The BontragerSE5 Team Issue TLR was a clear winner in our roll-down tests, so it’s a good choice if you want a reasonably open tread that still keeps speeds topped up on mellower terrain. Considering this, the tread clears remarkably well for a tyre that is far from a mud specialist. Braking traction is decent too and the short, siped shoulder blocks provide consistent, predictable cornering grip on loose ground.
As well as the testing done for this group test, we did some back-to-back testing against Maxxis’ benchmark High Roller II 3C EXO. The 995g SE5 felt noticeably more damped than Maxxis’ 890g EXO casing, with better sidewall support at low pressures and more traction through chattery ground.
On the other hand, the SE5’s relatively hard centre tread can be a bit slippery on wet rocks (though not as bad as WTB’s Fast Rolling compound). We also found the SE5 to be quite puncture prone for a 995g tyre. The SE5 suffered two punctures in the same period that the lighter High Roller II had none. Both were in the upper part of the casing in between the centre tread. We think it’s more than a coincidence, so beware if you’re a regular rock rider.
When compared to the other tyres on test, it’s not the most tenacious in off-camber turns, especially when wet rocks or roots are involved, but grip is otherwise impressive given the (relatively) quick rolling speed.