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Michelin Wild AM2 2.4 Review

A great front tire for aggressive all-mountain and trail riding in loose conditions
Michelin Wild AM2 2.4
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $70 List | $75.53 at Amazon
Pros:  Great cornering traction, solid braking traction, good in mixed/loose conditions, long tread life
Cons:  Moderately heavy, not the fastest rolling
Manufacturer:   Michelin
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 26, 2021
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 29
  • Cornering - 25% 9
  • Pedaling Traction - 20% 8
  • Braking Traction - 20% 9
  • Rolling Resistance - 15% 6
  • Longevity - 15% 8
  • Installation - 5% 8

Our Verdict

Michelin's new Wild AM2 is an excellent option for all-mountain and aggressive trail riding in mixed and loose conditions. We loved this tire on the front wheel paired with the faster rolling Force AM2 in the back, but you could run it front and rear for a burlier setup. Michelin's Gum-X rubber isn't the tackiest, but it has proven to be very long-lasting, and the aggressive, open tread and well-supported knobs still provide loads of cornering and braking traction. The Gravity Shield casing strikes an excellent balance of support, suppleness, and durability. They aren't exactly lightweight or fast-rolling, but they are competitive with similarly aggressive tires and seem more durable than most.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Michelin Wild AM2 2.4
Awards Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award 
Price $75.53 at Amazon$60 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$60 List
Check Price at Backcountry
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$75.53 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great cornering traction, solid braking traction, good in mixed/loose conditions, long tread lifeGreat cornering grip, good braking traction, aggressive tread pattern, super damp ride quality, available in 2.6 and 2.3-inch widthsReasonably priced, versatile yet aggressive tread design, good all-around performance as a rear tireVersatile, affordable, great all-around use, intermediate tread height, fast rollingReasonable price, low rolling resistance, versatile tread works well in a range of conditions, comes in 2.4 and 2.6-inch widths
Cons Moderately heavy, not the fastest rollingModerate weight, not the fastest rollingModerate braking traction, firmer rubber compoundNot the best braking tractionNot the best braking traction, moderately heavy, not great in mud or sloppy conditions
Bottom Line A great front tire for aggressive all-mountain and trail riding in loose conditionsSpecialized's classic aggressive trail riding tire with a new rubber compound, enhanced grip, and same great valueA versatile, well-rounded, and reasonably priced trail riding tire best suited for use on the rear of the bikeA versatile and well-rounded do-it-all rear tire for any kind of ridingA durable and fast-rolling trail and all-mountain tire well suited to duties on the rear of the bike
Rating Categories Michelin Wild AM2 2.4 Specialized Butcher... Specialized Elimina... Maxxis Aggressor 2.... Michelin Force AM2 2.4
Cornering (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Pedaling Traction (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Braking Traction (20%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Rolling Resistance (15%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Longevity (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Installation (5%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Michelin Wild AM2 2.4 Specialized Butcher... Specialized Elimina... Maxxis Aggressor 2.... Michelin Force AM2 2.4
Size tested 29" x 2.4" 29" x 2.6" 29" x 2.3" 27.5" x 2.3" 29" x 2.4"
Weight as tested 1037g 1123g 945g 885g 1051g
Front, Rear, or Both Front, Both Front, Both Rear Rear Rear, Both
Casing Tested Gravity Shield GRID Trail GRID Trail EXO Gravity Shield
Compound Tested Gum-X Gripton T9 Gripton T7 Dual Gum-X
Bead Folding Folding Folding Folding Folding
Tread Count (TPI) 3 x 60 60 60 60 3 x 60

Our Analysis and Test Results

Michelin has been making mountain bike tires for decades, and they recently added the Wild AM2 to their range. Based on the popular DH34 downhill tire, the Wild AM2 is a lighter-weight model aimed squarely at the all-mountain and aggressive trail riding market for use in mud and mixed/soft conditions. It comes in both 27.5 and 29-inch diameters in 2.4 (tested) and 2.6-inch widths. We tested this tire for weeks and came away quite impressed by its cornering and braking traction, sidewall support, and long tread life. Additionally, our test tire measured just slightly wider than 2.4" on our 35mm rims and weighed in at 1,037-grams, 3-grams under their claimed weight.

