Bontrager FR4 Tubeless Tire

Bontrager FR4 Tubeless Tire 

DESCRIPTION

  • Big-volume freeride tire intended
  • Reinforced casing to handle the most aggressive riding styles
  • Condition-specific compounds assure maximum control
  • Tubeless ready optimized for use with Super Juice

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-2 of 2  
[Jun 11, 2012]
Pslide
Downhiller

Strength:

Grip in soft conditions, quality casing

Weakness:

Slow rolling, squirmy on hard pack, heavier than advertised

I am on the quest for the perfect light duty DH tire: tubeless compatible, heavy duty single ply similar to Maxxis EXO and Specialized SX, relatively fast rolling, and great cornering grip in various conditions. I have only owned one other recent Bontrager tire, and based on the good quality of that tire and what appeared to be a great tread design, I payed full whack ($65/ea) for a set of these for my Banshee Legend Mk2. I really liked the look of the tread design, with an open channel between the center and shoulder knobs to give aggressive cornering, but some small intermediate blocks to give a seamless transition of grip as you lean the bike over. It looked like the perfect mix of a Muddy Mary and a Minion DHF, two of my favorite tires.

The Good:

1. This tire indeed does have a middle weight casing of high quality. The sidewalls seem to have good rubber coverage and I'm going to guess they're not going to come apart any time soon like some other tires I know (Kenda, cough cough).
2. The rubber compound in the shoulders is of the soft and sticky sort, with faster rolling in the center, which is perfect combination for what I am looking for.
3. The sizing seems spot on, plenty wide for a 2.35 with good volume and similar to a Maxxis 2.5.

The Bad
1. That high quality casing comes at a price...975g, which is 100g more than the advertised 875g weight.
2. The profile is very, very square. I like square tires generally speaking, but this seems almost too square. It's hard to tell if the profile influenced its cornering behavior, which I will describe below...

The Ugly:
1. The main flaw of this tire is that the knob height is higher than it appears in the pictures. The relatively high but small knobs mean this tire feels like it's floating on anything but a soft surface. Throw it hard into a flat or bermed corner and it will squirm underneath you. Not very confidence inspiring.
2. All of the high but small knobs also translate into a slow rolling tire.
3. $65 is a lot to pay for a tire you're not happy with.

Bontrager has a very cool 30 day no questions asked return policy. But my curiosity got the better of me. I really really wanted to love this tire, and I thought with a little modification I could turn this into the perfect tire. I got out my Dremel and miniature sanding wheel and buffed every single center knob to the height I thought it should be. I also buffed the shoulder knobs to improve the shape and give less squirm. It took hours and didn't smell good. Who knows what kind of neurological damage the vapors did to my brain. No worries, if you haven't figured it out, I'm already slightly demented. The result? Well rolling improved dramatically. It was more planted in the corners as well. But was it as good as a Minion DHF? No, probably not. Of course, this tread was basically half worn now, via Dremel, so maybe that was asking too much. And I think probably, most likely, just maybe I had voided my warrantee...

If you only ever ride soft or wet trails, this could still be a good choice for you. It might also work for really dry and loose conditions, like Northstar. But if you ride anything hardpack, I can't recommend this tire. With a few modifications to knob height, overall profile, and shoulder knob profile, this could be perfect tire. (Anyone listening? Bontrager? Frank Stacy?) Until Bontrager convinces me otherwise, I guess I'll stick to what I know.

Similar Products Used:

Maxxis Minion DHF, Schwalbe Muddy Mary, Kenda Excavator, Kenda BBG

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Sep 01, 2011]
peanutaxis
Weekend Warrior

Strength:

High volume = hard to pinch flat

Weakness:

none so far

Awesome tire. Big side lugs for corners. plenty of mid-lugs for fast rolling. Even holds its own in mud. I'll be holding on to these!

Similar Products Used:

high roller, advantage, dhf, dhr, ignitor, monorail

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-2 of 2  

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