Big Earl is the name for Bontrager’s excellent freeride components. The Big Earl tyres are available in Wet or Dry versions to suit the conditions; we’ve tested the Wet model.
At 2.35in wide, the carcass gives bags of flotation and a wide, stable footprint. The tread is relatively straightforward with fairly large, well defined square blocks arranged in a sort of fan pattern. As a wet weather tyre it can cope with sloppy mud, digging in to search for traction and most times finding it.
The tread is open enough that at moderate rolling speed the tyre self cleans.
This tyre is on the wide side but it will fit most bikes, with enough mud space left over and it could find favour on freeride or downhill rigs. Sure, some rock-loving riders will look at the thin(ish) sidewalls and stick with their solidsidewall, pinch-proof tyres by Michelin, Intense and Kenda, but that would be to ignore a tyre that has undoubted pedigree when the going is soft.
The tyre’s best attribute is its predictability front or rear – the slide it says you’re going to get is the slide you get, and nine times out of 10, you can catch it before a slide becomes a fall. Highly recommended.