The stares it draws are legitimate, few have seen a set in the wild. I happened to come by a pair because a gracious Frenchman wanted to bring more wine back home. The Wild Enduro tires from Michelin are fast becoming one of the winningest first-generation tires ever, having won every single EWS round in 2018 under Sam Hill, as well as the 2018 NZ Enduro and Trans NZ events piloted by the Frenchman from just above, the one and only Jerome Clementz.
It was while we were at the NZ Enduro that Jerome and I ended up chatting about the bike claws he was running for the event. I happen to comment that I thought they looked similar to Schwalbe’s Magic Mary tire, to which he laughed in surprise, saying that he’d asked Michelin to design some rubber with the bite of a Mary, but something which rolled/pedaled more efficiently. It turns out as well, that Sam Hill saw the prototypes during the 2017 EWS season, and just from seeing them, sought out the tires for 2018. Game recognize game!
During the conversation, I asked about the tire’s availability, as they weren’t quite for purchase at the time; Jerome then told me he’d be happy to get me a set to try if I was interested…oh, hell yeah, I was interested! In my mind though, I thought he would get someone to send me some in the mail. Instead, I went outside after breakfast the next day and a fresh set was sitting on my saddle, like a big ol’ coiled up snake. Yeehaw! I profusely gave my thanks for the rad hook up, to which Jerome simply joked, “Now I can bring more New Zealand wine home!”. Legend.
On The Trail
I waited until I was back home in the US to give the gnartire its first day in the dirt. The set got mounted to a Novatec Diablo wheelset on my Transition Scout. For those who don’t know me, every bike is a DH bike, it just doesn’t know it yet – so my “XC” bike is built a little aggressively to say the least!
The first outing proved interesting, as I didn’t quite have the PSI dialed in, but I could feel the potential for the tire was lingering just a breath away. Figuring out that the tire preferred to be near or under 28 PSI (I ran about that in the rear and 25-27 PSI in the front) found me and the Scout pushing the limits of speed on the local ribbons very quickly. A high-volume 2.4-inch tire with front and rear specific tread, the Wild Enduro is very much a race-bred design. Big, chunky side knobs and aggressively shaped but low profile center tread keeps the wheels turning a little more easily while still clawing away for traction when cornering.
New England has a large variety of terrain to ride, so I was able to give the race-blooded rubber a proper thrashing. From fresh brown pow and roots, to rocks and hard pack, the bases were covered. Keeping in mind that these tires have been designed for racing where tracks get turned up by hundreds of riders, it makes sense that the Wild Enduro would excel ridiculously well is fresh, loose, loamy, and wild trail conditions; “Hero Tread” comes to mind as a moniker.
The stiffer casing with a high-grip rubber compound inspires when speeds are fast and the terrain is rough. Being that the tire isn’t aimed at bike parks and machine-built trails, the widely spaced side knobs can get a little jittery on dry, dusty hardpack aka “flow trails” or the kind of run that develops a “blue groove” and doesn’t have proper berms. Such an aggressive tire doesn’t belong in the bike park anyways unless you only ride pirate tracks you and your buddies built because everything got sanitized and glazed over with a healthy dose of machinery.
In the wet, the tire can get a little dancey on roots and rocks, but it’s more of a character thing than a flaw – the tire is still happy to shred, just give the valve a press or two to drop the pressure a bit. Being so stiff, the Wild Enduro can actually work as hoped with less air on any day, and when it gets wet, going even lower will be just fine. On a whole, the tire set is really predictable. I am reminded of the original High Roller tire from Maxxis, which had all the grip you need up to a very specific point…after which you were sliding, but in a very manageable manner. You can feel the edge of the tires, so you know when the point of no return is happening. Once the hard edge is lost, the drifting characteristics are easy to control, so for the rider who likes to ride loose and smudge turns, the Wild Enduro will deliver with the Wild, but save you with the Enduro-bred pattern and keep you on the trail.
Ride Stats and Assessment
115 miles of trails shredded.
17,320 ft of climbing hammered.
Durability 5/5 – Only just starting to look worn, excellent for a soft-compound tire.
Grip 4/5 – A little skittish on hardpack, specifically non-banked corners.
Rolling 4/5 – Not a PITA to liaison on pavement or fire roads, while still shredding.
Weight 3/5 – They are not light, but they ride with confidence.
Overall 🤙🤙🤙🤙🤙 /🖐 It is performance-minded and inspires confidence.
When it all comes down to hitting the “Purchase” button, should you? I say yes! The Wild Enduro is a fantastic pattern that excels in almost everything. If you climb-to-descend, the lighter-rolling design with the aggressive pattern will be on point. For those who ride hand-built, natural trails and really like to push hard in corners/on the gravity-fed portions, you too shall rejoice. Should you be of the bike park ilk, someone who prefers groomed corners and jumps, with maybe some off-piste action or some less-wild woods riding, I’d suggest one of the many other options out there. The Wild Enduro is meant to be out in the natural and hard-to-tame beauty of rugged racetracks, hand-tool-created singletrack, and off-Strava-locals-only secret stashes.
Front Tire Spec
3×60 TPI Casing
980g in 27.5
Rear Tire Spec
3×33 TPI Casing
1090g in 27.5
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is unpaid for, an independent review of a product.