Goodyear Announces MTB Tires
Today, Goodyear Tires step back into bicycles in a major way with tires that cover the full gamut, from road to gravel, to full on DH treads, the brand is diving in deep. But this isn’t the first time the Goodyear name has been emblazoned across the sidewall of a bike tire. The company actually produced bike and carriage tires way back in 1898, a year before they stepped into automobiles. Since the move to cars, the brand has grown to be one of the most prominent tire manufacturers in the world with major successes in Indy Car and NASCAR.
Now Goodyear has come full circle, bringing 120 years of experience back to the cycling world. For mountain bikers it could mean another quality tire added to the mix of Maxxis, Schwalbe, e*thirteen and Michelin, to name a few. Like the rest, Goodyear tells us tire technology focuses on the sum of all components; rubber compound, tread, and casing/protection, reminding us that the way in which these work together is how a tire either excels or fails.
The Tires & Technology
A quick look through the mtb tire collection gives insight to how serious the brand is about the move. With four different tread designs and plenty of variations to choose from, Goodyear is pushing to cover the range from cross-country and trail, through to all-mountain/enduro and downhill.
The collection from pinner to punisher includes the Peak; a 2.25” lightweight cross-country tire, available in 27.5 and 29. The Escape; a trail bike tire which is available in 2.3 or 2.6-inch widths for either 27.5 or 29-inch wheels and either a standard casing or their EN casing. It's with the Newton and Newton ST where things get more aggressive. They’re available in 2.4 or 2.6-inch widths for 27.5 and 29 and in either their EN or DH casing. All tires are available in either their Premium or Ultimate casing fabrics, with the latter being the more expensive, more refined carcass which is said to provide a “more supple and faster rolling tire with improved traction”.
Most of the mountain bike tires are constructed with what Goodyear refers to as M:Wall; a durable mono-fabric that increases cut and abrasion resistance. The rowdier Newton and Newton ST tires offer either EN or DH casings. The EN is a 1.5-ply casing based on the M:Wall construction while the DH is a 2-ply casing and is built with the A:Wall construction which adds a butyl insert to increase support. The Escape trail tire will also be available with the 1.5-ply EN casing. The EN casing is said to provide support while remaining supple, therefore providing a more comfortable ride, while the DH tire is, like most, about providing maximum support and protection.
Where compounds are concerned, the two that are found in the mountain bike line are the Dynamic R/T and the Dynamic RS/T. The R/T is Goodyear’s rugged terrain compound that is said to offer balanced grip, wear and efficiency, while the RS/T is the maximum grip option. Interestingly it appears the R/T compound is only available on the EN classified tires and the RS/T only available on the DH tires. Something that may change in the future with some enduro racers looking for maximum grip from at least their front tire, where the lighter casing is often preferred.
The tires range in price from 60 USD/50 GBP and top out at 90 USD/72 GBP. Generally speaking, there is a 10 USD/4 GBP difference between the Premium and the Ultimate casing fabrics and another 10 USD / 4 GBP difference between the all-mountain/enduro tire and the downhill tire.
Initial Riding Impressions
There’s only been time for one ride on the tires at this point and it was in some miserable conditions. The Newton ST was fitted to the front and the regular Newton to the rear, a combination that at the moment seems good. Of course, it's also possible to run either tire front and rear. Both the Newton and Newton ST fitted feature the Ultimate casing fabric and both are the EN, which features the R/T compound.
On the rim, the ST displays a slightly rounder profile, with the side-lugs appearing a little lower than those on the Newton. However, looks can be deceiving and while the tread profile appears flatter on the Newton, it's actually rounder than the ST, with the ST containing taller side lugs. Centre lugs appear shallower than others like the Minion DHF and e*thirtheen’s TRS series, but the edges are sharp and purposeful with very slight ramps on the leading edges. The side lugs feature plenty of detail in an effort to allow the appropriate amount of give and support.
In the sopping wet both the front and rear of the bike tracked very well. Braking was predictable and stable and the tires grabbed onto wet rock and root well, leaving little to be concerned about. Traction in soggy soft spots was commendable and they didn’t leave me lusting for a cut-spike, though the ST does share some resemblance to such a tire. On smooth, bermed trails the tires held remarkably well when pushed hard, offering plenty of bite and drive. So far they've been predictable and positive feeling when driving the edges of the tires into the dirt and the carcass provided a good amount of support without being harsh or deflecting off wet obstacles.
It's not easy to find the right balance of compounds, tread design, and support when designing a tire, however, Goodyear appears to have done the homework with what is, at this early stage at least, an impressive set of tires in the Newton and Newton ST.
Look for a complete review on the tires in the future and for more information visit the new Good Year bike website.