Michelin Wild Grip'r 2 and the Inner tube Reinvented - Interbike 2011

Sep 15, 2011
by Mike Levy  
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Michelin Wild Grip'r 2: Michelin's Wild Grip'r 2 is a completely new design for 2012 and is aimed squarely at the trail or all-mountain rider who is looking for an all around tire option. Designed to excel in the majority of conditions, the new tread pattern is laid out in a manner that should clear well when riding in wet conditions, but still offer relatively low rolling resistance when the trails are dry. Likely most interesting to Pinkbike readers will be the 26 x 2.35" tubeless ready option that makes use of Michelin's Advanced Reinforced casing. We spent countless hours on their Wild Rock'r, a tire that makes use of the same casing, and had great results. It was, without exaggerating, likely the most reliable tire that we have ever reviewed.

Michelin Interbike 2011

Interestingly, Michelin uses different rubber compounds for different widths in order to find the ideal balance of traction, efficiency and longevity, with wider options making use of a softer durometer rubber. While it is easy to get in the habit of thinking that you need the softest compound available for maximum traction, Michelin wants people to know that the rebound speed of the rubber - how fast it returns to its original shape - is just as important. A harder compound tire with a slower rubber rebound speed will behave very much like a tire that uses a soft compound, but will last much longer. They have been working to tune these two characteristics separately on their latest mountain bike tires, using what feels like a slightly harder compound, but that has rebound properties that they have tuned in specifically for each design - faster on some and slower on others.

Michelin Wild Grip'r 2 details:
• Intended use: all-mountain/trail
• Designed as an all around tire for most conditions
• Uses their Gum-X rubber compound with tuned rebound and durometer
• Different width tires make use of different compounds
• Available in Tubeless ready and UST Tubeless versions
• 30 TPI (reinforced casing), 60 TPI and 110 TPI casing options
• 26" x 2.0, 2.1, 2.25 and 2.35" widths
• 29" x 2.0, 2.1 and 2.25 widths
• Weight: 490 - 680 grams
• MSRP: $49.95 - $64.95 USD


Protek Max tube: Michelin was also showing off a new inner tube design, called Protek Max, that they have put a lot of thought into, and the finished product looks nothing like a standard tube. Yes, it looks very different, but there is some science behind the strange looking design. Michelin claims that their Protek Max tubes have a much greater chance of fending off a puncture over a standard tube thanks to their unique shape - the ridges on the top of the tube work as expansion joints, allowing the tube to expand without getting any thinner. The molded bumps on the tube's sidewall function in much the same way, helping to reduce surface tension and prevent the rubber from becoming too thin to prevent a puncture. That's not all though, because those same ridges actually help to seal holes as well. How? When the tube is inflated the ridges try to compress into each other, hopefully putting a stop to any leaking air.

The interesting looking semi-square shape has also been done for a reason, making the tube fit into the rim well better and easing install. Protek Max tubes also come stock filled with a tire sealant to further limit the chances of a flat. All of the above does come with a weight penalty though, with a Protek Max tube weighing in at roughly a full ounce more than a standard version in the same size. That is a relatively large amount of rotating weight to add to your bike, but we imagine that many riders who suffer from repeated flats, especially those who ride in the presence of thorns, won't mind.

Michelin Protek Max tube details:
• Novel design lessens the chance of flats
• Ridges on the top and bumps on side lower surface tension
• Square shape fits rim well better than a standard tube
• Roughly an ounce heavier than a standard tube of the same size (26x2.1" - 250g)
• Filled with a sealant
• Available in Presta or Schrader
• Available in 700c and 26" sizes
• MSRP: $9.95 USD


Visit the Michelin website to see their entire lineup.

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75 Comments

  • + 37
 Glad someone is thinking about new inner tube designs, do you think anyone will complain about an extra 28g on their wheels? Not that much heavier, lets see how they perform over time...
  • + 16
 Agreed... that is one part of the bike that hasn't seen any revolution since tubeless. They could be on to something.
  • - 47
flag pedalbitesucks (Sep 15, 2011 at 1:22) (Below Threshold)
 As a mechanic in a shop i disagree completely. If you buy them you better change them yourself. Next we are gonna see people put Slime in them.Or Mr. Tuffy's- that $#!+ sucks. I would rather deal with tubless than "ribbed" tubes. The only ribbed rubber I need is baby protection not flat protection.
  • - 1
 Plastic tubes are up there
  • + 2
 28 grams of rotational weight feels bunches. Not reeeally noticable persay, but more than saving weight by not running barends or whatever.
  • + 14
 it's always better to ride 200+28g XC,AM tube than a 400g regular DH tube with same puncture resistance characteristics, or btch on flatting a regular 150-200g XC condom.

