Looking for extra grip and safety on the trail to enjoy that hero dirt? Andi thinks he’s found the perfect partner with the Michelin Wild Enduro Tyre.
Michelin has been making tyres since 1888 so they should know a thing or two about producing a good quality rubber hoop that will grip and remain inflated during the rigours of enduro and trail riding. Let’s see how they’ve done with the Michelin Wild Enduro.
Generally, when a product or component is tested and reviewed it’s because we’ve arranged to have it sent in and we’ve got a clear plan, but now and then we’ll use a product in the course of another review and be so impressed that we’ll test that too. This is the case of the Michelin Wild Enduro, Michelin didn’t send us these tyres to test, instead, they came fitted to my Nukeproof Giga test bike, but I was so impressed with their performance that I decided they deserved a standalone review!
This review is a bit of a two-parter because Michelin produces front and rear-specific Wild Enduro tyres and that’s the combo I’ve been riding. Most of my time was during the snowy winter months with plenty of off-piste action on frozen dirt, muddy ruts and loose dirt.
Michelin Wild Enduro Front
The Giga came fitted with Wild Enduro tyres made of the Gum-X 3D compound both front and rear. Michelin offers its tyres in Gum X, Magi X, Gum X 3D and Magi X2 compound options to suit a variety of terrains, and to also suit either the front or rear of your bike. Gum X 3D sits firmly in the middle of the compound options and is aimed at providing the best balance of grip and speed in the largest variety of terrains. Racers or riders who spend most of their time in either rocky or muddy conditions might find the racer’s edge with either Magi X or Gum X compounds, but for the UK’s varied and ever-changing trails, Gum X 3D is a great balance.
Compared to say the Vee Tire Attack HPL made of Top 40 rubber, the Michelin Wild Enduro doesn’t feel as soft or tacky, but thanks to the construction of the tyre, they still provide flexibility and slow rebound for a controlled and predictable ride.
The tread design sees a central channel made up of dual knobs flanked by alternating knobs of a similar shape with siping in the opposite direction. As the tread pattern moves away from the centre the blocks become more aggressive and are raised slightly on the outside edge. The transition is quite subtle and the result is a spiky tyre that retains its rounded shape.
Side tread is raised nicely from the carcass for biting into the trail for predictable steering, and each knob has ribbed reinforcement to prevent it squirming when leaned on hard.
Michelin Wild Enduro Rear
The matching Wild Enduro rear tyre has a tread pattern that copies the front, but at the same time has been put on a bit of a diet. Each knob is slightly closer together and the heights have been reduced to cut down on drag. With ample space between each knob, there is plenty of traction produced from each knob pressing into the dirt for efficient climbing in all but the most sloppy of trail conditions.
Each knob features siping like the front and the side knobs protrude further from the body of the tyre for enhanced cornering grip. Both front and rear tyres enjoy Michelin’s Gravity shield casing, though the rear tyre also benefits from added pinch flat protection around the bead.
Michelin Wild Enduro Tubeless
Nukeproof had very kindly set up the Giga as tubless for me so I didn’t have to, but in the interest of testing, I did remove the tyres to check how easy/difficult they were to seat. Of course, your experience may vary when it comes to actually fitting the tyres due to rim widths, heights, depths and varying ETRTO sizing, but I found the Wild Enduro to slip on easily and inflate with a track pump. Once inflated the Wild Enduro remained inflated with no leaking at the bead and no punctures during my time with the Giga. I’m not a huge fan of overly wide tyres, so I was happy that the 2.4in size of the Wild Enduro measured up accurately.
Michelin Wild Enduro Performance
Stunning! simply stunning performance. Tyres are something that I do like to test but, even now, I do tend to begin any ride on an unfamiliar tyre with some trepidation. After years of riding bikes fitted with Maxxis rubber I’ve become familiar with the feel and characteristics of certain tyres, and when boarding a bike with something new you might hesitate to attack the trail with the same gusto as you might ordinarily.
The Wild Enduro took no time at all to feel confident on. It helped that they were fitted to the Giga, which is an incredible bike, but I soon learned the benefits of the tyres and often swapped the wheels from the Nukeproof to the Orange Phase I was testing during the same period.
The front end grip with the Wild Enduro is awesome. The tyre never faltered when attacking a trail and it didn’t seem to matter if the conditions were soft, icy, hard-packed or snow, that spiky Michelin takes everything in its stride with predictable handling. Never did I hit a corner and worry that the front might not pull me round, in fact, the performance was so impressive I purposely hit corners, off-camber sections and slimy roots faster and harder hoping to upset the Michelins, and each time they pulled me round in complete, controlled, safety.
With its shallower knob profile, I worried that perhaps the rear might come unstuck more often than it did, but surprisingly the fast-rolling rear offers a mighty bite in all but the sloppiest of slop. Even when the rear does let go in the gloop, it’s a gradual loss of traction and the front is always there to ensure you whip around to safety in a hail of hero dirt.
Michelin Wild Enduro Overall
There have been a few tyres that I have ridden on recently that have really impressed but the Michelin Wild Enduro REALLY impressed me, enough so to earn them a Singletrack Recommended award! The safe and predictable steering will have you leaning over harder and faster than before, and when it comes to winching back up the trail you’ll be happy for that fast-rolling rear.
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 3 months|