The basic layout of these new XC/trail tyres is a cross between a Specialized Resolution and a Maxxis CrossMark.
The side and intermediate knobs give more grip and predictability than their size might suggest thanks to softer compound edges, while the harder compound centre tread gives this tyre a serious turn of speed. Plus, at 480g for the 2.0inch version they're not heavy either.
We initially went to Frejus in the South of France to test the Vredestein Black Panthers. We were impressed, but on unfamiliar soil and someone else's bikes, it's always hard to tell. Back on British soil and a familar bike (Turner 5 Spot) the Black Panthers have more than proven their mettle on the unusually dry south-west singletrack.
In fact, because they've been on a 5in full suss they've been pushed harder and faster than perhaps Vredestein intended for this XC race specification tyre, and proven more than capable.