Similar Products Used: Many other tires (Michelin and Schwalbe)
Bike Setup: Kraftstoff X2 (Cross Country full suspension) +96kg
a Cross Country Rider
from Kansas City, MO
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2010
Strengths: High volume, lightweight, low rolling resistance, tubeless!
Weaknesses: Poor grip in corners, poor braking grip, hardpack-only!
They're just a little dangerous is all.
Good tires for hardpack and rocks when new, especially at low pressures. Low resistance but poor grip when climbing. To be expected.
The side knobs, especially on the 2.35, are pretty much useless on anything buy hardpack for cornering and have poor braking grip. This is bad because they are super fast. Washing out and drifting is a reality on these. Not for sand, gravel, or steep ascents/descents.
I have ridden these in Kansas (technical with rocks & short climbs), Arkansas (similar with more climbing & shale/gravel surface), and Colorado (sand, rock, and long descents).
They are fine in the KC stuff, sketchy on shale in arkansas, and scared the hell of of me in Colorado. You get what you pay for with these...I wouldn't buy them again and would never buy a vredestein 2.35 (the bull lock 2.0 is just fine)
Favorite Trail: Wilson Lake, Perry Lake, Hall Ranch, Mt. Falcon, Lake Leatherwood, and so on
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: Jenson USA
Similar Products Used: Vredestein Bull Lock, Kenda Kozmik Lite, Schwalbe Racing Ralph, WTB Wolverine, Geax Saguaro, WTB Motoraptor
Bike Setup: Rigid steel bike. 1x9 drivetrain.
a Cross Country Rider
from Elizabethtown, Ky
Date Reviewed: August 22, 2010
Strengths: Light tire for its huge volume,I run these tubeless and the side walls dont seep, fast rolling,very easily set up tubeless.
Weaknesses: A litttle sketchy on wet roots and rocks
I like these tires, very huge volume and easily set up tubeless and they roll fast,they will keep you on your toes in the slick roots and rocks but thats a good trade off for their performance and at 17 dollars a tire they cant be beat.
a Cross Country Rider
from Los Angeles, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 3, 2010
Strengths: Fast, stable, light
Weaknesses: tread uniformity, traction on steep climbs
I was a little disappointed at how wiggly the tread pattern is, but the tires perform rather well despite that. They slip a little when climbing steep grades out of the saddle, but I shouldn't be doing that anyway. Aside from that, the tires hold nice traction on hard pack, gravel, and light sand. They're also noticeably faster than the Fire XC Pro on flats and descents.
Similar Products Used: Onza Rip/Rail, Specialized Ground Control, Panaracer Fire XC Pro
Bike Setup: 2000 Specialized Rockhopper A1 Comp, stock except for 28h Deore/Mavic 221 wheels.
a Weekend Warrior
from Alameda CA
Date Reviewed: March 7, 2010
Strengths: Light weight (I also weighed it at 680 grams), great looks, incredibly low rolling resistance for a fat tire (2.35)
Weaknesses: Traction during cornering on the loose stuff
I love and hate these tires at the same time. I love them because climbing with these tires was actually better than the skinnier Mythos tires that I replaced. Plus, the fatness made my bike look good. I hate them because I can't pitch the bike through corners as aggressively as I normally do. I low-sided twice today, both times when entering the first turn (you know how your mind is used to a particular line and bike angle expecting it to hold... well, not this time).
Anyway, I'll try them under different conditions. I just don't think I can be as aggressive, that's all.
Similar Products Used: Intense FRO Lite (heavy tires but grip like hell... I took them off because they were 2.6 lbs)
Bike Setup: 2002 Marin Rift Zone
a Weekend Warrior
from Ottawa, ON Canada
Date Reviewed: October 11, 2009
Strengths: Light, fast rolling.
Weaknesses: Not very uniform construction, tire tread "wiggles" and "bumps" when I spin my wheel.
I got these from Jenson. A pair + shipping and $5 tax was $60 to my door. Incredible service, by the way. I ordered these Thursday at 12:30 in the morning and got them Friday by noon. Unbelievable. And, there are NO additional fees. The FedEx shipping price on Jenson's website is the total cost to the door. This experience has opened a new dimension in terms of getting parts from the States.
Here are the specs:
Weight: Claimed (by Vredstein) 660, actual 680 grams and 688 grams. That's a 4% deviance. Not bad.
Width: (at 40 psi; take into account my rim width) 2.390" I am not disagreeing with the guy, below, but my measurements make me think Vredstein is pretty accurate with their specs. I can see how if someone had a narrower rim the tire could actually come up wider than what I got, because the side knobs would stick out more. Another consideration: my rims are incredibly true, and the way these tires wobble (I guesstimate 1/8 to 3/16" deviance both in wobble and hop) on my rims does not make me doubt there could be serious manufacturing discrepancies.
