Michelin Return to World Cup Downhill with MS Mondraker

Jan 21, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
Michelin are making a return to the World Cup circuit next year with the MS Mondraker team.


Michelin have a strong pedigree in downhill and were used around the turn of the millenium by Nico Vouilloz, Greg Minnaar and more. They also famously developed 'Le System' for their athletes, a run-flat solution years before Schwalbe and ProCore. More recently, Sam Hill has enjoyed great success on Michelin tyres in the EWS, retaining his title after switching over from Mavic last year.

This year they return with Brook MacDonald, Laurie Greenland and Mike Jones on the MS Mondraker team. The team will be racing on some prototype tyres known as DH22, DH34 and DH Mud.

Ulrike Ristau, Michelin Bicycle Business Development Director, said, "We are so pleased to join of the MS Mondraker 'family'. It is a very experienced team within the downhill championship, which is sharing with us a continuous way of improvement spirit, and which is bright and ambitious. I am sure that this cooperation will be a success and will help us to progress in our tire development in order to place our product as a market reference.”

The team will also be switching over to Mavic wheels and Race Face saddles and seatposts but the rest of the sponsors will remain unchanged with Mondraker, Shimano, Fox, Renthal and e13 all still on board.

Also new for 2019 is a restructured co-factory team with Eleonora Farina, Thibault Laly and Brage Vestavik on board.


117 Comments

  • + 60
 Its called DH22 because they wont release them until 2022 or later. DH34 will be in 2034. DH Mud will be like "le system", available only for pro atheletes. 2.5 RockR2 is only a fairy tale.
Meanwhile I've gone back to Maxxis. Great job Michelin.
  • + 7
 ... and I first thought that they just release it in 2.2 size and 3.4 would be some new marketing stuff to build a cross between downhill and fatbikes... thanks for clearing up
  • + 12
 Does this mean they'll fix their website to be understandable by morons like myself?
  • + 10
 @Boardlife69 i agree there are a bunch of confusing descriptions and unavailability, but maxxis options are not that straightforward either, you just see them much more and get used to it, learn it. I just started with the wild enduros, pretty much readily available in Europe.. I also tested the wil rockr2 up front, and that tire corners so good it puts my dhf 2.5 maxxgrip like a mediocre option.
  • + 3
 @Lagr1980: DHF mediocre compared to wold Rockr2... are you riding Down Country with them? Big Grin
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: No, @Lagr1980 is right. The RockR2 is the best cornering tire on the market IMO. Yes, even better than a DHF. And the reinforced casing is like heaven on wheels. But they only come in 2.35. Been asking for a 2.5 RockR2 for years now. Put that up front and a 2.35 GripR2 on the rear and never worry about grip again unless its muddy, then you only need to swap out the front as the Grip'r is decent in the muck.
  • + 12
 @Boardlife69: I have heard that too many times about every single DH tyre out there. I am not saying it is not better, but saying Minion DHF is mediocre is a stretch. I have been told that nobby nic is a decent rear tyre for Enduro. You have to excuse me. It's like saying Yeti suspension is better than anything, Antidote Dark Matter is the best DH bike by a big margin. Not to mention lunatics saying Fox36 is much better than Lyrik and vice versa. It is 2019, such things as "much better" don't exist anymore. Kross gets positive reviews for the love of God.
  • + 2
 I've been wanting to try these for years, but I guess Bibendum doesn't want our money "which is sharing with us a continuous way of improvement spirit, and which is bright and ambitious" @michelinbicycle.

