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Showing posts with the label Tyre

Onza Aquila Downhill Tyre

It’s taken Onza a while to develop a DH tyre. Their sponsored riders, including Aaron Gwin, used to race on Maxxis rubber with blacked-out logos. But that’s not the case any more, and with the Aquila, Onza can proudly say that they’ve developed a World Cup-winning tyre. The tread bears clear similarities to Maxxis’s Minion DHR II, but that’s no bad thing, because that tyre is a great all-rounder. It comes in a single 27.5x2.4in size, with a tough dual-ply ‘DHC’ casing and the choice of ultra-grippy ‘VISCO’ rubber ($109) or a longer-lasting ‘RC2 45a’ dual compound ($97). Our RC2 samples weigh a chunky 1,303g each, but with a pair of these fitted you should have no excuses for going slow.

Schwalbe Magic Mary ADDIX Ultra-Soft tyre

Schwalbe have poached a leading tyre technologist and invested in a new production process to create their latest ‘ADDIX’ compounds, which use more silica and other elements in a more finely-controlled mix. They claim this holds the tyre together much better, so it lasts and rolls better without affecting grip levels. They’ve also increased the number of options from three (PaceStar, TrailStar, VertStar) to four (Speed, Speedgrip, Soft, Ultra Soft), each differentiated by a coloured stripe down the tread. We’ve been impressed by the ‘Soft’ Magic Mary (see review on p98) and have a feeling that the ‘Ultra Soft’ version seen here is going to prove seriously sticky. It’s quite heavy though, with our Super Gravity carcass, SnakeSkin sidewall version weighing 1,124g in the 27.5x2.35in size.

Price $97

Bontrager XR4 Team Issue TLR 29x2.4in tyre

With average trail tyre weights creeping north of 900g, Bontrager’s refreshed XR4 Team Issue really stands out. At 760g for the 29x2.4in version, it’s light enough to put a noticeable lift in your climbing, acceleration and general agility. Siped and sloped blocks in a 61a centre compound with 50a shoulders mean it rolls fast but you can still get maximum use out of a 200mm rotor even in filthy winter conditions without it losing the plot. The ‘Inner Strength’ protective layer adds puncture protection but also seems to increase low-pressure stability, and while it’s a tight fit to get on, tubeless sealing is excellent. That all makes for a tyre that you can ride with the consistently connected control of a kilo enduro tyre and not far off the same expectations in terms of survivability, but will still put a significant injection of easy-rolling speed into your ride. It’s a sound price too.

Price $60

WTB Convict 27.5x2.5in tyre

WTB’s new Convict is a suitably thuggish-looking tyre designed for max grip in all conditions. There’s a lot of growl from the big, split, one/two/one block treads on smoother surfaces but matching mechanical traction where they can dig in. The rank of supported split-top side knobs does the same when you get it leant over too, and it’s potentially a promising tyre. Where WTB’s offerings still fall down compared to the best of the current aggro tyres is the carcass. The ‘Heavy Duty’ version is nearly 1,300g and as solidly wooden and uncommunicative as old DH tyres, even at low pressure. While the ‘Light’ carcass saves a couple of hundred grams, it’s still over a kilo and is prone to squirm and collapse if you drop pressure too low. This means the Convict isn’t as controlled as similar weight, welldamped tyres like the Mavic Charge, e*thirteen TRSr and Schwalbe Magic Mary when the riding gets radical.

Price $75 (Tough/High Grip version)

FWE tyre levers

Sold as a set of three, the plastic FWE levers are surprisingly stiff for their size, with well-shaped hooks that are simple to clip onto any spokes. They’re best used in a pair, since the slightly rough material combined with the shape of the tip makes it difficult to slide them around the tyre bead. Also, the tip isn’t as hooked as on some levers, which makes it easy to drop the bead of stubborn tyres. While the FWE levers do the job, we’d recommend spending a little more.

Price $6

Maxxis Tomahawk EXO 3C 27.5x2.3in tyre

Tubeless inflation of the new Tomahawk is blissfully easy. Even the Double Down DH version still fits wide rims without a fight and both casings come in 26in as well as 650b and 29in sizes.

How Tyres Are Made

The first step is to mix up the rubber itself. While different bits of the tyre use varying compounds, they all share the same building blocks of natural rubber (from a tree!), synthetic rubber and various additives. These include sulphur, which makes the rubber tougher when heated (‘vulcanised’), and carbon black, which adds durability.

Schwalbe Rock Razor SG TrailStar tyre

It’s got a lot more competition than it used to have, but whenever it’s remotely dry enough we grab Schwalbe’s Rock Razor to gift us extra gears under power and extra seconds on descents. It really is that much faster than other chunkyknobbed tyres.

E Thirteen TRS Race 2.35in tyre

It’s a bold move to make your first tyre the most expensive conventional rubber available, but e*13’s TRSr really is worth it. Made by Maxxis’s parent brand CST, it’s been designed to be as user friendly as possible in every aspect.

Maxxis Minion SS EXO TR 2.3in tyre

Maxxis have jumped back into the heavy-duty slick game (there used to be a High Roller Semi Slick) with the Minion SS and it’s a usefully quick but reassuringly grippycornering tyre for adding at least a gear to your hardcore riding.

Specialized Slaughter Control 2Bliss Ready 2.3in tyre

The Slaughter uses a classic small knob centre/big block shoulder semi-slick design in an affordable, gear gifting package but it’s not as tough as its width and weight would suggest.

Panaracer Driver Pro 2.22in tyre

Panaracer’s Driver Pro has been around for a while but it’s still a distinctively quick but not totally treacherous tyre suitable for a surprisingly wide range of UK trail use.

WTB Breakout TCS Tough Fast Rolling 2.3in tyre

We’ve had the Fast Rolling and High Grip versions of WTB’s Breakout for a while and it’s a decent front or rear all-rounder, if not a tyre we deliberately hunt out for particular situations.

Bontrager SE2 Team Issue 2.35in tyre

For their SE series, Bontrager take the treads of their trail tyres and mount them on a tougher Core Strength carcass for flat out, full gas survival at the expense of smooth subtlety.

Michelin Wild Race’R AR 2.25in tyre

Michelin’s beefed up back tyre can take a beating but it’s definitely best for riders who are looking for easy speed at the expense of occasional sketchy moments.

Vittoria Morsa All Mountain G+ 2.3in tyre

The Morsa uses a unique quadruple compound mix infused with graphene micro particles for claimed grip, wear and speed advantages.

Onza Canis C3 RC2 55a 2.25in tyre

The more we use Onza’s Canis, the more we realise what a rapid, agile all-rounder it is and the less we want to take it off. The super-light, finely woven 120tpi carcass not only seals well but accelerates quickly.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic SnakeSkin TrailStar 2.25in tyre

Looking at the wide-spaced, squared and siped knobs of the Nobby Nic you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a super-grippy mud tyre.

Maxxis Aggressor 3C Maxx Terra EXO TR 2.3in tyre

Maxxis have the full-on aggro quarter covered with the Shorty, High Roller II and Minion, while the Ardent, Ardent Race, CrossMark and Ikon are all classic max-speed choices.

Mavic Crossmax Quest XL Ltd 2.4in tyre

Mavic describe the Quest XL as a rear tyre but it works well up front in drier weather too.