Despite keeping the same name Michelin have gone right back to the drawing board with this tyre…
To be honest that was probably a good move too because sadly over the past couple of years Michelin kind of fell by the wayside a bit. With help though from Fabien Barel and Nico Vouilloz, two of the sports greats, it looks like Michelin are making a serious effort to get back to the top of the tyre game. Those two riders have been testing a whole pile of prototypes and by the sounds of it this new tubeless ready 2.35″ Wild Grip’R Advanced Reinforced marks the shape of things to come, i.e. we could well see a substantial overhaul of the Michelin range for 2013.
Compared to the previous Wild Grip’R this tyre is a completely different beast. Everything has changed; the tread pattern, the rubber compound, and the casing. We’d spotted prototypes of this tyre on Nico’s bike at enduro races this year and I reckon it’s fair to say that this tyre is clearly aimed at that market. The casing is best described as somewhere between a full-on DH tyre and a standard trail tyre, and as such will be perfect for enduro races. At 980g each these tyres certainly aren’t light, but then that’s the price you pay for a tough and supportive casing. Sadly there don’t seem to be enough tyres sitting in this middle-ground between DH and trail at the moment.
We’ll get the tea boy to stick these on a bike and then we’ll let you know how we get on with them. By that time they might actually be available in the shops.