Tuesday, March 4, 2008

MIchelin 32 DH tire review

Aight - if you know me, then you know my fondness for tires.
I live and die by the rubber - and i'm about as picky as you'll ever get.
To quote EC "I can live with bad geometry, I can even live with bad suspension - but I won't ride or race without great tires!"

I'll try reviewing most of the tires that I ride this season... I do have my tire hookups open again, So I'll be getting a fair amount and variety of tires.

Let's start with the infamous Michelin 32

I've been riding on this tire since it's inception... and have seen some small improvements along the way. Over all the charector and style of this tire hasn't changed at all, and you'd ride today's version the same way as you would the first generate. This is the tire you throw on for high-speed outdoor motocross style riding. When I'm on a mixed conditions course where I'll be charging the whole run - this is the tire I grab. Back in the day - i used to race for michelin, and this was the team's fav tire - and was always the tires we ran while we figured out the course, we'd adjust tires for the conditions later.

The tire is completely predictable - i feel comfortable drifting, and letting the front end break loose (not fast, but fun!). for big, rocky and rooty gnar sections -this tire is definetly the one. It'll take anything and rarely flat - infact, I run regular tubes in this tire.

The knobs don't appear to stick off the sides of the tire as much as some of the other tires out there, but honestly, I've never lost my front end with this tire (unless I really deserved it). It WILL hold you all day long.

Break in time is significant. When I was racing, I'd sometimes tear up the tire before I'd break it in (I used to ride like an a$$). nowadays - I get significant time out of these tires as I'll take 4-5 runs before I really start to push the tire hard. I notice that this helps me to achieve a longer lasting and more predictable tire. NEVER race on one of these without breaking it in first! You really need to have the tire starting to wear a bit before you get optimum traction and predictability.

So - for high speed, rocky and mixed terrain (including roots) - reach for this tire.
When does this tire suck? really flat courses when you need to pedal. or really smooth courses. I guess the tire doesn't suck on the smooth stuff - but you've got better options out there.
Avoid this tire for muddy conditions also. It'll work in a pinch - but you'd want to cut the "inside" outer knobs off for optimum shedding (I've done this many times). The tire is just too dam fat to be good in slop - so look for a spike or the 16 in sloppy conditions.

Aight - more reviews to come! I've got all the michelin dh series - the all mountain extreme, panaracer cinder, panaracer rampage, maxxis high rollers (3 sizes), minion (DHR and DHF), and possibly some schwalbe tires!!


Choncher said...

I also have the Michelin DH 32s and I love em. They have TONS of grip and are confidence builders. I have to put them on my DH bike though. They were on my Giant AC1 and BARELY fit. I am looking for smaller tires that have excellent grip that would fit the AC1. I need a tire that wont tire my as$ out like the 32 ATs do on a climb. Any suggestions on a tire combo to use on hardpack, rocky trails?

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