Strengths: Cheap, puts rubber between your rim and the dirt
Weaknesses: Zero braking performance, No grip during climbs, Corners terribly
*THIS TIRE IS NOT FOR TRAIL USE* If you have a commuter bike that only sees off road use when you're crossing berms in the office parking lot, this tire may do the trick. If you actually ride trails avoid this tire like the plague. I bought this tire when the WTB Weirwolf I had for 7-8 years finally lost enough center tread that it needed to be replaced. I only needed this tire to last 1 month but after getting through that month with this tire I am disappointed I didn't get the right tire because I feel like I've lost a month of hard riding. The tires climbing performance is where it falls short the most, something I should have predicted from the terribly designed tread pattern before I even bought it. I now have more wheel slip than when I had the worn down WTBs and I end up having to walk up a lot of inclines. Recently I had the opportunity to ride in semi-damp soil for the first time (thanks 2012 drought) and this only made the weak points of the tire exponentially worse, especially climbing. Cornering performance is not great either thanks to the insubstantial outer knobs and I wash out on a frequent basis at low speeds, Im too afraid to corner at any higher speeds on this tire. During hard braking you can feel the tire flex and lose form and much more room is needed to come to a stop when at a good speed. If I could do it again I would just wait the week for my LBS to order in a new WTB tire for me and I cannot wait until I can ditch this tire, shred it, and send the pieces back to Bontrager.
a Weekend Warrior
from Fayetteville, NC
Date Reviewed: September 4, 2011
Strengths: Low cost, smooth ride, good looks
Weaknesses: Slight tread sing on new asphalt, slightly soft feel in hard cornering
This is a very good compromise tire. I bought a pair to ride mostly pavement/hardpack trails, but I live in the Sandhills of NC, so do encounter some deeper sand every now and again, though usually not intentionally. I'm a typical weekend rider, though do try and get out 3-4 times during the week as well. I ride mostly for exercise and enjoyment, never in competition.
Pavement: these tires run very smooth and soft (I weigh 230# and keep these inflated to 50#), though the tread does tend to "sing" on very smooth asphalt. Even inflated higher than other tires, these have a softer ride. These are the first tires I've used that have a thin "skinwall" sidewall, and I think that makes a big difference in the ride. They have a slightly "soft" feeling during hard cornering that brings a touch of uneasiness, though it's certainly not as bad as having true knobbies on the bike and trying to corner on asphalt.
Trail: these do pretty well for being a compromise tire. They're probably not as durable (as far as stick/rut/rock resistance) as a good all terrain tire, but they're not designed to be, and hardcore riders aren't (or shouldn't be) looking at these anyway. They dig through an inch of sand pretty well, and stay well planted on fire roads and gravel trails. They have a nice wide and oversized profile (nominal size: 26" x 2.00") that seems to do very well on all surfaces.
For the weekend or everyday mountain/comfort bike rider looking for one tire that has 80% of the performance you need on varied surfaces, these are a good choice. The low price ($20 each at LBS) is icing on the cake.
Feel good about your purchase, too, because they are branded with Bontrager's "ECO" label, which denotes that 15% of the rubber is made from sustainable or recycled stock. They also note that the tread lasts 50% longer than conventional tread.
David Peck Jr
a Weekend Warrior
from Gaylord Mi
Date Reviewed: July 4, 2011
Strengths: This tires rolls very fast. Does o.k. to well on the hard pack I came with my new Trek 820 (26X2.0)They work well on the road. Low if any noise and no vibration. Only one flat, accidently ran over something on a paved road.
Weaknesses: I am new to MTB (2years) with about 180 miles of trail in three months. I have gone down a few times expecting more cornering traction. But I find myself not trusting them very much in the twisty stuff Also on hard climbs the tire spins on me. Wet hard pack to dry is about the same. Good through the sand. O.k. over roots. I have not used them for mud, but I have notice they don't clear out as well as I would like.
These tires are doing pretty well. At my beginner level they hook up most of the time until I start pushing corner speed. Under my weight and rough sections of trails they work without thought. Climbing on some hard pack and roots you can experience slips. They are fast on the downhill with low rolling resistance and preform well on paved surfaces. With stick mud expect some caking.
a Weekend Warrior
from Roxborough, CO
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2010
Strengths: Cheap, rolls ok
Weaknesses: Wears quickly, does not climb well
These tires came with my Trek 4300, and I had no complaints until i upgraded my tires to WTB Mutano Raptors and realized how poor the LT3's actually perform. For the trail conditions I ride in (loose, rocky, sandy) the LT3's just dont have the tread design to provide any type of purchase when riding hard up or downhill.
If these come on your bike, ride em until they wear out and then upgrade to a different tire.
Strengths: Little rolling resistance (fairly quick tire), a TRUE oversized tire.
Weaknesses: Oversized doesn't mean everything touching the ground is tracks. Good for dry and general riding conditions, but doesn't fare as well in steep inclines. I just mounted Velociraptor 2.1's on the rear and I'm leaving the LT3 on the front. The Velociraptor is a well known and famous climbing tire, but you can tell it's not oversized like the 2.0 LT3's.
Because the Tarpon is an entry level MTB and a lot of riders will probably take this bike on the road it's a sufficient tire. Just don't expect perfection off-road.