This is a nice time in the mountain bike world because there are far more good tires than bad ones. Brand loyalists will be easily satisfied venturing outside of the comfort bubble with so many different brands making good trail rubber these days.
Michelin had a rough start to the mountain bike tire game. The tires had all-mountain intentions, but according to testing by former Singletracks editor Greg Heil, they missed the mark by quite a bit. The Wild AMs were seemingly built too light to withstand the rigors of modern mountain biking, but Michelin redesigned both tires earlier this year and the most recent Force AM 2 and Wild AM2 have proved up to snuff.
I spent some time on the Force AM2 and was surprised with how well the tire performed. The Force AM2 felt like a solid trail tire, perfect for buff singletrack and mildly loose terrain.
The Wild AM2 ($70 MSRP, sold at Wiggle and other online retailers) takes the Force capability up a few notches for predictable performance on any trail, especially loose ones, and keeps a reasonable rolling speed.
Michelin wisely added some grams to the Wild AM2. The new version I tested comes in a 29×2.4″ or a 29×2.6″ sizes, and the 2.4″ I tried weighs 1,040g. That’s heavier than the last version by more than 200g, but it’s still within the expectable weight realm for an aggressive trail/enduro tire. The 2.6-inch tire weighs 1,130g according to Michelin.
Michelin made the Wild AM2 for mixed and soft terrain, and incorporated taller center knobs on this version. The tire uses two compounds with firmer center knobs and softer side knobs. Michelin is using what they call Gravity Shield Technology for their casing, which is a high-density fiber surrounding the inside of the tire to reduce punctures.
I’ve used the 2.4″ Wild AM2 as a rear tire for the duration of my test over the past few months. I usually wouldn’t want anything chunkier than the Wild AM2 on the rear for most of my riding but the tire has surprised me, just as the Force AM2 did. The Wild AM2 gets along rather well with the climbs and isn’t as much as soul-sucker as I would have initially thought.
The profile on this tire strikes a sorta-round, sorta-square shape which makes it easier to use as either a front or rear tire and one that holds up well on loose and off-camber terrain. The big fat cornering knobs are sticky and hold their line well with the tire leaned over.
The Wild AM2 feels at home on dry, dusty, and loose terrain, just as Michelin’s marketing material implies. The tall knobs dig in and offer a comfortable level of control on aggressive trails. Those tall center and cornering knobs dig in for predictability and the Wild AM2 basically goes wherever you want it to go.
The Michelin is also sharp when it comes to brake bite and this tire grabs the ground easily when you’ve got the brakes on.
The wear has been acceptable on the Wild AM2 and my tire has held up well over the past few months of moderate riding. The center knobs haven’t started to round yet, but they do show that they’ve been ridden. I haven’t had any issues with punctures on this tire and they are keeping the air pressure between the rubber and rim.
Michelin has brought a great tire to market with the Wild AM2. It’s far from too heavy for a tire as capable as it is, and the Wild AM2 feels at home earning its turns and grinding uphill. Riders should easily forget that they have a chunky tire on the rear, and will appreciate its confidence on loose trails.
- Good balance of capability and rolling speed
- Handles loose and dusty trails as well as competition
- Reasonable price
Pros and cons of the Michelin Wild AM2 mountain bike tire.
- Can be difficult to find at retailers