Bontrager XR4 and 29-4 All Mountain Tire

29er Pro Reviews Tires

Cornering

This where it’s won and lost as cornering is often the defining line between having fun and hitting the ground.  The Bontrager XR4 corners like a champ. It is consistent, predictable and it grabs a hold of the trail with authority. We ride a lot of loamy, bermed singletrack so we actually had to make the effort to ride loose terrain for the sake of tire testing.  For hero dirt singletrack, these tires grab with more to spare. In fact, we actually preferred putting the more XC XR1 tire in the rear just so we could slide the rear a bit and throw the bike around more.

On loose fire road, these tires hooked up.  We used the Team Issue as the gummy side knobs were really able to find side traction where it was scarce. We believe that the supple casing also helped this tire hook up in the rocky, loose trails of the Kennedy trail in Los Gatos, CA. The siping or cuts on the knobs of the tire seemed to help too as this tire was hooked up as we pushed it a little on some off camber turns.

Wet and Mud abilities

Again, this tire did very well. The open block pattern of the tire allowed it shed mud pretty well. Wet rocks and roots are pretty daunting but this tire with the soft casing and soft side knobs kept us upright.

Rolling Resistance.

Again, it seemed to roll pretty well. It’s not a race tire for sure but it never felt like a slow tire like the old Nevegal. For fast Strava runs, we put the Bontrager XR1 in the rear for speed and the XR4 in the front for traction.  Braking and climbing traction was excellent in all conditions for us.

Durability and Tubeless.

The tires came through with flying colors for us but we don’t have a ton of sharp rocks here in Norcal.  For tubeless, Michael Browne sent us some TLR (tubeless ready) versions and we pumped those up tubeless with no issues whatsover. We put some Stans fluid in and the setup never leaked.

Conclusion

We’re pretty darn impressed so far. The tires will definitely bring the best out of any Trek bike and we believe this can be a great component choice for any bike brand. If you have an All Mountain ultimate bike build, definitely take a look at these. If you want a balance of speed and grip, put these in the front and put the XR1s in the rear. 29er or 26er, these tires are a good choice.

We’ll keep riding them throughout the season and update this review.


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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • jeng says:

    yes there are sealing issues with these tires but I think that’s because they are so damn light. Take the good with the bad. My worst complaint with these tire is how hard the rubber is. Works great for loamy and loose over hard but not the best for wet rocks as I have found. Overall I find this tire to basically be the next generation Nevegal.. I would even call it the Nevegal II.

  • Estev says:

    I’ve got the original 29-4 tires front and rear, riding in central TX limestone, they grip and last. Will try the new generation when these wear out. Replaced the Nobby Nics with these, the Nics were gone and useless in a couple of hyundred miles.
    Great tire.
    Unlike my experiences with Bonti’s in the past, these sidewalls are not giving up.

  • JAYDMF says:

    When WTB discontinued the prowler Mx i was gutted, but then i found these, running the standard cheap 2.2 and 2.35 xr4s and theyre amazing. grip like hell no matter what, dont really change the feel that much at low pressure vs high so great in the winter. all round my favourite do it all tyre

  • Francis says:

    Great comments Estev and JAYDMF. Bontrager has really stepped it up with this one and we’re happy you guys are having similar experiences as us.

  • Ron Naiser says:

    Does anyone know how these tires (TLR) will seal up with Mavic 823 UST rims?
    Thanks for any advice.

  • sam says:

    I have bought a set of the 2.2′s XR4′s. Having gone through mostly every tyre and the reviews given, shown by the review by MTBR and the customer reviews, it looks like i made the right decision.

    Once ridden (either at cwmcarn or Afan-south wales uk) I will be on here to give my verdict.

    (Keep riding….even when its icey and dicey!)

  • Luis says:

    These tires are true 2.2 tires ! Light for their size and grippy as hell. These things definitely have traction. If you can grab um’ on sale, even better !!

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