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  1. #1
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    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions

    Since I havenít seen these tires mentioned here very often, Iíll provide some initial thoughts. This is based on one ride so far, so I'm still forming impressions. I mounted a Wild RockíR2 (front) and a Wild GripíR2 (rear) yesterday, both in the Advanced Reinforced flavor. Both tires are mounted on Stanís 29Ē Free Ride rims, with tubes. The RockíR2 is the soft Magi-X compound, and the GripíR2 is the harder Gum-X compound. The casing is a 2.35, and theyíre noticeably narrower than the Minion DHFs they replaced. I didnít weigh them. The 29er RockíR2 is a claimed 1,150g, (+/- 7%) and if youíre the type of recreational rider who weighs tires, these may not be for you. The sidewalls feel nice and burly.

    In the garage:
    First off, these are UST-spec beads, and are likely to have issues with NoTubes rims, or any using their bead design. I knew that going in, and hoped that my older rims wouldnít be quite as tight as the newer EX rims. I expected some difficulty getting them mounted. It wasnít easy, but manageable. Tubeless didnít work for me, though. I donít have a compressor, and the fit was too tight for the beads to slide easily. In fact, I had to pull the Stanís tape off, because the bead scooted a few inches of it, creating a crease that I didnít want in contact with a tube. I retaped with Gorilla Tape, which probably bought me a few mm of slack in the channel, although those rims have a pretty shallow channel to start with. I didnít try soapy water, but not wanting to mess around with that was one of the things that kept me from trying tubeless years ago. I still have a few inches of bead that isnít completely set on each tire. I inflated them to the mid-40s, and banged the edges of the tires on the ground, but they didnít pop. One worked its way out over night, so I went on my first ride today with the tires still inflated into the mid/upper-30s in the hopes that the last bit of bead would seat (it didnít).

    On the trail:
    As I mentioned above, I was riding higher pressures than I prefer and not riding mach chicken, but I still got a sense of how these tires work. The Magi-X compound is pretty sticky. Riding around my house, the front tire was making it rain sand and grit. Fortunately, that didnít happen on the trail, and they didnít feel like slow rolling tires, probably thanks to the GripíR2 in back. In corners, the RockíR2 hooks up every bit as well as a DHF, maybe even marginally better. The GripíR2 corners predictably. It doesnít hold like the RockíR2 or a DHF, but you wouldnít expect it to. I really noticed the lack of traction in steep loose climbs, though, and spun my rear tire out in three spots I normally climb without issue. I put this down to the high tire pressure, loose conditions (I should have geared down, but didnít) and forgetting I wouldnít have the traction Iíve come to expect. The last loose climb went well once Iíd adjusted. Straight line braking was a noticeable improvement from my worn DHFs. I still feel like a DHR2 brakes better. On trail and dirt roads, they felt like they rolled really well. It was only once I was on the exit route back to town that I felt the tires rolled slowly. I can deal with that, and I like the way they hook up in turns.

    The jury is still out, but the initial impressions are favorable. Down the road, I think Iím likely to move these over to another wheelset with MTX-33 rims (after I replace a rear hub), and go back to Maxxis rubber on the Stanís rims.

    Photos:

    29x2.35 Michelin Wild Rock'R2
    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions-photo-2-1-.jpg

    29x2.35 Michelin Wild Grip'R2
    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions-photo-3.jpg

    29x2.5 Maxxis Minion DHF
    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions-photo-1-1-.jpg
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  2. #2
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    Good review. Have you always ridden with a DHF up front? I'd be curious to hear if you have any time on a Hans Dampf, High Roller 2, or Butcher to compare them to. These are at the top of my "to try" list.

  3. #3
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    I've had DHFs in front for about a year, putting them on as soon as the 29" versions came available. I've had a DHF and a DHR2 in the back. I prefer the DHR2 there.

    I haven't tried the HR2 yet. I know a few people here who are really fond of them, but for our loose/dry conditions, I think I'd rather have a Minion. I was excited for the Butcher, but I lost interest when I saw it. The knobs are pretty small compared to the Minions, and for what I want out of tire of this class, it seemed like there were better options available. I might try one eventually, since Spec tires are cheap. The Hans Dampf? Well, I pretty much agree with most of the comments in the threads you've read recently. It's a big casing tire that grips predictably at intermediate lean angles, and isn't that great past that. The edge knobs are too small, not supported well, and wear unacceptably fast. Maybe I'll try the Magic Marys when they finally release the 29ers, since I'd probably put them on my Hulk wheelset. That'll see less use and the tires will last longer.

