Eurobike 2012: Tire Report Part III- by c_g

VREDESTEIN (www.vredestein.com) has last year been new to the 29er scene – we have already given their 3 available models Spotted Cat 2.0, Black Panther 2.2 and Black Panther Extreme 2.2 a good run (reviews here, here and here). We concluded the test of their Black Panther series with the hope to have the Black Panther Xtrac 2.2 become available for 2013 – and here it is, announced as a new product for the coming year .

The Black Panther Xtrac 2.2 will come with a 120 TPI casing (just like the other 29″er models) and be available in either a regualr folding (565 g) or in tubeless ready (590 g). If it shares the same tubeless characteristics (and why shouldn’t it) as the other three we had on test, then it should be a winner I that field- We are anticipating a test coming up next season.

At an entry level VREDESTEIN will also be adding the Desert Wolf 2.0. This tire has a even and easy rolling central tread with some grippier side knobs. It comes in a wire bead, 55 TPI version only and should be specifically interesting for commuters and gravel road riders, who sometimes stray into moderate mountain biking. Expect it to be a killer value tire.

For all other 29″er tires VREDESTEIN have managed to shave off an average of 10% in weight from the current models and now will be offering a range of 27.5“ models (same models and versions as in 29).

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Panasonic-daughter PANARACER also has shown a few new 29″er tires. Besides the well established classic Rampage 2.35 and the CG XC 2.25 we have seen three new designs.

All out for speed on hard and ordinarily dry surfaces is the Driver 29er Pro 2.2. By its minimal squared micro knobs, the finely articulated negative tread and the ramped side knobs this looks like a hot candidate for racers. In 2.2“ width the 590 g seem about right – though not exceptionally light.

New as well is the Comet 2.1 which is aiming at a similar terrain, but is less directed at competition and racing but more as a training hard pack tire. It comes in either a 60 TPI or a 30 TPI casing and is claimed to weigh 600 or 730 g respectively.

More as an all around tire, but still fast rolling, is the Soar 2.0. It comes in the same versions 60 TPI (folding) and 30 TPI (rigid) at 560 g and 690 g.

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RITCHEY (www.ritcheycomp.com) is another company bringing back the past into the present. Many of us well seasoned riders still remember the good´ol Z-Max and the new Shield is strongly based on this design (though with some contemporary tweaks in the exact knob shaping, we were told). I am not really sure if this is old news or not, but they were new to me, so I thought I´d share. I would be interested to see how it compares to all the new FEM based „modern treads“. Hopefully we will find out next year.

Tubular tires:

Tubulars for MTB will always be an exotic niche product – but for 2013 we see these tires stepping up to be more than dry conditions, hard pack tires only. What we saw and heard at Eurobike expands the options towards more aggressive and mixed conditions riding.

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XC 4 tubular

TUFO (www.tufo.com), the Czech tire manufacturer with a huge experience in tubulars is expanding their program in the above mentioned areas. The well accepted XC2 Plus 29“ (which we have reviewed last season here) is getting support from its larger volume brother XC4 29″er 2.2“ (210 TPI casing and around 600 g) and the mixed to wet conditions tire XC5 29″er 2.0“ (120 TPI casing and 590 g)

XC 5 tubular

All of TUFO´s 29er treads retail for € 89,90, are already available and come with a maximum pressure recommendation of 3.0 bar.

Besides tires, TUFO also offers 2 sets of 29″er tubular wheels – the Carbon rimmed Heron 29″er (ca. 1400 g, choice of different hub versions of the DT-SWISS 240 s – incl. lefty-specific – and retailing for € 1590 per set) or the alloy rimmed Alca 29″er (ca. 1600 g with DT-SWISS 350 hubs, for € 770.- or € 790 for the X-12 version). All prices do include a set of already mounted XC2 Plus 29″er 2.0“ tires.

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GEAX (www.geax.com), who had been the first to offer a 29er MTB tubular (the Saguaro 2.0), didn’t have anything new in their line for Eurobike, but have announced to expand their 29″er tub line with the mixed to wet weather Gato 1.9“ (one of our favorite AM tires in the 2.3 TNT version) and the among racers well liked Mezcal 1.9“ – of course with the supper supple 290 TPI Poly-cotton casing and latex inner tube.

Unfortunately there were no samples to be seen of photographed and no production date set either .

OK, this concludes our Eurobike coverage for tire news – next we will continue with other topics. Stay tuned.

RIDE ON,
c_g