Sounds abit too good to be true Michelin but I'm super positive for it. Such innovation is always super welcome, rather than innovating only by making stuff lighter and lighter & what takes terrible toll on the wallet and makes less expensive options a rarity
  • + 6
 Looks good to me and it is pretty cheap too.
  • + 4
 So, make it: more expensive, harder to carry on the trail, heavier, thicker, dry, fill it with slime to wreck your pump when you puncture, not mentioning how you fix a puncture with this tube out on the trails or when you get home....
Why should I buy it again?
  • + 1
 u got a point Betsie!
  • + 8
 @ Betsie it has slime so no need to fix the puncture,@ pedalbitesucks michelin bring out an idea to save you work/time in the long run and all you wanna do is complain ? maybe your in the wrong profession,that or are you just one of those spanners that sits all day looking as you think you know what you are doing.


Wonder if the idea would be getting slated if maxxis came up with it Facepalm
  • + 3
 I want one, see how it works. I don't patch tubes, does anybody? Have probably put Stans solution into 2000+ tires and never once 'wrecked' my pump. I would like to inflate one inside a clear piece of pipe or bottle, just to see how those nubbins work.
  • - 2
 slimes a terrible idea in anything apart from a wheelbarrow/pushchair tyre. i mean why on earth would you want to add weight that then f**ks with the centrefugal forces in your wheel (especially when your in the air!) also if you split a tyre you get covered in sh*t and any mechanic who you take your bike to will instantly think your a dick as soon as you mention slime, even more of a dick if you dont tell him it's in there and he gets covered in it.
  • + 10
 Are you guys serious? It will not mess with forces in your wheel, as it will spread itself evenly through the entire surface within the first ride.... Same puncture resistance as a DH tube at half of its' weight, sign me up, I would be a fool not to give them a go. What a great place for improvement.
  • + 2
 If the inner tube does what it says on the tin then you will no longer need dual ply casing or a kevlar strip to protect the inner tube from pinch punctures,this could lead to saving 400 grammes plus so the 28 grammes extra from the slime is a small price to pay.
  • + 3
 At ten bucks your aren't taking a bigger hit than you do for thick DH tubes..
  • + 1
 That and this tube is 200 grammes lighter than a dh tube.
  • + 3
 2 words: Ghetto tubeless.

Running both proper and ghetto tubebless setups at the moment both with regular maxxis tyres, its amazing. I used to puncture ALL the time, havnt punctured since i made the switch despite running them 5psi softer.

Ghetto tubeless only requires a bmx tube and some sealant (and 20minutes of your time at first). No new wheel,s no new tyres. I reckon the weight is the same as with a regular tube and the puncture resistance is probably higher than these michelin tubes.
  • + 1
 Tube less is still flawed so no ta.
  • + 1
 What are you guys riding on? Just straight cactus? I rarely flat, just pick smoother lines.

This tube, combined with talc, and stans, would be ridiculous.
  • + 4
 Smoother lines what the feck was the point in designing suspension Eek lol
  • + 1
 Right, it must be the demo's supposed square edge bump issue causing all these flats.
  • + 2
 never got a pinch puncture on my demo so it can't be that.
  • + 0
 @marquis
I would look at the selection criteria for anything that came out, apply a weighted matrix, score the options, draw conclusions.
Would the manufacturer be in the matrix? Yes, as track record is important with reliability, not saying Maxxis would score highly though...
Look at tyres, Continental Black chili is the best compound out there for grip on damp rocks and roots, but until they sort out the weak casing compared to Maxxis or even better Schwalbe, I won't run my Kaisers unless it is very cold, where they rule by such a margin that I am willing to accept the relative probability of puncturing.
  • + 1
 My god, you have done the impossible. Made biking un fun, you take this shit faaar to seriously.
  • + 1
 Who me Cry i'm sorry.
  • + 1
 Naw, you're good shit. Betsie. I tend to pick my bike parts based upon what I want, not what a spreadsheet tells me. I pick one tire, and ride that until it is worn, then replace it typically with the same tire. Pretty rare I venture outside the minion.
  • + 5
 When he said matrix i just saw 1 and 0's Eek
  • + 1
 Betsie had a point with slime being shit though...

