Interesting read. I have some insight into how the OEM tire business works on the car side and there you can usually assume that the OEM tires which came with your car are equally good or better than what you can buy on the replacement market. In some areas (handling, comfort) they will be far superior than their replacement counterpart because OE tires are optimized for the particular vehicle, in some other areas (wet braking for example) they might perform slightly worse because the vehicle manufacturer is willing to sacrifice “B” or “C” performances to be better in the “A” performances. In mountain biking we see this a little bit with e.g. the mentioned EXO+ casings, but I would guess in general the bike manufacturers are way less demanding on the tire suppliers than the vehicle industry. Oh yeah, the car industry also very often wants the lowest price possible, but when you are talking about orders of hundred thousands or even millions of tires price setting works differently than for the couple of tires you need for MTBS. ;)