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Michelin Anakee Wild Dual Sport Tires – First Impressions

 Testing Michelin's new dual sport tire, designed to dominate the segment.

Published on 04.03.2016

A hundred-twenty some years ago, there was a bicyclist with a flat tire somewhere in the French countryside. The rubber factory owner that helped this man get back in the race later went on to develop an entire empire on detachable tires for everything from bicycles to railcars, motorcars and spacecraft.

Fast forward to the here and now and we’re mounting that same company’s highly-advanced knobby tires on powerhouse motorcycles capable of triple-digit speeds and riding to the ends of the world with ease. Michelin is here to make that ride a little more comfortable, more fun and most importantly, last longer… just like a little blue pill for your adventure bike. Oh yeah!

Believe The Hype?

Michelin Anakee Wild

A select few riders, some GS Trophy riders, magazine editors and a few round the world travelers have had these tires in beta for months now and the first few squeaks about how well they perform has been deafening. I’ve also been seeing a wave of classified ads for Heidenau K60s and Continental TKC 80s. It seems like many adventure riders are offloading their back stock of dual sport rubber… I wonder why?

Proud as poppa, the Michelin techs on hand at the Southern California press ride I attended were happy to report that they now have a dominating tire for every motorcycle segment: cruiser, dual-sport, hypersport, off-road and sport touring. They also considered that by the time a rider is ready for this particular tire, they’ve (probably) already ridden a bike with Michelin tires in one or more of the other segments. Michelin also assumes these customers will be so familiar and contented with the brand that choosing the Anakee Wilds for their Adventure Bike would be a natural progression. They may be right!

What’s All This About Wild Rubbers?

Michelin Anakee Wild

Firstly, yes, these are a specialized tire, for a select few motorcycles, but in total they fit 36 bikes so far, despite the limited number of currently available fitments. But there’s more to come!

Long story short, the new Anakee Wilds come in two fronts (110/80 R 19, 120/70 R 19) and two rears (150/70 R 17, 170/60 R 17) right now… targeting a very specific market, adventure flagships like the BMW R1200GS (both pre- and post-waterhead), the Yamaha Super Ténéré’s, Triumph Explorer’s and the big-boy KTMs. Michelin fans without the biggest ADV bikes will have to wait until additional sizes are released later in the year.

The First Hundy

Michelin Anakee Wild

Shoeing a pair of Anakee Wild tires onto my air-cooled GS, I set out to safely get home from the dealership. With an unbroken layer of slick mold-release on the tires, tip-toeing around the first few corners is the smart choice… after that, its throttle on and wow. It’s amazing what a fresh pair of sneakers can do to a machine! Talk about putting a spring in your step!

Even without pushing for red-lines, I can immediately feel the difference in a new pair of sneakers. And with some proper street pressure (32/36 front to rear in this instance) the steering has also sharpened up. How these things might feel after a few thousand miles is still in the tea leaves but if historical record is any indicator, things are looking up for the newest Anakees.

What’s That You Say?

If you read as many Facebook posts as much as I do, you might have seen the pre-release reviews range from good to bad. The most voiced opinion on these tires have been about the voice of the tires themselves. They’re loud. Or so “they” say. My first question to the pre-testers of course would be, in comparison to what? What was the last tire you had on the bike?

Then —and more importantly— I’d add, if you don’t like the sound of the tire on the pavement, get off it! As a dual-sport tire, when the going gets rough —and when you tire of hearing your life being wasted away in a cubicle— take the next hard turn off the pavement and straight into the desert, or forest, or front yard if you have to… put these things to work!

The Technical Stuff

Michelin Anakee Wild

First question for myself would be “How exactly does one test a tire?” Scientists do all the dirty work in laboratories around the world, mixing up sticky stuff with more resilient stuff and marrying that mixture to the wiry bits that keep these things on the rims, but what about testing them in the real world? That’s my job, so I guess I better figure it out… so lets go for a ride. Luckily these things made it easy!

