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Michelin Wild AM 280 tyre review.

OK, quick wee blog for you!

First up, these are cheap. Plus size tyres are expensive and these were not. So having already splashed on a 30mm wheel-set to put them on. They were right on the money (so to speak) However, If I hadn’t got these I wouldn’t have been able to try something a bit different and would probably have been running a HRII / DHF combo for twice (three times?) the money.

Michelin WIld AM 27.5x2.8 Mountain Bike Tyre

So I have these to finish up what is most likely the ideal setup on my Pipedream Moxie. As you may have read in a previous blog, I’ve tried 29″ 27.5″ and now it’s time for the 27+ option, or as close as I can get! I’m mounting these on a 30mm (internal) rim to get a nice big profile and keep some even volume across the width. Ideally and with most plus bikes a 40mm internal rim is specced, but I think this would be crazy on a such a potentially lively bike. So with what was available, the money I had and the timescale I was working with. So off I went and stuck it all together.

What forks?

My fork is a 29 / 27+ fox Factory 36. The brace clearance on this fork is quite generous even with a big 29er, so with the smaller 27+ wheel and the “less tall and round” profile of this tyre, the whole package sits well below the fork brace. It doesn’t look too goofy and theres plenty of clearance for the Mud Hugger to be mounted.

What wheels?

The tyre and rim combo is pretty heavy and as I was in a bit of a hurry, I have tubes inside too. Even with an air-shot, the creased (due to retail folding) bead of the tyre plus the extra internal volume proved problematic to getting a seal in the time I had. They’ve been on on for a while now, so I’ll probably whip them off and try again now they have been seated for a while.

First thing I noticed is that I didn’t actually feel that much drag. The way these things look, you’d thing they would be terrible, but no, at least not for me. When the ground gets really packed, like forest roads etc, you can feel the tyre gripping and “moving” under torque, bit it didn’t feel like drag to me, Kinds weird but there you go?

On the Front.

Certain riders will look down and find security in a rounder profile, big knobbed tyre. I’m kind of one of them. Running these around the 25psi mark in intermediate weather on a mixture of natural off-piste trails and the more “knackered” trail centre lines brought out a decent bit of performance out of there. Although they did roll a tiny wee bit on very tight turns, it seemed like it was just the casing doing its job and not an under-inflation problem. It was a very predictable thing and I soon got used to it. Putting any more air in this tyre is a no-no though. It just immediately stands too tall and the knobs are way too aggressive to be relied on alone, without the flexibility of the casing.

I’ve also now had the chance to try them on some slimy steeps too. I did, though let out a few psi and they were fine. There was a bit of clogging at low speed, but as soon as the speed picked up, they cleared fairly fast. A few folk have scoffed at these tyres for natural riding, but I have found them just fine.

On the back.

The front follows the back… every time! Again, too much air and it just bounced off everything (surprise) Run the rear a bit lower and dig your heels in a bit to make the casing and the tread work best. Theres a 2.6 version available too, so I may give that a go on the rear just so it breaks loose a little more readily as the 2.8 really did grip when deliberately pressed into service.

The equivalent Maxxis and Schwalbe tyres in this size are extremely expensive and can be quite hard to reliably find in stock too. So as I said above, these were a cheap solution to get my bike rolling. Turns out that they are actually more than OK. The very soft compound is always a worry, but I guess we’ll see where grip and longevity meet in the long run?

At £22.99 a hoop though, I’m willing to take the chance.