On the trail: The performance of a tire depends not only on what
a machine can tell you about weights, rubber compounds and
traction, but also on the rider’s “subjective feeling on the trail.”
Their designers are riders, and they trust the feedback of riders
first rather than just what a computer simulation tells them.
The right mix: Tire technology is confusing, but Michelin kept
their line of Enduro tires fairly simple. Each of the four treads is
designed for a different trail condition, and the width is kept to
only one option, which they deem the “right” one for the task at
hand. There are two compound options: the GUM-X, which has
faster-rolling properties, and the MAGI-X, which has more grip and
traction. Michelin doesn’t build tires they don’t believe are necessary, like a mud tire with a hard rubber compound for instance. In
this instance, simplicity is brilliance.
Control the roll: Braking traction was critical with Michelin’s
Enduro tire project. In fact, the knobbies of Michelin’s new tires
are now turned in more aggressively than their previous tires to
keep riders in control. ❏
Talking tires: Michelin established itself as a tire powerhouse by
extensively testing their tires on the trail and not just in the lab.
Michelin takes this approach to heart and spends years developing tires before they ever end up on your bike. This Enduro tire
project took about two and a half years to complete.