Editors Note: Yeah, yeah…..another year end review! Tis the season! So, here are my favorite things that have passed through the Twenty Nine Inches review process during the past year. I want to point out a few parameters that I used for what I chose here.
1. The product had to be in the review process during the time period of December 2006 through to the end of November 2007. Reviews that are currently in process I did not include and will be eligible for my 2008 Top Ten list.
2. They had to be products or bicycles that I personally used during this period. Nothing any of the other Twenty Nine Inches staff reviewed on their own could be considered for my list. This list doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone but me, Guitar Ted.
That said, let’s get on with this……
Number Two: Bontrager’s Tubeless Ready System. After rumors of a tubeless tire system from Bontrager had been heard for at least three years running, the products finally saw the light of day over the course of 2007. With a promise of several tread designs and two wheel formats, Bontrager had the attention of 29″er freaks nation wide. Twenty Nine Inches recieved a Race X Lite wheel set, Bontrager Super Juice sealant, and two different tread designs to test out over the course of the year.
Why it made the list: This may not be the first tubeless ready system out for 29″ers per se’ (Stan’s No Tubes Crow and various rim pairings could be argued to be first), but Bontragers system is a “real world” system in that the tires are multi-condition, fully knobbed tires and the system is bullet proof. I saw first hand how the rim strip works and it provides an amazingly snug fit for the Bontrager Dry X and ACX Jones tires that I tried out. The Super Juice sealed the tires up so that they held air better than my tubed set ups did, and out in the dirt I never experienced any burping or otherwise negative performance traits due to the system itself. Bontrager may have seemed crazy for not going UST, but I say they are crazy like a fox. This system will only get better as new tires are introduced and the Rhythm wheel sets start popping up on trail bikes set up tubeless. Bontrager has an edge on the “approved” tubeless ready market and looks to be committed to holding down that first place for awhile.
My Two Cents: While supplies of tires and rim strips have been sporadic at best, the system is out and it works well. Really well. I have seen and held two other tread designs and know of a third that will be added to the arsenal of Tubeless Ready tires that Bontrager has on offer already. Compare that with the competitions one tire a piece and I think you can see that when it comes to “tested and approved” tubeless tire systems, Bontrager is way up the trail on this stuff. If Bontrager can get the supply problem squared away, it will rule the tubeless roost in ’08 unless there is a miracle of some sort coming that I don’t know about. For coming out with a tubeless ready system and having a variety of choices out of the box, Bontrager’s Tubeless Ready System gets the Number Two spot on the list this year.
What 29″er product did I choose at Number One for 2007? I saved the best for last on the last day of 2007!