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  1. #1
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    Maxxis or Bontrager Tire Question

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I just got into MTBing over this past summer. I live on the front range in Colorado and really like the downhill fun it has to offer. However, you have to earn the fun.

    This being said, I bought myself a new 2018 Trek Fuel and it came with Bontrager TI XR4 tires. I have switched the rear tire to a Bontrager TI SE3. So far no complaints but Iíve read and see so many other riders swearing by the Maxxis DHF front DHR II rear combo. I am willing to buy these tires to see what the hype is about but I wanted to get your opinion first. So, would they be better?

    Also, I have everything in the garage to go tubeless but want to settle on tires before I make the mess. Looking forward to hearing from my fellow MTB addicts.

  2. #2
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    My 2017 EX-8 27.5+ came with Chupacabras. Wasn't happy with the traction. I ride technical single track and trail. Went with the DHF/DHRII combo. A huge upgrade with traction but a noticeable increase in rolling resistance. Changed the rear tire to a Maxxis Rekon + tire and noticed less rolling resistance without giving up much in the traction/braking department. Just recently also went Rekon + up front too as I wanted to find a happy medium in regards to weight/rolling resistance for climbing and overall riding. If I was doing mainly DH I would probably stick to the DHF/DHRII combo for the grip, cornering and overall tire toughness. I have no experience with either XR4 or SE3 tires. I give a thumbs up overall for Maxxis though.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. I shouldíve mentioned I have 29er tires. I guess your feedback could be parallel, though.

    Sounds like we ride the same terrain. Colorado climbs are no joke so rolling resistance is a consideration for sure.

    The Bontrager tires have good reviews but compared to Maxxis, I donít think a lot of people have tried them.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAWLESS23 View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I shouldíve mentioned I have 29er tires. I guess your feedback could be parallel, though.

    Sounds like we ride the same terrain. Colorado climbs are no joke so rolling resistance is a consideration for sure.

    The Bontrager tires have good reviews but compared to Maxxis, I donít think a lot of people have tried them.
    I knew you didn't have a plus bike based on the section of your post. Just figured I would give you a perspective even with the 27.5+. The rolling resistance concerned me related to keeping up with my group on level or nearly level terrain, not so much climbing although rolling faster into a climb and having less weight to push up is certainly helpful. I was waiting for the Bontrager XR4 Team Issue's, and waiting, and waiting. They kept getting pushed back so I went with Maxxis. They say things happen for a reason.

  5. #5
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    If you want a set of 29" minions, you can have mine. I hated them. My front end washed out several times before I gave up on them.

    I like the Specialized Ground Control that I have on the rear. I have a Specialized Purgatory on the front, and it's ok. I too live on the front range.

  6. #6
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    I just switched out a set of DHR/DHF tires for XR4s. The Bontrager tires generally have more rounded tread profiles and a wider carcass in a given size which work better on wider rims than do the Maxxis. It depends on the conditions, your riding and preferences as to which is better. I also ride a set of XR3s which do feel like they have less rolling resistance than the XR4 without giving up much traction.

    SEs have tougher carcasses and are heavier than XRs. According to the spex they have a bit softer tread too...slightly optimized more for down than up.
    Do the math.

  7. #7
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    In the past easch had different beads that setup tubeless easier with certain rims.

    If you have Bonti rims, the Bonti tires are more likely to set up more easily on your Bonti rims.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by unrealityshow View Post
    If you want a set of 29" minions, you can have mine. I hated them. My front end washed out several times before I gave up on them.

    I like the Specialized Ground Control that I have on the rear. I have a Specialized Purgatory on the front, and it's ok. I too live on the front range.
    I used to run the same Specialized combo. The XR4 TE front and XR3 TE rear was the first combo that I like out of everything I tried when I decided to dump anything Specialized.
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  9. #9
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    If you want traction along with speed, keep the tires you have. I have SE4's on my Slash and they are awesome. Lot's of traction and still easy to get the tires rolling.

    The DHF is a aggressive tire.; Crap load of traction on the Downhill but it takes a little to keep them going on flat trails.

    XR4/XR3 is a damn good solid combo as said,
    Too Many .

  10. #10
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    Honestly, as a big fan of Maxxis tyres, I'd say give those Bontis a go and only look to change them out if you feel they're letting you down in some way - I personally wouldn't dump perfectly good, new tyres like that. That combo should serve you well in CO, especially since you guys don't ride when trails are wet and the Bonti casings are very good and easy to setup tubeless.

    As to not wanting to deal with the mess of setting up tubeless, there really isn't any, it's very easy and not messy once you do it right and swapping tyres isn't a big deal, especially the Bonti system. Make sure to use the Bonti TLR rim strips and it's easy a pie, having a compressor on hand might help, but in my experience with Bonti tyres, a floor pump should work just fine to seat them.
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  11. #11
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    If they are the new tread pattern XR4s, they are a really, really nice tire.

    If you decide you don't want them, let me know! They are rarer than teeth on a chicken, and I have them on ALL of my bikes.