The Wild Enduro Gum-X 2.4 are pretty good.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Trust me, go to a LBS that has a DD or even DH DHF and a Rocker and push the side knobs with your thumbs. Then after you say "OMG these Michy sideknobs are for real" you will buy one and never look back until you start looking for a 2.5. I believe the TRS+ tires are made by Michy as those side knobs look like a carbon copy of the Rocker. Lets not forget Michelin has more scientists than Maxxis has marketers. Which is probably why they are taking so damn long to release the DH22.
  • + 2
 @Unrealityshow: There are a lot of French Lines of code.
  • + 4
 @Boardlife69: E13 tires are made by Vee Rubber, prior to that CST
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: oh man... someone at Michelin needs hunting down for crimes against language. This is not ok. Will nobody think of the translators?
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I´ve been lucky enough to test Magic Mary, Der Baron, DHF 2.5, DHR 2.4 up front, and the freaking Wild ROCKr2 needs more volume, and it gets too squared profile if you go with more than ~27mm ID rim, but it rails corners like nothing I rode before... the thread excels in that department... its not the best allrounder tire by any means, I hope the wild enduros are more allrounders, I will test them properly soon enough.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: god save me from Levy's sect... no thanks hahha
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980, I have no chance to try them and I am sceptica to spend money on them, since they look ao much like High Rollers, which have more grip than Minions but they don’t talk to you. They either stay put or let go catastrophically. Minions talk and lean over nicely. What disqualifies them for me is climbing surface, or rather the lack of it. Like in HR. I need good climbing grip.
  • + 1
 @Lagr1980: I haven't ridden on the Wild Rock'R2 but I have the Wild Enduro and it is a much better all-rounder with a great center tread design. However, the side knobs probably aren't going to be as stable when pushing very hard on hard surfaces as they are smaller and more spread apart than the Rock'R and MM. And yes, My only minor complaint is that I wish it had a tad more tire volume. It says 2.4 but I measured it at 2.3-ish on 26mm internal rims. Regardless, the Wild Enduros are currently my favorite front tire overall.
  • + 3
 @Lagr1980: bang on man! Wild rockr2 out minions a minion. Wild rockr2 has dug me out of a few turns nothing else would have. I haven’t tried a wild enduro front yet but I’ve been running a wild enduro rear with the wild rockr2 up front. Wild enduro rear to get back some of the rolling resistance from the wild rockr2. WE rear still has those burly edging side knobs. I keep asking Michelin to make the wild rockr2 in a dh casing. They have some different widths now in all those tires. Still the best rubber and pinch flat protection. Slow rebound rubber works and wears well( better than maxxis and way better than swalbe for wear)
  • + 4
 @Boardlife69: True story. I once visited a secret, underground test and development facility run by Michelin. The stuff they were working on there had seemingly very little to do with their core business, but suffice to say they have legions of mad scientists on board....would just be nice if they expanded their size offerings a bit.

