Bontrager G5 NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG
REVIEW | EDITORIAL

Min-Maxing North Shore Rubber With The Bontrager G5

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Oct 12, 2020

Min-Maxxis

On everything from aggressive hardtails to full on DH bikes on the Shore, it's no stretch to say Maxxis holds dominion over tire choice. For the vast majority of riders, buying new tires comes down to four decisions:

  1. is the front tire a DHF or Assegai?
  2. Is the rear tire a DHR2 or Assegai?
  3. Is the front tire casing EXO, EXO+, or DD?
  4. Is the rear tire casing EXO+ or DD?

That's an oversimplification. There's also the choice between tubes, tubeless, and if inserts which ones. But generally, I think I've summed up 95% of North Shore riders here. Despite this, many are curious about non-Maxxis rubber. It wasn't that long ago that Schwalbe and their Magic Mary seemed to be showing up regularly. There is a lot of other intriguing rubber on the market as well from Michelin, Goodyear, and e13. Some of it I'd even put right up against Maxxis' most popular treads. The e13 LG1r for example is a fast favourite of every rider I know who's tried it.

But hit the trails or the local shop and I hear this sentiment all the time; the best value in tires is any combination of the Maxxis DHF, DHR2, and Assegai. Yes, they're more expensive than other options but you know what you're getting every time. Easy enough to save a few bucks on a great tire like the WTB Vigilante High Grip or anything e13 MoPo but if you don't like it and end up buying an Assegai anyways that's a big extra outlay.

Bontrager Line Elite Carbon Wheels.JPG

1440 grams of dual-ply DH tire with super-soft 42a rubber throughout. 20psi front.

Bontrager Line Elite Carbon Wheels (2).JPG

Great traction as a front tire or a rear tire, up or down the hill. 22psi rear.

In addition to that sea of yellow or white Maxxis logos there are also a fair number of Bontrager and Specialized tires present on our local trails. Good Bontrager tires like the SE5 are on the Treks while good Specialized tires like the Butcher and Slaughter on the Specialized. When those wear out will the riders replace like with like or just pick up some new Maxxis shoes?

I also have that one friend who likes Continental tires. I know someone who thinks Michelin's latest rubber is good when it's greasy. I still know a few folks who are loyal to Mary even though there's no Ultra Soft 29x2.6" option. And apparently, the 2.6" Schwalbe Eddy Current Rear, as a front and rear tire, isn't just for e-bikes if you can stomach that each tire weighs over 3lbs.

If you can stomach that weight, and you like a performance-per-price bargain, you may consider Bontrager's 29x2.5" G5 Team Issue tire. These are the same tires that come stock on the Trek Session DH bike and they sell on their own for an SRP of 70 USD or 90 CAD. They also last surprisingly long given their soft 42a rubber throughout. They also have a dual-ply multi-layer casing with added butyl layer to prevent flats. This adds a great degree of stability and when all is tallied makes for 1440-grams per tire.

Woah, Woah, Woah! 1440-grams per tire? Between the amount of rubber, dual-ply casing, and wire bead, (I don't know why they use a wire bead instead of Kevlar here) the weight really isn't surprising. What as surprising, is these are the first tires I've ridden in a while without CushCore where I wasn't lamenting the lack of inserts. CushCore Pro inserts are some 260-grams a wheel so, in reality, this is the lightest tire setup I've been genuinely happy with since I started riding CushCore.

Bontrager G5 NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

A neutral all-conditions tread pattern that combined with the 42a rubber is as predictable as tires get.

Bontrager G5 NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

Bontrager could ditch a few grams with a Kevlar bead, but these are certified beasties either way in a true 29x2.5" size.

Bontrager G5 Team Issue

I'm used to turning over big meat, like 2.8" WTB Vigilante High Grip tires with CushCore inserts, so even with the super-soft 42a rubber, I didn't find the G5 tires unbearable on climbs. Slower than the Teravail Cumberland semi-slick I've also been testing?! Even with a 330-gram CushCore PLUS insert in the Teravail, comparatively I fly up the trails but now that we're in the greasy season I'll take the G5 downhill any day.

