Review: Bontrager SE4 2.6" Tire

Oct 9, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
Bontrager SE4


Bontrager's fat bike tires have cool names like 'Gnarwhal' and 'Barbagezi', but unfortunately the rest of their mountain bike tires don't get the mythical creature treatment. Instead, there are two letters and a number that designates the casing type and how aggressive the tread pattern is – it's like the Dewey Decimal System for tires.

Take the SE4 tires reviewed here. The SE initials signify that they have Bontrager's Core Strength Casing, which has extra reinforcement at the sidewalls and under the tread to prevent punctures. It's thicker, and a little heavier than Bontrager's more cross-country oriented XR casing. The number 4 in the SE4's name is out of 5, which places it on the more aggressive side of the spectrum, with a tread pattern designed for a wide range of conditions, from hardpack to loose, and wet to dry.
Bontrager SE4 Tire Details
• 61a / 50a dual rubber compound
• Tubeless ready
• Core Strength casing reinforcement
• Sizes: 27.5 x 2.4, 2.6, 2.8"; 29 x 2.4, 2.6, 3.0"
• Weight: 1070 grams (29 x 2.6")
• MSRP: $84.99 USD
www.bontrager.com

Plus-tires didn't quite live up to the hype that surrounded their introduction, but over the last year or so we've seen numerous 2.6” options hit the market, part of what seems like an attempt to find the Goldilocks width, one that provides plenty of traction and compliance without the vague handling and delicate sidewalls of the original Plus tires. There are 2.6” and 2.4” versions of the SE4 for both 27.5” and 29” wheels, along with a 29 x 3.0” option and a 27.5 x 2.8” option. MSRP and weights vary, but a 29 x 2.6” tire weighed in at 1070 grams and retails for $84.99 USD.


Bontrager SE4
Look closely and you'll see that there's a tread wear indicator (TWI) to let you know when you've skidded your tires to oblivion.
Bontrager SE4
The SE4 has a fairly round profile, but the rectangular and L-shaped side knobs keep it gripping in the corners.


Performance

The SE4 tires mounted tubeless up without any trouble on a rim with an internal measurement of 28mm. That number is a smidge narrower than the ideal range of 30-35mm for a tire this wide, but it didn't pose any issues out on the trail. As far as the actual tire width goes, the SE4 measured true to size – at 20 psi the casing measured 2.5” and the distance from side knob to side knob was 2.6”. It's good to see that Bontrager's calipers are properly calibrated – I've run into a few tires from other brands that say 2.6” on the hot patch, but measure barely 2.4” wide at a useable pressure. On the topic of pressure, I typically ran 20 psi in the front and 22 in the rear, and a pound or two less for wetter days when I wanted as much grip as possible.

On the trail, the SE4 was a very easy tire to get along with. It doesn't have the most aggressive tread pattern out there, but it offered up plenty of traction for the dry and dusty summer time riding here in the Pacific Northwest. It's no slouch in the wet either, as long as it's not too muddy – there aren't any super tall knobs to slide out suddenly on roots or rocks, which makes it easy to predict how it'll behave even when the trail is covered in a layer of slime.

Bontrager SE4
Bontrager SE4

The overall profile is more round than square, which creates a very predictable transition onto the side knobs when cornering, and those side knobs are well supported to avoid any unwanted squirming. It rolls smoothly, and feels noticeably quicker than a more aggressively treaded tire like a Schwalbe Magic Mary or Maxxis Minion. Of course, the tradeoff for that extra speed is that it doesn't dig into the ground quite as tenaciously as those two aforementioned tires, but it still does well on all but the steepest and sloppiest of trails.

The 2.6” width goes a long way toward smoothing out chattery sections of trail – the SE4 is an excellent choice for a hardtail or shorter travel bike where the extra cushioning provided by the higher volume casing is especially helpful. The one downside to the extra width is that the tires can feel a little 'floaty' in looser, conditions, especially if the trail is steep – in that type of situation they weren't able to dig in and bite quite as well as a narrower tire with taller knobs would.

