Michelin Mud 2 Clincher Cyclocross Tire Review
Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud—There's Nothing Quite Like it for Cyclocross Racing
Tires are one of the most important aspects of a cyclocross bike when the weather creates race courses that a rider wouldn't envisage riding in anything but a cx race.
Tire choice is important when courses become muddy. A tried and tested favourite tire amongst weekend cx warriors for rough winter racing is the Michelin Mud2 clincher tire.
Mud2 Tire: Specifications
Tire type: Clincher (for hooked rims only)
Tire size: 700 c x 30 mm
Bead: Folding kevlar bead.
Casing: 60 TPI
Manufacturer claimed weight: 340 g
Minimum recommended PSI range: 36-73 PSI (according to Michelin Tires USA)
Recommended usage: Cyclocross racing and off-road riding.
Cyclocross Racing Performance
The Mud 2 tire is primarily a cyclocross racing tire which as its name suggests is targeted towards racing in the muddy conditions which are the very essence of winter cyclocross racing. When thinking about purchasing such an item that has to be the key consideration. If you're looking for a tire that's going to perform well on the pavement you're really looking at the wrong tires and need to consider cyclocross tires specifically for dry conditions.
The Mud 2 as a racing tire comes into its own early into a British winter when conditions underfoot have started to deteriorate. Its tread pattern is designed to provide traction when the going is soft as well as offering a mud-clearing action to stop traction from being limited on the next wheel revolution and a covering of glutinous mud clogging up your frame.
Although more of a winter-targeted cyclocross clincher tire, the Mud 2 is a capable performer in all-round conditions although it's under soft ground where it really excels.
Performance on dry grassy fields feels fine, although unlike other riders you might be hoping for rain mid-race to really give yourself an advantage. Performance on grass is predictable and relatively quick for such an aggressive tread pattern.
The tread is not suited for low rolling resistance on hard-pack and tarmac courses where you'll feel evidence of squirm from the tires. This is further evidence of their preference towards winter racing conditions.
Racing Hard on Mud2's
But They Only Come in 30mm Width! Isn’t That a Bit Narrow for CX Racing?
One of the reasons many riders cite for not buying a set of Mud 2’s is their width. Having ridden some exceptionally narrow-feeling 30mm width Schwalbe CX Pro’s in the past, and being one of those people who initially had such worries, I was apprehensive. With local courses often involving rooted woodland single-track, I felt justified in my width worries.
The good news is that when you compare the Mud2 to other tires in a bigger 32mm size is that there’s no real difference. In fact, many riders note that these feel significantly wider than their stated 30mm casing size. They’re certainly nothing like my old Schwalbe CX Pro’s which felt extremely skinny in comparison. Ridingagainstthegrain.com measured the Mud 2's width and they came out as a reassuring 33mm wide.
When it comes to cutting through the mud, slimmer tires have the edge, so in cyclocross tire terms, size matters!
Great Tires for the Second Half of the Cyclocross Season
When it comes to cyclocross tires it's exceptionally hard to pick a tire that will take you all the way from the fast, criterium-style grass-track racing of many early season races until the end of a cold wet January. I certainly don't think I've yet to find a CX tire that can do it all relatively well.
I definitely would not recommend the Mud 2 for those early season races, or for the training rides which connect bridleways interspersed with mile long sections on the road, as the soft, pliable tread will simply wear away quickly whilst the tread pattern will simply squirm without offering the performance you're craving. I've read many a review of the Michelin Mud 2 cyclocross tire that considers them as asphalt and hard-pack mile-eaters, and these tires simply aren't designed for those conditions.
The ideal time in the UK for fitting a set of Mud 2's seems to be mid-to-late October. We often tend to have a warm and seemingly dry period up to that point prior to a wetter winter weather pattern. After late October the Mud 2's seem to perform in a league of their own by slicing through muddy courses and helping you forge past those riders who just weeks before were beating you in races. You find your 'cross legs and start beating some of the roadies who have transitioned into the racing season for some winter fitness.
CyclingFitness Review- Mud2's for winter cyclocross
The holy grail of cyclocross tires- The original Michelin Cyclocross Mudd
As bike manufacturers push cyclocross (and cycling) performance aspects onwards and upwards there's often something that gets left behind as a result. As cyclocross tires have developed over time there is one tire that many riders would switch back to if they ever got the chance to do so.
The original green tread Michelin Cyclocross Mud is that tire. Old bicycle tires are usually found in the bargain bins of bike shops as newer designs have superseeded them. Yet the Cyclocross Mud has gained such a cult following that if you ever see one on eBay you're likely going to need to pay out upwards of $100 dollars for a single tire. Some riders who still have some locked away may even be able to pay for their children's education in years to come as a result.
The green Cyclocross Mud was a tire that could handle the muddy demands of racing like no other. The Mud 2, whilst being a fantastic tire is actually seen as inferior in comparison.
UK Cyclocross god Dave Haygarth is quoted as having done a comparison run with a bike equipped with Muds and one with the renowned Dugast Rhino mud-specific tires as used by the legendary Sven Nys. The bike equipped with the green Muds simply didn't clog with mud as the tread just shed the mud. They're certainly the envy of many a cx racer.
There are even riders who are searching out old tread from the green Muds and having them converted to tubular tires for even better performance.
What's your experience of Michelin Mud2 Tires?
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Have you used Michelin Mud 2 clincher cyclocross tires? What's your experience of them?
Liam Hallam CyclingFitness on Hubpages