April 20th, 2017
Review of Michelin Anakee Wild Tires for heavy adventure bikes
The discussion of which tire to use for any bike is probably about as diverse as which helmet is preferred... So much of tire choice is based on individual preference and actual use of the machine you put the tire on.. However, there are certain facts that remain no matter the rider.. 1. It's inevitable that we will be on road more than dirt if you truly treat it as an enduro bike. And heavy enduro bikes are designed for long jaunts where road is as favorable if not more than dirt. So while we love the dirt we have to get there many times by road. Some are able to stay on dirt more than others but the average person will end up burning a lot of their tires on pavement.. Therefore, tread life while on road is critical. 2. When we DO end up OFF ROAD, we want it to perform like that's all we do... So we want tread life on road as if it were a road tire and performance off road as if it were a dirt tire. Not an easy challenge for tire makers..
Before we go into the actual review, it does help to know me and how I ride. I've been on bikes for the better part of 25 years with hundreds of thousands of miles under my belt, iron butt member and with 30k miles on my current bike which is a 2014 Liquid cooled BMW R1200GSA. I chose this bike primarily because of the movie Long Way Round starring Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. They gave me a spirit of freedom on a bike I had never even dreamt of. The idea of camping and riding in the middle of nowhere where roads are optional was absolutely intoxicating to me. In 2015, after making several shorter trips I took off on the Trans American Trail for the better part of a month. I quickly found out the good things and bad things about heavy bikes and the rubber that keeps them moving. 1. TKC-80's perform amazing but don't last long. 2. Finding them at the local shop is all but impossible making tires a constant PITA... (technical term). When you are spending more riding hours wondering how you will acquire your next tire than enjoying the view things are simply not working in your favor.
Of course in 2015 there were few choices for the then practically brand new tire size that the 2014 Liquid Cooled boxer uses.. So, of the choices, the Continental TKC-80 was really the only acceptable choice available. I ran several sets of TKC's through my bike and at 2500 on the rear I was literally changing the tire every month. Front tire was typically getting about double that.
I was excited when I saw the expectations of the Michelin Anakee Wild. I had run the Michelin Anakee III a couple times and was completely satisfied with his road performance but off road abilities were a bit of a joke.. So for the purpose I bought this bike, it simply wasn't a reasonable option for me unless I had two sets of wheels. The Wild turned out to be the perfect solution for me..
Now with 4900 miles on my tires and probably another 500 left in the back tire, this tire will be the longest I have ever run a 50/50 tire and still have confidence in it. Front tire really does still look like a new tire.. I should easily get another 4k on that tire. To put in perspective for the type riding I do, I typically get about 8k on a rear Anakee III and 2500 on a rear TKC-80.. I'm pretty heavy on the throttle as the torque is a big reason I bought the bike... So I use it. Highway speeds run around 80 and this tire saw about 90% road regrettably meaning a better split might have led to even longer wear..
Performance of the Anakee Wild
This is the part where you really need to read.... When you first pull out with the Wild's... The name applies to more than just what it can do off road.. The tire has serious wear in.. I thought I was going to drop it the first probably 20-50 miles... Slippery is an understatement.. So put it in rain mode to keep the torque at bay and let it wear off that initial.
That said... Once it is broken in... And in fact, as you go your confidence will continue to increase as the wear in gets done... By the time I got to 100 miles I was rolling around curves as if it had Anakee III's on it.. I don't hang off saddle, knee out with these tires as I do with the Anakee III's but you can get pretty spirited on roads even with these tires.. But they don't hang like Anakee III's.. Nor are they designed to.
Wet performance was solid.. I have been through torrential rainfalls with these tires and never felt as though I would hydro or lose control in any way.. Solid performance...
Noise concerns. I personally can't speak too much of road noise at interstate speeds as I have custom earplugs as I highly recommend any rider to wear and although I'm keenly aware my Wild's are louder than road tires, they are no different than the Continental's and quieter than the Karoo 3's (imagine lifted jeep with 37" mud tires). In town riding I don't bother with ear plugs with the Wild's.. While I had the Karoo's (once..only once) it was a debate to not put them on when rearranging the bike in the garage.. Joking, but the Karoo's are ridiculously loud.
Off Road Performance
This is where the fun begins.. You don't get a tire like this so it looks cool at Starbucks.. You get it so at any point you see a trail on the side of the road, if you desire.. you can take it.. I mean let's face it.. That's why we bought an adventure bike in the first place right? Well, at least thats why I did.. I want at any time to look at a trail and go.. Wonder where that goes... And take it! I don't want to go, but I don't have the right tire.. I need to remember this next time I through here with a capable tire.. No... I want to take it then.. Right then.
Wild's let you go wild at any whim and will not let you down and if you are 300 miles from home or 3 it doesn't matter because they will get you back home. Off road performance on these tires are on par with the TKC-80 if not better... I have been on rock, mud, shale, water crossings, hill climbs with large rocks... You name it.. These performed... Another benefit is I never had to air down (as much) as I would with the 80's.. I do take some of the pressure off as I typically run around 37-38psi but would take them down to about 30/32 which would still be good enough on road but give me a little more bite off road.
If you bought this bike to truly find your adventure... These tires need to be on your next run.. They perform as they should on dirt but don't kill your wallet in tire changes.. They are great road tires with decent wear and performance giving you the best of both worlds which is what we bought this type bike for in the first place..
I can safely say I have no reason to run a different tire on my bike anytime in the near future... When you choose your next adventure know that the Wild's were made to get you there and back and provide you with the greatest amount of throttle therapy while there.. Roll on!
Adventurist at heart, David Mays looks to inspire others to live their life with focus and purpose. Experience and expansion is why we are here.