Goodyear mountain bike tires? That's right, one of the world's largest automotive tires manufacturers is entering the cycling realm with a line of mountain, road, and gravel tires. It's not the first time that Goodyear has made bike tires – they actually got their start as a bicycle and carriage tire company all the way back in 1898 – but this will be their first real entrance into the higher end arena.
The initial mountain bike lineup consists of four models – the Peak, Escape, Newton, and Newton ST. The Peak and the Escape are designed for XC and trail bikes, while the Newton and Newton ST are intended for more aggressive riding. The tires are manufactured in Taiwan, but, according to Goodyear, the compounds used are proprietary, and only found in Goodyear tires.
One of the best proving grounds for a tire is the World Cup DH circuit, and Goodyear
eventually plan to have riders competing in that realm on their tires. That won't happen until they develop a few more models, though, in order to have options that cover the full range of possible track conditions. That way there shouldn't be any reason for their athletes to run a competitor's tire with the hot patch covered in black Sharpie. Peak
The Peak uses Goodyear's fastest rolling AT compound, and is intended for XC riders with a focus on speed. It'll be available in two sizes, 29 x 2.25” and 27.5 x 2.25”. Price: $60-$70 USD.Escape
The Escape is intended to be an all-round trail tire, with a rounder profile and medium height siped, square knobs for grip. There will be 2.35” and 2.6” widths for 27.5 and 29-inch wheels. Price: $65 - $80 USD.Newton
The Newton is available with either a 1.5 ply EN casing, or a dual-ply DH casing. There are also two different compound possibilities – Dynamic R/T and Dynamic RS/T. The R/T compound is designed for all-round usage, while the RS/T compound is softer, and intended for conditions where traction is more of a priority than rolling speed. There will be 2.4” and 2.6” options for both 27.5 and 29-inch wheels. Price: $70-$90 USD.Newton ST
Like the Newton, the ST version is available in either an Enduro or DH casing, and with either a Dynamic R/T compound or a Dynamic RS/T compound. The tread pattern isn't wildly different than the Newton, but the ST's side knobs don't have as much of an L shape, and the center tread gets a rectangular shaped block interspersed with the square blocks. There will be 2.4” and 2.6” options for both 27.5 and 29-inch wheels. Price: $70- $90 USD.Initial Impressions
I mounted up a 29 x 2.6” Newton ST and a Newton without any issues – the thicker casing gives the tire some shape even before it's inflated, which facilitates getting it set up tubeless. Neither tire is especially light; the ST weighed in at 1130 grams, and the Newton checked in at 1250 grams, although Goodyear did say that these are from the first production run, and they're expecting the next batch to come in around 100 grams lighter – we'll see how that turns out.
The handful of rides I've been on so far have all either been wet or partially wet, which are pretty typical conditions until July here in the Pacific Northwest. The tires' blocky tread pattern works well at cutting through the slop, and although the center knobs aren't quite as tall as something like a Maxxis Shorty, they still managed to dig in to provide grip in slippery conditions. The R/T compound is on the firmer side of the spectrum, but so far the amount of traction it provides has been surprisingly predictable on wet rocks and roots. Still, I'd be curious to try out the softer RS/T compound to see how much difference that makes. As it is, I could see the R/T compound being a good option for riders who frequent harder packed, rocky trails, terrain where a longer lasting rather than a super sticky compound makes more sense.
I did find that the Newton ST's profile was a little more squared off then I would have liked for a front tire. On a 30mm rim there wasn't much difference between the side knob and center tread height, and the tire had a distinct on / off feel when cornering. I personally prefer a slightly rounder tread profile up front, and a more square profile in the rear.
For that reason the Newton has been working very well as a rear tire – it's nice and wide, and that those L-shaped side knobs hold on tight in the turns. Its handling reminds me of WTB's Convict tire, although the Newton feels like it's a little faster rolling, likely due to the lower profile center tread.
When it comes to tires, the more options out there the better, and it's going to be interesting to see where Goodyear ends up fitting in amongst the established players over the course of the next few years.