Focused on tackling each of the competitors’ tires faults — such as the fast-wearing Metzeler Karoo 3s, mediocre-performing Heidenau K60s and the most-popular-yet-unrefined Continental TKC 80s— Michelin’s designers used the latter as their baseline, building the Anakee Wild to meet or exceed them in every way. A bun in the oven since 2013, it takes a long time to cook up perfection… and lucky for us, patience has delivered the right tire at the right time.

Michelin Anakee Wild

They consider it to be “the” 50/50 dual sport tire for the market, delivering the same (and slightly better) trail performance as the TKC 80, 40% better wet grip (measured on the track), 30% better high-speed stability and exceptional (50% better!) longevity. Each and every result —they add— is with provable results and not just marketing jargon; certified by the independent firm Dekra. Lance Gines, a GS Giant competitor, used the Anakee Wild’s on his west coast qualifying run for the GS Trophy this year at RawHyde and thought “they never missed a beat… I was the only one to clear the sand obstacle without a single deduction.”

Cross-body bands help to keep the tires’ carcass in the proper shape at every speed while the crown bands keep the weight of the lugs from deforming the tire upon spinning, giving you the most optimal contact patch at all times. This dually-controlled carcass works better than any singular-direction expanding bias ply tire. Wrap that with a tread pattern inspired by their Dakar-winning (33-times!) race tire and we’ve now got top shelf rubber for the flagship machines sitting in our garages.

Michelin Anakee Wild

Key features to that tread pattern include “in/out” shoulder blocks, which alternate distance from the edge of the sidewall for greater rut-busting ability. Bridge-block technology links the farther-reaching/outer-most shoulder blocks to it’s rowmate with a half-height chunk of rubber for more solid high-speed cornering.

The sidewalls of each and every block has what they call “teeth lines” to help release mud and prevent stone collection. Like a pair of toy vampire fangs, they bite the trail and get out of there fast. The etched “M” on the outer edge blocks is merely for styling by the way, a trademark to their off-road tires. And lastly the curved-shape of each alternating 4th and 5th row knobs is said to offer better traction in sand and mud. I think it makes the tire look like it’s smiling at all the roads ahead!

After three major tread patterns and roughly 3 years in the making, the most intelligent features built into the Anakee Wilds might be the blocks themselves. With sidewall lugs individually angled forward or back depending on front or rear units, and segmented in groups around the tire, each knob (and the space between them) is individually spaced from each other in order to quell the overall noise level. Every tire makes noise, they’ve just figured out how to make it harmonize with the ride! I’ve come to think of it as the sound of a commuter train when it hits it’s top cruising speed.  Present, but not annoying.

Air Down? Don’t Bother.

Michelin Anakee Wild

Considering that the new Anakees will fit more than 30 modern motorcycles, 1999 to present model years, I learned a little lesson at the press launch. The pressure rating on the sidewalls merely notes the maximum for the bike’s performance and weight, it’s not a suggested pressure to ride on. Hmmmm… One of the technicians on hand, went on to point out that the weights and usage of each bike that can use this same tire runs a wide gamut —such as the difference between the 437-pound Moto Morini Scrambler 1200 and the 567-pound Yamaha Super Tenere— each bike will require unique tire pressures. As such, always use the pressures listed in the bike’s manual, not the one on the sidewall of the tire!

Michelin also suggests that you do not air down this tire for the trail. They designed this radial to perform with said proper air pressure, so consider that one on your ride. And so we did as we hit the trail, although old habits are hard to break. I personally compromised. Instead of dropping to 25 psi front and rear as I typically do, I only ‘took the edge off’ and ran the rest of the day, both on and off the trail, with 30/32 psi front and rear, down from the OE recommended (single rider) 32/36 psi.

