Off the back of testing and falling in love with the Michelin Wild Enduro, Andi tests the new Michelin Wild AM and Force AM. Will he be impressed?
Earlier this year I tested the Nukeproof Giga, a super enduro bike that blew me away not just because of the performance but also the specification. This was a bike fitted with parts that enhanced how it rode, and the Michelin Wild Enduro tyres were a part of that amazing package. I was so taken with the Wild Enduro that came on that test bike that I chose to review them individually so I could rave about them.
During my time with the Giga I was contacted by Silverfish, the UK distributor for Michelin, and asked if I wanted to test the new Michelin Wild and Force AM tyres. After my experience with the Wild Enduro I was more than excited for new Michelin rubber and soon two pairs of the Wild AM and Force AM tyres were fitted to my bikes.
I tested the Wild AM, which has a more aggressive tread design, on the front and the Force AM on the rear. I have tested the tyres on a Cotic BFE Max, Patrol 691 Evo and YT Izzo, to give a good all-around feeling of how they compare across a wide range of riding styles.
Michelin Wild AM – 29 x 2.40
Of the two tyres, the Michelin Wild AM is the more aggressive tyre, featuring a deep square knob pattern with ample spacing between the tread. The tread depth suggests good loose/dry performance, while the central spacing looks as though it shouldn’t drag too much on the road.
A staggered pattern sees two knobs located side by side then alternated by knobs with a wider spacing. As we move out to the outer edges of the tyre the Wild AM’s side knobs increase in size, but are also positioned with a slight offset to one another. Each knob is siped, a feature that is meant to improve wet-weather performance. Our tyres are the Gum-X compound that has a slightly harder compound in the centre for improved rolling resistance and softer at the edges for a better bite in loose dirt conditions.
Mounting the Wild AM was a breeze. They’re not too tight to break your thumbs but they’re not so loose that you need a compressor to mount them, a track pump was all that was needed. Once mounted I did have issues keeping them inflated. It’s quite common for tyres to lose pressure after first being mounted, but as a general rule, the first ride is enough to ensure they are fully sealed and then only occasional pressure checks are needed.
I found the Michelin Wild AM to lose air more readily and on closer inspection I found the sidewalls of the tyre to show signs of sealant seeping through. This is not something I’ve experienced for a long time, especially when using a Stans’ sealant.
On the trail, I immediately felt the additional bulk of the tyres compared to the Pirrelis I had been using. The Michelins aren’t a slow tyre, but they don’t roll as fast as the new Pirelli Scorpion range. That said the Wild does offer good grip and mechanical traction in the dirt and on dry trails. It is only when you really lean them over that they let go. Whereas the Wild Enduro seem to hold for days in the corners, the Wild AM is more willing to let go sooner than other aggressive tyres. I put this down to the alternating tread on the sidewall which in effect halves the number of knobs keeping you tyre side down on loose blown out corners.
The Wild AM also struggles in the damp – slick roots and shiny well-travelled rocks are never going to offer up sandpaper levels of grip, but the Wild AM doesn’t help. In terms of puncture resistance, they’re doing a good job (when not losing air) and I have yet to puncture the Wild on the front.
Michelin Wild AM Conclusion
Keep these for dry loamy days and you’ll love them, but swap them over for the Wild Enduro or a burly Michelin DH tyre when the weather turns grey and the trails become slick.
Michelin Force AM – 29 x 2.4
The Force is a lower-profile faster rolling tyre than the Wild and has a tread pattern that has been developed to promote speed. The central tread design is almost a two phase design that creates an arrow. Starting with a large flat triangle knob, followed by two smaller knobs further apart then creating the arrow with a final two, wider, angled knobs. This first three part arrow is followed by a two part arrow and so on.
Around the edge, we get larger, deeper side knobs for improved cornering support. These run slightly offset like the Wild AM. Again, the Force AM fit the wheels I tried them only very well (Hope, Silt, DT Swiss), easing onto the rim and remaining tight enough to be inflated with just a track pump. Unfortunately like the Wild AM, the Force AM also showed signs of sealant seeping from the walls.
On the trail the Force AM are a faster rolling tyre that is obviously more suited to dry weather conditions. Even with sipes in the outermost tread blocks, the Force AM spins on wet rocks and roots and really only enjoys sunny days (just like me). On dry rock, through hardpacked trails and in loose dirt, the Force AM are fast-rolling and retain speed. There’s plenty of grip for climbs too.
Again though, compared to the Pirelli Scorpions I tested earlier in the year, the Michelin Wild and Force combo don’t seem to roll quite as fast, and for the dry conditions that these tyres prefer, I wouldn’t say there was much of a benefit running these over the Pirellis.
Michelin Force AM Conclusion
As a rear tyre the Force AM are fast-rolling, grip well in the dry and have been so far durable. If you live in very dry conditions and ride hardpacked trails the Force AM might also make a good fast XC front tyre.
|Product:||Wild AM / Force AM|
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 4 months|
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