Michelin Wild Race’R 29″er Tires: Final Review- by Guitar Ted
The summer is waning and along with this comes a close to my test of the Michelin Wild Race’R tires. You can check out my Mid-Term report here, and the First Impressions are here, and finally, the Out Of The Box post is here. Now let’s take a look at this squarish profiled tire for the final time.
Notes: In the last report, I mentioned that these would be going on a full suspension bike, but I decided against this and put them on the Milwaukee Bicycle Company 29″er instead. (Reviewed here) Also, I was informed by my contact at Michelin that using a lower pressure than I had been might prove to enhance the performance a bit, thus eliminating my quibble with the stiff casing. I tried going down to just below 20psi and did several rides.
Ride Performance: With pressures in the sub-20psi range, (mostly 17-20psi), the tire performance was dramatically better. In every way, I felt lowering the pressure on the Wild Race’R was a good thing to do. Cornering grip was better without squirmy feeling, or fear of rolling the tire. I would credit the WTB i23 Frequency rims here for the additional tire support, a narrower internal rim width would likely not produce results as good as this.
I let another rider test my theory that had no preconceived notions on the Wild Race’R tires. I only cautioned him not to raise the pressures above 20psi. After a few rides he reported that the tires were as I felt: grippy, confidence inspiring, and fast. In fact, these tires are very fast and comfortable on dry single track.
Conclusions: I liked the Wild Race’R straight away as a tire that was fast, had better grip than you would think, and was sturdy. However; lowering the pressures by about 8-10psi from my typical riding pressures turned out to be the key to unlocking the potential hidden within the squarish casings of the Wild Race’R. In everything but loose grounds, mud, and deep loam, the Michelins were really top notch. If your trails lean toward hard pack, tacky dirt, to some light loose over hard pack, the Wild Race’R should show you stability, comfort, and really good grip without sacrificing speed.
Tubeless performance has been better than most. I have noted that the Wild Race’R has held pressure better than many tires over a period of time, low pressures are safe to use without fear of squirming or roll offs, (on a rim that fits well with good internal rim width!), and the tires have not burped at all throughout. Tread wear has been very good.
Unfortunately, the tire is not an XC racing weight tire, but you might think it rolls as fast as one anyway. Probably best suited to trail oriented hard tails and full suspension bikes, the Wild Race’R ranks as one of the better tires I’ve tried in a while.