I've mounted the G5 tires on Bontrager Line Elite carbon, Race Face Aeffect aluminum, and WTB KOM aluminum and each time they aired up without issue. In all cases, these were test rims so I haven't yet tried the tires with any kind of insert. I really like the on-trail characteristics of the G5 without and all of the lighter insert options don't have the run-flat qualities of CushCore, which is the one benefit these G5 setups are missing compared to when I run inserts.

Speaking of ride quality - the thing that actually matters here - the incredibly damped ride of the dual-ply casing and 42a rubber adds notable stability to my hardtail or full suspension bike. At least at Andrew-speed, these tires brake in a straight line on greasy rock faces, ladders, or roots as well as any rubber I've tried. The transition from center to side knobs is totally predictable and there is traction at any angle. That's not to say that the combination of greasy sideways roots and my skillset hasn't gotten me into trouble more than a few times. No tire is going to save me from myself.

Climbing grip is, unsurprisingly, stupendous all things considered; look at the knobs, factor in super-soft 42a rubber, low 20psi front and 22psi rear pressure, and all the damping from the casing. If I can turn the wheels, they grip. I've put plenty of road miles on these tires riding up to Fromme or home from Seymour and wear is better than expected. Not as good as WTB's High Grip or Maxxis MaxxTerra, although these have obviously softer rubber, and I'd say, totally un-scientifically, similar to Maxxis MaxxGrip based on looking at friends' tires that put in similar hours on the bike.

Which brings me back full circle. SRP v SRP I wouldn't spend an extra 40 USD for a similar pair of Assegai tires because in my experience, as unpopular as this may be, I'm not gaining or losing anything compared to the G5. Are there stronger, faster, braver riders who will have a different experience? Is it possible to divorce their experiences from the pro-Maxxis bias in the mountain bicycle riding community?

It doesn't really matter because even if the G5 isn't their best bet, it's a safe bet. Want excellent rubber for fewer dollars? Here's the sweet spot. Can you get a bit better performance for more money? Maybe. Are the Bontrager G5 tires going to sit on your shelf next to a pair of Continentals you're saving for summer and those Michelins that are harder than you expected? No, they are not.

SR Suntour Durolux EQ RC2 NSMB AndrewM (24).JPG

The support from the G5 tires is impressive on the trail - even at 20/22psi - but I've spent most of my review on carbon rims...

Bontrager Line Elite Carbon NSMB AndrewM.JPG

...which, of course, do not dent, so I cannot truly compare rim protection running a dual-ply 1440-gram DH tire versus lighter rubber and an insert.

The G5 DH tires have been around since 2012 when Aaron Gwin was racing for Trek. At some point between then and now Bontrager upsized their do-it-all DH tire to 29x2.5" but otherwise it's the same World-Cup-Winning beast. Being the only DH tire in Trek's line, it's been designed to work in a broad range of conditions ("aggressive, loose, rocky terrain, wet or dry") and for folks like me who like to put a set of tires on and run them until they're dead, that works great.

It's one of my life-goals to never change a flat tire on a trail again and I have enough faith in the G5 that I'm still not carrying a tube (I do however carry some tire plugs just in case). It will be interesting to see if the tire feels overly dead as we come into the colder winter months where a lighter casing tire and insert may feel more lively while also getting me home without any faffing about in the rain. My time on the G5 tires has reinforced the belief that running a heavier casing, like taking the weight hit of an insert, makes a big difference in descending stability and ride quality.

Sometimes what's new isn't better, or at least isn't substantially better, than a product that's been around for ages. There are plenty of examples of this truth when it comes to mountain bike accessories and components. Even if the new-new is better, lighter, stronger, faster, sometimes the difference in performance is so small that as soon as the value is taken into consideration the older product is the winner.

Based on performance for my dollars, for my riding abilities and appetite for risk, the 29x2.5" Bontrager G5 is a truly fantastic tire that any open-minded, aggressive, North Shore rider, who can handle the weight, would be very happy with. Trek could throw us a bone by ditching a few grams with a Kevlar bead but in the meantime, the SRP of 70 USD | 90 CAD makes this a winner that I'd certainly buy.

