Review: Michelin's Wild Enduro Tires Deliver Tons of Traction
Wild Enduro FrontThe Wild Enduro Front tread pattern is big and blocky, with tall, rectangular side knobs alternating rows of trapezoidal blocks in the center. All of the knobs are siped, but the siping is fairly minimal. There are two different compound choices for the Wild Enduro Front – either Magi-X² or Gum-X. The Magi-X² compound is the harder of the two, although, somewhat confusingly, Michelin say that it offers more grip at higher speeds than the Gum-X rubber. The Gum-X3D rubber is billed as being the better all-round option, offering “maximum enjoyment in complete safety.” I'm not sure about that marketing phrase, but I do know that I tend to prefer a softer rubber compound for the slippery conditions that prevail here in the Pacific Northwest, so I chose to test the Gum-X compound.
Wild Enduro RearThe tread pattern of the Wild Enduro Rear mimics that of the front, although the knobs are closer together and slightly shorter for reduced rolling resistance. The Gravity Shield casing has a lower thread count than the front, and also receives additional reinforcement around the bead to help prevent pinch flats.
PerformanceMounting up the Wild Enduro tires tubeless didn't pose any issues; I was able to use a floor pump to get both tires seated and sealed on wheels with an inner rim width of 30mm. Actual tire widths don't always match what's printed on the hot patch, but Michelin's calipers seem to be properly calibrated – both tires measured a true-to-size 2.4”. My typical pressures were 20 psi in the front, and 22 psi in the rear.The thick, minimally siped knobs on the Wild Enduro gives them plenty of support while cornering, and if there's even the slightest bit of give to the dirt they'll dig in like a serrated knife cutting through a crusty loaf of bread. It's hard to beat the “rrrrriiippp” sound that emits after hitting a corner just right. The overall tire profile is more square than round, but transitioning on and off of the side knobs was still smooth and predictable.
There was plenty of grip on tap for dealing with slippery roots and rocks, although the knobs are fairly stiff, more like a chilled Swedish Fish as opposed to one that's been left out in the sun. At times it felt as if the tires were trying to force the ground to conform to them, rather than conforming to the ground. For this reason, they reward a more precise riding style – riders who tend to pick a line and stick with it will have much better luck than riders who tend to roll into a jumble of rocks and roots and hope for the best. There's not the same level of forgiving compliance that you'll find with a Maxxis Minion or a Schwalbe Magic Mary.The rear tire didn't roll quite as quickly as I'd expected given the lower profile tread pattern, but it does deliver an impressive amount of bite in softer conditions. It also shed mud quite well, and while a more open tread pattern with deeper knobs is the way to go for really nasty glop, I'd happily run the Wild Enduro Rear all year round here in the Pacific Northwest.
|The Wild Enduro tires are a worthy option for hard charging riders, especially those whose typical trails conditions tend to be on the softer side of the spectrum. They're not the fastest rolling option out there, but they make up for that by offering a high level of traction, cornering support, and durability.— Mike Kazimer|