all these areas, and also influenced other aspects of bike design. The first thing I noticed with the radial was that it gave me much more grip and stability in fast corners. I could get on the gas earlier, which was one of the aspects of my riding that I was always working on."

Following the Company's introduction of radial technology, the last 25 years have included some other important Michelin innovations which benefit today's rider:

1992 - The use of 100% silica reinforced compounds in race tyres

1994 - The first two-compound 500 GP race tyre

1999 - The Michelin Pilot Sport is the first road tyre to use 100% silica compounds

2005 - The Michelin Power Race is the first road legal race tyre to use two-compound technology

2011 - The Michelin Pilot Road 3 is the first motorcycle tyre to use sipes