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Comments

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Oct. 12, 2020, 4:43 a.m.

I've run one of these in the past and was most satisfied with the performance. I mostly buy oem take offs so plenty of wtb, bonty, schwalbe, and even some maxxis.

My conditions are very different to the shore. I think the closest conditions to me would probably be socal or maybe colorado. 

I currently run a bontrager xr4 at the front and minion ss rear. I ran this combo all winter and found it to be exceptional. 

The xr4 isn't as god like as a dhf/r but it's still a very good tyre. It falls behind when it comes to really agressive riding, but I find its ride to be predictable, and controllable. 

I'm pretty committed to running a semi slick on the rear of my trail bike. My main trail is a well drained mix of dusty and hard packed that it works well on. I've ordered a dissector to try on the front, and a dhr as a backup (it was cheap). I will definitely be trying the dissector out back too.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Andy Eunson
Andrew Major  - Oct. 12, 2020, 12:42 p.m.

I like the SE4 in the 3” version run with CC-Plus and low pressure, but I find the other sizes too round.

I always go min SE casing from Bontrager. It’s better support / durability for a minimal weight hit over XR.

Reply

badgerracer
0 Chad K JVP
badgerracer  - Oct. 13, 2020, 7 a.m.

The Dissector is my new favorite tire up front (Southeastern US). Almost all the grip of a DHF without a real rolling resistance penalty. Kind of like a semi-slick that has actual braking traction. 

I typically pair it with an EXO+ Rekon out back and it’s a fast rolling but still grippy trail combo

Reply

neologisticzand
0
Chad K  - Oct. 13, 2020, 8:16 a.m.

That's a combo I've seen around that I'm keen on trying.

When I was in the NE US, I was liking a DHF or Assegai front, with a Dissector or Dhr2 rear depending on the exact trails, but now that I'm back in the SE US, it might be time to go back down to a faster rolling, lighter tire setup.

Reply

badgerracer
0
badgerracer  - Oct. 13, 2020, 9:51 a.m.

Yeah I’ve loved it. First gave it a go on my 2018 Scalpel SE. Then it started appearing specced on similarish bikes like the Transition Spur and the Revel Ranger. Now I’m running em on my Evil Following and they’re still awesome.

Strongly recommend the EXO+ casing for the Rekon though. I punctured an EXO version on the first ride on my old bike and did it again when demoing a Spur. The EXO version is literally paper mache, but I have yet to damage the EXO+ version

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Oct. 12, 2020, 6:36 a.m.

Andrew - Does the G5 have the same knob profile as the SE5?  I'm a big fan of the SE5 - it's a great substitute for DHR2.

Reply

andy-eunson
+1 Gage Wright
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 12, 2020, 8:43 a.m.

Yeah same knob pattern. I just replaced an Assegai with a 2.6 SE5. Very noticeably faster rolling tire. I think in 27.5 the Gravity (G) is only a 2.35 and 2.5.

I was informed by my LBS that Maxxis make the high end Bontrager tires.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Andy Eunson DMVancouver
Andrew Major  - Oct. 12, 2020, 12:45 p.m.

I like the SE5 in 2.6” as a rear tire but didn’t love it up front, where the super soft rubber of the G5 makes it really work as a front tire too. G5 airs up a little smaller (i30 v i30) Which makes sense 2.5 v 2.6.

If I could get the SE5 in the same compound I’d run it in a heartbeat with a CushCore insert.

Reply

D_C_
+2 JVP Timer
DMVancouver  - Oct. 12, 2020, 8:12 a.m.

These sound good, but the 1400 g+ weight is a deal-breaker (I happily ride casings down to EXO/EXO+ with no inserts). Too bad the SE5 only comes in harder rubber.

Reply

JVP
+3 Andrew Major DMVancouver Timer
JVP  - Oct. 12, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

I share the same general frustration. From what I can tell, Bonty isn't even MaxxTerra level soft in their SE series, otherwise they look great. It's easy to find ultra soft front tires for my heavier smashy wheelset, but it's pretty limited for the long-days trail wheelset that I run most of the time. I'm in Seattle so our rides are often longer climbs, softer dirt, less rock, allowing lighter sidewalls.