    Also, tires that someone else likes MAY NOT be good for you. Tires are designed with certain terrain and riding in mind. Different tires for different terrain.
    I may love the XR2, because I ride only hardpack, smooth stuff.
    I may like the XR4 because I ride only very tacky dirt with lots of rocks.
    I may like the Maxxis DH(F/R) because I ride only downhill, and don't care about weight.

    Don't make the mistake of "someone across the country loves it, I will too".

    My brother had a set of DHF and DHR on his Stumpjumper. Never heard someone complain so much about tires slipping. ALL THE TIME. He kept trying different pressures and such, but just never was happy at ALL with those tires.
    One ride we were out, I had him try my bike with the old design XR4, XR3 combo, and he threw away the DHF/DHR the next day, and got a set of XRs.
    There were a lot of wet roots on the ride I had him try mine.

    I HATE the old design XR4 in the rear, liked it in the front. I LOVE the new one in the rear and front. Tires are an experiment though!
    "Go soothingly in the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon"

  12. #12
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    xr4 rolls better, less overall traction. if you don't mind a bit of extra effort the dhf in 3c terra and an aggressor in DC out back would be my vote. the dhr2 if you ride muddy trails more, aggressor i think is better in the dry. less rolling resistance and similar traction.

    xr4 is a nice large volume rock tire, probably would work well in utah, parts of so cal. in colorado it's basically like oregon where i am. DHF / aggressor or dhf/dhr2 if you go wt

    if you ride wet / loose at all a 2.35 hans damf speedgrip and 2.35 magic mary soft are a notch up in traction over the dhf and with similar rolling resistance. you just won't have as thick of a sidewall. the 2.35 is about the same width as the 2.4/2.5 wt but over 200g less per tire

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I used to run the same Specialized combo. The XR4 TE front and XR3 TE rear was the first combo that I like out of everything I tried when I decided to dump anything Specialized.
    I've been looking really hard for a SE4 to try up front. I liked the XR3 in the back, so when I finally find an SE4, I'll try the 4/3 combo.

  14. #14
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    I would wear out those stock tires as you gain the confidence and skill to be able to take advantage of better tires. I'd use them tubeless, it isn't a big deal to set up.

  15. #15
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    I have the DHF/Aggressor combo on my 29 and love it.

    Have the XR4 Team Issue on my Remedy 27.5....My experience is the traction is much better than the minions. After washing out a couple of times with DHF/DHR II, I put the Xr4's back on..

  16. #16
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    Your comment just proves how true your statement is, because I have had the opposite experience to you with my Maxxis tyres vs Bonti when it comes to wet roots/rocks. Running XR3 Team Issue, Sketchy as fock, whereas the 3C Maxxis at least give as much semblance of grip on those surfaces as a tyre can, that you don't feel like you'll die soon and can actually ride. If you want tyres that really shine in those conditions, the On One Chunky Monkey and Smorgasbord are it it the Trail Extreme compound.

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    Also, tires that someone else likes MAY NOT be good for you. Tires are designed with certain terrain and riding in mind. Different tires for different terrain....................Don't make the mistake of "someone across the country loves it, I will too".

    My brother had a set of DHF and DHR on his Stumpjumper. Never heard someone complain so much about tires slipping. ALL THE TIME. He kept trying different pressures and such, but just never was happy at ALL with those tires.
    One ride we were out, I had him try my bike with the old design XR4, XR3 combo, and he threw away the DHF/DHR the next day, and got a set of XRs.
    There were a lot of wet roots on the ride I had him try mine.

    I HATE the old design XR4 in the rear, liked it in the front. I LOVE the new one in the rear and front. Tires are an experiment though!
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  17. #17
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    Thanks for the feedback and replies! Sounds like I have a good setup as it is - just need to convert to tubeless now.

    Is there an easy way to tell if I have the newer version of XR4s? It is a 2018, so they should be the newer version, right?

  18. #18
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    One variable missing in this discussion is relative speed. Let me explain. I am slow. Tires like the DHR and Purgatory help me hook up front and rear, cornering in the front and big knobs grabbing whatever they can grab in the rear. I give my tires time to grab hold. People I know are fast. They can get away with smaller knobs in the rear, even though they still go with a fairly aggressive knobby in the front for cornering, or not. I like to stay planted, but they like to fly. They don't give their tires time to worry about hooking up. It is all about friction and playfulness for them.

  19. #19
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    XR4 front, SE3 rear is a very solid combo, fast rolling good grip and pretty tough; my go to short travel bike combo is either that or SE4 front SE3 rear. I've run the DHF/DHRII combo before and for your uses I would stick with the Bontis. FWIW I've moved on from Minions after spending more time/money than I care to admit testing different tires...

  20. #20
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    Ran a DHF 2.3 on my fs 29er in the past & thing looked more like a 2.2 o_0

    Also tried a 3C DHR II 2.3 out back, it was like running in Molasses!!

    On my 29er AM HT I run Hans Dampf Evo SS Tsc up front & it's a stellar tyre.

    Out back I bounce around depending on terrain/weather...