When it comes to durability, I haven't had any punctures so far (knock on wood), and the tread wear is very even and more than reasonable considering the number of miles I have on them.


Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesBontrager's SE4 is a bit of a sleeper, one of those tires that doesn't attract much attention, but punches above its weight out on the trail. It's an all-rounder to its core, a tire that you can install and not have to think twice about no matter the terrain, that is, assuming your typical ride doesn't involve plunging down the steeps of Champery in the pouring rain. The 2.6” version offers extra compliance and traction that comes in handy on rougher sections sections of trail, but the 2.4” version is worth considering as well, especially as a rear tire. Mike Kazimer








172 Comments

  • + 61
 Is it just me or have Mtb tyres got stupidly expensive! Getting towards the cost of motocross. ........like everything else Mtb! It’s bullshit!
  • + 30
 Agreed. Complete bullshit.
  • + 6
 Maxxis has had their tires up in the 80-90 range. for years GTFO
  • + 22
 Motorcross tyres appear to be a lot cheaper in fact. I couldn't find a tyre for as much as these.

They are, however, a lot simpler with single compound, no tubeless construction, no need for folding, weight not being that important etc. If you pick an MTB tyre without all the bells and whistles it would be like $5-10.
  • + 8
 You can go to buy sell and find barely used or even new tires for 30% off. There are so many deals out there, only suckers actually pay full retail.
  • + 12
 I can buy a tire for my shuttle van cheaper than my downhill bike. The guy at the tire store puts the tire on my van for free and guarantees that if it goes flat in 70,000 miles or wears out prematurely to bring it back and they will repair for FREE!
  • - 1
 @funkendrenchman: I completely agree about the deals. I also think it's pretty arrogant of tire companies to even ask this kind of money for a bicycle tire. At the end of the day if I'm somewhere and need the tire I always pay the price though.
  • - 3
 It's ridiculous. Bontrager subcontracts Kenda, and Kenda makes tires in Taiwan. In Taiwan, it's very challenging to even get a factory to charge more than $10/tire even after throwing on all the frills. I've emailed them, I know what they charge. Of course, Bontrager pays for the mold, but those costs get recouped quickly when the brand operates on a 200% profit margin.
  • + 13
 you can buy cheap tires. theyre out there. whether theyre any good is another story.
  • + 1
 schwalbe performance can be had in europe for 35€ (streetprice) which is quite fair i think. they also got a lot better over the last years -nothing to conplain about ( maybe add a hard hitting fronttire that works in the dry)
  • + 6
 Check CST tires - the owner of Maxxis Big Grin
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: For 35-45€ you can always find a Maxxis 3c, Schwalbe evolution or some other top tire it's just a question if you like the model.
  • + 2
 @Patrick9-32: They aren't a lot cheaper. A good Michelin enduro tire goes for around 65€ on the internet plus you need a tube that go from 15€ (mostly one time use) to 35€ for heavy weights (dealer prices). The biggest reason they are cheaper or cost the same despite needing more material is that they make more of them so the price per piece goes down (a mold costs the same for a 1.000 or 50.000 tires).
  • + 2
 @EnduroriderPL: This. I ran Rock Hawks on my Kona 26er and they were great. Around $30 each I think and you can get them on Amazon too.
  • + 3
 @EnduroriderPL: thanks for that!
  • + 1
 @funkendrenchman: I'd agree if I was just looking for a tire to ride on. However, if you find a tire that works, finding the right model in the right size at the right price isn't always an option. Often times, it's compromise the model to get the right target price. I got lucky and the last tires I bought on sale are awesome. Next set will be the same, no matter the price. Having confidence in your tires is worth the 30% retail price, IMO.
  • + 2
 Have never paid more than $50 for what I want. Jenson, Amazon, etc. - just wait a bit and you'll find what you want for not too much.
  • + 1
 @Jaguar83: same here, always shopping for tires. When I see the tire at the price I'm willing to pay is when I buy.
  • + 1
 Like Michelins new tyres, one look at the price and they can fuck right off...
  • + 2
 @oldmanjoe: Having confidence in your tires is worth the 30% retail price, IMO.