Here's the entire list of ultra gooey super soft front tires in trail weight, that I know of.

  • Maxxis EXO+ MaxxGrip: DHR, DHF, Assegai
  • e.thirteen MoPo Trail. Amazing rubber, but I've got two beefs with it: too square for my 32mm rims (my fault for running stupid rims), and the center knobs are low so it doesn't brake well in goo
  • Conti Baron and Kaiser in Black Chili? I haven't tried them, and seems to be a love-hate with these.

Schwalbe is laying an egg by not offering ultra-soft in their promising looking Super Trail casing. The Mary is a such a great tire in the winter if you're willing to lug around Super Gravity.

Reply

luisgutierod
0
luisgutierod  - Oct. 12, 2020, 11:20 a.m.

I can tell you that from many tires I have tried, there is a big difference between the Der kaiser project folding and the DH csg version (new current version).. This is a fantastic rear tire that weights 1400 gr as well.. I don't k ow if Der baron project exists as DH csg.. Michelin wild Enduro front with dh34 back its a very efficiency all rounder, not too heavy. The DH 34 is heavy, but as its not that big, it's manageable.. The compound wears really good

Reply

agleck7
+3 Andrew Major danimaniac Cr4w
Agleck7  - Oct. 13, 2020, 4:28 a.m.

You should try a Vigilante

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 danimaniac
Andrew Major  - Oct. 13, 2020, 6:50 a.m.

This. 

Tough Casing (DDesque) or Light Casing (EXO+esque / different from lighter WTB light casing tires) both good based on preference.

Reply

danimaniac
+2 Andrew Major twk
danimaniac  - Oct. 13, 2020, 7:20 a.m.

I'm riding a Vigilante Light Highgrip 2,5x29 up front now... that was a bit over a kilo. In the Back a fast rolling tough Judge 2,4x29 is holding the hammer down (literally) weighing in over 1300g. BUT! Super grippy combo in slimy muddy conditions up until now. I l think the Black Forest right now is quite similar to the PNW :D

BTW.. bought those because of A.Major advice I think... didn't you praise the Vigilante?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 13, 2020, 7:35 a.m.

I <3 the Vigilante. I run them in 2.8”, Tough Casing, High Grip on my rigid and 2.6”, Light Casing, High Grip on my hardtail when running a suspension fork - both with CushCore.

I’ve also run them out back in the Fast Rolling compound. Still running a semi-slick right now though. Hilarity ensues!

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - Oct. 13, 2020, 8:39 a.m.

WTB has certainly upped their tire game in recent years. Where does their high-grip fall in the slimy roots/rocks traction spectrum? Closer to MaxxTerra or MaxxGrip?

It's pretty hard to go away from a MaxxGrip DHR or Ultra-Soft Mary on the front this time of year, but fun to try something "new".

Reply

andrewbikeguide
+1 Andrew Major
AndrewR  - Oct. 16, 2020, 4:40 p.m.

In my experience, considering days of effective grip to dollars spent the ranking is:

Conti Blackchill Protection Apex (BCPA - only this casing/ compound which is made in Germany) - best all round tyre compound/ casing I have found.  They have had the occasional unbalanced casing on a tyre but warranty support from Highway Two is outstanding. Usual MSRP $90-95 tend to be on sale at the end of the season (in highly seasonal areas like Whistler) which is the best time to buy next year's tyre supply.

Bontrager - lasts almost as long as the Conti with 95% of the grip and rolls more slowly. Heavier tyre for same casing durability.  Usual MSRP $90, often on sale for $70.

Maxxis MaxxGrip - high level grip lasts about 60% as long as the Conti and rolls more slowly. Way heavier tyre for same casing durability. Production consistency is impressive so you get the same feel all the time. Usual MSRP $120.

Schwalbe - matches (soft) or exceeds (ultra soft) level of grip as the Conti BCPA, wears faster than the knees on a toddler's leggings (20 hrs) and rolls about as well as a pyramid. Usual MSRP $120.

