2017 Saw Michelin start releasing a line of revamped Mountain Bike Tires.... the Force XC, Force AM and Wild AM. Now, as many know, I (Inception Cyclery) prefer the try it before I recommend it, and I am pleased to say that 2018 will see a new tire offering in the shop.
Next to my love affair with Maxxis, Michelin is going to be a silent Mistress who will see more action on my bikes and the Shops demo bikes (Evil Following, Calling and Wreckoning and the Four5Bikes LuckyNo5 TItanium).
I spent a good deal of the summer riding the Force AM front and rear on the LuckyNo5 Titanium hardtail and briefly on the Evil Wreckoning. While it was not the best match for how the Evil rode, the Titanium Hardtail was completely different. I found the tires hooked up well enough as an aggressive hardtail tire yet rolled fast enough to not cause me to keep looking down thinking the tires were flat. I also dropped the pressure down to my preferred 23ish psi range, lower then the recommended 26psi minimum (Shush!... don't tell the Michelin Man). I found the grip better and the overall ride better as well.
I had them on the Evil Wreckoning during the 24hrs of summer solstice and ran them at the minimum recommended pressure of 26psi. Yes I know that the bike is overkill for the event, but I was getting ready to ride the Aspen EWS and I wanted as much time on the Wreckoning that I could. With the tires at recommended 26psi all of a sudden it felt like the bike was missing several inches of travel. Obviously it wasn't, however the additional psi over what I was accustomed to had a significant impact on the tires performance for me. Dropping it back down eliminated the issues and the tire performed exceptionally well for hard pack and slightly loose over hard pack. Surprisingly, it also worked ok in our Southern Ontario sand corners too.
Grip is left wanting on the front when you really hammer corners when the terrain is loose, but I suspect the Wild AM will alleviate this. This coming season I will run the combo so see how different it is. Hopefully I notice an increase in corner confidence along with a slight to un-noticeable increase in rolling resistance.
My only other issue, partly due to low pressure and square edge hitting a rock on "damn drop in," was a slight side wall tear right at the rim/tire interface. I could not get it to seal up, however it did sort itself out when I switched to American Classic hoops. I was planning to install them on the new wheels, figure out where the slice was and patch it, however it never showed up and the tires have been holding air all fall/winter.
So, for our Ontario trails I can certainly recommend the tires and plan to offer them as product in the store, for custom builds and for upgrades during repairs.
See you out there!
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