    Thinking about the problems with the HDs, Pinkbike recently had photos of a new Maxxis prototype that looks interesting.
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  4. #4
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    Yeah I liked the HR2 when you leaned the sh!t out of it but it's hard to get as far leaned as it needs to be sometimes. I also liked straight line braking a lot but intermediate lean was no good. I liked the Dampf but after 60 miles I was tearing knobs, not cool.

  5. #5
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    Looking forward to hear how they mount up on the MTX 33 (i.e is tubeless possible?). I'm running 2.5 DHF's (F and R) and their width limits tire clearance in the rear. The 2.3" Maxxis Exo's just aren't big/burly enough for Albuquerque rock.

    I mounted another set of Michelins on a Bontrager rim last year. I though Michelin had produced some 28.5" tires :|
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  6. #6
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    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions

    I mounted the Rock'R2 on my MTX-33 front wheel for 48 hours, actually. I was waiting for my other rim to dry off after my first attempt so I could retape it. I was hoping it would stretch a bit (not noticeably) and it was ready to go if I wanted to get out before mounting the rear.

    The MTX-33 was a little easier. I've never tried tubeless with them, because I have a low tolerance for tinkering with it, and EVERYTHING I've read on these boards is that with these rims, tubeless is unpossible.
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  7. #7
    orthonormal
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    I went with the Rock'R2 front and rear. MagiX front, GumX rear. My impressions as a front tire are similar to yours, although the MagiX front is still throwing pebbles and small sticks at my face after a dozen or so rides. In back, it has the best climbing and braking traction of any tire I've tried. I can shift my weight noticeably more forward on steep climbs without losing traction compared to the Ardent and Nobby Nic I had previously on the same bike.
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  8. #8
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    Any impressions on cut resistance vs. Maxxis 2.3 Exo tires? Cut resistance as in resistance to being cut by rock strike cutting through tread and/or sidewall (have had both happen on 2.3" Exo but not 2.5" Exo BUT 2.5" is a damn tight fit in my frame). Weights put the 2.35 Michelin heavier than the wider 2.5" DHF.
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  9. #9
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    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions

    Yeah, I believe they are heavier. I didn't weigh mine, as I mentioned, but I did weigh a DHF and posted in the 29er tire weight thread last summer. It was a bit over 1kg, less than the claimed weight of the Rock'R2.

    No experience with cut resistance yet. I'm nursing a sprained wrist, unfortunately. From the way they feel, I'd expect them to hold up as well as an EXO casing, and better than SnakeSkin.
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  10. #10
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    Do you happen to have an actual width measurement? If I recall correctly, knob to knob on my 2.5" DHF's were 64 mm and my 2.3" HR II's were ~58 mm. 2.3" fits my frame well, not so much on the 2.5's.

    Thanks
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. 68 Hundred View Post
    Do you happen to have an actual width measurement? If I recall correctly, knob to knob on my 2.5" DHF's were 64 mm and my 2.3" HR II's were ~58 mm. 2.3" fits my frame well, not so much on the 2.5's.

    Thanks
    64mm DHF sounds right. I came up with 63mm but haven't ridden them yet (although they did stretch overnight) and I may have squished the knobs with my calipers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. 68 Hundred View Post
    Do you happen to have an actual width measurement? If I recall correctly, knob to knob on my 2.5" DHF's were 64 mm and my 2.3" HR II's were ~58 mm. 2.3" fits my frame well, not so much on the 2.5's.

    Thanks
    No, sorry. I don't have any calipers.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    No, sorry. I don't have any calipers.
    Bummer. Thank you for all the other good information you posted. I think I'll just have to order one to find out. If I can run it sub 27 psi without cuts from rock strikes/rim pinches, I'll be happy. If it's sub 60 mm width, it should fit nicely in my frame.
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  14. #14
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    Just got mine in. Tried ghetto split tube method--no go, even with a compressor. Just wouldn't create a seal on the rim. Possibly due to thick sidewalls. Speaking of which, they appear to be 1.35 mm thick. Maxxis DHF EXO 2.5's are 1.0 mm thick. Measurements were made with calipers by folding tire sidewall and measuring, then diving by 2. Fits great in my frame, not crazy about running tubes with goatheads here but I'm not sure how I'll get it mounted on the MTX. Bead is tight, major ***** to mount.

