While some tyre manufacturers have quingigillions of different designs, Michelin’s stated aim is to have a simple, easy to understand range with just three tread patterns for hardpack, intermediate and “extreme” conditions.
The range isn’t quite as simple as it first appears, however – for a start there are a couple of other treads in the Wild lineup, including a winter training slick and a big, pointy DH mud tyre. These are deemed specialist tyres rather than part of the core range.
Limiting the range to three tread designs doesn’t, of course, mean that there are just three tyres. Each comes in a range of widths with a choice of casings and compounds. A quick count reveals a total of 23 individual tyres (not counting the “non-core” ones – add another three for those).
The main tyres available then are the Race’r, for hardpack, the Grip’r, mixed terrain and the Rock’r, for extreme terrain (obviously). There’s also a Dig’r mud downhill tyre as well. The Race’r is available in five sizes from 2in to 2.3in, but not including 2.2in. The Grip’r comes in six sizes from 2in right up to a whopping 2.6in and the Rock’r just four sizes from 2.1in to 2.5in. The Dig’r is only available in 2.2in.
The Wild Race’r features a tread pattern that is familiar from previous Michelin treads, with a directional pattern mad up of smaller blocks. The shoulder blocks are well spaced to offer off-camber grip and the intermediate blocks work in unison to improve the lean angle and increase grip.
The more open tread pattern of the Wild Grip’r are arranged to allow increase rolling efficiency with the central blocks fairly closely orientated to each other, while being spaced apart generously enough to allow easy mud shedding. While there’s a range of sizes, the 2.5in and 2.6in options are designed for downhill racing only with a tread pattern tailored to offer more progressive braking performance and more precise steering when fitted to the front.
Michelin’s Wild Rock’r’s tread blocks are shaped with an aggressive ‘claw-like’ shoulder with closely spaced and directional central blocks for good handling in a range of conditions.
Other new notable addition to Michelin’s tyres is a Gumwall sidewall which offers increased damage protection as well as ensuring an airtight seal on the rim for tubeless applications. In the quest for reducing the chance of punctures and slashed tyres Reinforced Technology sees the introduction of four protective layers placed underneath the tread and three under the sidewall.
Dual compound technology is still used, as seen in previous Michelin tyres. There’s a harder layer of rubber on the inside to provide toughness while the rubber that makes contact with the trail is made from a softer compound, with various durometer grades available.
More when we get some in for test soon…