Agreed 100%. Tires make a bigger difference in your bikes feel and performance than almost any other component. Probably a better place to put that money than anything else if you actually want to change how your bike performs.

Just swapped finally wore out the knobby nics that came on my bike (put the front knobby nic on the rear and wore it out first) and have replaced them with Maxxis DHF and Aggressor. It's given me way more confidence around corners in particular and I can't believe I waited to change honestly
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: Rock Hawk is my favourite all around tire. It's not the best in any category but it's very solid performer in every imaginable conditions. And the price is just pure awesome Smile

www.endurorider.pl/cst-rock-hawk
  • - 18
flag MrDiamondDave (Oct 10, 2018 at 5:35) (Below Threshold)
 didn't know we had so many jews here. lord......
  • + 8
 @MrDiamondDave: Wow, what a c*nt...
  • - 4
flag HughJanus (Oct 10, 2018 at 9:28) (Below Threshold)
 Don't agree with the prices, then don't buy them. Or go design, source, and manufacture your own. If you can produce better tires at a lower price point, you'll make bank and be a hero on Pinkbike. Don't talk about it, be about it.
  • + 3
 @HughJanus: we’re talking about it and being about it. Is that ok?
  • + 1
 @HughJanus: Wow, another total c*nt...

Is it c*nt day in America?
  • + 2
 @EnduroriderPL: Recently they started selling directly through their website too!
  • - 2
 @deadmeat25: like a toddler who accidently says something funny that gets a laugh from the grown ups, then continues to say it over and over and over
  • + 1
 @HughJanus: It was no accident, you're a total c*nt. The only accident i made was accidentally upvoting your dumb f*ck comment. BTW, you ride like a c*nt too...
  • + 1
 I created that thumb and now it's killing me. My own beast in creation killing me dead! The sweet irony
  • + 0
 @zdebruine: that's only if the mold Setters know what they are doing and do not slam or break your mold. One destroyed mold and cost go up really quickly. This statement covers about anything that is injected into a mold. Your product is only as good as the person that set the mold and the operator monitoring the process. Cheap wages never acquire quality employees.
  • + 1
 @vid1998: You are right, I just picked up a couple of Magic Mary Evo Apex for 35€...
  • + 0
 @deadmeat25: just here to please
  • + 47
 the best 'rear' tyres.... worn fronts
  • + 18
 I like how, when polled, a a significant proportion of people still ride a 26'' bike, yet manufacturers don't cater to that market segment at all... It's almost like they want us to change our bikes frequently or something?
  • + 16
 Also it's laughable they went to 27.5"; then to 29". This is like a grade 1 research project, "WhiCh Weelz Sizes iS Bestest; By Timmy T. Pantaloons". Unbelievable.
  • + 3
 I have a 27.5 Enduro and a 26" hardtail along with my wife's 26" dual suspension Morewood. I have just found another sleeper tyre - Maxxis Ardent in 26" 2.4 size. The things have more volume than a 2.3 Magic Mary and are ideal on a HT as a front tyre where I ride. Grip for days and quite fast rolling.
  • + 9
 Is it 2010 that we are still crying about "new" wheelsize? Get over it.

This particular tire isn't made in 26" but others are. Are you going to complain that you can't use tractor tires on your car?
  • + 15
 @Kramz: 29 was popular before 27.5.
  • + 7
 @Kramz: it's f*cking bullshit. 26 was perfectly fine for all these years...and still is.
  • + 17
 People who answered a poll ride 26. I hardly see any round my way
  • + 1
 @Plancktonne: Nah, the wheelsizes look great, but I'm not in a position for an upgrade!

I've ridden my old XR3 and 4s to death and would love to replace them like for like.

If I could afford a car to not put tractor tyres on, then I'd have a big wheeled bike by now XD
  • + 1
 @bartb: 26 is dead! Get with the times already.. Stop hanging on! Let it go.!
  • + 26
 I bounce back and forth between northwest Arkansas and and Colorado. I see maybe one or two 26" bikes out of every 100 I come across. If you go to a lift park yeah you'll see some DH bikes that are 26",but in no way would I describe 26" as a significant portion of active riders. Yes there are hundreds of thousands of bikes sitting in garages that haven't been dusted off in about 5 years. But the people that are out there buying tires and uploading their rides on Strava aren't riding a 26". At least about 99% of them anyways.
  • + 7
 @bohns1: I have. But not because of wheelsize but because of the deal I got. 2015 Devinci Wilson 27.5 replaced my 2009 Norco Shore 2.

I also built up a hard tail Transition last year, all in 26".

I don't fret about wheelsize bullshit like people on here. I don't race world cup courses or ride as if I'm a bro at whistler. I do this for a past time and a hobby like 95% of people on here. I don't ride the nut swinging bangwagon of the pro's and I don't need the same wheel's as they do.

Truthfully, both my 26" and 27.5" were/are sick. I can get some good speed either way, roll through whatever comes up and enjoy my time.
  • + 3
 I've got a pile of 26 inch tyres going cheap if you want some?
  • + 0
 @xcmountain80: I stand corrected! xD
  • + 4
 @Kramz: Meh. While the tire size is somewhat larger, the bigger change has been geometry. Bikes are bigger, slacker and more rideable than bikes of just 10 years ago. Embrace the modern. And you can still ride your 26er if you want a throw back ride. Although, I rode a friends 26 Blur over the winter and it was horrible, so choose wisely.
  • + 2
 @Kramz: Just sayin, but I owned my first xc 29er hardtail before 27.5 was a thing.
  • + 1
 @gooutsidetoday: That's what you think. I'm still riding 26" on all my 3 bikes and have been for 27 years now. And I'm regularly buying new tires from Schwalbe and Maxxis, who still make them. So, maybe this is because I'm NOT on Strava, but there's more people out there buying 26" premium tires than you seem to imagine.
  • + 3
 @gooutsidetoday: But the people that are out there buying tires and uploading their rides on Strava aren't riding a 26"

We enjoy riding. Not everything has to be a race. I won't argue that people who race like bigger wheels. But bigger wheels don't mean more fun. We invested our thousands of dollars on 26" bikes and we are still having fun with them.
  • + 2
 Why should company like Bontrager make 26" tires if its mother company Trek doesn't make any "serious" 26" models.
  • + 3
 @oldmanjoe: nobody ever said 26" isn't just as much fun. But please do yourself a favor and stop believing that big(ger) wheels aren't fun too! And i use Strava mainly to confirm how slow I am. Strava isn't a competition, it's fun to track your rides and progress. If you wanna compare yourself to everyone else that's your own agenda
  • + 2
 The only place I ever see 26" is at the bike park and that's changing quickly.
  • + 2
 @oldmanjoe: I have owned 26", 27.5", and 29" bikes. Have thousands of miles on all.

I can confirm...29" is more fun! ...With the exception of the bike park where, for me, an 8" bike is better suited to 27.5" (right now). And I do notice a slight difference between 27.5" and 26" - would take the every so slight reduced rolling resistance of the 27.5".
  • + 7
 windows xp is still cool too if you're trying to play counterstrike
  • + 2
 Schwalbe makes the new Hans Dampf in 26"
  • + 0
 @merlin33: 2.6 not 26" thats dead cant you smell that smell?
  • - 1
 @merlin33: yep there it is right next to the tubes & front derailleurs
  • + 3
 @properp: just built my 12 yr old son a NS clash with 26" rims, tubes and a front derailleur. Kid loves it and rips on it.
  • + 1
 @properp: I think that smell was your fart. Smile
  • + 1
 @brncr6: derailers and kids always go great together. Maybe you should drink some of the Kool-Aid also.
  • + 1
 @properp: cool aid? 650b or 29 make me cooler? Hardtail is 26" and has 2 chain rings on the front and use the dirty finger not a derailleur. The front has a tube and the rear is tubless.
Kona process 153 is still on 26" even though it's a 650b frame and fork. 26" still not dead, not when you can still buy new frames, rims, tires.
  • + 14
 Think we could do with some heavier test riders for tire testing to give a more useful range of info. This I ran 22psi malarkey tells me nothing useful. I'd be on the rim the first pee sized rock or corner regardless of hat casing. And I'm sure half the people on here would be the same
  • + 3
 I ran the 2.4 on 28mm rims with 30psi in the rear and 28psi up front. I am 180lbs and ride a Trek Remedy in rocky terrain. No flats, nice and fast rolling, with long wearing rubber. I like it with an Se5 up front. I agree it is a little floaty in loose over hard pack.
  • + 1
 @randyridesbikes: I run both Bonti SE4 or 5 & conti Baron tyres pretty low psi on 30mm carbon rim 15/17psi , killed one rear carbon rim(15.5psi SE5 at time) on a blind drop into rocks now running HuckNorris and a extra 1psi.
Higher psi ride like sh1t cause of deflection just my opinion unless you ride park
  • + 2
 @randyridesbikes: I'm 180 (probably 185-190 geared up) and ride 22psi front rear. No flats, no bead pops for the 10 months I've had the bike - and that is even on non-tubeless ready Maxxis High Rollers. Give it a try, you might be surprised at what pressures you can run. 30/28 seems like riding on road tires to me these days. Big casings can run lower pressures and are designed to do so.
  • + 4
 @markg1150, tire pressures get lower as tire and rim widths get wider. Running 30 psi in these would make them feel rock solid - I don't think it'd be a very enjoyable ride no matter how much you weigh.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: The first part is true, but the rest is not. The tire's volume and pressure are what supports your weight. A heavier rider absolutely needs more pressure then a lighter rider. Obviously there's a point of diminishing returns on both sides of the pressure scale.
  • + 9
 @drunknride, I realize heavier riders run more pressure - my point is that running these 2.6" tires on wider rims at 30 psi would feel very hard, even for a bigger rider.

Tire pressures are also terrain dependent - where I live there are more roots than rocks, and it's wet for a good portion of the year. That means I can get away with running lower pressures, compared to if I was somewhere super rocky and hardpacked.

At the end of the day, it's all about doing a little experimentation to figure out what works best for you and your riding style. We mention the pressures used in review articles as a point of reference, not a hard and fast rule.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: It'd be interesting to do a test on exactly how much weight effects pressure. Take a 150-160lb guy and a 200+ guy on the same bike and tires and see where their ideal pressure lies. I don't think it's a 10psi difference but it would be cool to be able to roughly suggest how much more or less pressure is needed vs weight. Yes there's a million variables and personal preference but I haven't seen this kind of test done before.
  • + 2
 @drunknride: You could do that test yourself as well by riding a section, then adding 40lbs of weight to your body/bike (backpack full of bricks?) and see how it feels.

Please report back what you find!
  • + 1
 I've always been astounded at the pressures these riders get away with, and I'd have to guess it's a lot about the terrain. I am a fairly lightweight rider at 150 lbs, and with a 2.4" tire in the rear I will ding a rim at 27 psi. 28 psi is my bare minimum if I am going to charge through the rock chunk. I can bump down about 3 psi front and rear if I'm on a smooth and loamy train, but even then roots can be a problem. All of these pressures are verified with a digital gauge. Yes it starts to feel hard, but I've got to look out for the safety of my rims. Had to go to CushCore to get to 25 psi.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer:
Agree completely with the narrow rim's needing even higher psi, I can't stand them anymore il never go back. 30mm to 35mm internal is the goldilocks zone of rim width for me but still can't go lower than 30psi on a rear.
  • + 1
 @ADanielWeaver: Sounds good on paper but doesn't work in real life. Body weight isn't carried solely on the shoulders. GMBN did a test with a dude wearing a weight vest but it was just for fun and proves nothing. I'm very much used to my 210lbs, a 150 lb guy with similar fitness and skill will not keep up with me if he threw on an extra 60lb backpack.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: I agree. My comment was certainly for the 2.4 on 28mm rim. As the tire gets larger, less pressure can be good. I personally do need a bit more pressure to not constantly ruin tires. So yes, I use the added psi as a safety net. I do also ride in rocky and often harder packed terrain. I can drop pressures into the 20's on wet days or slower speed trails. And Yes, I also ride park.
  • + 2
 @enduroFactory:
I do ride some park but my comment was certainly for the rockier, often hard packed trails. This often comes with higher speeds and I can feel tires get squirmy with lower pressures. I am certainly using the pressure to save my wheels and prevent pinch flats. I have still ruined several Maxxis EXO tires with 28psi by pinch flatting on my home trails. I do totally agree that lower pressures feel nice, but my wallet cant afford new tires every few rides due to pinch flats.
  • + 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: 22psi does feel awesome, I agree! I just often tear casings at that pressure. I hate ruining brand new tires. I am also too lazy to drag dh casing tires or tire inserts around on my every day trail bike. Thus, I run a bit more pressure than is fashionable and I get fewer flats. I respect that others like to run lower pressure, I just found my compromise of traction vs durability. I also hate 3C tires, I only buy the 60a Maxxis tires, so that probably gives some insight on my threshold for durability over traction.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: Sorry Mike but on pressures they have to go up a lot for bigger guys - 20F/22R would be way too low.
For 27.5 x 2.6 on a 36mm internal width rim and a 230-235lbs rider needs about 26 F / 27-28 R.
Saying that it might be a smidge lower as not clear whether you tested 27.5 or 29?
  • + 10
 I ride 2.4" XR4's for their combination of traction, low rolling resistance, and relatively light weight. Occasionally I lose grip and wonder if I should just try Minions. Then I demo'd a Pivot mach 5.5 with 2.6" minions and still lost grip a couple times. Definitely not the night and day difference that most people claim when they switch to Minions. Next tire purchase will be another pair of XR4's.
  • + 1
 For me only thing about XR4s is their puncture resistance. Running tubeless I smashed few of them, like a pinch flat-sidewall cut on the rim edge. No major issues with tubes in em. I'm running Team Issue version.
  • + 1
 The 2.6" are completely different shape to the regular DHF and ride very differently, not worse/better just very different.
  • + 12
 Please can we just use the ETRTO numbers printed on tyres - that actually seem to mean something, instead of the inch numbers which vary massively brand to brand
  • + 3
 That's why you got exact measurements with a caliper.
  • + 3
 @IllestT The ETRTO for the 29x2.6 tire in this review is 66-622
  • + 8
 Bontrager XR4 is the best all mountain tire i have used. 29er by 2.4 comes in like a 2.5 on 30mm rims and weigh 750 grams or something. Relatively inexpensive compared to maxxis and swchalbe too...
  • + 5
 I've a couple of hardtails with SE4/SE5's in 2.6 - really excellent tyres for me so far, the SE5 is a particular standout, with the SE4 pairing nicely as a rear.
  • + 4
 Yup, I run Minnion DHF/Aggressors 2.5" on my Enduro rig and SE5/SE4 2.6" on my "Trail" rig. I honestly can't tell the difference both are great setups and they ride very similarly, couldn't go wrong with either one.
  • + 2
 You should have done a comparison of all the 4 series tires. The SE4 and XR4 2.55 120TPI are the best of the bunch but they stopped making them. They were true allrounders. I've run the XR4 29 x 2.6 and it's great for a front tire in the desert southwest. I've raced XC --really rough course --with an XR4 2.55, 2.4 combo and raced Enduro with a XR4 2.6 SE4 2.55 combo, so very versatile tire that rolls well, predictable in the corners, doesn't loose its side knobs and can be had waaay cheaper than you think. I seldom ride in mud or loom so don't kno about that ...probably want the SE5 .. but the 120TPI version are the best tire I've ever ridden on wet limestone.
  • + 2
 Been loving the XR4 2.4 on the front. Grippy enough, but most importantly totally predictable. Not on on/off switch like the minion. Just can't seem to get used to square profile tires...

So, XR4 on the front, DHR2 switched to the back. The DHR drift zone while leaning used to drive me crazy on the front, I love it on the back. Not the fastest combo, but as someone said, the best rear tire is a worn front.
  • + 2
 My XR 4 pro tires are almost bald. Great reforming tires and under 900 grams for my 2.35,s . It's a shame I can't replace them as I run 26 inch set up. I believe I can still get 26 Minions. Smaller wheel , stronger lighter , turns better. Sigh.
  • + 1
 Great performing tires.
  • + 3
 Hey @Sshredder , we've still got some 26 x 2.35 XR4 Team Issue tires in our warehouse for Canadian retailers to order! Part number 548766
  • + 1
 Even though I have my slash 9.8 I still rock my session 26. I skipped the 27.5 trend
  • + 1
 I had the 29x2.4s on my Slash but put them on my Nukeproof Scout. I put Schwalbe MMs front and rear on the Slash, which are my all time favorite tires. But the SE4s are now my 2nd favorite. The SE4s roll well, grip great, and are pretty comfortable. Not once have I had an issue with them. I'm putting 29x2.6s on my Fuel EX to see how much better they are on a full suspension. Hell, I may even do an SE5 front and SE4 rear on my Slash when it's time to replace tires.
  • + 1
 Been running the 2.4 as a rear tire and it's alright. Found it to roll over a little too easy cornering, even when pumped up to ~30psi. Punctured pretty easy as well. Actually feels very fast rolling and grippy enough for summer riding in drier conditions, but it's pretty slippery now that the wetness is back.
  • + 1
 I run a 2.6 SE4 rear and 2.6 SE5 front and LOVE the traction. Fast rolling tire for sure and agree it rails corners well. Agree with most that the Minions are awesome, but I like the new SE tires better, I don't like XR casings tho...
  • + 1
 My choice of tires for sure. Love em. 2.4 SE4 rear and 2.6XR4 front. Anyone who thinks these are expensive is a goof. Maxxis and Schwable are both more expensive, WTB went up this year as well. Not to mention these are in a class of their own weight wise. Nobody comes close to the weight of these in the same size, yet still perform on chunder.
  • + 1
 I run the XR2 and XR4 versions of this tire. i29 is too small. I have to use +4 PSI to keep the XR2 from folding over in the back, more than I used with the 2.35 version of the same tire. i39 with the XR4 is great. Side knobs line up with the walls, low pressure, never bottoms or folds. Recommend retesting with a bigger rim.
  • + 1
 Im running these on my rigid single speed. 25 mm rims, at 21 psi they measure out to 2.3" so it seems to be a very rim width dependent tire when it comes to true to size when inflated. that said i love them on the rigid bike. fast rolling and easy to get them to drift. they are very predictable when sliding loose. cause ya know. Skids are for Kids!
  • + 1
 These came on my Remedy and they're really not very good.
They roll in corners, they don't grip on anything loose, dusty or wet. They have the accuracy of a sledgehammer when riding anything remotely technical. The sidewalls are so thin that to actually get them to a pressure where you don't destroy your rims, they lose all the bonuses of being a plus sized tyre.

These tyres make zero sense unless you enjoy riding non-technical hardpack. In which case, they're awesome.
Granted it is also quite fast rolling, and it does smooth out the trail buzz thanks to it's large volume.

I switched to a minion DHF & DHR II in Double Down casings and the difference is night and day.
  • + 1
 I have 2.6 Butcher Grids on my Enduro. They are fast rolling and corner and brake relatively well, but the casings are too wobbly for the volume and need to be run harder than you think. Not a fan. I have my eye on Maxxis 2.5's as well
  • + 1
 @headshot: what pressures d’you run? I quite liked those tyres but I’m at like 28/30psi. I thought they had a more damped feel than most non-dh tyres (I usually ride DH casings).
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: Yes, close to that in pressure. maybe 25/28. Every now and then I forget to check and get a surprise when the tyre rolls in a corner because they are too soft, something that wasn't as much of a problem on narrower tyres.If they are too hard they tend to ping off rocks so its a fine line to get the right feel for me.
  • + 2
 @headshot: I think this is the problem with plus tyres. They're marketed towards aggressive riders, but they can't be made at a decent weight & still perform well under aggressive riding. I guess that makes sense because most of this marketing stuff is more aspirational than anything else (ie most riders don't ride as aggressively as the marketing material suggests).