Ran it for a little bit when I was just starting out riding a few years ago. Got a pinch puncture, the hole was too big for the slime to handle so all of it ran into my tyre and messed that up. I then had to spend ages cleaning the slime off the tube so I could get a puncture repair kit on, then when I pumped the tyre up the small amount of slime that didn't empty itself into my tyre decided it wanted to get better acquainted with my pump and f*cked that up too.

Moral of the story: Don't use slime. If they got rid of the sealant I'd be very interested though, if it meant I could get away with lighter tyres and no punctures its all good.
  • + 1
 @bonfire.
You are welcome to come over here any time and see how un fun I make it, I guess I make is so un fun there is are full Dh tracks to pump tracks within a couple of miles of my house.... coz I built them.
I put the same thought into building as I do parts, I would say my tracks and track sections are pretty fun.
Riding is far more fun when you have grip, especially when you are riding with fast boys!
With the soil etc up here, it can be dry one day and p!ss wet through the next, and if you aint driftin you aint shiftin.
I get on my bike to go flat out, not mince my way down because I have a worn high roller on in the wet and mud or sit indoors whining because of the rain.

Sorry wee rant there, gotta love PB armchair riders...

I am currently an armchair rider as I drifted her into a tree 8 weeks ago, breaking my collar-bone :o(
  • + 2
 my tuppence worth..... who gets thorn punctures when riding real trails? only thorn puncture i have had was on a canal path and its the only one i have had in 10 years...so having tried various sealants for tubeless i can assure you, pinch punctures still happen as easily.

At $10 its not the cheapest tube in the world so i would probably make damn sure it gets patched when it inevitably punctures but thats the same i do with every tube as i be a cheapskate Scot...some of my tubes have over 20 patches on them!!!

with all this technology going in to the tube why have they felt the need to fill it with shitty slime/sealant seems to me like the technology is only an nth degree better than a normal tube...if at all. having said that i do think its awesome that something totally new is being tried.
  • + 2
 Same here dude , can't remember the last time I got a thorn type puncture , was probably 15 years ago while I still rode the crappy country side near my house , pinch flats are the things that needs to be cured to me and yes i'm fully aware of tubeless systems.
  • + 1
 We have single track through thorny sections of wood where thorns happen fairly often. One of the better light FR trail locally has to have the thorns wacked back every spring.
  • + 1
 Alot of the trails here have this thing called goat's head gravel. It's a rock hard thorn covered with inch long spikes that break off in your tire, and they seem to travel in groups of 50. Most of the time, you'll never run over them, but when you do, the whole tire and tube will be filled with 20-100 of them. It sucks, so this tube could help make it out to the car I guess...I like the idea, I'm definitely going to try it!
  • + 1
 I called them ramskulls growing up. I remember them from when I lived in utah as a kid. Nasty little buggers. Not a lot to do about them either. I doubt any tube would stop them.
  • + 2
 Just did a lunch ride and got several punctures cause by goathead (thorns). Slime would have let me ride back to work instead of walking. Normally I run slime in my tubes, but I hadn't gotten around to adding it to this set. It is a great solution for goatheads, but doesn't help at all with big gashes or pinch flats.
  • + 2
 The wildgrippers should be retired forever. They always sucked on real trails, and this new tread patern looks even worse if anything. Michelin did a good job with that new inner tube. 250g is not too bad for such flat protection. I def going to try these tubes out.
  • + 2
 agreed, wild grippers suck balls
  • - 1
 I've never liked any Michelins I've had. I run conti's on both my AM and DH bikes now and couldn't be happier.
  • + 2
 the old dh16's and dh24's ruled. they should never have messed with them. bring 'em back!!
  • + 2
 Yep they ruined their tires when the decided to to cut out the back side of the outer knobs , now they fold wayyy to easily , old comp 16's were the dogs bollocks if a little tough to mount to the rim Razz
  • + 1
 @bigburd: Exactly - why on earth would they hollow out the underside of the cornering lugs? I hate that sudden give you feel when side lugs roll over, and this can't help.
  • + 1
 Yeah its a strange one , for me on the old Comp 16's one of the highlights was that it was very hard to fold the corner lugs in corners , in fact they would tend to shed knobs in the longer term , but they replaced it with some thing you can fold like wind screen wiper blades , strange .
  • + 1
 Finally!!!
I´m biking in Peru since two days, and i had seven (!!!) flat tires so far... Man, it´s great here... BUT you really can´t enjoy the megaavalanche trail after the third puncture and then having to hitchhike down because you´ve run out of tubes... Frown
I hope they can hold on to their promises, so that this won´t ever happen again to me...

