Over 130 years ago, two brothers Edouade and Andre Michelin had a farm supply shop near Clermont Ferrand in the heart of France. They tried to help a cyclist one day whose tyre was glued onto the rim, they realised that it was extremely hard in those days to remove and repair a tyre, so they set about producing their own. They patented the removable pneumatic tyre in 1891.
Throughout the 130 years history of Michelin, innovation has marked it’s progression as the dominant force in automotive tyre production. In 1934 Michelin introduced the run-flat tyre to the motoring world. The tyre would run on a foam lining when punctured. In 1946 Michelin moved to radial tyre construction which gave better handling and fuel economy for car drivers.
Marketing of the brand was key to its development. But how do you sell black round things that all look pretty much the same?
The production of unrivalled mapping of the millions of kilometres of French roads in the time long before GPS was a masterstroke, forging a strong connection with the people who use roads, with whatever form of transport (handily, Michelin makes tyres for all of them). Through the early period of the business the Michelin brothers produced guide books for France. In 1926, Michelin started crediting restaurants with stars in their guide books (one star meant the restaurant was a fine dining establishment.). The Michelin Star would develop and spread around the world and gain such importance that top chefs would make it their life’s work to achieve Michelin Star status. Therefore Michelin associated their brand with quality maps, quality dining, reinforcing the quality of the tyres themselves.
Today Michelin offer a wide range of tyres aimed right across the varied landscape of bikes and riders today. Michelin developed the E-Wild series of tyres specifically for electric mountain bikes. The tyres offer a great mix of grip and toughness demanded by heavier, faster bikes with tougher loads and challenges placed upon them. On regular mountain bikes, the Wild Enduro, Wild AM and DH tyres get great reviews in terms of grip & longevity. For drop bar bikes, the Power series was re-developed for 2020 with tyres directed at gravel, cyclocross and road riding. The Lithion 3 provides reliable grip, good performance, good puncture resistance as well as low rolling resistance – A great all-rounder road tyre.