Sea Otter 2009: Bontrager 29″er Tires- Sneak Peek

I was told at Trek World 2008 that a new design team was tasked at Bontrager with re-designing the entire 29″er tire line up at Bontrager starting with the now released XR-1. I also heard rumors of a more aggressive tread, with a central “ribbed section” for less rolling resistance and aggressive side knobs for climbing and traction. Well, it looks like that project is coming to fruition. Not only that, but another tread design, the 29-3 is being developed as well.

This is the dealer copy detailing the new FR-3 29"er tire benefits.

This is the dealer copy detailing the new FR-3 29"er tire benefits.

These are specific 29″er tire designs and have been thoroughly field tested by Trek/Bontrager riders including Travis Brown.  Here we can see that the designers even differentiated the tread for the narrower two inch version of the 29-3.
The FR-3 gets a different pattern in the two inch size.

The FR-3 gets a different pattern in the two inch size.

A central ridge, or rib section, gives this design lower rolling resistance.

A central ridge, or rib section, gives this design lower rolling resistance.

I mentioned earlier the central ribbed tread design I had heard about and the following image shows this quite clearly.  This tread will also be offered in a 26 inch version. Of course, all these will be TLR type tires that will work with Bontrager’s excellent Tubeless ready wheel systems.
Stay tuned for more Sea Otter coverage coming soon!

4 Responses to “Sea Otter 2009: Bontrager 29″er Tires- Sneak Peek”

  1. Captain Bob Says:

    Cool! This is exciting news.

  2. Chris Says:

    I just posted the following on MTBR ( after seeing you guys put this up…

    … Since this is now “public”… I can say that the “29-3” as it appears they’re called, in the 2.25 size are pretty darn nice! I’ve been riding these for about a month now in a myriad of conditions: mud, sand, hardpack, mild roots and rocks, and generally tacky soil. I happen to be running the 2.25 front and rear.

    Also, I can vouch for how well they work tubeless. I’m running them on C29ssmax wheels, and they mounted up with ease – I was able to get them to mount using my floor pump and some Stans (the Stans probably wasn’t even necessary, but I always use it). They are mounted on my full rigid Niner MCR9 and I’m running about 20psi in front, and 25psi in back. The front I’m still futzing with pressure wise, might be able to go lower, but the rear I found I liked at about 25, much lower and it just got too squishy for my 180lb carcass (yes, I’m down from that 190-195 I was last summer as mentioned in my prior post).

    I should be trying out the rear/2.0 pretty soon, but generally I don’t touch tires of that size. However, with that said, the “2.25” is pretty large. It’s not quite as big as the WW 2.55 LT’s, but it’s close enough, with way more grip/traction, that I believe these will be my tire of choice for the summer (will likely still run Mountain Kings for winter). They actually were friggin outstanding on wet rocks in the winter, when weighted, but if it was pretty muddy then the 2.25 as a rear tire just didn’t work for me (which really, if you look at the tread, makes complete sense). I am hoping we’ll see them do some even bigger tires, but really, given how well these mount and work tubeless (a big win in my book), the volume being large enough, and the better traction/tread, they’ll beat out the WW’s for me this year.

  3. Arleigh Says:

    Chris – thanks for the love man! We love our Bontrager tires, some folks have negative things to say but they have a wide selection and stand behind their product

  4. Chris Says:

    Bontrager also has some new FR-3’s that are even larger coming. I’ve blogged about them, including showing pictures and how they compare in size and such to the 29-3’s and WeirWolf 2.55 LT’s on my blog:

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