    On MTX 33; casing is 54.5 mm wide; knob to knob is 58.5 mm.
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  15. #15
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    Thanks for posting your measurements.

    I'm really impressed with the performance of these tires. I've revised my opinion and now believe the Rock'R2 corners better than the Minion it replaced. That DHF was the dual-compound version, however, so that's not too surprising. The Magi-X compound is really sticky. It still throws a constant stream of grit at my downtube. Compound aside, the knobs do their job.

    They still feel like slow rolling tires when riding on road, even gravel or dirt. But again, I don't notice that on the trail, especially when my overall speed is more limited by control and braking points. I've picked up a couple PRs when I thought I was phoning it in.

    I might take another shot at setting them up tubeless. It'll require soapy water and a compressor. I got spoiled with the Maxxis TR tires, which set up perfectly with a floor pump. As you noted, the beads are pretty tight and stiff, so I really don't want to deal with them on the trail. I'm running the tires pretty hard to prevent pinch flats, and I'd probably drop the pressure 5-6 psi if they were tubeless. I suspect I'd be even more pleased with their on-trail performance then.
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  16. #16
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    Measurements on a 26x2.35, mounted on a WTB i25.

    Casing
    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions-rckr-casing.jpg

    Knob to Knob
    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions-rckr-knob2knob.jpg

    Laid flat right next to a worn-out Minion DHF 26x2.5 EXO 3C, also mounted on a i25. Knob-to-knob widths are virtually identical, but the DHF has slightly fatter casing.
    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions-dhf-rckr.jpg

  17. #17
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    2.35" Rock'r review

    I finally got a trail ride in on them. Riding Otero Canyon in Albuquerque. Hard, loose over hard and LOTS of rocks. I've ridden 2.3" HR II's, 2.3" DHR II's and 2.5" DHF's in the rear on this bike in addition to the 2.35" Rock'r's. All comments to follow are with regards to rear use only, on a SS HT. All 3 Maxxis tires were the dual compound and the Rock'r was the GumX. I have a 2.5" DHF in the front that I'm extraordinarily happy with (19 psi). I'm not running it in the rear because at the short chainstay length I run on my Paragon sliders, they just don't fit very well. I'm ~185 pounds ready to ride.

    On a hardtail on ABQ rocks, the EXO 2.3" tires just don't cut it. Have to run at least 29 psi to prevent pinch flats even with tubeless setup (Stan's). At 29 psi, there just isn't enough traction on the steep, rocky, hardpack/loose over hard climbs. 5 psi less and they climb well, but way to easy to pinch on a rock.

    IF I could have gotten the proper clearance on my DHF's, I would never have gone shopping for a different tire. There is only ~4 mm of clearance with the chainstays, which just isn't enough. For reference, ~24 psi on the 2.5" DHF's gave very good traction and pinch protection. I'd get some close calls on pinches but never actually flatted.

    Running Rock'r at 25 psi gave noticeable less slipping when climbing compared to DHF, DHR II and HR II, likely due to the softer rubber compound. There was less 'loose over hard' today and more just 'hardpack' due to some recent rains. Grip on rocks was better as well, likely due to the rubber too. I never really went all out today but I did get the feeling that although the Rock'r is about the size of the smaller Maxxis, pinch/rock protection is on par with the larger Maxxis. Cornering was fantastic. Michelin in the back with DHF in the front felt perfect.

    I have about 7 hard trail miles on the tire and 30 road miles (Sandia Crest Road plus some) with really no visible wear on the tire. Whether wear is on par with dual compound Maxxis, we'll see. The obviously wear better than Schwalbes. With regards to rolling resistance, I feel they roll well. No issues on the trail and even on the road I thought they were OK, at least considering their designed purpose. Of course, I think 2.5" DHF's roll well (better than HD's and NN's). Other tires I think roll well are 2.4" Holy Rollers and 2.55" (ha, right, more like 2.28"...) Weirwolfs. Nevegals in Stick-e roll like you wrapped a tire in Gorilla Tape. Hope this helps.

    I really do like the Rock'r, just need to find a way to mount it tubeless, which I think will be possible on the MTX 33 with just some yellow Stans due to tight bead. If I had to choose, I do believe I prefer it over the 2.5" dual compound DHF, at least when considering my limited chainstay clearance and riding on rocks with a single speed. If I had gears and clearance, not sure which I would choose. Might have been interesting to compare Maxxis 3C but I've had such good traction/wear with the dual, I've never even ridden a 3C tire.

