In recent years, the big talking point when it came to tyres has been tubeless. We are big fans of losing the inner tubes in favour of the tubeless system for numerous reasons: its ability to run tyres at lower pressures, the elimination of pinch punctures and the way that tubeless sealants quickly seal up small holes without any fuss.
However, there is one thing that tubeless systems haven’t quite mastered — the feel of a top-quality cotton-cased tyre — which is exactly what Bontrager has delivered here with this all-new R4.
The 28mm R4 Open Classics is a totally new tyre compared to the brand’s standard R4. Yes, they share a similar cotton sidewall, but they receive a file-like textured tread on the gummy black rubber.
Its super-supple 320tpi [threads per inch] cotton casing is as close as you’ll get to handmade classic tubular tyres, which is impressive. Coupled with their 28mm size, they look to be the ideal fast winter tyre, featuring Bontrager’s Hardcase Lite puncture-protection strip.
On the road the R4s are simply luxurious, rolling with consummate ease, while the compliance of the casing helps to eliminate road buzz at its source. If you plan to venture over to the continent to ride any of the cobbled classic sportives, the R4s would make superb additions to your bike, not just for their smooth rolling prowess, but for the great grip they offer, too.
The R4s hold on to slick surfaces well and provide enough feel on the limit to stay on the safe side of traction.
On our scales they weigh in at 284g (claimed 280g) and, when fitted to a pair of Zipp 202 Firecrest CCL wheels, they measure 27.2mm wide. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these supple yet tough tyres for your fast winter miles.
Bontrager R4 Open Classics tyre specifications
Weight: 284g (280g claimed)
Max pressure: 110psi
Puncture protection: Hardcase Lite