I’ve been wanting to do this write up for a couple of months now. In fact, since a couple of days after I first fitted the Michelin Wild Enduro tyres, but common sense prevailed and I decided to give them a decent term on the bike before sharing my thoughts.
To begin, it’s probably wise to explain my reasons for wanting to give these a go before getting into the nitty gritty on how they’ve performed. Most riders I know tend to be very loyal to a chosen brand and I admit to have being the same for many years.
To date, I’ve always ridden a popular German brand of tyres, the ones with the Marvel comics style of product naming. Many of the GX Syndicate ride the other popular brand but for some reason, I’ve never been keen on the squarer tread patterns having been used to a more rounded pattern and the familiar, and very stable progression when transferring weight to the edges. As mine were approaching end of life I got to thinking that it might be an opportunity to take a look at Michelin, a company synonymous with tyres and one with a history in MTB albeit a quiet one in recent years until what seems to have been a more recent concerted push to grab a bigger market share and the introduction of a range of new products for the MTB market with the likes of Sam Hill seeing success riding the tyre over the 2018 racing season.
I’d read some good things about how the Wild Enduro’s provided more all round usability across a fairly wide range of conditions and seasons without the need for lots of different casing/compound options which, if we are being honest, does make buying tyres confusing for some and leaves most with a garage full of rubber suspended from the ceiling for two thirds of the year. The Wild Enduro’s come Front and Rear specific (too easy) and with a small number of options with gnarly looking tread patterns, albeit leaning toward squarer edges. They also claim to provide different levels of grip depending on how hard you are working the tyre (Magi-X compound) so had to be worth a look at. They’re also rather nice on the eye!
After reading up on the difference between the Magi-X and The Gum-X, and admitting to myself that I am indeed not a professional racer, I settled on a pair of the 2.4in Front and Rear specific Gum-X3D (27.5). Michelin state that these are the best option for safety and optimum enjoyment. The packaging is nice and explains what you’re getting clearly. There’s also an instruction leaflet and I implore you to read it. I didn’t, because I’m a smart arse who has installed loads of tyres, and struggled to get the first one on centrally lined on the Hope Tech Enduro wheel. A quick read later, and a load of soapy water, and they went on with ease followed by the usual generous helping of Stan’s fluid. I’m not a pressure geek, and it’s a matter of personal taste, so I pumped up to my usual pressures, did a quick thumb test and was ready to roll.
The Front specific tyre you see above is seriously aggressive and very tacky. The rear is nothing like this and has a much tighter tread pattern with smaller knobs which still give plenty of grip but are clearly designed for speed. My first concern was that rolling resistance was going to suffer and that the squarer profile on both front and rear was going to be well out of my comfort zone. With fresh rubber mounted and no idea what to expect I headed out into the Dark Peak around Hayfield and the periphery of Kinder Scout. The terrain is a fantastically varied mix of Mud, Moorland, Millstone grit outcrops and plenty of steep and techy areas that can shred a tyre with little effort. Perfect for a first run.
The very first thing that I noticed, whilst spinning my way up one of the more laborious climbs, was that the 2.4 inch wide tyres were fast. Far faster than I expected to be honest and there was no loss in rolling speed on tarmac, grass or mud when climbing. 1-0 to Michelin.
I like to run my front tyre quite soft and as the trails started to require a bit more effort I realised that I was getting a bit of roll in the tighter corners. Luckily, a few extra PSI sorted this right out and it had no effect whatsoever on the grip on the front end.
This brings me to the grip. Oh the grip! Michelin have absolutely nailed this. Those out there who like the venerable Magic Mary need to give this tyre a go. I can only describe the grip as lizard-like on rock. Hard pack feels equally controlled and both the front and rear tyres give a real sense of being planted firmly. As things soften up somewhat below, mud, loam etc, they take on a slightly different aspect that lovers of those squarer profile tyres will really appreciate. That is that feeling you get when cornering in softer terrain and the inner tread pattern releases you and there’s a split second where you feel like you’re sliding and then the outer tread bites. It’s such a short moment and the first time it kinda catches you out but somehow feels great. The second time around it’s expected and I subsequently found myself pushing into corners a little harder to feel that bite quicker which resulted in some faster times through already familiar sections.
I’ve had the Michelin Wild Enduro’s on my main bike for several months now and typically ride three times a week. They’ve been on the bike over the great British summer time so they’ve been hammered in all conditions and across a variety of temperatures. They’ve also managed to survive the dreaded hedge cutting season where the local farmers take great glee in chopping back the Hawthorn and Blackthorn bushes leaving large carpets of steel needle-like thorns across the tracks like police stingers. That’s some testament to the 3D compound and it’s resistance to the horrors we choose to put tyres through these days. So far, wear has been good too. We ride a lot of rocky paths that can take their toll on soft tyres. I’m yet to lose a knob, or even damage one, and they’ve still got plenty of life left in them. The decision has been made and I’m leaving the set-up exactly as it currently is and am going to see how they fair in the lovely English winter slop. I’m even tempted to buy an extra Magi-X Front and stick it on the rear when it snows. (I’ll let you know how that pans out.) I’m definitely curious about swapping out on the front and seeing what the difference is in performance in comparison to the Gum-X.
Overall, I can wholeheartedly say that I’m hugely impressed with these tyres. So much so that I can’t see myself going back to anything else in the near future. I’m also curious as to the other tyres in the range and will undoubtedly be giving them a go as my other tyres need replacing. Top work Michelin, keep them coming.
Tested: Wild Enduro Front Gum-X 3D 2.4 and Wild Enduro Rear Gum-X 3D 2.4 both 27.5)
Weight: 1036g Front / 1102g Rear
Casing: 3D (Gravity shield)
Overall score: 9 out of 10 for both.
A seriously grippy and highly capable set of tyres with surprisingly little rolling resistance and excellent performance in a wide range of conditions. Proved excellent for the type of riding we do here in the Derbyshire peaks.