    Very happy with my purchase. Thank you evasive for starting this thread, it's why I bought one. I finally feel like I have a tire I can trust in the rear. Before this tire, I had been slightly depressed about my custom frame (a beautiful and equally badass Waltworks) because I just couldn't run the chainstay length I wanted due to some really bad luck on gearing. I kept killing small tires (walking out sucks) but the big ones didn't let me run the short stays.

    Now I get everything I wanted. Short stays, climbing/braking/cornering grip/rock strike protection/rolling resistance all at least equal to 2.5" DHF's. They're bit heavy but my HT weighs over 30#; do you think I care...
    Last edited by Mr. 68 Hundred; 3 Weeks Ago at 05:28 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Update

    A. It does not wear as well as dual compound DHF's but the rubber is definitely stickier.
    B. I mounted it tubeless tonight on an MTX 33. Single layer of wide Stan's yellow. Appears to fit snug on bead. Will give it the first tubeless ride on Sunday.
    C. I still love the tire, very good traction on steep stuff when single speeding and cornering matches DHF in front well. Narrow enough that I can get the short stays that I want.
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  19. #19
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    Update #2

    A. Only a couple squirts of sealant on the side of the tire after the ride so it held solid on the MTX 33 at 25 psi.
    B. I managed to cut the tire on a rock strike. Right through the tread. Obviously, 25 psi is not enough to prevent pinch cuts in ABQ. I did patch the tire with a $3 patch kit for car tires; we'll see if it holds. Will try 30 psi Wednesday.
    C. Due to the tire patch, I had the opportunity to re-mount the tire tubeless. Piece. Of. Cake. I couldn't believe how easy it went. Very audible and noticeable 'pops' as the bead seated. Appears to be a very compatible combination. I did use an air compressor.
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  20. #20
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    Michelin Wild Rock'R2 and Wild Grip'R2: initial impressions

    Interesting to read your tubeless experiences. Thanks.

    The Rock'R2 provides a lot of confidence up front. Not just that it holds on, but when it starts to let go in a turn, it gives me enough time to adjust and reconnect. Mine is still incredibly sticky up front, and throws a steady stream of grit at my down tube any time I'm on loose or sandy ground. Kind of amazing, really.
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  21. #21
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    Love these tires. I am running the Wild Rock'r in the front and Wild Grip'r in the rear, both in the gum-x compound on my downhill bike (I am slow, so I don't tend to flat), setup tubeless on WTB I25 rims. I ride primarily at Northstar and have previously run Maxxis DHF 3c downhill tires and the Schwalbe Muddy Mary Freeride in the Pacestar compound.

    In comparison to the Maxxis, the Michelin's have more ultimate grip, but transition better to their side-nobs (no real traction gap when putting them on their side). They also have better ultimate traction than the Muddy Marys.

    I was going to try the Magic Mary's but had concerns about knobs ripping off based on some reviews and having the same problem with the Hans Dampfs. I put the Michelin's on my son's bike first (he is 110 pounds) and was impressed with how beefy the sidewalls were, so decided to give them a try.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    I was going to try the Magic Mary's but had concerns about knobs ripping off based on some reviews and having the same problem with the Hans Dampfs.
    I was intrigued by the Magic Mary's as well but had knobs tear off my HD's too. I don't think I'd get any help from the Super Gravity casing because 2 out of 3 of the tires I've cut in the last 2 months, the cut has been through the tread. Legitimate 2.3"/2.35" 29" tire with dual plys and I'm in heaven. Anyone know of one?
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. 68 Hundred View Post
    I was intrigued by the Magic Mary's as well but had knobs tear off my HD's too. I don't think I'd get any help from the Super Gravity casing because 2 out of 3 of the tires I've cut in the last 2 months, the cut has been through the tread. Legitimate 2.3"/2.35" 29" tire with dual plys and I'm in heaven. Anyone know of one?
    IIRC the Minion DHF comes in dual ply for 29er now

    edit:

    Maxxis Minion DHF 29er Dual Ply Casing Dual Compound EXO Protection Tubeless Ready Mountain Bike Tyre | Evans Cycles

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    Thank you. I checked the link, main page says 2.25" but when I clicked 'select,' 2.5" popped up. 2.5 DHF's are just a bit wide for my frame. Bummer.
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