Michelin WildRock’R AdvancedWhat it is:
Michelin is making a strong push to recapture a share of the performance mountain bike tire market with a slew of new tires, including the WildRock’R Advanced. There are gobs of all-mountain focused tires to chose from these days, from high-volume and feather-weight rubber, to sturdy options that could also do double duty on a full-on downhill bike, and everything in between. With its stiff tubeless casing and aggressive tread pattern, the WildRock’R Advanced leans more towards the sturdy end of that spectrum. With both the tubeless WildRock’R Advanced and the standard WildRock'R, Michelin has centered their attention on reliability and traction, the end result being a 844 gram (2.25" width"
), meaty tire that is clearly aimed at riders who frequent technical and challenging terrain on a regular basis. The 2.25" width WildRock’R Advanced tire retails for $75.99 USD.
Michelin's WildRock'R Advanced is an aggressive, tubeless tire best suited to challenging terrain.
WildRock'R Advanced details:
- Intended use: Cross-country/all-mountain
- Tubeless casing w/ UST bead
- Dual compound tread
- Sizes: 26 x 2.10, 26 x 2.25
- 127 TPI (threads per inch)
- Weight: 26 x 2.25 - 844 grams (claimed: 940g)
- MSRP $75.99 USD
Michelin sells both standard and tubeless versions of the WildRock'R, with the heavier tubeless model receiving the "Advanced" designation added to its name. There seems to be a never ending debate as to whether using a proper tubeless tire or doing a conversion using sealant is the best solution, but the general consensus among those who have spent time on both options is that a proper, air tight tubeless tire is the most reliable setup. Besides the air tight casing, a true UST (Universal Standard for Tubeless
) tire like the WildRock’R Advanced also uses a bead that not only gives it a better seal on the rim, but also a much tighter and safer rim interface that is less likely to burp when running at the lower air pressures that a tubeless system is capable of.
The WildRock’R Advanced's stiff tubeless casing is topped off with an aggressive tread pattern that is more about out and out traction than rolling resistance, although a center channel running through all of the crown knobs should help it to roll relatively well. Each crown knob features a sipe that allows them to flex easier, as well as adding another biting edge for braking or climbing traction. The uniform cornering knobs are quite prominent, something that can often add "squareness" to a tire's profile, but the WildRock’R does have quite a round shape - one of the traits of a predictable and forgiving tire. It is built using two different compounds: a harder inner rubber underneath for reliability with a softer outer compound layered over top to provide better adhesion to the ground.
While the 844 gram weight (96 grams less than claimed
) is nothing to brag about for a 2.25" wide tire, it is important to keep in mind that the WildRock’R Advanced is a proper tubeless tire. That means that you can forgo using not only tubes, but also rim strips when they are mounted to a proper UST rim. While that majority of UST tire users will still use a small amount of sealant to protect against cuts in the sidewall, you can save further weight by skipping that as well due to Michelin incorporating their reinforced casing technology that consists of four plies under the entire tread and three on the sidewalls. Most non-tubeless tires of similar width will run between 500 and 700 grams, but once you add in a standard 150 gram tube and a rim strip, the difference becomes minimal. Two cups of Stans tire sealant that you can use to convert those non-tubeless tires will add just over 100 grams as well. The 844 gram weight of the tubeless WildRock’R Advanced doesn't seem out of line once everything is taken into consideration.
The tire's round profile (top left) gives it a predictable feel. Each center knob features a sipe (top right) that adds another edge to the lug to increase traction.
I installed the 2.25" wide WildRock’R Advanced tires on a set of rather nice Easton Haven Carbon wheels and found that while tight, they were manageable without tools (It is recommended to never use tools to install a tubeless tire
). They inflated quickly and easily with a floor pump, seating straight at 40psi on the first try. No soap or excessive pressure required. The measured width is quite a bit smaller than advertised, with the digital calipers telling me that the 2.25" version actually measures 2.1" wide - that's quite a big difference. The WildRock’R Advanced tires were tested at pressures ranging from 18psi to 25psi, with the best performance at 21psi up front and 23psi in the rear.
Considering the aggressive knob layout, the WildRock’R Advanced tires roll quite well. I'd go so far as to say that they hold speed better than many other lighter or less aggressive tires. Braking traction, both upright and when leaned over, is exceptionally good, although it improves even more when running the rear tire in reverse to what Michelin suggests. An impressive amount of grip is offered in dry conditions, more so than many higher volume tires, and they also had a predictable feel when pushing hard on hard packed trails - an unexpected trait given the somewhat tall knob height. The tire's round profile made it easy to anticipate when it would let go, which was much later than I would usually expect. I ran the tubeless WildRock’R Advanced tires without any sealant and didn't experience a single flat during the test, and also didn't manage to burp them once, despite pushing hard while they were inflated to just 18psi. Do you suffer from excessive flats? These tires may just be the ticket.
Compared to a more pliable tire, the WildRock’R Advanced's stiff tubeless casing had very little roll in hard corners, and that had much to do with the tire's confidence inspiring nature, but that same casing also gave it a rough ride, even at pressures hovering in the very low 20's. This was no doubt aggravated by the smaller than advertised width and volume. While the tires offered great all around traction in dry conditions, wet weather performance was lacking. They do an admirable job of shedding mud, but that didn't stop them from skating around in wet dirt more than some other tires when the trail got slippery. Although Michelin says that the WildRock’R Advanced's use a dual compound layup, the "softer" outer compound didn't help the tire's performance. If you're constantly riding in wet conditions, these are not the tires for you.
The burly sidewall of theWildRock'R Advanced makes it a great choice for riders who struggle to find reliable tires, but beware if you spend a lot of time riding wet trails.
Michelin's WildRock'R Advanced tires are a great option for those who are hard on their rubber. The stiff, tubeless casing means that they are not only cut and flat resistant, but also have very little casing roll during spirited cornering. While not the ideal option for wet-season riding, they look to be a great choice for aggressive riders who push their trail or all-mountain bike hard. Check out the Michelin website to see their entire lineup