As discussed earlier the Conti tread pattern seems to be a love it or hate it proposition, and there was a period of 1-2 years where Conti were updating their casings from ERTO to ISO so the compatibility with tubeless and hookless bead rims was a bit erratic for while, but quite a few colleagues have dipped their toes (wheels) in the tyre change waters over the past two years (courtesy of my coffee for 50% used tyres program) and then become Conti converts and happy to buy their own tyres.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 16, 2020, 8:25 p.m.

I may have to revisit Conti. Every single bloody time in the past that I've met an evangelist and been sucked in I have been really disappointed (Black Chili and otherwise) but it has been a couple of years. Quality (of the German-made versions) has always been top-notch. I've only been disappointed when the rubber hits trail - climbing speed v. descending traction.

andrewbikeguide
+1 Andrew Major
AndrewR  - Oct. 16, 2020, 4:39 p.m.

Conti Black Chilli Protection Apex (BCPA) tyres (Baron Projekt or Kaiser Projekt) are stickier than MaxxGrip but roll faster (don't know how) and last WAY longer (again don't know how - some kind of secret German engineering magic). The casing feels somewhere between EXO+ and DD but the 29 x 2.4" tyres weigh 940-960 grams per tyre depending. 

I have had one rear tyre puncture in the past three years (a very pointy rock) that needed an ATV plug to close up. That will obviously increase now that I have made that public statement. Unlike Andrew I would not consider riding without a spare tube but I am also a guide so tend to pack for mountain biking and first aid armageddon anyway.

I pass on my tyres at about 5-600 km/ 50-60 hrs for the rear and about 700 km/ 70 hrs for the front. Although to be honest I tend to swap them out in sets so give them both away at the 5-600 km mark. 

Someone else gets 1-200 km of decent grip (as good as a MaxxGrip DHF/ DHR II) for the price of a coffee and I get a better safety margin for keeping my face out of the dirt, and less chance of being shouted at by the wife "you know you are not 25 any more don't you?" for crashing on said face for another 5-600 km!

I like the Der Baron Projekt BCPA on the front with the Der Kaiser Projekt BCPA on the rear until the soil gets wet enough to clog the more paddle shaped lugs on the Der Kaiser and then I run Der Baron Projekt front and rear (so early spring and late summer). 

If I want rolling speed over climbing traction and braking on steep loose rock (so priority is energy saving over multiple days of lots of pedalling - either a Trans race or when guiding in the Chilcotin) I will run Der Baron Projekt front and rear and accept that the rear tyre wears faster than a Kaiser would.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 DMVancouver JVP
Andrew Major  - Oct. 12, 2020, 12:50 p.m.

I have a lot of hours on the SE5 in both 2.4 and 2.6. I really like the 29x2.6 as a rear tire - with a CushCore insert and running lower pressure - but I definitely prefer something grippier - like the G5! - up front in the wet season.

I would compare the SE5 directly to my MaxxTerra experiences both in terms of wear and traction. And I know some folks who run both up front all year and have no issues with the rubber being too hard (not me).

I love the G5 without inserts, but if Bontrager offered the 42a rubber with the SE5 casing in a 2.6” I’d run that with CushCore in a heartbeat.

Reply

rolly
0
rolly  - Oct. 12, 2020, 9:03 a.m.

Anyone have any experience with a Hellkat / Nevegal 2 combo on the Shore?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 12, 2020, 12:57 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

denomerdano
+3 Andrew Major DMVancouver JVP
Deniz Merdano  - Oct. 12, 2020, 9:23 a.m.

Sir, we really need to figure out how to cook up a shore tire-off.

I'll bring the Kessels, Michelins and Verdicts...

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Gage Wright
Andrew Major  - Oct. 12, 2020, 12:54 p.m.

DH casings? 

It’s the wet season so I’m only running tires two ways. Less-than-DH-casing with CushCore Pro or Plus (rim dependent) OR with a DH casing.

Reply

monsieurgage
0
Gage Wright  - Oct. 12, 2020, 5:11 p.m.

