Road tires are at an interesting state of development. Many riders are starting to trend towards wider rubber even on the road, but then the definition of road riding is evolving. Thanks to the growing popularity of “gravel” ride, races that include dirt roads, and more people taking the path less traveled, tires are often being subjected to new abuse. Already an ideal size for many gravel or dirt adventures, the 28mm tire has become a favorite since it will fit in many standard road frames and some caliper brakes adding a bit of additional capability.
In developing their new Pro 4 Endurance tire, Michelin wanted to offer a 28mm tread but also a durable tire that would keep flats at bay. To that regard the tire features a reinforcing layer that claims a 40% increase in puncture protection compared to the competition while a dual compound rubber provides long wear and excellent cornering grip.
When mounted on a 17mm internal width rim, the 28mm Pro 4 Endurance is actually measuring 29mm which is a good sign for fans of larger tires. Using third party testing through Wheel Energy, the Pro 4 Endurance showed a 40% improvement in puncture-resistance compared to the unnamed main competitor. Called their Bi-Compound tread, the tire uses softer sidewalls to aid in cornering grip, but the harder center section is more wear resistant. The casing itself is made from 3 layers at 110 tpi, and Michelin’s HD Protection Bead2Bead reinforcing layer that is responsible for the addition in puncture resistance.
Weights and prices for the 28mm version are TBD, though the 23mm and 25mm versions weigh in at 225 and 245g respectively.
Even though it’s not a new tire, the Michelin Wild Race’r Reinforced will now be available in a wider 2.25″ version in both 27.5 and 29″ wheel sizes. Originally thought of as an XC race tire, Michelin has found that riders like the tire as a dry conditions rear tire for Enduro racing so the larger, reinforced casings make sense.