Performance Comparison


The Wild AM2 has an aggressive tread that inspires confidence in...
The Wild AM2 has an aggressive tread that inspires confidence in loose conditions with great braking and cornering traction and a supportive, durable casing.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Cornering


The Wild AM2 has great cornering traction. It's not the absolute best cornering tire in the world, but it is really good. We found them to shine in loose conditions where the tall well-supported side knobs and open spacing could go to work. Additionally, the Gravity Shield casing provided great support, without being overly stiff, to run lower pressures without the tire folding, squirming, or burping when you you really get on it.


Michelin has employed their Gum-X rubber compound in the Wild AM2. While the word "gum" might sound pretty sticky, this rubber doesn't feel nearly as tacky as Maxxis MaxxGrip or Schwalbe Ultra-Soft, for example. Those rubber compounds are super grippy, but tend to wear out in a few shorts weeks. The Wild AM2 has firmer rubber for the center tread and supporting the side knobs with softer rubber on top. While it isn't super tacky, this rubber grips very well on firm surfaces like granite slabs, but it's the tire's tread design that does the work while cornering. Also, the open tread design clears mud well should you find yourself in sloppy conditions.

The center tread features pairs of tall square knobs that are arranged in sets of three that get progressively farther apart. The tall rectangular side knobs are inspired by those on the DH22 and are also in sets of three at a slight angle that matches the center tread which they are staggered between. There is a bit of open space between the center and side knobs, but no so much that the tire has any dead space or vagueness while rolling it on edge or at moderate lean angles. The side-to-side profile of the tire is square-ish, but not absurdly so. When you tip the bike into a corner, it rolls easily on edge and you can really feel the well-supported side knobs engaging and holding. The spacing of the knobs really allows each one to get purchase, particularly in the loose/soft conditions for which this tire was designed. There are a few tires that feel a little edgier and grip in corners a bit more impressively, but the Wild AM2 can absolutely hold its own.

We mostly rode with the Wild AM2 on the front with a Force AM2 in...
We mostly rode with the Wild AM2 on the front with a Force AM2 in the rear, but the Wild provides good pedaling traction in back, albeit with a little more rolling resistance.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Pedaling Traction


The Wild AM2 is not short on pedaling traction. As a front tire, this is a relatively moot point, but should you choose to put this on the back wheel for a more aggressive setup, you won't be left wanting for traction in loose conditions.


As a rear tire, the tall tread knobs and open spacing claw their way in to loose conditions where faster rolling, lower profile treads will be prone to spinning out. The ramped front edges of the tread knobs helps ease them into the surface, and the height of the knobs and the space between them allows the individual knobs to grab hold. They also do a good job of clawing their way up and over roots, chunky rock gardens, and the sipes on each knob help them conform to firm surfaces pretty well too. Of course, there's a bit of a trade-off, and all that traction does result in a bit more rolling resistance on hardpack.

Big knobs, open spacing = good braking traction.
Big knobs, open spacing = good braking traction.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Braking Traction


Much like its big brother, the DH34, the Wild AM2 was designed to provide good braking traction in loose conditions. When riding in aggressive terrain in chunky, loose dirt and decomposing granite soils, we could feel the open tread design and tall knobs doing their job, inspiring confidence to ride fast while knowing we could shut it down when needed.


The relatively open spacing of the tall tread knobs really allows the individual knobs to dig in to loose conditions with squared-off edges that do a great job of grabbing and holding when the brakes are applied. We found braking to be a predictable experience, and this tire was not prone to unexpectedly breaking into a skid. We also found them to provide solid traction on steep granite slabs, where the Gum-X rubber felt adequately grippy and the horizontal sipes on the center tread helped them conform slightly to the surface.

