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Michelin's Power Cyclocross Mud tyres are a good tubeless option for riding and racing in mixed conditions. The green tread looks brilliant, but it could be a lot more aggressive with taller knobs for better performance in heavy mud.
Green tyres, what's so special? Well, to an avid fan of cyclo-cross, green tyres evoke images of Wout van Aert winning the 2017 World Championships, simply because he had air in his tyres. His were original treads from the 80s, glued to Dugast tubular casings. They'd been stored in his manager Niels Albert's basement, away from the sunlight that would cause them to perish.
The green tread was based around a silica compound for maximum grip in wet conditions and it caused a lot of rummaging in sheds as tyres in good condition were going for upwards of £100 in the weeks following that Worlds. It's probably why Michelin has decided to bring them back.
You can get the new tubeless Power tyres in the Jet tread for dry courses and the Mud, which I have here, for the wet races. Both tyres are meant for racing so are only available in 33mm widths and they set up very easily on the SwissSide Pion wheels I have on test. In fact, these can be installed tubeless with no sealant with just a track pump, thanks to the tight bead that will need a tyre lever to help it onto the rim.
I've been using these for an autumn of riding and racing that has been wonderfully (well, for 'cross at least) wet. The weather has provided the perfect conditions for testing a mud tyre and I found these to be relatively grippy. If you're looking to pick one tyre to cover a whole season's conditions then these are a brilliant option. Get into the clay-based mud, though, and you'll need to be very careful with your pressures, essentially running the lowest you can without folding the tyre.
Those times that I found myself sliding around in the mud, I was left questioning why Michelin went with such a short knob, especially on the shoulders of the tyre. A tread with tall knobs stands the best chance of digging into the mud and finding traction. These tyres do their best, but they'll let go on loose surfaces and, as a result, I found myself on the floor quite a bit.
It's not all bad, though. I am used to riding Dugast's Rhino tubular, one of the best mud tyres ever, but for a tubeless tyre the Power Mud does really well and you can counter the lack of tread with careful pressure selection. I was able to get these down to 20psi comfortably, the three-layered 120tpi casing with a bead-to-bead puncture protection resulting in a casing that holds its shape well.
That puncture protection layer seems to be working well, as I've had no flats. The same can't be said for my Dugast tubulars: halfway through the first lap of the first race of the season and my race was over.
The Michelins' low tread height also means that straight line speed is really good. In drier conditions, or on tarmac sections, these are very quick. It opens them up to year-round use and won't hold you back if you want to ride a bit more road. In fact, I'd happily ride these on a short commute as I could head home via the off-road route. The weight is just under 800g for the pair, which is a tad heavy (they came up heavier than claimed on the road.cc Scales of Truth), but not a problem that I felt either on the road or when racing.
The Michelins aren't bad value as year-round tyres – they're £2 cheaper than the Vittoria Terreno Wet G2.0, for example. But if you're looking for a tubeless mud tyre and can afford the extra cash then I'd recommend Schwalbe's X-One Bite TLE tyres at £59.99. They're much better in the mud and don't lose much speed to the Michelins on faster courses.
While I'll be continuing to use the Power Mud tyres for training and also summer league races, I'll be switching back to my Dugast Rhinos for racing since the ground doesn't look like it's going to dry out any time soon. If you're really after green tyre magic, FMB makes a range of its lovely tubulars with the green silica compound.
Personally, I'm still not sold on tubeless for full-on racing, but these offer a good all-round option for mixing a season of racing with general off-road riding. If I was picking a tyre for the UK cross season it'd probably be the Schwalbe X-One Bite TLE. It's just better in the mud, and we have quite a lot of that in the UK.
They're green. Good all-round performance but not great in sloppy mud
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Michelin Power Cyclocross Mud Tyre
Size tested: 700 x 33C
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"New tread pattern with spaced lugs for even better road holding in mud terrain.
"Extra strong thanks to its "Bead 2 Bead Protek" cross-laid reinforcement on tire crown and sidewalls for effective puncture protection"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Michelin distributor Silverfish lists:
Casing: 3 x 120 TPI.
Valve Length: 52mm.
Cheaper than options from Schwalbe and Vittoria, and though they're not the best in mud, they'll suit a lot of other conditions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a mud tyre, they weren't that great. They lack the tread depth to find the grip in the worst mud.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The speed over a variety of conditions means they're great for riding all year round.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The performance in sloppy mud conditions was disappointing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
Fast in a straight line and great for a mix of conditions, but for a mud tyre their performance in it isn't quite good enough.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.