Bontrager's XR4 is one of the best ‘do anything’ hoops of rubber we’ve tried. Pitched at cross-country riders, it's available in 2.2in and 2.35in widths, but is much better directed at all-mountain abuse.
Our 2.35in wire-bead, 60tpi sample weighed in at a hefty 881g – too big boned for real cross-country use. However, the lighter (760g, 120tpi), aramid bead Team Issue version that shares its rubber and tread pattern should be on every trail rider’s wishlist.
An open, beefy pattern gives the XR4 a ‘nothing special’ look, but it’s a sterling performer. We put it through its paces on steep, wet roots, dry forest loam, Mediterranean limestone gravel and bedrock, and even snow, and it stayed on course with ease.
A rounded profile and supportive side lugs ensure a nice, smooth transition into cornering and very controlled drift and its centre line of staggered lugs keeps it rolling fast without compromising forward grip on climbs. We even found ourselves steering towards off-camber wet roots just to see how much control these tyres could deliver.