Its also worth noting that they also do strange things in their other divisions as well: take the Lattitude Cross automotive tire. Its based on an asymetric gravel pattern used in WRC racing, is super durable and its fooking amazing. Yet they don't sell it in North America, where there are double digit millions of people who drive on gravel and dirt on a regular basis...instead they sell it in Europe, where EVERYTHING is paved to within an inch of its life.
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: You probably don't understand Bibendum's mentality. The French aren't about money. They're about doing things because they can. Look at Citroen cars for instance. Look at Concord: The French thought: "We can do this". Americans thought "We could do this, but it's not going to be financially viable long term, so we won't." It's just a different way of thinking.
  • + 2
 @DarrellW: Yeah, OK - I'm just bitter. I also want an old Renault Alpine A110. Hell, I'd take an R8 Gordini.
  • + 1
 @DarrellW: haha. perfect examples, however I am not sure if I should laugh or cry...
  • + 22
 Holy tyre logos batman!!
  • + 5
 Yeah, the yellow sucks, big time.
  • + 12
 @Neale1978: Totally disagree. They look like F1 tires. Sick and loud.
  • + 1
 @Neale1978: Rubberized black undercoat in a spray can.... tires murdered out. Or whatever the term for all black is over on your side of the pond. Smile
  • + 5
 F1 sucks big time these days too haha!
  • + 5
 @Neale1978: I've seen Senna race - it's in my blood no matter what little motors they run now (without Kimi)
  • + 3
 Really? I've dug out the Senna film dvd, with some riding ones today. I might watch it later. Some of that on board footage.. Awesome.
  • + 1
 Still, not everything in this world has to be black. Also, if that is your priority, there are plenty of of other tyres with smaller graphics so you can choose those Wink
  • + 2
 I'm fine for them. The ones i run have grey sidewalls, with white and red writing on. That much yellow is too much for me, thats all. A more neutral looking tyre option would be better, as I'm sure i wont be the only one put off because of it. They wont sell as well as the older ones!
  • + 1
 @Neale1978: If they perform people will buy them and get used to the color. Pirelli is coming out with MTB tires - I wonder how they will look?
  • + 2
 Found this after a quick search: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYNCDR5BtCk Nice. Hopefully the MTB ones will be similar.
  • + 1
 @Neale1978: Good , Iwonder if they would really be that Sotto Voce, or more like the screaming yeller F1 tires. C'mon, the world thinks MTB is EXTREEEEEM!!
  • + 1
 !!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 If you're going to put them on all yellow Mavic rims, it all wouldn't quite matter anymore, would it?
  • + 1
 Michelin almost always has colored logos on their racing tires of all disciplines but not for the production models (unless they happen to sell a racing model to the public like the Power Competition). I think it's kind of cool/smart as it makes the tires stand out more. But sure, it can sometimes clash with the color theme of the bike.
  • + 11
 From mid 90's to early 00's, nothing was better than Michelin. Then they left and we all moved to Maxxis. Even if Minions and Shorty's feel like home now, I wish to try some of these. (and also wish to some more subtle marking. Damn that's ugly)
Go on Michelin! Shut up and take my money!
  • + 8
 Here we are in 2019 and there is nothing better than Michelin. They reformed me from being a maxxis fanboi. That said, Ive gone back to maxxis because Michelin wont sell what I want. I guess they want to build hype for ten years before we can buy them. I love their tires, I hate their business decisions.
  • + 5
 Using Michelin Wild Enduro on my Enduro and i´m realy happy with them! Casing offers a nice supple feeling and tire tread works good too
  • + 1
 I dunno, I was a big Hutchinson fan back then also, used to love my octopus, gripped like a leach. And awampies , who can forget swampies!!
  • + 2
 I raced XC for Michelin last year and can confirm that they make a killer product. I can't speak to their DH and Enduro offerings, but when an injury took me out of racing, I built a do-it-all 130mm steed and a combo of Wild AM 2.35 front and Force AM 2.35 rear has served me better than any Maxxis I've ridden. Try the Michelins out, you won't regret it!!
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: It kind of sounds weird when you say "there is nothing better than Michelin" in one sentence and "Ive gone back to maxxis because Michelin wont sell what I want". Where is the point in anything being great if you can´t get your hands on it. The Assegai is definitely the best gripping tire I´ve tried in many years...
  • + 2
 Not sure if Schwalbes are more expensive in your countries or what but my SuperGravity Addix Marys are *the* dream and also some of the most affordable.
  • + 2
 The old comp 16's were fantastic tyres, loved them apart from when trying to take one off a Double track rim, torn many blisters clean off wrestling those fuckers.
  • + 1
 @Theguyfromthealps: They are better, and I went back to Maxxis because I broke a finger and needed a 2.5 for more cush. But in terms of "quality" I have not seen any tire that compares* to Michelin. And I have a tire library in my garage.
*Supertacky and Black chilli compounds come the closest. 3C belongs in the trash.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: What compound are you referring to?
Using a Baron Projekt myself, and curious what would be the better or equal tire compound from michelin
  • + 1
 @bashhard: Magic X (super soft) or GumX (medium).
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: Until I used a Michelin tubeless, I never suspected how far a tyre could spray sealant after kissing a rock. And that was on the front...
  • + 1
 @Theguyfromthealps: That is the thing,I would try a Michelin tire but my wide rim made a regular 2,5 ridiculous to fit
  • + 0
 @BenPea : my friend spent a big dose of Peaty’s Jizzlant until they sealed. It was funny to see them leak like a patient of Dr Pimple Popper
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: that simile could have gone much worse
  • + 2
 @sewer-rat: Gripped like a leach........! dig it!
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: my2.35 Michelin’s measure the same width as a maxxis 2.5. They also have them in 2.6 and 2.8. I’m not into plus size though( maybe for a rear on an emtb for climbing? Idk). 2.6 and 2.8 mich would be equivalent to a 2.75 and a 3.05 maxxis
  • + 6
 Do they come with even MORE yellow on the side? I really want to go all in on the NASCAR look for 2019. (rolls eyes) Should clash beautifully with almost every bike out there.
  • + 3
 And your wheel will get full of bees
  • + 2
 You can't buy them so who cares about fashion? They are pro-only per @michelinbicycle IG.
  • - 2
 Maxxis TR, 3C, Maxxterra, DD, etc looks more like Nascar than these.
  • + 3
 I went back to Maxxis after spending an actual full hour each trying to mount a Wild Rock'r 2.4 and a Wild Grip'r 2.25. I've mounted my fair share of TR tires, and Maxxis are by far the easiest to mount. Even without sealant, Maxxis hold air. The Michelins are great tires, but a pain to mount. The Maxxis are a great tire, and easy to mount. I do believe that Michelin makes some of the best tires in the world for Moto, car, and bicycle.
  • + 2
 Just a tip: you should push in the rest of the tire as much as you can before trying to finish mounting the bead. If you don't do this, it will be impossible with some tires. It definitely requires some technique and effort but you should be able to mount any tire when you do.
  • + 1
 Same experience with the Rock'R in the past. An absolute bitch to seat. Just bought a knew one hoping that with a Blast pump I can make it happen.
  • + 1
 Huh, I've had 3 wild rock'r 2s and they've all been facile AF to mount up. To be fair, every Maxxis tire I've had was also super easy, but the sidewalls start bleeding sealant earlier than I think they should, whereas my Wild Rock'rs basically never starr sweating the white stuff.

