Top image from Unsplash by chuttersnap.
Once upon a time, the illustrious Michelin company—a tyre manufacturer—supplied the exalted Formula 1 races. Then tragedy struck in 2005, and now Pirelli remains the sole supplier of F1 tyres.
But Michelin is still relevant because of its Michelin Guide. It’s quite absurd: why does a tyre company get to decide which gastronomic establishments are the best? What’s next, an online publication who knows nothing about tyres reviewing tyres?
With Singapore’s 12th Formula 1 race around the corner, we’d like to present our own Michelin Guide to Michelin Tyres.
In the spirit of Michelin, we emulate the inspection process by cherry-picking from their core values.
The hardest of these qualities is passion, because being a tyre zealot is a lot to ask. Yet what if we graded these tyres through some nebulous combination of aesthetic design, firmness (because I’m definitely excited to squeeze some tyres) and … how nice it would be to imagine driving with these tyres?
Sounds about right.
The marketing of the Energy XM2+ is a blatant upsell of the XM2. That + is doing a lot of heavy lifting, and I need to ascertain the veracity of the plus in person.
Going down to the Michelin showrooms as a completely anonymous person who looks like he’s never driven a car, I proceed to squeeze the Energy XM2. And then I squeeze the Energy XM2+.
The former is supple, peachy almost, skin like a basketball. The latter is … supple, peachy almost, skin like a basketball.
Because I need to be reliable, I revisit the showroom multiple times. Day after day, returning anonymously to squeeze these tyres, getting a good feel for the texture, yes the texture, the material, the-
Michelin promptly kicks me out and bars me from any of their shops ever again.
Not yet defeated, I bring up Michelin’s online catalogue and proceed to imagine what it would be like to review the rest of the tyres.
This tyre is so generic that when you close your eyes, the platonic ideal you imagine is the Pilot Sport PS2.
There’s nothing particularly unique, but its basic-ness is so exceptional that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Like the slew of white influencers with over 100,000 Instagram followers, this tyre is the manifestation of the American Singaporean dream.
Classification: 1 star, the bare minimum of excellence.
As per the Michelin standard, I evaluate this tyre based on the quality of materials, the flair and skill in preparation, and most importantly, how the manufacturer’s personality is revealed through their craft.
And … this is a chunky tire! It’s so thicc it borders on the fetishistic. You can spend weeks burning the synthetic rubber and it will still be wider than your waistline after a Ritz Carlton breakfast buffet.
What an honour to review the work of a tyre visionary, to find a fellow connoisseur of girth and volume. No Pirelli tyre could stand up to this.
Is this gluttony? Is this lust? This tyre is revealing my own biases. I might have just found a kindred spirit in the Pilot Super Sport’s creator. In the spirit of nepotism, and because I can’t get over how mouthwatering this big boy is, it’s time to throw my standards out the window.
Classification: All the stars possible. All of them.
Light Trucks and Vans
The sole champion representing large automobiles is the Agilis, which is Latin for agile. We need a clear bias towards Michelin’s French heritage, so no, a Latin name won’t do. We need the French translation.
As long as Singapore customers know it’s pronounced ‘eh-zheel’, we should be fine. What’s that, Singapore was a British colony, not French?
I give up, Michelin Asia should just move to Cambodia or something.
Classification: Un star. Une star? I don’t know, what’s a star’s gender? (Female, apparently)
You know what, thePAINTITguy’s review encapsulates the subliminal beauty of this Michelin tyre.
Classification: 3 stars for the special journey unbridled enthusiasm has gifted us.
The Latitude Tour HP rounds off our intimate time together, but I’ve got to say: it’s a groovy tyre. Just look at the fine craftsmanship in the criss-cross lacing, and the intricate fish scale diagonals flanking the center line. High quality art worthy of a high rating.
The patterns are so alluring, I’m sure that if you inscribed them into an enchanted ring, the runic symbols would be powerful enough to summon the Michelin Man into existence.
Wait, are you about to do that? You want revenge against Pirelli? Hey no, don’t-
Classification: 2 stars. Worth a detour because the Michelin Man is wreaking havoc on the F1 track now, please get out of here.
Calling all survivors from the Michelin Man’s rampage. Please let us know if you’re still alive at email@example.com.
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