Michelin “Wild Mud” 2.0 29″er Tires: Impressions & Final Review- by Guitar Ted
Mud season is in full swing here and with that came a flurry of activity on the Michelin Wild Mud tires I introduced to you here. With such a short window of proper testing conditions for these tires, I have decided that I would also give a final conclusion on them, since everything is due to firm up here before long. (Bad for mud tire testing, but great for all the other reviews coming soon! )
Tubeless Performance: The Michelin tires are tubeless ready and based on UST dimensions, so they popped right on the Shimano Deore XT 29″er wheels with ease. (See the test on the wheels here) They have held air pressure very well throughout the testing period, and gave me no issues in regard to the tubeless performance.
Mounted to the On One Inbred SS rig, I have been able to test these tires in varying conditions ranging from slush, snow, clay, wet mud, and drier, stickier mud. Along with this, I have also had them on dry dirt, loam, and pavement. Michelin optimized these tires for grip in wet, muddy situations, and I would have to agree that on drier grounds, and especially the harder the surface gets, these tires ramp up in rolling resistance, so I feel the assessment here is correct. On pavement the resistance is similar feeling to my fat bike! This is definitely a specialist tire, and that should not be a surprise.
Mud Performance: So, how is it as a mud specialist? Actually, it can be a pretty impressive tire. The Wild Mud was designed with a knob that supposedly twists as it is compressed by rider weight, and then releases to help shed mud. Does it work? I can not prove this theory one way or the other, but I can say the Wild Mud seems to be able to shed off muck and mire rather easily in comparison to several other tires I have tested before. I do believe there is something to the claim.
However; if the mud gets really sticky, or drier and sticky, the Wild Mud suffers the same fate as all the tires I have tested eventually do. The sticky mud adheres to the tires and layers up until the tire becomes a massive ball of mud and finally- everything grinds to a halt when clearances are used up. If you can survive a stretch of this goo to reach drier grounds, the Wild Mud does shed the stuff off faster than most any tire I have tried, but it will not save you if the sticky soils go on for very long.
In wetter grounds the Wild Mud is a fantastic gripper and again- it sheds the mud off with no issues. Many tires will do well in slop, but the Wild Mud does have a better grip on wet solid objects than many tires I have tried, and in deep mud, the knobs do “paddle” you forward somewhat, so you do not totally lose momentum. Would this be a good tire for wet rocks and roots? I think so. It has a nice, grippy compound, and I found it even did better in the ice and snow than one would think. Maybe Michelin should consider a studded version.
Conclusions: My final assessment of the Wild Mud is that it is best used as a specialist mud tire in wetter conditions. Rolling resistance on hard packed trail or pavement is too high for extended riding. The drier, stickier muds will foul this tire as well, so I don’t see the Wild Mud being particularly successful unless there is some moisture involved. In comparison to other mud specialists, I find the Wild Mud to have a stickier grip, but maybe it isn’t quite the top of the heap in mud performance as far as shedding all types of mud. It’s close, and if you have trails where traction on wet surfaces is needed and is also combined with frequent bouts with mud, these may be the perfect tires for your 29″er.
Note: Michelin sent over the Wild Mud tires to Twenty Nine Inches at no charge for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.