Michelin Anakee Wild

While the ride up the twisty asphalt road to the OHV park was with the appropriate caution deserved of a fresh tire taking its first real corners, the ride back down and home was done with much greater abandon. To the point at which I found myself scraping my boots in deeper corners (get those heels up boy!) and realizing I probably shouldn’t be riding like this on a knobby tire, but I could! Very impressive… I’m excited to put many more miles on the new shoes. It was at that moment that I realized, ok, I definitely want these tires on my bike for my South American tour this fall!

On the road, they grip like a sport bike tire and in the sand washes, I needn’t pick a line anymore, this tire just walked its way though without influence or issue; a much welcome relief on the usual SoCal trail rides. In the coming weeks I’ll report back with some mileage notations and wear data… but in the single tank we burned up during the press ride spinning through the sand and over the mountain and back, MPG was roughly 43 mpg (but we all know how many factors go into whipping up that particular piece of data!). Stay tuned for more!

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Alfonse Palaima ProfileAbout the Author: When not in Los Angeles hiding from society, Alfonse Palaima is far, far away from home, collecting passport stamps and slicing through traffic on two wheels with a smile on his face. Slowly rounding the world one country at at time, riding countless miles, on countless motorcycles, covering 6 of the 7 continents so far. While he is a rider like you and I, he has also been a moto journalist in the field since 2003. Follow Alfonse everywhere on social media (@MotoInsider) and his website MotoInsider.com.

Author: Alfonse Palaima

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29 thoughts on “Michelin Anakee Wild Dual Sport Tires – First Impressions

  1. If I took my V-Strom off-road more, I’d get a set for it.. the available sizes will work. But what I really want them for is my DR650. I have two wheelsets for it… a regular-use set and a technical dirt set. These would be for the regular-use set, but until there’s a 21″ front and smaller rear, e.g. 120/90 or 130/80 (17), I’ll have to wait. I have a set of Shinko 804/805’s on it now and honestly, I hate them. They might be fine on a bike like the V-Strom, but they suck on my DR650. The front has no bite in ruts, and the rear sucks in corners on asphalt. But the Shinko 705’s on my V-Strom kick butt.

    So yeah, can’t wait for these to be available to fit my DR650! 🙂

  2. Really impressed by Alphonse’s review: too much enthusiastic opinions cannot be but sincere and true. I wouldn’t blow my reputation with such convinced statements if I wasn’t really fond of these tyres and persuaded by their performance.
    I’ll wait for my Metzeler Tourance Next to end their service and then try these Anakee Wild on my Moto Guzzi Stelvio.

  3. “While he is a rider like you and I”… What ever happened to using “me” instead of “I”…? Just saying.

    • I’s just dumb… Just saying… 🙂 But thanks for paying attention to my poorly worded bio paragraph John! 🙂

    • It’s one of the many idiosyncrasies of the English language, but “you and I” is grammatically correct. It’s partly a British English vs American English thing, but an English grammar teacher in a place like Boston is likely to know that “you and I” is correct. Nowadays it doesn’t matter.

  4. How about they make them in sizes that actually fit bikes made for dual sport riding. 21″ fronts are standard on the off road models and an 18″ rear. Really want to try them on my KTM Adventure but oh well

    • The 21’s are due in the fall… after 3 years, what’s 6 more months? 🙂 Don’t know about any 18-inch rears though.

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  6. I ride a Yamaha Super Tenere and I replaced the stock tires with the Mitas MC 60 GETaWAY tires front and rear. This tire stood up to all the abuse I could throw at it for over 5,000 miles.
    I would love to see a “shootout” between the Mitas MC60, The Michelin Anakee Wild, And the Conti TKC 80.

  7. Great write-up and photos. I’m eager to see what the rest of the year brings in future sizes; crossing my fingers for support for our G650GSs.

  8. I really was excited to hear about these! as a rider who’s used Anakee’s exclusively on my bike for the last 6 years you can imagine how happy i was to hear about the “Wild” tires, which i thought would work great on my more dirt focused Africa Twin when she arrives… WHAT! no 21″ front… Michelin you mothe… not a happy camper today!