With you all the way, sort of.  DH casing assagai front and back with Cushcore pro.  Tape job is the only thing to fail and that happens only if I am lazy and throw a tire on without re-taping.  Lesson learned!  I leave EXO and EXO plus to the XC crowd or if found on a new bike they quickly deteriorate and I replace them with the double ass combo.  Strong legs for fun downs.

As far as the others, I haven't had good luck with conti; they just don't set in the bead for tubeless.  Magic Mary is ok but you are either on the side nobs or not, very little transition zone.  I have never wanted to try anything from Trek or Specialized but E-thirteen I may.

For min max, it is all about timing.  Just a month ago many shops had discounted DH casing assagai, max terra compound I believe, for around 100 bucks.  Bought three for the year and then ask myself why 4 pounds of MTB tire rubber cost as much as 80 pounds of car tire rubber?

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andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Oct. 16, 2020, 4:41 p.m.

I fail to see the point of running Assegais but settling for MaxxTerra as the compound. It smacks of saying "I really want grip but I don't like paying to have grip!"

Reply

tehllama42
+2 Andrew Major lewis collins
Tehllama42  - Oct. 12, 2020, 12:42 p.m.

Me, yesterday: "Why would be deal with DH weight rubber on trail bikes"
Yesterday: Got a small flat on a rocky DH segment, lost just enough air that loading up into a turn, I got tire squirm and wound up decelerating from 25mph-to-0mph in the distance of two cacti
Me, today: "Please tell me more about affordable DH casing rubber options."

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 AndrewR
Andrew Major  - Oct. 12, 2020, 12:53 p.m.

I’m not winning any XC races anyways and the net time gain on rides running heavy duty rubber over a whole season would easily be erased by one walk home. 

These days it’s run-flat with CushCore or running a DH tire.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Oct. 16, 2020, 4:42 p.m.

Exactly the time spent riding versus time spent repairing (always in the cold & rain or hot, humid and bug laden) is one of the most important aspects of tyre selection.

Reply

cyclotoine
0
cyclotoine  - Oct. 12, 2020, 10:27 p.m.

Hmm lots of talk of either DH or cushcore but what about that glowing review on this very site of the new Tannus insert? Has only one NSMB writer tried them? I’m intrigued by their claimed 150g weight, combined with an EXO + that will still be a lot lighter

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 lewis collins
Andrew Major  - Oct. 12, 2020, 11:15 p.m.

"...but what about that glowing review on this very site of the new Tannus insert?"

What about it?

You can read Cam's review of the Tannus system here. He's ridden most, if not all, the major insert systems on the market and I'm certain he'd be happy to answer any questions you post there and confirm what feedback he's heard from other testers about the Tannus system.

I wrote this Review | Editorial and I'm frankly uninterested in inserts that don't allow me to run-flat if I have a catastrophic tire failure on the trail. I really can't be arsed about a few grams - and I save something by not carrying a tube - so I'll either run a rim-size-specific CushCore Pro or Plus insert with a decently durable sidewall (Bontrager SE, EXO+, DD, SuperGrav, WTB Tough Casing, etc) or I'll run a full-on DH casing like the G5 that's exceedingly unlikely to fail.

As pulled from the piece above: "In all cases, these were test rims so I haven't yet tried the tires with any kind of insert. I really like the on-trail characteristics of the G5 without and all of the lighter insert options don't have the run-flat qualities of CushCore, which is the one benefit these G5 setups are missing compared to when I run inserts."

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AX3L
+1 Timer
Axel Ericson  - Oct. 12, 2020, 11:56 p.m.

I think the weight discussions for tires are pretty interesting. While additional weight is a big thing on tight trails where you often accelerate from standstill, the rolling resistance generated by the casing and rubber being deformed while rolling is a far bigger problem with heavy tires imho. All grams on the wheels are not equal, which is why I really love the CushCores. 

I can't talk for the north shore, but where I ride I think alot of riders are "over-tired" (no pun intended). Of course it's not as much an issue if your riding is generally downhill with the climbing just being a mean of transportation, however even then most weekend warriors have a limited fitness and could benefit from using less energy while climbing. 