These tires are comfortably fat and light. I definitely prefer them to the Continental Vertical and Diesel Pros (both 2.5", kevlar bead) I've run, before. They are faster and lighter. However, they are slower than Kenda's K-Rad (demoed only) and Kiniption 2.3's I had. These tires corner well. They break traction predictably in corners. For the type of urban/hardpack-trail riding I do, these tires work well.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment outside my experience:
- Don't know how durable they are.
- Don't know how they do in wet conditions.
- Don't know how they do in loam or roots and rocks.
A bottom line note about how I think tires should be reviewed:
- One area of judging should be given to how accurately the tires conform to manufacturer specs.
- Another area is manufacturing uniformity.
- Then, performance easily categorized in 3 areas:
1. Do they have any negative quirks?
2. In what respects do they excel?
3. Are they a durable product?
- Price is not much of a factor, because unless a tire (excluding downhill tires) is super, super fabulous I would never consider spending above $40, and below that cost shipping becomes such a significant percentage that the gap between actual tire prices is diminished.
So, bottom, bottom line:
If these tires didn't wobble on my rims I'd give them a 5, meaning that I'm very happy with them, NOT that they are better than any tire rated lower. I'm happy with the weight and volume. The speed might be a tad better with more uniformity in the tread, though.
Similar Products Used: Continental Vertical Pro (kevlar bead) 2.5: 788 grams, excellent tire for volume, rolls good.
IRC Trailbear (kevlar bead) 2.5: 970 grams, 190 grams heavier than IRC claims, does not roll good.
Ritchey Z-Max 2.35: Best cornering front tire I've ever owned. 788 grams for wire bead.
Kenda Kinetics (steel bead) 2.35: around 1,200 grams. Very cheap, confused tire (downhill weight and sidewall stiffness with XC width) that rolls horribly.
IRC Backcountry 2.25: Worst front tire I've ever owned. Rolls poorly. Width is not impressive.
Maxxis Harddrive (kevlar bead) 2.1: Very impressive tire. Fastest tire I've ever owned. 522 grams. O.K. volume. Not a wet conditions tire.
WTB Motoraptor (kevlar bead) 2.4: Around 850 grams. Much faster and lighter than the IRC Trailbear, but not a fast tire. More burly than the Continental Diesel Pro 2.5, but slower.
Bike Setup: Giant STP with Sun MTX (34mm wide) rims.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2009
Strengths: Fast rolling. High volume (too high imo - read on). Light. Good traction *in corners*. Nice straight bead.
Weaknesses: Bigger than the 2.5" Blue Groove it replaced. Not enough clearance. Linked centre tread makes it realtively easy to lock up.
FYI, at ~40psi the 2.35 Black Panther is 64.58mm (2.54") wide (widest point inc nobs) and 61.67mm (2.43") deep from edge of rim to point level w centre tread of tire. Measured w digital caliper. CLEARLY too darned big to be called 2.35"! It's a 2.5!
This tire seems good for someone that wants a v fast, light high vol tire for dry conditions. V fast and smooth rolling thanks to linked centre tread. It's like a slick for speed (if you discount the pressure difference). Good traction in corners too thanks to sticky, sharp outer nobs.
Trouble is, it is HUGE. Was running a 2.5" Kenda Blue Groove. That was getting worn. I wanted more clearance, less weight and more efficiency this time, so got the 2.35 Black Panther. There's even less clearance! Doh! So, I have to take it off.
IMO, the Black Panther is better on the front. If you do much steep climbing and/or ride on trails with occasional mud-holes, you may find it lacking on the rear. For moderate climbing in the dry, I was impressed with the performance even on the rear. Did surprisingly well on a heavily rooted and damp section too. The Blue Groove made a noise like a diesel engine and caused the entire bike to vibrate showing the huge amount of my energy it was wasting. The Panther is silent and smooth. Sadly, because its enormous volume has wasted my money and time, I have to knock off a couple of flaming turds, even though the product would deserve better if the size wasn't bigger than stated. If you buy this for the front and have the clearance for it. Or if you get the 1.9 version (which is probably a 2.1), you'll probably give it 5/5. Manufacturers should have to measure their product's max width and depth including nobs at 40psi and publish the info so you know the ACTUAL size of any tire relative to all others...
From now on, I'll post actual dimensions of tires at 40psi on reviews. Please do the same and we'll all be better off.