The friendly folks of Magura Direct USA are not only distributing Vredestein tires in North America, they are also assisting in product development and testing as well. We are very happy to report that they’ve come up with a big, chunky, All Mountain tire called the Vredestein Bobcat. It is key for All Mountain applications now to have a big volume tire that can handle all the rocks, ruts and debris that demanding trails throw at you. Plus these tires seem to mate better with the new crop of wide rims, unlike low volume tires that get ‘squared-out’ quite a bit. And in the 27.5 wheel size, the extra height of the tires truly separates them from 26ers and provide a bit more wheel diameter.
The knobs on these tires are short, blocky and nicely supported. So there is little squirm when cornering hard. And with a good continuity in the center knob pattern, they roll much better than their appearance and girth would suggest. Rubber quality is not super soft and tacky but that seems to be one of Vredestein’s competitive advantages. Just like in road tires, they’ve figured out how to produce rubber that roll well with their Tricomp X Triple compound, which grip well and last a good bit of time.
And finally, there is a voila moment when it comes to weight. Sure All Mountain riders get all jazzed up about big tires. But then some are put back by the 1000+ gram weights. These 27.5 monsters weigh in at 775 grams and we are very impressed. The sidewalls are very pliable and that may be the secret to their svelte weight. But it’s not cloth thin like we see in many XC tires. How well will it hold up to jagged rocks and tire stabbing trail debris? Not as well as some of these ‘armor-clad’ tires we suspect. But we have a set now and we’ll put it through its paces. But for a balance of girth, tread, weight and tubeless compatibility, we’re pretty jazzed so far.
As far as initial impressions are concerned, we put a ride in at Sedona, AZ trails and a local ride in Waterdog, in Belmont, CA. Traction off the gates was not quite there but it really broke-in after one ride. Then we were really impressed by the cornering in very loose conditions. Transition to the cornering knobs was predictable and there was little squirm when cornering. We’ll put some knee pads on and try to break these tires loose soon. Ride quality is very smooth with the 120 TPI casing and rolling resistance seemed good too for such a big, beefy tire.
So all in all, we’re happy to see a new player in the All Mountain tire arena, the Vredestein Bobcat. It is available in 26, 27.5 and 29 in the 2.35 width. Pricing is $75 for the Tubeless Ready version and $70 for the regular version.
For more information visit www.vredestein.com.