Just my 5 Swedish coronas.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Axel Ericson
Andrew Major  - Oct. 13, 2020, 6:58 a.m.

There are plenty of riders who’ve made the decision (conscious or not) to be begintermidiates for life and when it comes to casings you could make the argument that some could benefit on the climbs from dialing it back now that some companies (Maxxis) are doing their stickiest compounds in lighter casings. MaxxGrip/EXO for example.

Especially lighter riders or riders using inserts as well.

But, much of the year here even the true-Blue trails can put a good rider on their ass running undergunned on rubber.

For riders still trying to progress or riding Blacks/Double Blacks semi-aggressively I maintain that you just get stronger uphill to compensate for the weight and every minute added to every ride is banked and paid back with interest at the end of the year with zero ride pausing or ride ending flats.

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D_C_
0
DMVancouver  - Oct. 13, 2020, 2:31 p.m.

@Andrew Major - I am curious to know how these ride-ending flats are happening on the Shore. It’s just not that jagged here. I can count my flats in the last 3 years on 1 hand, and that includes some time spent enduro racing. I think maybe 1 one those flats was a puncture and the other couple were bad rim dents, and I generally run EXO-ish tires. I tried inserts but the key for me is adequate tire pressure. Maybe I’m just lucky. And I am also willing to deal with the increased risk of flatting to not have to pedal around 1400 g tires.

Sure, if you run heavy tires, you are even less likely to flat, but I think many riders would be surprised what they can get away with using lighter casings, and how lighter tires bring their bike to life in terms of versatility.

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AndrewMajor
+2 DMVancouver AndrewR
Andrew Major  - Oct. 13, 2020, 2:50 p.m.

More tire pressure is always an answer. I’ve gotten the majority of my flats, on the Shore, in the last decade on my hardtail. Usually rear wheel. Sometimes damaged tire, sometimes damaged rim. I played around with more pressure but I’m getting old and I’m not smooth and inserts and/or DH casings are a perfect compromise without making the ride really harsh.

On my FS bike I was still good for 1-2 flats a year - usually rear wheel - usually sidewall or casing tear. Both Bear Mountain and Red Mountain in Mission owe me fairly new tires. Credit Line in Squamish was good for a couple. The last time I wrecked a tire on the Shore proper was either Cypress or Ned’s. 

I also had two flats (pressure loss events) last year on Dales which ended up being due to a bad tire bead. Both times I just rode down thanks to the CC insert.

I could totally get away with a lighter setup if I was willing to entertain installing the odd tube on the trail side and I have lots of friends who almost never have issues with much lighter setups and if that works for you great. Personally I think the trade off in never dealing with mechanicals and being able to run lower pressures is great.

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AndrewMajor
+1 DMVancouver
Andrew Major  - Oct. 13, 2020, 2:54 p.m.

I should also note that on my hardtail and my FS bike I prefer the more damped ride of DH rubber and/or inserts. If I preferred the DH ride of a lighter setup I could certainly see min-maxing a pressure v durability v weight setup.

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Timer
0
Timer  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:03 a.m.

One of the reasons for running heavy and sticky tyres on the shore is the variety of trails. There is both old-shool slow tech where sticky rubber is key on roots and rocks, and fast, cunky sections where heavy, tough casings and sidewall stability are most welcome.

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mawojciech
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M W  - Oct. 16, 2020, 6:33 a.m.

I've ridden the Bontrager SE5 front / SE4 combo since I got surprise impressed with the combo when it came on a new Remedy.  Prior to that I was running all Maxxis and hadn't found anything close in years for predictability and longevity.  These tires last, don't puncture easily, roll well, and perform really well on east coast rooty rocky trails even in the wet.  At around $70 and sometimes less during sales on Trek's site, its any easy choice.  On an Enduro/Trail bike that gets pushed hard, it's a great setup and honestly your aren't giving anything but the bling yellow logo in my opinion.

Not surprised the DH versions talked about in this article similarly stand up to the Maxxis test.

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