Michelin Wild Enduro Tyres – Review
Over the last six months or so I have been running a set of Michelin Wild Enduro Tyres on the front and rear in the following combinations;
- Front – Michelin Wild Enduro Gum-X3D 2.6” Front (Hard/Mixed Terrain Compound)
- Rear – Michelin Wild Enduro Gum-X3D 2.6” Rear (Soft/Mixed Terrain Compound)
In the last few years I have aimed to run a wide range of long-term test tyre combinations, partly because I like to swap tyre combos as often as Mr Betty likes to change grips, but also because I’m determined to find that combination that works well for the varied weather conditions we have here in the UK.
The tyres are both folding bead and tubeless ready (more on that below!) and it’s fair to say they both come up pretty large, certainly bigger than the Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR wide trail variants I was running before. Weight-wise, the front comes in at 980g and the rear at 1090g.
I ran the tyres on a set of Hunt EnduroWide wheels, which come with fairly wide 33mm (internal) rims, probably best given the massive 2.6” width of these wheels. Additionally, I also ran a Huck Norris in both ends, along with Juicy Lubes tubeless sealant. I have tried the tyres out over a wide range of terrains this year, most notably in Pacific North West at Whistler Bike Park and Squamish, which involved a combination of slippery, rooty steep trails and dry bike park trails with huge rock features. Back in the UK, it’s been a mix of the soily, rocky steep trails of Ilkley Moor and more trail-centre friendly riding like Hamsterley and Gisburn. I would like to think that I’ve managed to give these tyres a decent range of adventures, certainly enough to get an understanding of where they work best.
Since launching the Wild Enduro range in 2018, I have slowly started to see these tyres out there on the trails but it’s fair to say they haven’t yet surpassed the popularity of Maxxis Minions or perhaps Schwalbe Magic Mary’s, when it comes to enduro and gravity riding.
Michelin’s aim was to develop a tyre which works in a variety of terrains, built for aggressive riders, which I think is a reference to your style of riding, rather than how grumpy you are. This is reflected in the big, blocky tread for both the front and rear variants, the closest thing I can compare them to is the Schwalbe Magic Mary, albeit a little less squared off, a bit more angular with slightly siped knobs (I’m still not sure that sounds right!).
The Gum-X compound is the softer of the two variants available, the other being the Magi-X compound, but given that I was looking for the perfect all-rounder I have been running the Gum-X version.
There isn’t a huge difference between the front and rear tyres, however, the rear has slightly shorter centre-knobs, and they are spaced closer together, which presumably is designed to ensure it rolls faster.
So, how did the tyres ride? One of the most notable things is just how much grip and control they have in the corners. Those thick side-knobs really dig in where there is even a hint of softness to the trails, so for example I found these tyres were just perfect for the freshly cut turns of Creekside in Whistler, but they didn’t offer up as much of an advantage on the (rare) bone dry days on the main bike park trails (the likes of A-Line, crank it up or B-Line). Given that it rains for 99.9% of the time in the UK, having a tyre that can dig in on for soft corners is certainly no bad thing, and it is fair to say that the tyre transitions well from those side knobs into the centre tread, but it probably isn’t going to be the best tyre for you if all you ever ride is pea-grit coated trail centre berms, where you might something with shorter knobs might dig in more effectively.
On the huge rock rolls of the Whistler Bike Park I was waiting for tyres to let me down halfway down a steep, steep rocky chute, but they never did, whether it was wet or dry. Given that the big knob pattern means that not all of the tyre is in contact with the ground at any one time, that Gum-X compound is working overtime to keep you rubber side down. When it came to slimy, rooty trails the tyres did pretty well, due in no small part to the levels of grip. I’m not sure if I’ve run a better tyre when it comes to all things greasy, possibly a Magic Mary (and I’ve not tried the Maxxis Shorty to be fair) but it would be fairly close. In the really claggy, clay-like mud on the Creekside of Whistler we found the limit to how well this tyre can shed mud, eventually it gave up and became a ball of light brown gooey mud, but ordinarily on the day to day it managed to shed mud pretty well, less well on the rear given that tight centre-knob pattern.
What isn’t so great about this tyre? Well, it is fairly draggy as far as I could tell so it isn’t the easiest to get up the hills but, when you strap on a 2.6” enduro tyre like this, you probably aren’t intending to get many QOM’s on the climbs. That said, I definitely felt like my Minion DHF/DHR WT combo rolled faster. The other thing I have seen in other customer reviews is that the flipside of the soft compound is that it wears out fairly quickly, I’ve had the tyres on for around 6 months and haven’t really noticed too much wear on the tyres, but I can’t imagine that all that grip will last forever. Similarly, if British summer time ever really materialises, or more realistically we head somewhere dry and dusty next summer, I may consider running something faster rolling which has a bit more grip on hard-packed, dusty trails, though I just might leave the Michelin Wild Enduro Tyres on, my experience so far has been that good.
One other thing is just how difficult I found it to get them on, in fact I actually ended having to ask Republic Cycles in Squamish to pry the rear tyre on in the end, after several hours I simply couldn’t do it. I tried washing up liquid, hair dryers, shouting at it…nothing worked. That could just be me, it could be the wide rims of the Enduro Wide wheelset or the inclusion of the Huck Norris insert, but by god was it difficult. I am really not looking forward to changing tyres when that is required at some point (hopefully not out on the trail).
Overall, I am really pleased with how the Michelin Wild Enduro Tyres have performed, across a wide range of terrain. There is something very confidence inspiring about these tyres, I’ve yet to find their limit in soft, wet corners and I can’t think of a tyre I would rather have on when things are rooty or rocky.
You can pick up the tyres for 45 pounds each from here.
December 16, 2019