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[Tested] Michelin Wild Race’R Enduro

[Tested] Michelin Wild Race’R Enduro

08/09/2016
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08/09/2016

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A few years back Michelin had been relatively quiet in the MTB scene.  Lately, they have consistently released some really competitive products that have taken up significant market position.

With continuous real world input from the world’s top Enduro racers like Jerome Clementz, Michelin have now released their latest race offering : the Wild Race’r Enduro. We hit the Enduro trails of Punta Ala to see how their newest tread pattern fared.

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Specifications

  • Advanced Technology tyres.
  •  GUM-X Series – is the latest generation of tyre compound developed for the  Wild Advanced Mountain Bike range.
  • Reinforced Technology – improves the casing’s resistance to external attack on the sidewalls and reduces punctures due to impact or pinching.
  • The flexible beads invented and developed by MICHELIN are made exclusively of aramide fabric, which is also to be found in bulletproof vests. This textile fabric has a very great resistance to extension whilst being very lightweight. These beads therefore have the special features of being very light and very strong, which reduces the overall weight by 40 to 70 grams per tyre.
  • Price – 59,95
  • Size Variation Table
Color Width (inch) Diameter (inch) Tringle Weight() TPI Pressure (bar) Pressure (psi) Tubes Reinforced Tubeless ready Rubber
Black

2.35 27.5 Soft 950 33 1.8/4 / B4 X X  Gum-X
Black

2.35 29 Soft 1020 33 1.5/4 / A4 X X  Gum-X
Black

2.35 26 Soft 830 33 1.5/4 / C4 X X
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The intended surface, the knobs that provide cornering  grip and the robust sidewall.

On The Trail

Michelin’s aim with the Wild Race’R Enduro tyre is pretty much summed up in the name on the side wall of the tyre.

Enduro racers were looking for a tyre that rolls fast in hard packed conditions yet also grips well in corners and under braking. The un-predictable nature of Enduro trails also means that the tyre has to stand up to a surface that may be very aggressive and varied. We tested the 27.5″ version at about 2 bars on the rear for our 90 kilo rider weight.

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For our intensive testing in Punta Ala we used the shuttle to get to the top of some aggressive Enduro race trails.

The 2.35″ width is towards the upper end of comparable sizing across brands in our experience, It was worth noting that mounting the tyre with our SRAM rims was not super easy and needed some effort, the beads are resistant to stretching. Although maintaining a tubeless seal was easy as a consequence of this point and we were able to inflate quickly with a floor pump.

tyres

Cornering was solid.

The tyre when planted on the trail at speed gave instant comfort and a smooth rolling resistance free sensation.  The directional, center knobs are low in height – clearly made for hard packed conditions, give the tyre a much more sprightly feel compared to their more aggressive Wild Girp’r cousins. This is particularly obvious on pedal sections and climbs where the tyre rolls faster than any of Michelin’s other mid duty tyres.

The real improvement and desired preference for mounting this tyre though comes when cornering. The larger side knobs really bite well and due to their square design are very predictable in nature as you lean the bike over from the center of the tyre to the edges. If trail conditions are just a little soft under the surface the edge knobs bite through to the harder soil surface and hangs on when needed. We were easily able to rail turns and push hard in off camber sections without losing speed.

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When the trail is scattered with sharp tyre cutting rocks, the reinforced side walls seemed to do their job well. We heard one or two pings and pops at times indicating we had pushed the limit of our pressure settings as we bottomed out the rim.  Despite this we did not have that wobbly break away feel that occurs with tyres that sport thinner casings and we did not pinch flat the tyre or roll it off the rim.

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Straight lines were fast.

Under braking, the tyre bites well and seemed to be one of the better tyres while braking in hard packed conditions. The extra contact grip provided by multiple smaller central knobs slowed us down before corners much more stably than a standard tyre in these conditions. The softness of the Gum-X rubber also provides the extra grip necessary for this performance characteristic, especially on rocky or rooty surfaces.

Overall durability and construction of the Wild Race’R Enduro tyre was very respectable. During our test period (2 months) we felt that despite our over zealous braking at times, the compound held up well. We did not notice any half broken knobs or bits of tyre falling off.  The weight of the carcass was ideal in our opinion as the rolling resistance and weight balanced well to the need to stand up to abuse.  Michelin have obviously spent a lot of time and prototypes getting this balance right.

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Conclusion

The Wild Race’R Enduro tyre is clearly a hard packed, speed orientated tyre that is aimed at racers and those who ride dry or hard packed conditions. We did not try it in extreme mud, but would be sure that the grip would be overwhelmed easily in sections where you need to pedal, thankfully the Wild Grip’R is there for that type of condition.

The beauty of the Wild Race’R’s design is the compromise struck between all out speed/rolling resistance and cornering ability. It is tough to make tyres do both of these things well, Michelin though have done an excellent job. They now seem to have all angles of the Trail/Enduro market covered. We really felt that when run with a Wild Rock’R up front we had the killer combination that has been eluding us for a while.

Michelin
Test Center Punta Ala

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