  9. What I’m hearing so far is these tires aren’t lasting the 7-10k reported in earlier testing. One guy yesterday says his is half worn at 1,000 miles (rear) and another last week says his is 5.5mm of 10mm after 1150 miles. As always, YMMV, but I’ll be curious to see what the mileage reports start coming in over the next few weeks. Hearing also a lot about the noise level. I personally would take traction over noise though. One really interesting thing is that the K60 and Motoz’s new GPS tire are both 50/50 and look it. This tire looks 70/30 which is what I heard about them last year. I’m wondering if it was a marketing call labelling them 50/50 because Starbucks riders might get scared off by a 70/30 tire? It certainly doesn’t look like a 50/50 tire to me.

    • Yeah… Maybe we should just strap a bike to the dynamometer and let it run down the tire over a few days/weeks to find out! 🙂

  10. More sizes please Michelin. 21??? what happened, how are the Africa twin owners going to get on? 18inch?? Michelin please what’s up? You guys release great rubber then miss off so many sizes it’s just silly. You did the same with the Commander 2 tyres! Where is the missing V Rod tyres????? It makes no sense!

  11. Hello from Spain!!
    Nice report!! I agree with giumbolorossonero. You have to be very sure about the tyres to write so entisiast.
    I have a 1200 GSA LC and I’ve just mounted the wild on the rear. I’m very interested in your comments about the working pressure. I usually ride offroad at 31-32 psi on the rear tyre. I feel the tyre working so much better in term of grip, and it should cause a better mileage due to the bigger contact surface with the ground.
    What is your experience about this? Now I’m preparing for a long offroad trip along Marroc with the anakee wild and I would like to know your recomendation.

    Many thanks!!

    • Hola Roger… I don’t have a LC bike to write about, but in accordance to Michelin’s guidelines, I’d suggest you running the bike’s pressure first, especially if you’re loading the bike with gear. Then maybe you can drop a few pounds if the roads in Maroc get to be annoying… unless you’re trailing around the country, then you need to think again 🙂

      • Hola!!
        Many thanks. I’ve used the Karoo3 (by the way, for me the worst offroad tire to mount in a adv bike) the TKC80, the Mitas E09 Dakar and the E10 at the BMW reccomended pressure (42 psi) and it’s too pressure for offroad, also riding with luggage. The wheels rebound and the grip drops.

        • In this situations I prefer to set the rear tire at 34-36psi (with luggage) I’ve to point that I never ride offroad carring big lugage, always soft luggage and the lowest possible weight (Go light, go far, go fast…. =P ).
          I usually ride at 28-30 psi rear when riding without luggage, and the bike performance is amazing.

          My queston is due to for this Maroc trip, I need the tire works well along 4000-5000 km, and with a new tire I think the pressure will be decisive.

          Saludos!! Regards!!

  12. Great article thanks. Do you know what they are like on wet bitumen compared to less aggressive adventure tyres like EO7, TKC70 or K60?

    • Thanks Peter…. “sadly” I live in Southern California and the rains haven’t started yet so I don’t have an answer for ya on that one. :/

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  15. Bike: 2017 R1200GS Rallye RIDING AREA: AZ/UTAH Rocky 4×4 jeep roads. Went through a rear TKC 80 in 1000 miles. Blew a front TKC 80 in 150 miles (flatted from rocky terrain) and also trashed my front wheel requiring replacement. Bias ply and soft rubber along with the weight of the GS makes TKC 80’s a big no-no for riding out West. Put on a pair of Anakee Wilds and problem solved! If my riding was more than 70% road then I would choose another tire but if the asphalt is just a means to get to the good stuff, then this is your tire. I would only recommend the TKC 80’s for bikes under 400 lbs or if you live/ride EAST of the state of Colorado. Anakee Wild radials for the rough stuff!

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