Well, just had a one hour bus drive to the next bikeshop... And now I hope the best for the next days
  • + 2
 Thank you very much Michelin, finally there is hope. My current solution was to cut open an old tube and wrap it around a new tube and hope for the best, seems to be working fine so far...
  • + 1
 Just bought the TR Michelin Wild Grip'R 2's in the 29er x 2.25" version (non-advanced). Have seen some say they run small, large and various weights.

The original packaging states 29 x 2.25" and 730 grams.

For anyone wanting actual spec's for their 29'r tire choices, here you go:

1st Tire weighed 750 grams and the 2nd weighed 755 grams.

Both measured out to 68mm (2.3") at 50 psi when seating bead with sealant and later measured exactly 67mm (2.25") at 24 psi. *** Mounted on stock Non-tubeless Weimann 24mm OD/19mm ID rims with stan's XC 29'r rim strips and sealant.
  • - 1
 The tube looks like an over-engineered train wreck. Like a "we have to have something new for interbike... quick think of something!" And the tire looks promising until you look at the over spaced shoulder knobs. Michelin really needs to sponsor a MTB team of top caliber and LISTEN to the riders. Such a turn off to this company.
  • + 1
 Is it heavier than a standard tube with sealant in it, or is it heavier than an empty standard tube?
  • + 2
 I have a dream. That one day men and bike will co-exist without punctures
  • + 1
 Picked up my tubes today! The bike shop I had order them ordered a bunch of extra and they sold out over the weekend.
  • + 1
 I will invest in a pair of those tubes if they make them for a 24" but i will see
  • + 1
 We have a park nicknamed thorn forest and I certainly hope those tubes work and are in avail soon.
  • + 1
 there some crazy ass inner tubes!
  • + 1
 Is there something wrong with thanking Mike Levy?
  • + 1
 Funny the negative points?
  • + 1
 those tubes look... umm... interesting?
  • + 1
 but possibly heavy
  • + 1
 It says roughly an ounce heavier.
  • + 0
 i dont see how they could reduce pinchflats though...
  • + 4
 "Roughly an ounce heavier than a standard tube of the same size (26x2.1" - 250g)"

Standardisation fail. Give them an inch and they'll take 1 609 344 millimetres.
  • + 11
 Ribbed for our, ummm...pleasure.......
  • + 1
 How does one go about laying a patch on these? Just asking.
  • - 9
flag UncleCliffy (Sep 15, 2011 at 0:31) (Below Threshold)
 What the hell's a patch?!?
  • + 1
 Excellent question, although it is usually difficult to patch any tube that is filled with sealant like the Protek Max tube is.
  • + 2
 Mikelevy, I just want to say thanks for your Tech segments. Thank you! Shox tuning 101 & 102 are brilliant while not forgetting everything else you have done!
  • + 2
 Ture Unclecliffy, I don't think I've patched a tub since the late 90's.
  • + 2
 See! I'm not the only one. Keep those negative props flowin!
  • + 1
 I expect a lot of XC type guys use patches as it's a lot easyer to carry a puncture kit then it is a whole tube
  • + 1
 Puts the moneys downs and buys the special patch $$ TBD $$
  • + 1
 I have bough 4 tubes in 2 years and two of those tubes haven't been used yet. VIVA LA PATCH! I've patched slime tubes before too. It works as long as you keep the hole up. What sucks is when the slime hardens into lumps from age.
  • + 1
 if your racing wouldn't it be better to just chuck a new tube in?
  • + 1
 Racers might not patch, but most riders probably still do.
  • - 1
 The test ride analysis you did on Brendan's Demo at Les Gets was outstanding.
  • + 1
 Is 2.1 the only size they are offering or was that size thrown out to give us an idea on weight? 10 bucks is a hell of a price for all its to be, I hope it comes in a 2.35 or 2.5.
  • + 1
 doesn't make sense if it isn't in 2.35 and 2.5 since it seems for FR DH friendly.

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