Tuesday, September 29, 2009

French toast?? (XDX 2.1)

When I first threw a leg over a 29er in the spring of 2008 one of the better looking tires out there was the XDX. Fast forward a year and a half and unfortunately not much has changed in the 29er tire world. Anyone who has talked to me long enough has most likely heard me voice my displeasure on the subject of 29er tires. In my opinion most of the tire company's seem not to be able or are unwilling to produce a durable tubeless race tire in the 29er version at a decent weight.
Except for Bontrager. Bontrager seems to be assembling a nice line up of 29er tires. Seems weird for a company (Trek) to have such a long line of 29er tires but not a long line of 29er bikes, But who's complaining? I'm not interested in Trek bikes anyway and I guess Fisher is a subsidiary of Trek but I'm not talking about bikes here. So if you own a Fisher or a Trek and I've offended you... Well you get the idea.
Back to the tires. The XDX has a thick casing to keep you from ripping the sidewalls and it works very well, My XDX tires show significant sidewall scuff but not one cut. As a matter of fact in the year and a half on at least 4 sets of the tires I can't recall one flat due to sidewall failure. The tire has a nice full feel, almost like a inch of suspension. This suspension quality is what keeps me coming back for more. At 59.95 a pop that's saying a lot.
The tread is a different story. Although this tire rolls very well on hardpack fire road and paved roads the "french toast" shaped knobs require some finesse to ride in anything but hardpack and loam and seem to wear very quickly. As the tire wears tread flats seem to become frequent and Stan's doesn't seal these tires at all. Must be why they don't recommend Stan's sealant, Duh. Also I must mention the tire slips on wet rock like the tread is lubed. While in practice this may improve bike handling its not something you want while racing. The knobs are well supported and don't roll over as the tire begins to slide. A good quality in dry hard corners, not so good on wet rock. The tire also needs to be "broken in". This can be done by riding it on the road for a while to get the shine off. In the mud the Bonty XDX (when new) offers decent traction and does not pack up at all. When the tire is worn (in the mud) it spins like a slick with every over torqued pedal stroke this singlespeeder can muster. This is when I start thinking about other options (like at Jungle this past weekend), But unfortunately there aren't many. So until then seems like I'm stuck with my Trek tires.

Suspension: 5 of 5
Mud shedding: 4 of 5
Rolling resistance: 4 of 5
Durability: 4 of 5
Puncture protection: 3 of 5
Cornering: 3 of 5
Weight: 3 of 5
Traction: 2 of 5

1 comment:

  1. Try the Bontrager 29-3 in the 2.0 (the 2.25 is entirely different tire), that thing is now my go to tire. They are versatile and super-reliable. A little lighter than the XDX too, and definitely better in the wet.