Michelin says its new trio of downhill tires are the grippiest it's ever made, so could they stick to the trails better than Maxxis MaxxGrip?

Close up on the Michelin DH22 tire
Michelin tires feature the instantly recognizable yellow and blue logo (Image credit: Michelin)

Fresh from the announcement that Michelin is the new partner brand of the Whoop UCI Mountain Bike World Series, the French tire giant has launched a comprehensive revision of its downhill range. The new tires build upon what Michelin says is the success and experience of working alongside its partner teams in the UCI Downhill World Cup.

The new downhill range is also part of a wider gravity revamp that includes the brand-new Wild Enduro Racing Line tire and the e-MTB-specific Michelin E-Wild tire, as the brand sets its sights on being the leading manufacturer in the best mountain bike tire market.

To meet the demands of the world's best downhill mountain bike riders, the latest 2.0 generation Michelin DH Racing line-up comes in three options – the Michelin DH16, Michelin DH22 and the Michelin DH Mud. The brand says these new models will provide riders with a superior, more finely-targeted performance tire and a host of other updates.

Michelin DH22 tire close-up

Michelin say the new tire range is 11 percent lighter than their respective predecessors (Image credit: Michelin)

Ultimate protection

All three tires in the range – DH16, DH22 and DH Mud have a brand-new and resilient structure that Michelin says is now 11 percent lighter (weights not provided) than their respective predecessors. They also feature a 55/120TPI bead-to-bead dual-ply casing which they claim delivers minimal flexing when landing and, also a more efficient re-acceleration. Michelin also states that by restricting casing deformation, it also adds to improved cornering stability. 

Puncture protection is also improved with a dual-ply casing that envelops the entire tire, in addition to the newly added tread shield and pinch protection system. All three feature a new flexible bead that enables them to be folded easily for transport and storage. 

Michelin DH16 tire on bike

Superior grip comes from the brand's Magi-X compound (Image credit: Michelin)

Magi-X, magic grip? 

Maxxis MaxxGrip is one of the best tire compounds around for super grippy performance. The new Michelin models are claimed to offer superior grip that will deliver confidence and faster speeds, so could they actually be better than their market-leading Maxxis rivals?

Michelin's Magi-X compound combines with a specific tread pattern for each version and aims to provide maximum performance in all temperatures on any terrain or conditions. Michelin says the tires deliver an overall efficiency gain of 19 percent more grip compared with the previous generation. 

Close-up on the DH16 tire from Michelin

All versions feature a carbon-effect sidewall with the yellow/blue Michelin logo (Image credit: Michelin)

Michelin DH16

Close-up view on the Michelin DH16 tire

The DH16 is claimed to be the fastest tire in the range (Image credit: Michelin)

The DH16's tread is for hard/mixed ground, and the specific design of its lateral blocks ensures additional grip, and confidence, under cornering. Michelin says the DH16 is the fastest tire in the range, with a bespoke, compact pattern. They add that more rubber in contact with the track means a superior grip, even distribution of weight and a longer life. 

Michelin DH22

Close up studio shot of the Michelin DH22 tire

DH22 is aimed at mixed/soft terrain downhill riding (Image credit: Michelin)

The DH22 tire is designed to give outstanding performance on mixed/soft terrain. Michelin states the DH22 has seen more of a design evolution when compared to its predecessor or the two other models. The tread blocks have been lowered which minimizes flexing of the tread, gives improved efficiency when accelerating, and greater stability on harder ground. Elsewhere, the gradually rounded form of the DH22's shoulder blocks are designed to reduce rolling resistance and increase lateral grip for greater cornering comfort. 

Michelin DH Mud

Finally, as the name suggests the DH Mud tire comes specifically recommended for mud and soft ground (Michelin hasn't provided any detailed images on this model). However, it features what they call 'Cuttable Blocks technology'. They say this means the tread blocks will deliver optimum performance in the grimmest of conditions. For example, in soft, loose ground, or in the case of a thin layer of mud, the blocks are designed be re-cut to optimize grip and performance. For the deepest of mud the tread is suited as it comes, and irrespective of the conditions, DH Mud will, they claim, provide riders with first-rate confidence and performance. 

Pricing and availability

The new range of tires from Michelin will be available, they say "in the next few weeks" and all three models feature a new, carbon-effect dark sidewall finish featuring the classic blue and yellow Michelin logo. 

All the tires are available in either 27.5-inch or 29-inch, priced at £79.99 per tire (US and EU pricing TBC). For more information please visit Michelin.com.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Based in Edinburgh, Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm