Michelin have designed the Wild Rock'R2 to tackle the demands of enduro racing on dry and extreme terrain.
The Wild Rock'R2 is one of four new enduro-specific mountain bike tyres from Michelin and is the stand-out tyre in the range.
Its tread pattern is designed to maximise traction under power and control under braking. It has front- and rear-specific versions; the front uses the Magi-X Series compound and the rear uses the Gum-X Series compound. It's 2.35in wide and is available to fit all three wheel sizes.
Michelin say it'll be available in April. The front Magi-X tyre will be £56.99 / €66.00 and the rear Gum-X tyre will be £45.99 / €49.00. US prices are still tba.
The Wild Rock'R2's tread pattern is designed to offer maximum traction on extreme terrain
In the space of two days' testing in Peillon, France, we exposed the tyres to loam, roots, rocks, wet limestone, slick rock, dust and ancient Roman roads, with none other than Fabien Barel for our guide.
The Rock'R2 delivered a confidence-inspiring level of grip and consistent feel across the vast variety of demanding terrain.
The combination of the softer Magi-X compound on the front and the harder Gum-X at the rear was the only way for Michelin to deliver sufficient traction, without creating issues with rolling resistance. The Magi-X compound has a slow rebounding elastomer compound, which further aids traction.
The dual-layer carcass provides protection from punctures, and even on some of the roughest trails in Europe, we only experienced three flats between a group of more than 20 riders. On a few occasions, we thought we'd be making an impromptu stop to pop a tube in, but were pleasantly surprised that we didn't have to.
All this protection comes at a price though – the overall weight is comparable that of a downhill-specific tyre.
Everything that made us push harder on the Rock'R2 did play against us on climbs and flat sections of trail however, with a noticeable amount of drag. The compromise between grip where it counts and carrying speed where it doesn't is always going to be a double-edged sword when it comes to enduro-specific rubber.
The Rock'R2 remains a tyre to be reckoned with and we will be putting it through its paces for a full review soon.
Olly Forster testing the Wild Rock'R2 in Peillon, France