Tuesday , 12 December 2017

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TESTED: BONTRAGER XR TYRES

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When you think of tyres, Bontrager probably isn’t top of your mind. When TREK South Africa sent us three sets of Bontrager tyres, we didn’t rush to fit them to our test bikes. XR1, XR2 and XR3 were the models, all the new generation Bontrager tyres, redesigned with a more simplified category system.

 

Of the Bontrager tyres, two sets were 29×2.2,  with one being 29×2.3 . We fitted them one by one to various test bikes over the past few months as well as our more familiar hardtail tyre-test mule. Of these there were varying internal rim widths from 19mm upto 24mm. As an aside, for every 1mm extra rim width increases tyre width volume by approximately 0.5mm. A rule of thumb would be to use a rim that’s approximately 60% of the tyre’s specified width.
For the most part these are the parameters most tyre/rim combos are specced within and your faithful bike shop should be able to assist.

We had three different riders riding the tyres so that we wouldn’t be giving one person’s opinion. Each rider’s style, fitness and skill level is different, giving us a good cross section of tester opinion.

But first, a short summary: XR1 is a light, race-orientated tyre, XR2 has a similar tread pattern but is a little more robust and slightly heavier and the XR3 has a more aggressive side-knob profile and is designed for more heavy-duty riding.

 

Bontrager XR1 Team Issue 29×2.2

What they say:

The XR1 Team Issue TLR is an ultra-fast rolling, tubeless-ready cross-country race tyre ideally suited for dry, dusty conditions.
The Team Issue TLR mountain bike tire has a foldable bead with tightly spaced central knobs and an open outer tread for fast-rolling traction plus powerful grip on dusty surfaces.

 

Key features

  • An XC race tyre that excels in firm and fast conditions
  • Fast-rolling and predictable cornering with consistent traction
  • Tubeless Ready (TLR) for easy tubeless setup and puncture protection
  • Supple and strong Inner Strength casing provides lightweight sidewall protection
  • Lightweight 120 TPI casing provides great ride feel and tire performance

 

What we say:

This isn’t your average light-weight race tyre. After racing a multi-day Enduro in Sabie, a stage race on the compacted Garden Route trails and multiple test runs on familiar hardpack and rocky Gauteng trails, there’s not been a single puncture or even sidewall graze yet. They may not offer the most aggressive tread pattern, but they hook up at high intensity on most surfaces and shed mud well, although they lack the pronounced tread profile to dig deep. So far they are yet to wash out on loose over hardpack, no matter which rider was testing them. As you’d expect from a XC-styled race tyre, the XR1s roll really fast too.

Ideal for: XC racing (if you’re NOT a weight weenie) and marathon racing.

Weight: 630g

Price: R799

 

 

Bontrager XR2 Team Issue 29×2.2

What they say:

Legendary tyre designer, Frank Stacy, provides another race-proven design with the XR2 Team Issue mountain bike tyre. It’s Tubeless Ready for fewer flats, and features a specifically-formulated compound for lightweight construction, improved cornering traction, and low rolling resistance.

 

Key features

  • A versatile trail tyre that excels in loose-over-hardpack and firm conditions
  • Fast rolling with consistent, predictable traction for a variety of trail conditions
  • Tubeless Ready (TLR) for easy tubeless setup and puncture protection
  • Supple and strong Inner Strength casing provides lightweight sidewall protection
  • Lightweight 120 TPI casing provides great ride feel and tire performance

 

What we say:

More sidewall protection than the XR1 so a little bit more weight. The tread pattern is not much different to the XR1, but the knobs are more pronounced with small recesses in each one.

This tyre hooked up incredibly well on every surface we rode or raced in both damp and dry conditions, shedding well, over smooth hardpack and rocky, rooty surfaces. We found them especially impressive on dry and loose over dry surfaces, which seem to be the most feared surface for most riders.

Bar a pinch flat over a rocky enduro line at Hakahana we’ve have had not yet had one puncture or sidewall scare on the XR2 tyres, which have become our new favourite allrounder tyre…

Ideal for: Marathon and stage racing and as a daily training tyre.

Weight: 690g

Price: R799

 

 

Bontrager XR3 Team Issue TLR 29×2.3

What they say:

Versatility is the name of the game for the XR3 Expert TLR mountain bike tyre. It’s Tubeless Ready for fewer flats, and super quick over the widest variety of trail conditions – from hard-packed singletrack to loam and everything in-between.

Key features

  • A versatile trail tyre that excels in a wide variety of conditions
  • Intermediate tread design for consistent traction and cornering across many trail conditions
  • Tubeless Ready (TLR) tyre is engineered for easy tubeless setup and puncture protection
  • Supple and strong Inner Strength casing provides lightweight sidewall protection

 

 

What we say:

A thicker and firmer sidewall means a little bit more weight than both the XR1 and XR2. The tread pattern is rounded while the knobs are more pronounced with generous spacing.

The XR3’s sidewall offered good protection through all trail conditions and excelled in each set of terrain conditions we used them on, along with a reinforced sidewall the 2.3 width proved to be a good balance between control, comfort and speed. They featured particularly well in sharp and rough rocky trails as well as thick loamy terrain with little rolling resistance. One of our testers declared these as his firm favourite for all round riding, including most races.

We found these an exceptionally versatile trail tyre with a surprisingly good rolling speed and hard wearing, a good option with a marginal weight penalty.

Ideal for: An all round trail tyre with extra protection in marathon and stage racing.

Weight: 701g

Price: R799

 

SUMMARY

We started out with our Bontrager tyre test rather tentatively, but over the past few months have developed both respect for and trust in all three models. The Bontrager XR2 has been particularly impressive, work well as a combo tyre with either the XR1 and XR3 and is at least as good, if not better than our previous favourites – Maxxis Ikon and Vittoria Mezcal.

For more on Bontrager tyres, head over here: Trek ZA – Bontrager Tyres 

 

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TESTED: BONTRAGER XR TYRES Reviewed by on . When you think of tyres, Bontrager probably isn’t top of your mind. When TREK South Africa sent us three sets of Bontrager tyres, we didn’t rush to fit them to When you think of tyres, Bontrager probably isn’t top of your mind. When TREK South Africa sent us three sets of Bontrager tyres, we didn’t rush to fit them to Rating: 0

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