Keith Bontrager, a former motorcycle racer and Physics major at the University of California Santa Cruz, started building bicycles in 1979. Through the 80’s & 90’s he pioneered many design and manufacturing techniques within the industry. Bontrager then joined forces with Trek Bikes where he now continues to develop products. His no-compromise approach to engineering, inquisitive mind and penchant for testing continue to guide the product development process today.
The latest from the Bontrager stable is a fast-rolling, high volume, versatile XC
Features and intended
Available in a 29 x 2.4″ and a 27.5 x 2.8″ the XR3 from Bontrager is designed to be a do-it-all trail or race
Bontrager used a 62a center knob durometer to further optimize rolling speed with a slightly softer 60a shoulder knob durometer to improve bite when on the edge. Despite the beefy side
As with all Bontrager gear and components the XR3’s carry an ‘Unconditional Guarantee’ warranty. If you are unhappy with the purchase simply return the item within 30 days (with original receipt) for an exchange or refund.
On the trail
For the varied terrain I ride I settled on a 18psi front and 24psi rear setup which offered a good compromise of rolling speed, traction and rim protection. I have done over 200km on these tyres and have a pretty good handle on their performance. The rolling speed is excellent. They absolutely chuck it along tar, loose gravel type surfaces, forest trails and singletrack. Naturally this good rolling speed assists and rewards climbing efforts.
The advantage of a bigger volume
At high speed the ability to hold a line, or make small corrections to bad line choice is good. The front tyre responds well to any steering / directional changes made. The performance in wet and muddy conditions is better than the small tread pattern suggests. I experienced very little clogging up of mud or mucky stuff.
The most impressive performance attributes are it’s cornering traction and supple feel on rougher trails. I’d say there is more rider confidence when tipping the bike into a turn knowing that the shoulder or edge knobs will bite in and prevent washing out. I experienced that for sure. On some of the trails, when really pushing it, I experienced a slight push of the
The 755gram, 29 x 2.4″ XR3 provides a great combination of rolling speed, corner traction and trail damping. Hard charging XC racers and trail riders will love the performance of this big volume, durable tyre. For certain race conditions – say on predictable courses which are very smooth – the lighter 29 x 2.2″ XR1 or XR2 is a good option but for pure versatility and confidence under all conditions – including unsighted trails – the XR3 is excellent.