The Michelin Wild Race'R Ultimate is the new tire for cross-country racing. During the development phase, engineers focused on delivering superior dry-terrain performance. The tire's strengths include its low weight, speed, grip and puncture- resistance. In size 26x2.10, the tubeless-ready version of the tire weighs only 415 grams. This exceptionally low weight is obtained without sacrificing the tire's ability to withstand punctures. Top-three World Cup finishes by bikers Fabien Canal and Fanny Bourdon attest to the tire's outstanding performance levels.
Strengths: Very fast rolling and light weight tire for 29 inch wheels. Excellent grip on dry hard pack and predictable cornering. Good performance in damp conditions.
Weaknesses: Traction in loose or wet conditions is poor. Casing is susceptible to punctures from rocks or other sharp trail objects.
My Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 1 came with Schwable Racing Ralph's and I found these tires to be a little unpredictable in the corners and was not really pleased with durability and life of the tire. I've been riding Michelin's on my road bike and motorcycles/cars for years and am a big believer in the brand so when I found the Wild Race'R and the Wild Race'R Ulitmate I decided to give them a shot. The Wild Race'R is a bit heavy compared to other racing tires on the market so I decided to run that tire up front for better cornering and the Ultimate on the rear as it is roughly 230 grams lighter. At first, I was very impressed with both tires and really enjoyed the light weight and predictability of the Ultimate. Climbing, cornering, braking were all excellent and overall performance was better than expected so I felt I had found my race tire. Then I got a puncture on the Ultimate riding through a very benign rock garden that I've ridden through thousands of times over the past 20 years with no issue. I contacted Michelin and let them know what happened. They referred me to a local bike shop to report a warranty claim since I had owned the tire less than 30 days and just as I had hoped, a brand new tire showed up in three days without charge. Thinking this might be a one off incident, I mounted the Ultimate back on the Scalpel and set off to the trails. Everything seemed fine until about 3 weeks later when I got another puncture from a stray rock at a different trail which cut the tire in a similar place on the tire carcass in between the tread. The punctures on both tires were almost identical in size. This time Michelin did not warranty the tire which was a little disappointing. Maybe I should have taken the tire to a different shop as the owner explained the original story to Michelin and they stated the first warranty for me was a "courtesy". Whatever...
For now, I picked up the Wild Race'R for the rear which is far more durable, but as I previously stated it is a much heavier tire and I do notice the difference upon acceleration and climbing. I want to try the Ultimate again at some point and will most likely build up a spare rear wheel for that tire so I can swap out the rear wheel quickly when I'm riding trails which do not have many or any rocky areas. The Ultimate is a great tire, but it is not going to stand up to much technical terrain and Michelin clearly marks that on their package. If this tire held up better, I would be giving it a 5 for value rating as the price is very good compared to other light weight race tires and a 4 for overall rating. I'm hopeful I can get more than a month of use out of the next Ultimate tire. If not, I'll have to search elsewhere.