My main concern is if they're going to make tires for strong sized wheels since there's still more than a few 26" wheeled DH bikes out there.
  • + 7
 yes Michelin get in there
  • + 2
 In terms of feeling, there was something absolutely awesome about the old Comp16 2.2 and 2.5. They just inspired confidence.
Even when your front tire washed out, there was still hope that it would regain traction and save your ass (and it generally did). We need that! Smile
  • + 3
 I used to run Comp 16 / 24 back in the earlier 00's , great down hill never got a flat still got one. Only problem was they were proper heavy. Good to bring an big name back as maxxis cost have gone up .
  • + 2
 They were quite stubborn when it came to getting the last part on the rim too. Worth it though. Awesome tyres.
  • + 1
 @Neale1978: I wrecked my hands many times trying to mount/demount these f*ckers from my double tracks, great tyres though, solid all-rounder.
  • + 1
 Yep! Haha
  • + 2
 @Neale1978: I sold a pair of wheels once (Rhyno lites), fitted with barely used 16's, I let the buyer have the tyres for free, getting them on was a complete bitch! Wasn't even gonna try getting them off!
Still got a pair of unused 24s sat about, my god they're hefty. I hope the new ones are good, I'll give them a try when I need some new ones.
  • + 2
 Get some Park tyre levers if you do haha. I haven't snapped one.. Yet.
  • + 1
 @Neale1978: Got a couple of Pedros DH levers, if I ever manage to snap one I'll be surprised!
  • + 1
 Yeah, they're chunky as!
  • + 3
 best tyres I've ever had I've had the wild enduro's on all last year and still going strong. They are mind, ive had no punctures at all and they've took a right beating. I'd be keen to try the new DH models.
  • + 1
 last time someone was talking about Michelin Enduro tires,puncture resistance an so,3 minutes later he was using my glue kit to repair a 2cm cut on the sidewall...We were at the parking lot before the ride and the bike was in the car rack hahahaha. For me the tires looks great but the had a very limited variety of sizes.
  • + 3
 Don't tell anyone how good they are! We'll lose our secret weapon!
  • + 1
 I think they look money people. Yes. Michelin is world class company tire maker but, they are a bit short on options. They don,t confirm the size volume they claim to say when mounted on the rims. Anyway, i hope to give them a try one day. Well i used maxxis, continetals, and now i'm with specialized tires. Got to say. To the date, specialized tires where the must surprising for the positive. Great resistence and traction. Anyone with some opinions on those from specialized???
  • + 2
 I used the comp16 tires for a long time, they were the best of the time, the problem is that with the passing of the exchanges they got crooked, probably because of the wires. Long life at Michelin
  • + 3
 Yeah they were great tyres man, probably the best of the bunch back then like you say, though Intense had some cracking tyres then too.
  • + 3
 Mean while 99% of us would be able to race DH on what Sam Hill had used for EWS. FYI - RockR2 is prob the most durable non-DH casing tire I have ever ran
  • + 4
 Yo when are the rest of the team announcements coming in. This team rumor season is out of control
  • + 1
 Yeah, going nuts here refreshing the screen. Athertons?
  • + 3
 @Cherry79: yeah, intense said they would announce the team the 18th, then the 21st, and some other teams also said 21st. I think athertons day is tomorrow

