Bontrager boasts best-in-class with new all-weather road tires

AW tires have high-puncture protection but low-rolling resistance

Typically with road tires, you can have a lightweight performance tire with low rolling resistance, or you can have a sturdy but portly training tire with good puncture resistance. With its new line of AW tires, Bontrager claims to have the best of both worlds. The top model, the $65/£34.99 AW3 Hard-Case Lite, has lower rolling resistance than competitors' similar tires, Bontrager claims.

The AW2 and AW3 also feature a nod to aerodynamics, with 'Aero Wing' extensions on the side that are designed to smooth airflow between tire and wheel.

'Aero Wings' on the AW2 and AW3, designed to smooth air flow

According to Bontrager's figures, the AW3 Hard-Case has lower rolling resistance than other high-performance protection tires, including the Continental GP Four Season, the Schwalbe Ultremo Aqua and the Specialized AC Armadillo Elite. 

While Bontrager did not divulge the actual resistance numbers, the company claimed a difference of about 15 watts at 20mph, and as much as 25 watts at higher speeds. Bontrager did not say how the AW3 compared to a race clincher without an Aramid or similar flat-protection belt

The AW line ranges includes the $30/£22.99 AW1 Hard-Case Lite, the $40/£29.99 AW2 Hard-Case Lite and the $65/£34.99 AW3 Hard-Case Lite. These tires feature a narrow Aramid flat-protection belt down the center of the tire. 

There are also two tires with an additional flat-protection layer that runs the full width of the tire: the $45/£29.99 AW1 Hard-Case and the $70/£34.99 AW3 Hard-Case. 

An exploded view showing the green hard case protection layer: an exploded view showing the green hard case protection layer
An exploded view showing the green hard case protection layer: an exploded view showing the green hard case protection layer
The (green) Aramid protection layer sits between the rubber and the 120tpi casing on the AW3

The AW3 Hard-Case Lite comes in 23 and 25mm widths, both with a 120tpi casing. The middle AW2 come in 23, 25 and 28mm widths with a less-supple 60tpi casing. Finally, the AW3 comes in 23, 25, 28 and 32mm widths with a 60tpi casing, and weights between 305 and 390g. Weights were not provided on the other two models, but they are almost certainly lighter.

BikeRadar will be testing these tires soon and will post a review in the near future.

Bontrager's new aw line of tires: bontrager's new aw line of tires
Bontrager's new aw line of tires: bontrager's new aw line of tires
Bontrager's new (l to r) AW1, 2 and 3 high-performance, high-protection tires

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA
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