[Thor]

Tested: Michelin Tracker Enduro Tyres

4 months ago | Photos: Jarrad Duffy

A product the Transmoto team has tried, tested and would recommend to a mate.

WHAT IS IT

Released late last year, Michelin’s Tracker tyres are enduro-specific, road-legal hoops that were designed to offer value for money – in terms of performance versatility and durability – to the off-road masses. The Tracker directly replaces Michelin’s all-conquering AC10, and comes with a new 36-block tread pattern (with tie-bars connecting the blocks to improve tyre life) and a polyester, two-ply reinforced crown (which is lighter and claimed to produce a more compliant, comfortable ride than the AC10’s three-ply). In short, they’re aimed at riders who don’t have the coin or time to be constantly changing their bike’s hoops to specifically suit a variety of riding applications.

WHY WE RATE IT

PROS…

  • Performance: The Tracker is designed to fit into the Michelin enduro range just behind the competition-focused StarCross 5, and answer the needs of a broader range of off-road riders. But their traction is actually surprisingly good across a wide range of terrain (we ran them at 14psi for both road and off-road). They may come with rounded off (rather than sharp-edged) knobs, and a land-to-sea ratio that looks like an Intermediate tyre, but the Trackers (particularly the front) offer genuinely good grip, and work predictably in everything from soft terrain to bluegroove. Plus, it’s a bonus that you’re 100% legal on any road sections between bush trails.
  • Durability: They wear noticeable slower than high-performance tyres and don’t throw knobs, even after repeated high-speed road riding and a bit of licorice laying.
  • Stability: Thanks to the Trackers’ stiffer carcass construction, Pro riders (who can feel minute differences in tyre performance) actually reckon the Tracker front offers superior steering accuracy and stability at high speed, when compared with high-performance enduro hoops. Why? Because you can get away with less pressure in the Tracker before it starts rolling on the rim and squirming around.
  • Naming Protocol: It’s always easier to remember a name than a concocted model number (which is something other tyre manufacturers could do well to start embracing), especially when that tyre name corresponds to its application.
  • Size Availability: While the Tracker range is made specifically for enduro use, it’s cool that Michelin has incorporated some 19-inch rears into the range for those who use their MX or cross-country bike for enduro and/or trail applications (especially in Victoria, where there’s Recreational Rego).

CONS…

  • Fitment: With a stiffer carcass (the Tracker rears are noticeably stiffer than the AC10 rears) and more robust overall construction (particularly when compared with the StarCross 5s’ two-ply sidewalls), the Trackers are a little tougher to lever onto your rims. But that’s something you’d expect with a road-legal tyre, and it’s a small price to pay for the durability and versatility they offer.
  • Rating: While the Trackers are road-legal, they’re not FIM rated (as their knobs are too long), which means they can’t be used in Enduro World Championships (though that shouldn’t affect too many of you). Interestingly, the Tracker’s E2 certification is road-legal here in Australia, but they’re not available in the USA, where a DOT rating is required for the road.
  • Front Options: Currently, the Tracker front is only available in a 80/100-21. But with Michelin leading the way in other front tyre sizings (both widths and profiles) with their other models, it would be great to see them offer a 90-width front too, as it has proved to be a good all-round and forgiving tyre on trail in the StarCross 5 range. Word on the street is that there’s a Tracker 90/90-21 front coming soon (not a 90/100-21, which may be too floaty on the road), and a 140-width rear.

These new Tracker tyres do exactly what they’re designed to do: they’re the go-to tyre if you ride trails with your mates one day, hit a practice track the next, and don’t have time to change tyres before a club enduro race on the weekend. Though not as high-performance as a StarCross 5, the Tracker front and rears offer surprisingly good grip and predictability across a wide variety of terrain. The Trackers are typically $10 cheaper than Michelin’s StarCross 5 (both front and rears). Which, when you consider their superior durability, means damn good value for money if grip is not your one and only measure of a tyre’s performance.

PRICE

18” Rears – $129.95 (120/90-18); $124.95 (110/100-18); $119.95 (100/100-18).
19” Rears – $134.95 (120/80-19); $134.95 (110/90-19); $124.95 (100/90-19).
Fronts – $109.95 (80/100-21).
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