Today is the 22nd and i have been refreshing the screen on pinkbike and vitalmtb every 5 min.
I need to work, so please hurry with these announcements
  • + 5
 Their mud tyres from back in the day were awesome in Welsh sloppy carnage!
  • + 1
 They were amazing for grip but I always felt like I was on stilts when riding them.
  • + 1
 @bigburd: they were deep shit tyres. But once they were in their element... nothing came close. You could rail a gloopy grassfield with them like it was moto gp.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Exactly. No good in just normal mud conditions. But when normal turned to down right horrific, they were the mutts nuts.
  • + 1
 @carlitouk: Currently Magic Mary fills the role of quite ok mud tyre that still works in the dry. Fails on hardpack but you can ride it. Wet screams and mud3, don’t work outside of greasy poop.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Thankfully, now that I'm living in the south of Spain, it's Minions year round Smile
  • + 4
 Team theme song: Coldplay - Yellow
  • + 0
 If I'd known that, I wouldn't have bought the Rock'R that arrived in the post 2 days ago. Although it was the third of the price of a Maxxis...
  • + 2
 To be fair, Sam Hill would have retained his title with potatoes glued to his rims...
  • + 1
 I just hope Nico is working with them, seemed like he was a integral part of their success back in the day-and he still races and rides.
  • + 2
 also note that maxxis high roller were a copy of the comp 16 and minion the comp 24 . just saying.;-)
  • + 3
 Minion looks nothing like a Comp 24, which had ramped split knobs. You may have meant Comp 32 2.8" tire which had square blocks ...but the dude knobs on the 32 were staggered unlike the Minion.

High roller is like a cross between Comp 16 center knobs & Comp 24 side knobs....so
  • + 0
 @bizutch: fair call i only have a comp 16 left to compare. but not many 16yr old tires kicking around that i could still use.
  • + 1
 @bizutch comp24 and Minion DHR 1 are very similar... they are in fact some of the worst tyres ever conceived. I know because I had both in my Joey days, and even as a Joey, I knew they sucked. All the braking grip in the world and no cornering grip, nor break away
  • + 1
 @biglev: I had my last Brand new Comp 16 a couple years back and took a couple runs on it. Great for the day, but it was apparently dry rotted and the side knobs peeled off after a few runs. Big Grin
  • + 2
 Now we get to see how they hold up to Brage in a corner!
  • + 1
 What we really need to be talking about is how absolutely fricken sick this DH Team is! Can't wait for the season to start!
  • + 2
 No 26? There goes 50% of the market!
  • + 1
 Wild rockr2 comes in a 26” 2.4
  • + 1
 Here's to hoping they return with non-rimbending beads... seriously good tires, but they were a PITA to take off
  • + 1
 Good to WC support. Back in my day the Comp32 was the bees knees. And most guys had a pair of michilen muds on hand.
  • + 1
 So what happened to the Goodyears? Everyone seems to go from strength to strength but them.
  • + 3
 Needs more yellow
  • + 2
 can't wait to try these, been loving the wild enduros
  • + 1
 .....Been waiting. Not looking good.
  • + 2
 The red tires they made back in the day were lovely
  • + 1
 Hopefully they return with Sam Hill
  • + 1
 That press release reads like English translated Japanese
  • + 1
 They turned the yellow up to 11.
  • + 1
 Needs more sidewall graphics
  • + 1
 I asked and not available until late 2019
  • + 1
 Because no one is riding on their tires
  • + 1
 They just now started making DH specific tires again. Feedback on the DH22 so far is that they are the grippiest things ever!
  • + 1
 Bring back the green Wildgripper !
  • + 1
 ReturnS?
  • + 0
 Vees Flow WCE shames every tire

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