Michelin Wild Race’R 29″er Tires: Mid-Term- by Guitar Ted
It has been longer than I wanted, but here finally is the Mid-Term report on the Michelin Wild Race’R 29″er tires. You can see the first impressions post here if you missed that. Now on to the report…
The Michelin Wild Race’R, a tire that seems best suited for dry single track, actually is coming off as an all-arounder more than anything so far. Curiously so, since at first glance, the tread pattern seems a bit too low down the center to really be of much use for anything but going fast. I think the key to its success in a wider realm of terrain than I thought is the flat profile. This tends to get those aggressive side knobs engaged into the terrain much more quickly than a rounder crown profile may allow for.
The cornering performance is actually really good from anything loamy, loose, and gravelly while also ranging to the expected hard pack, tacky, and slightly muddy conditions. The casing is somewhat stiffer and the ride feel is maybe a bit harsher than a higher TPI casing, but otherwise I have been surprised by this tire.
A couple things that come to mind that are maybe annoyances more than anything are worth mentioning. One would be the tendency for this tire to pick up tiny bits of stone inside the hollow area of the center tread. (See image) Then at a random point during the ride, the small stone becomes dislodged and maybe flies into your face. (A reminder to always wear eye protection!) Secondly would be this tires tendencies to rebound off gravel and rocks rather than absorbing some of that energy. (This going towards my point concerning the 60TPI casing) On a more positive note, the tread seems to be wearing quite well so far, so perhaps this is your go-to tire if you need something that lasts longer, and not necessarily the best feeling casing, or tackiest tread.
Tire Fit: I tried fitting the Wild Race’R to a few different rims, but it became readily apparent that if it wasn’t a UST based design, the Michelin wasn’t going to go on. This means no Stan’s, and even Bontrager rims proved difficult. I will mention here that it is my belief that anything beyond a nudge with a tire lever is not acceptable. However; in the case of this tire, I would have been prying with steel levers and there would have been nearly no taking them off afterward. Yes……much like Geax tires on a Stan’s rim. So, these Michelins are a UST type bead interface.
That means they went on easy-peezy on the WTB Frequency rims with little more effort than hand pressure. They aired up with a floor pump and the i23 rims really spread out the beads/sidewall on the Wild Race’Rs making them even a bit more flat crowned than they were before. These will see duty off and on the new Fuji Outland 29 full suspension bike, (intro seen here), so we’ll get an idea how the all-around performance translates from a rigid hard tail to full on suspension goodness.
Note: Michelin sent the Wild Race’R tires and Michelin tubes over for testing/review at no charge. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review. I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.