Bontrager Tubeless Ready System 29"er Wheel Set/Dry X Tires: First Impressions

The Bontrager Tubeless Ready wheel set, which I have already covered here, has been finally paired up with the Dry X Tubeless Ready tires and ridden out in the woods a few times. I am now ready to give you some first impressions on how the system works, and rides.

First, I must say that the Dry X tires I recieved for review were pre-production models. There are some minor details that will be a bit different in the final production pieces like the correct hot patch and a cleaning up of the radial mold release lines to aid in preventing fast leak down. (Although, I found it wasn’t that big a problem with the tires I had.

The Dry X is going to be offered in two versions and in two widths. The two different versions only differ in that one has a 60TPI layer on the sidewalls to beef them up and increase durability. Of course, they weigh just a smidgen more than the other, non beefed up version. Bontrager calls this protective layer the “AR” casing for “abraision resistant”. My tires were the lighter, standard Dry X tires.

The tires also come in two widths, 2.1″ and 1.75″. The 2.1’s I recieved actually measured out to 53mm wide, just like the hot patch said. Cool! The tread is made up of several smaller concave sided square blocks on a highly crowned casing.

The tires seated up on the rims using a floor pump. I had to take the pressure up to 60psi to fully seat the beads, but they did snap into place with loud pops. Once backed down to close to zero psi, I added the Bontrager Super Juice sealant into the removable core presta valves, aired backed up to 35psi, and went out for a short ride. Bontrager recommends a short 20 minute spin after adding sealant to fully seal the inner casing of the tires to help slow leakdown. These tires weighed in at 620 grams a piece, by the way. Super light! (Pre production, by the way, so production tires may weigh more!)

The first few rides were a revelation in how fast a 29″er tire can be. Wow! Talk about noticing a difference. I ran them for the first few rides at 35 psi, but then went lower, down into the upper 20’s. I didn’t feel a whole lot of confidence in going much lower, as the tires light casing was starting to flex and show signs of wanting to roll over at that pressure. I weigh in at 240lbs, by the way, so lighter riders might fare better.

Then I got to riding them off road. As long as there is some what of a soft, tread pierce-able surface to ride on, these tires worked great. They did well on dry rocks too. However; when put on hard pack with a light dusting of dirt, and when you combined that with off camber trail surfaces, it got ugly really quick. I chalk this up to the rounded casing and the minimal height of the side knobs. At the extreme angles that resulted from the off camber trail in combination with the relatively narrow Bontrager rim, the tire would want to slip, fold over, and generally slide out to the down hill side which made for some wicked pile ups. I backed off a bit and was able to salvage the ride, but at speed it was “hairy sketch” in the loose over hardpack conditions on that day.

To be fair, the trail I was running these tire and wheels on wasn’t a typical XC type of course. More of a technical trail. That said, if the course is demanding, you may want to draw from some of the other tires in the Bontarger arsenal. The wheels held up really well, although I managed to tweak out the front wheel when I crashed in a “G out” that sent me off line into a barbeb wire fence! The tire was damaged too, which required a tube to repair. The sealant not being able to handle the hole punctured in it by a barb in the sidewall. I will say that the high side laoding on some of the off camber did result in some lateral wheel flex that could be felt. Nothing I couldn’t deal with though.

My current thoughts on this system is that it is super fast, easy to use, light weight, and would be a great system to use in a typical XC setting. The AR casing might be a wise choice for areas with sharp rocks and thorns. For technical trail riding, the Rhythm wheelset, with it’s wider stance and Tubeless Ready design would make for a much more stable platform for any of the Tubeless Ready tires to work off of.

I’ll post back with further updates after I get some more miles on these in different conditions.

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No Responses to “Bontrager Tubeless Ready System 29"er Wheel Set/Dry X Tires: First Impressions”

  1. shiggy Says:

    I just built a set of Bonty Race X Lite TR rims on 240s/XTR hubs, mix of Comp/SuperComp spokes, and mounted the Dry X. No issues at all with sealing. Feels VERY fast and light on the short paved ride today. Will be riding them in the dirt tomorrow night.

    Interesting that my pre=production pair is ~2mm wider and 100g heavier (typo in your post?)

    BTW my wheelset came in a ~1825g without the rimstrips and valves but with the Centerlock to IS rotor adaptor on the XTR hub.

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    shiggy: Typo, yes. I have it corrected now, thank you. 🙂

  3. carno Says:

    Here is another dry x review:

    http://mod-spot.blogspot.com/2007/06/impressions.html#comments

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