The Wild AM2 gives up a little rolling speed for cornering and...
The Wild AM2 gives up a little rolling speed for cornering and braking traction.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Rolling Resistance


The aggressive open tread and tall knobs of the Wild AM2 don't make this the fastest rolling tire. As a front tire, this is hardly noticeable unless you're riding on pavement, nor is it as much of a concern. If used as a rear tire, however, this resistance will be much more noticeable, but still not terrible either. Riders concerned with rolling speed would do well to mount this tire at the front of the bike and pair it with something faster rolling like the Force AM2 in the rear.


At a measured weight of 1,037-grams in the 29" x 2.4" size we tested, the Wild AM2 isn't exactly lightweight, but considering the aggressive tread and burly casing, we feel it is pretty respectable. The nature of the Wild AM2's aggressive tread design results in a fair amount of rolling resistance, although Michelin has ramped the front edges of all the knobs slightly to help them ease into the trail surface. This tire is designed to provide traction in loose, soft conditions where the tall knobs with open spacing can dig into the trail. It does this quite effectively but rolls a bit slower than less aggressive or more tightly spaced tread designs as a result. It's not egregiously slow-rolling or draggy feeling, but there is definitely a bit of a tradeoff in rolling speed for the traction it provides.

The tread of the Wild AM2 looks nearly new after several hundred...
The tread of the Wild AM2 looks nearly new after several hundred miles of hard riding.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Longevity


After over a month of testing and several hundred miles of aggressive riding, we've come away very impressed by the longevity of the Wild AM2. We've put this tire through the wringer in every condition imaginable and both the tread and the sidewalls have held up surprisingly well. Despite lots of reckless riding and numerous rim outs, we experienced no punctures or sidewall tears, and the cornering knobs are still well attached with plenty of life left in them.


While the Gum-X rubber compound used on the Wild AM2 isn't the tackiest rubber out there, it has proven itself to be impressively durable and long-lasting. Michelin seems to have struck a very nice balance of grip and durability with firmer rubber on the center tread and supporting the side knobs with slightly softer rubber on top. The side knobs feel very well supported, so they aren't prone to folding or tearing from aggressive cornering forces. All of the tread knobs are still intact with nice square edges with only the slightest bit of erosion beginning on the inside of the side knobs. The Gravity Shield casing has also weathered the storm very well with 3 layers of 60 tpi protection running from bead to bead. Several cringe-inducing rim outs caused no punctures, and despite lots of encounters with sharp granite, the sidewalls show only minor scuffing. There isn't even any evidence of sealant seepage that is common with several other tire brands.

Installation


We found the Wild AM2 to be relatively easy to install. They have a somewhat snug fit to the rim which required the use of a tire lever to coax the last bit onto the rim, but it was by no means a challenge. Once on the rim, the snug fit made it easy to inflate, and we were able to seat the bead using a standard floor pump. A booster pump would make it even easier but certainly wasn't necessary in our experience.

Great performance and durability at a fair price.
Great performance and durability at a fair price.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Value


We feel the new Wild AM2 is a great value. They are offered a competitive price that is lower than many similar tires and perform alongside the best in the business. Add to that a burly, durable casing and a long tread life, and we feel you'll get your money's worth.

Conclusion


The Wild AM2 is a great new addition to Michelin's tire lineup. It has great cornering and braking traction, a burly casing, and an impressively long-lasting rubber compound. It's a competitive weight compared to similarly aggressive tires but feels slightly more durable than most. This is a fantastic new option for the front end of any aggressive trail rider's bike, or use it front and rear for a rugged combo for loose conditions.

The Wild AM2 is a killer new all-mountain/aggressive trail riding...
The Wild AM2 is a killer new all-mountain/aggressive trail riding tire.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Jeremy Benson