Bontrager XR4 Team Issue TLR 2.2in mountain bike tyre review£32.99

An impressive all-rounder

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The XR4 is the first tyre we’ve tried from Bontrager’s new range, and it’s an impressive all-rounder. It’s a single-compound tyre with a relatively low but well spaced staggered centreline tread that steers well on the front and drives okay on the back. It clears pretty quickly in mud and you can rely on it biting during hard cornering or off-camber situations thanks to the big side lugs.

For a tyre that's listed as being 2.2in it's massive, too, with a rounded, rock-shrugging tubeless-ready carcass that bounces off boulders and sharp step edges with contempt. It's shrugged off several potentially rim-dinging hits so far. Despite running it through a dry, dusty September and October, then a vile winter, we’ve not found any ground conditions it doesn’t work well in.

Its reasonable rolling speed offsets its relatively heavy weight (718g) and it's lasting well too. The tread is shaped, siped with small cuts to improve grip in mud and ice, slightly directional and well spaced, so the tyre holds a line well under braking, drive in wet or loose dirt, and corner predictably at high loads. Rim permitting, it’s all ready to go tubeless with just a squirt of sealant inside, which broadens its pressure range. It's a fair price too. It takes patience to fit it evenly though.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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