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Bontrager R3 Hard Case Lite TLR 28mm tyre review

A mixed bag from Trek’s component arm

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £50.00 RRP | USD $60.00 | EUR €60.00 | AUD $80.00
Bontrager R3 Hard Case Lite TLR 28mm road tyre

Our review

A tough, durable tyre but needed inflating between rides
Pros: Durable; tough; grippy; light
Cons: Tricky to fit; narrow
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The Bontrager R3 Hard Case Lite TLR tyre offers good puncture resistance and durability with enough comfort for smoothing poorly maintained roads.


The R3 sits near the top of the pile in the Bontrager range, one peg below the pro-ready R4 series, and above the more affordable R1 and R2 lines.

Installing the tyres wasn’t the breeze that some tubeless tyres can be and a tubeless inflator was needed to boost the tyre beads into place. Once fitted with sealant, they initially wouldn’t stay inflated for long but after a short ride they settled down and air retention was okay, though they needed topping up more often than others.

They also measure narrower than other tyres, coming in at 27.3mm in a 19mm internal rim width, which made me feel a bit short-changed.

The TR-Speed rubber compound provides low rolling resistance and offers high levels of cornering grip. Rows of dimples on the shoulder are claimed to increase traction and confidence in the corners, and while the R3s perform well in the bends, it’s difficult to attribute to the tread pattern.

Whatever the reason, these tyres are tough and proved adequately durable on some very broken roads.

The sidewalls lend good support to the carcass, enabling low pressures to be enjoyed without the tyre deforming undesirably. They don’t feel as supple as others but lower pressures increase comfort.


A ‘Nylon 105’ breaker belt prevents foreign objects from cutting through the rubber, and they didn’t feel as delicate as others I had on test.

How we tested

We put 12 tubed and tubeless clincher 28mm road tyres head-to-head to see which you should spend your money on.

28mm is considered the sweet-spot width for rolling speed, comfort and weight, with wider tyres offering lower rolling resistance and more traction. Even though they’re heavier and less aero than 23mm tyres, for example, the positives can outweigh the negatives, especially over long-distance cyclists.

Tyres are an easy upgrade, too, and add more comfort to your ride with a greater volume of air between you and rough roads.

Product Specifications


Price AUD $80.00EUR €60.00GBP £50.00USD $60.00
Weight 310g (700C x 28mm)
Brand Bontrager


TPI 170
Bead Folding
Puncture protection Hard-Case Lite
Sizes 25, 28, 32mm