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Sea Otter: Bontrager revamps road tire range

By:
James Huang
Published:
April 22, 2010, 9:31 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2010, 5:28 BST
Bontrager's unique Aero Wing feature fills in the gap between the tire casing and rim hook for smoother airflow.

Bontrager's unique Aero Wing feature fills in the gap between the tire casing and rim hook for smoother airflow.

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Bontrager's new clincher road tire collection will now wear an easier-to-understand naming system with the first letter denoting the intended usage and the following number the performance level.

Top-end treads are now called 'R4' and will be offered in three different variants, all with a lightweight PLUS sub-tread breaker belt and trick Aero Wing sidewall profiling, which fills in the gap between the tire casing and rim hook for smoother airflow.

The standard R4 weighs as little as 175g apiece and will be offered in both 700x23c and 25c widths, both with a soft 57a single-compound for grip and supple 220TPI casings. The more TT-specific R4 Aero drops the weight another 10g but subs in a narrower and taller oval-shaped 22mm profile and faster rolling 72a rubber that Bontrager claims will save nine seconds over 10km time trial or 3 ½ minutes over a full Ironman leg.

Bontrager will also offer a tubeless R4 using an airtight 700x23c 127TPI casing made by Hutchinson but a Bontrager-specified 75a tread compound. Weight climbs to 290g per tire but the total weight is still comparable to other high-performance tires when accounting for the tube.

The R4 and R4 TT will cost US$74.99 while the R4 Tubeless will add another US$5.

The second-tier R3 should strike a better balance of performance and durability for riders on a slightly tighter budget with its US$59.99 price tag and more cut-resistant 120TPI casing but still weighs in at just 185g. Aero Wing shaping and the PLUS breaker are also included here, plus a dual-compound 62a/57a slick tread.

The R3 will be available in seven colors, too, plus three sizes: 700x23c, 700x25c, and 650x23c.

The budget-priced US$29.99 R2 still uses Aero Wing and PLUS protection but subs in a tougher 60TPI casing, longer-wearing 62a/65a rubber, and a heavier 220g weight. Five colors will be available plus 23mm and 25mm widths in 700c diameters only.

Finally, the 60TPI, single-compound R1 skips the Aero Wing shaping and uses a heavier PLUS breaker but will be offered in a broader range of 700c sizes from 23 to 32c. Pricing is set at US$24.99.

In the seating department, Bontrager's inForm saddle range will expand to more off-road specific designs with the new Evoke range, which feature rounded tails for easier maneuverability, fatter and flatter noses for better control on steep climbs, gender-specific central depressions, and abrasion-resistant corners. All five models will be offered in a trio of widths, each with a specific curvature that Bontrager claims will more evenly distribute pressure for more comfort.

The top-end US$139.99 Evoke RXL is the most minimal of the range with a thin Zone Density padding underneath the leather cover. Hollow titanium rails support a carbon-reinforced nylon shell for a light 195g package.

The second-tier US$89.99 Evoke RL uses thicker Zone Density padding and swaps in a synthetic cover but will be offered in both men's and WSD models, the latter featuring a more pronounced depression, broader widths and specific shell shapes and curvatures. Claimed weight is 235g for the medium size.

Likewise, the standard Evoke will also be available in men's and women's models, both with a nylon shell, hollow chromoly rails, and single-density padding. Weight climbs to 290g but pricing is quite affordable at just US$59.99.

As before, all Bontrager saddles will carry a 30-day unconditional comfort guarantee.

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