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Michelin Force and Wild AM2 tire review

Michelin launched its new Force and Wild AM2 tires a month ago and we’ve been ragging them around the trails ever since. What do we think so far?

Michelin Wild am2
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Tough, durable and well-priced all-rounders that work well in looser, dried situations but adequate rather than amazing wet/winter grip and thinner and heavier than listed

For

  • Decent mechanical grip
  • Good compound durability
  • Protected but smooth
  • Good value

Against

  • Limited edge grip
  • Don’t like the cold
  • Heavier than claimed
  • Narrower than claimed

Michelin’s latest aggro all-rounders aren’t the stickiest or most savage cornering rubber around and they’re overweight and undersized. They still deliver a durable, all-conditions grip double act with a smooth ride feel at a good price though.

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Michelin Wild am2

The Wild AM2 has a open, square block tread pattern to help dig into softer conditions (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Michelin Wild am2

The shoulder knobs dont have much overhang so a prone to break free earlier (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Wild AM2

The more open, square block tread pattern of the Wild is evolved from the DH34 tire and marks it out as the rubber best suited to looser, softer conditions. The side/shoulder knobs are borrowed from the DH22 and arranged in slightly angled triple lines which sync with the staggered center blocks. The GUM-X compound is harder in the center and underneath then softer on those side blocks. Underlining it all is a 3 x 60 TPI ‘Gravity Shield’ ply for bead to bead puncture and cut protection.

The reinforcement means they’re weighty (80g more than claimed) especially considering they actually blow up to 2.3in rather than the claimed 2.4in. They still feel fluid and smooth rather than clattery when you’re hitting roots and rocks faster. They also inflate easily and stay stable at teen pressures on a 28mm rim. 

The deep blocks with simple single sipes give plenty of penetrative mechanical grip for braking when you’re upright. The shoulder knobs aren’t as compelling though as the profile is fairly square and only one in three has an obvious overhang. While they hang on well most of the time, they’ll start to cough and slip relatively early compared to the most aggressive tires that seem to actively seek out extra grip just to prove a point. The grip definitely shifts from aggressive to adequate when things get wet, cold and wintery, too. The upside is a reasonable rolling speed despite audible rumble on the road and great wear life so far means the cutting edges are still sharp and likely to stay that way as the mileage adds up.

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Michelin Force am2

The arrow tread arrangement helps speed up the Force's rolling speed (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Michelin Force am2

Despite plenty of sliding through corners there are no signs of wear (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Force AM2 

With its closer spaced, arrow tread arrangement the Force is clearly the faster rolling tire and the one we’ve kept on the back for winter/spring but will work both ends in summer. It’s quieter and faster than the Wild on the road, but not transformatively quick if compared to softer benchmark tires that clearly bit better under braking and driving in wetter/colder situations. It does roll well off-road though and the deep blocks still grab traction in looser/loamier conditions in a straight line. Again they’re showing zero wear so far even when we’ve been sliding them sideways through most corners. That is pretty easy though as the shoulder tread is basically the same as the Wild, but the Force center tread means the back end is generally stepping out before the shoulders even engage. Again they tend to sit on the slip rather than grip side of the line compared to our benchmark aggro tires although they do give an audible warning before they properly let go. Carcass feel is a useful balance of damped control and sharp shrugging protection without slapping and spiking so they’re comfortable all day while still holding shape around 20psi. Weight is significantly heavier than claimed though which impacts acceleration and they only blow up to 2.24in not the claimed 2.4in on a 28mm internal rim. 

Verdict

In Michelins defense, the colder, wetter part of the year was probably the worst time we could have started testing the Wild and Force as they lack the next level stick and grip of the most aggressive rubber we’ve tested recently. They’re communicative with the traction they’ve got though and the drier the trails have got the better they’ve performed. Harder compound means they’ll last really well in harder, rockier and drier conditions too and reasonable weight, relatively lively ride feel and lack of drag should make them an active trail center/summer shredding tire. Good value pricing is further boosted by their likely longevity, too.

Tech Specs: Michelin Force and Wild AM2

  • Price: From $52.49/£47.99
  • Weight: Wild 1120g, Force 1110g (29 x 2.4in)
  • Width: Wild 58mm, Force 57mm (29 x 2.4in)
  • Sizes: 27.5 and 29 in 2.4 and 2.6in
Guy Kesteven
Guy has been riding mountain bikes since before they were mountain bikes and is right handy on an offroad tandem (of course he is).