    *If I need grip, I'll go Michelin Wild AM 2.35... an awesome tyre.

    *Endurance events & I'll slap on a Schwalbe Rock Razor Evo SS Psc 2.35

    *Also have an XR4 & XR3 sitting in the wings, but I don't really get along w/ either >.<

    i.e. XR3 is an out & out XC tyre, but I lean more towards gravity feed...

    The XR4 has good straight line stopping, but lacks bite when leant over.

    I run a DHRII 2.3 on my 650b Enduro rig... but, it's more of a dry weather specialist.

    PS - also have a Michelin Wild AM 27.5x2.35, for out back when things get greasy - b/c I feel it's that good.

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  21. #21
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    Maxxis actually makes Bontrager tires. The fundamentals of the tires are similar. The main difference is Bontrager tires are built with a little less sofisticated rubber compounds.

    This means that the tires are a bit harder, which has some benefits. A harder tire last longer, and will often roll a bit quicker. The main draw back is harder rubber compounds donít work particularly well in cold or wet conditions.
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  22. #22
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    If I could afford it I would go Magic Mary in front and Maxxis Aggressor in the rear (looks like the perfect rear tire). I ride in the front range which seems to be either granite or desert.

    I had an XR4 (old gen) in front and have tried Hans Dampf and Minion DHF. The Hans Dampf has incredible hardpack grip, even on bad ruts they just stuck to the sides while the rear washed out. I havent ridden on the Minions enough to make a decision on if they are better than the Hans Dampfs but I think they are both better than the XR4.

    I moved the XR4 to the rear and I swear it has less grip than the XR3, maybe I have had bad luck with conditions but when braking in granite it wants to slide around really bad. I didnt notice the bike doing that as much with the XR3. Old XR4 is definitely best as a front tire, the new one looks kind of like an Aggressor so it might be great for the rear.

    XR4 is a good (maybe the best) lightweight all around tire, but for max grip in desert like conditions the Hans Dampf is in a different league, and for loose granite and sand I think something like a DHF is best. Im still not sure if the DHF is a better aggressive-allrounder than the Hans.

  23. #23
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    With respect to the exact tires you've asked about, the Bontrager have better traction in mixed wet/dry conditions. If it's always dry when you ride, then the Maxxis have a small advantage.

    I love DHF's, but not ever when it's wet.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    With respect to the exact tires you've asked about, the Bontrager have better traction in mixed wet/dry conditions. If it's always dry when you ride, then the Maxxis have a small advantage.

    I love DHF's, but not ever when it's wet.
    this surprised me about the dhf as well. dry traction is really good. wet......is just not on the same level as a magic mary which i always thought of as it's direct competitor

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post
    If I could afford it I would go Magic Mary in front and Maxxis Aggressor in the rear (looks like the perfect rear tire). I ride in the front range which seems to be either granite or desert.

    I had an XR4 (old gen) in front and have tried Hans Dampf and Minion DHF. The Hans Dampf has incredible hardpack grip, even on bad ruts they just stuck to the sides while the rear washed out. I havent ridden on the Minions enough to make a decision on if they are better than the Hans Dampfs but I think they are both better than the XR4.

    I moved the XR4 to the rear and I swear it has less grip than the XR3, maybe I have had bad luck with conditions but when braking in granite it wants to slide around really bad. I didnt notice the bike doing that as much with the XR3. Old XR4 is definitely best as a front tire, the new one looks kind of like an Aggressor so it might be great for the rear.

    XR4 is a good (maybe the best) lightweight all around tire, but for max grip in desert like conditions the Hans Dampf is in a different league, and for loose granite and sand I think something like a DHF is best. Im still not sure if the DHF is a better aggressive-allrounder than the Hans.
    www.merlincycles.com

    buy your magic marys here. also the hans damf is somewhat similar to an aggressor and you can keep the resistance down by using speed grip on the damf and soft on the mary. shipped to the usa i paid like 110 a pair from merlin. both tires snakeskin 2.35. i HIGHLY recommend the addix tires over the older pacestar/trailstar

    you just don't buy schwalbe from usa retailers. price is too high

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Maxxis actually makes Bontrager tires...
    IDK who makes Bontrager tires, but Maxxis is a Chen Shin brand, so it's Chen Shin that makes Maxxis, and probably a lot of other brand tires as well.
    Do the math.

  27. #27
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    Give the WTB Vigilante/ Trailboss combo a try, you will not be disappointed. It's a do everything and do it well combo. Plus you'll be saving a bit compared to those other overpriced rubbers.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Running XR3 Team Issue...
    .

    I put a set of XR2's on my Scarp, for a light, fast race tire.
    We had so much rain in the spring, the two races I do, I did not trust the XR2. Two days before the first race, I put XR4's on. I figured traction was far better than rolling resistance or speed (as traction is speed in rocks/roots!)

    The XR2 (and the XR3's I've run before) are indeed sketchy when wet. I found the NEW XR4 (stupid soft rubber) to grip like you said, about as good as you can expect for wet rubber on wet rock or wood!
    "Go soothingly in the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon"

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