Aggressive Semi-Slick Tires From e*thirteen
A Slick Tire Program
2018 was a breakout year for the e13 tire program. They'd been dabbling in rubber for a while but their bike-park worthy 29'er DH tire, the LG1-series, is one of the best options on the market and its single-ply brother the TRS is a very popular choice at NSMB HQ.
One tread profile, two sizes (27x2.35 & 29x2.35), two casings, and two rubber options. You don't have to have a million SKUs to have a great lineup of aggressive rubber.
This year the program changes slightly. The dual-ply LG1 tires continue forward but now feature a 'DH' moniker. The TRS tires ditch the Apex insert* to save weight and become more trail focused. The much-loved TRS models from this year are now the 'EN' series of LG1 tires.
The embargo lifts today on a brand new Semi-Slick tread pattern that pairs e13's excellent accordion-siped side knobs, that deliver massive controlled grip at greater lean angles, with a faster-rolling center tread.
*tapered inserts in the tire, which improve grip under cornering and braking and dramatically improve puncture resistance.
The Semi-Slick comes in the same three sidewall options as the other e13 tires - LG1 DH, LG1 EN, TRS - with two rubber options in each configuration. The 'Race' or 'R' models are a few more bucks and the 'Plus' or '+' models and differentiated in two ways. The Plus versions use the same slow rebound, tacky rubber throughout the tire, whereas the Race tires have an even tackier, and faster wearing, compound for the side knobs. Also, the Plus tires only have an Aramid reinforcement under the casing where on the Race tires it runs bead-to-bead.
In all cases, where e*thirteen moves to separate their semi-slick from other similar tires on the market is a focus on maximizing braking traction while also improving speed compared to their knobbier option.
is too square? It's a question that companies making aggressive semi-slick tires have answered differently. Mounted on a 30mm internal rim, the new e13 semi-slick tires take a middle group between leaning over to find the side knobs on a Schwalbe Razor Rock and the side knobs finding me, all the time, with my beloved Specialized Slaughter.
Unsagged on a 30mm ID rim I have room for three toonies, and change, under the side knobs on both sides. The side knobs don't come into play on pavement but add traction climbing out of the saddle. The transition in traction from center to side knobs is much less abrupt than other semi-slick tires I've ridden.
My short-term experience with the 29" e13 Semi-Slick is that it rolls a bit slower than the Rock Razor on pavement or hardpack but has significantly better straight line braking and climbing traction. The Slaughter side knobs hit a lot faster and also hook up solidly, so choosing between the e13 and Specialized's aggressive semi-slick tires will come down to preference.
I think anyone riding to the trails on pavement will give the edge to e13, assuming the same rim ID. For a fast rolling bike park tire it will probably come down to durability and sidewall support. For greasy North Shore riding, where a semi-slick isn't a brilliant choice, I'll give the edge on rubber compound to e13 as well. That said, I've ridden a Gripton rubber version of the Slaughter but I can't say for certain it is the latest compound that Specialized has been touting.
I am going to ride the Semi-Slick through the winter so, based on my experiences with the current LG1r, TSRr, and TSR+, the Race version's softer side knobs are going to be worth the extra 10 USD. That said, with the lower profile centre bead tires I find the side knobs wear faster, and the centre rubber is the same, so if the LG1+ EN tire shared the bead-to-bead Aramid casing of this LG1r EN, it could be a tougher decision.
I can only speak for my ~185lbs self, but the e13 EN Race casing is a really nice blend of suppleness and support. With what is now badged as the LG1r DH casing I get along great with the tires in the summer but I do find it harder to get the perfect pressure in the colder months.
I wouldn't run the e13 Semi-Slick front and rear so from the lineup my perfect blend would be S/S out back with the knobby LG1r EN up front. I'm not someone who cares about matching tire brands so, for now, I'll be enjoying this semi-slick with a 29x2.6" Bontrager SE5 up front.
As with the knobby tires, the Race versions of the LG1 DH, LG1 EN, and TRS Semi-Slick will sell for 70 USD and the TRS+ version of the LG1 DH, LG1 EN, and TRS Semi-Slick will sell for 60 USD. By the time you read this more information will be available at e*thirteen.com