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.
'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.
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 (l to r) AW1, 2 and 3 high-performance, high-protection tires