Nick Tunstill: Check out any greenlaning or off-road forum and one of the most common subjects is rubber selection. As always, the dreaded word ‘compromise’ often crops up. The balance between usability on tarmac and off-road, combined with grip versus longevity is about as easy to solve as Brexit.
We tested several sets of Michelin’s Anakee Wild tyres on Honda CRF250Ls on sections of the TET (Trans Euro Trail) and local roads in Catalonia to see how they held up. The bikes were also ridden by different riders with various levels of experience and expertise.
One of the advantages of these Michelin 50/50 tyres is that they are designed to be run on varying surfaces without altering tyre pressures, an obvious bonus. Visually the tread pattern looks rounded enough for decent tarmac grip but chunky enough to handle the off-piste stuff as well. With heavy duty motocross tubes fitted, we hoped they would stay puncture free as well (they did).
On the road they scrubbed in quickly; we took it easy for the first 100km, particularly when wet.
The Anakees inspired confidence in all conditions on tarmac, all the riders were impressed with the levels of grip and handling. In fact many were actually surprised how well they performed. Obviously there is not an awful lot of power being put down by a 250, but these would certainly hold up well on the UK’s decrepit roads.
The trails of Spain are generally dry and stony with a bit of gravel and packed mud thrown in for good measure. Unless there has been a heavy downpour mud is not usually an issue. Again the Michelins performed well. Where we did encounter something more slippery they coped with ease. Levels of grip and riding confidence were high overall. As regards overall performance, these Michelins do a great job.
However, the problem with the Anakees was the wear rate, on the rears in particular. After around 2000 km the back tyres were down to under 5 mm. They still were fine on the road but there was a distinct lack of bite on anything remotely wet. The fronts, however, held up well and would easily see off two sets of rears. For a balance between on-road manners and off-road usability, the Anakees work well. Just don’t ride too far…