Either way, no bigger than a 2.5 maxxis for me thanks. Doesn't sound like much difference but these bonty tyres come up really big by comparison.
  • + 2
 @headshot: shows how subjective things can be I guess! I did like them, to me they felt more dead than most at the slightly higher pressures I tend to run. Think mine were gripton grids? Butcher/ slaughter. Had em on 25mm rims and didn’t think they were true 2.6” but never bothered to measure. Felt like a similar size to a 2.5 DHF (tiny bit bigger) and considerably lighter but closer to a DH casing feel than a DD to me.
Maxxis Exo I find extremely feeble and bouncy, DD is basically the same feel but more protection and DH casing is in a league of it own to me. Super damped, super tough and works very well at a wide range of pressures. I thought the Spesh tyres fell between DD and DH for feel but maybe I got it completely wrong! Felt like they had low TPI like the DH casings to me.
  • + 1
 you talking about the se4 Right? Not the xr4 ?
  • + 2
 I have the 2.4’s on a remedy too and they have treated me very well. I have permanently switched off dhr2 minions for them. Riding in Southern California means hard pack and jank. The low rolling resistance, super smooth transition from center to side knobs, and grip in that middle ground before you’re fully leaned over is all super useful for dry conditions. We rarely have legit berms or support so the transition knobs have been a blessing. They don’t the have the full on grip the minions do, especially when the side knobs are dug in and don’t brake as hard for the same reason. Pretty good grip on the SE4s when new but have gotten a little drifty in their old age. I agree with the author. Don’t sleep on them as a dry tire for trail / all mountain riding.
  • + 2
 Conversely I have the XR4 version on my 2019 remedy, have ridden them in Whistler Bike Park, Pemberton, North Shore and my home trails in Squamish and have been pleasantly surprised. They hook up well enough and have a nice controllable drift to them. I just run them at normal pressures for me (25 / 22 ish) and forget that they are 'Plus' tires. Not really any point comparing them to a DD Minion as it's a completely different tire.
  • + 2
 @niccolope: I've been using the Goma 2.4 TNT for identical conditions and it's awesome, very similar to this tire in size as well. Also only $30.
  • + 1
 @headshot: there was a bike check a few years ago where Jared and Troy both said they ran at least 26 psi or the tire folded
  • + 0
 I just bought a pair of Maxxis 245/45/15 for £80 fitted and balanced. When I started riding DH back in 2001 I could buy a pair of Maxxis for less than £50, was the quality of tyre poorer? probably. Were the production costs lower? more than likely. Should MTB tyres cost more than car tyres? GTFO here No!
  • + 1
 Fitted maxxis van/car tire £55 with no questions asked puncture replacment.
Wouldn't mind that with there Mtb stuff
  • + 1
 Great treaf for all around riding, but keep it well inflated, sidewalks are not that durable, easy to pinch flat, not a tire for sharp rocks; flatted a 2.6” and a 3” in one week.
  • + 1
 I have a slash 9.8 and love the bontrager se4. I don't know if it's the wheel size or the front tire but I been slipping around corners. Mostly Hugh speed sharp. Thinking of putting a 2.5 DH casing up front. Open to ideas
  • + 0
 For a lighter 29 x 2.6 tire consider Schwable nobby nics. 840 grams according to PinkBike's 2017 review (versus 1070 grams with the SE4). www.pinkbike.com/news/schwalbes-26-inch-nobby-nic-for-29ers-review.html

New Addix compound is more durable than previous compound too. Good prices at Bike24.com if you're willing to wait for shipping from Germany. This type of tire is awesome on a hardtail 29er
  • + 4
 It's not really a good comparison as the SE is the "Enduro" casing. The XR4 is lighter that then NN I'm pretty sure (I'm too lazy to go look).
  • + 1
 @hangdogr: Fair point. Looks like the XR4 in 2.6 is 945 grams
  • + 1
 @0gravity: Huh I expected it to be lighter. I am running the XR4/3 combo with CushCore as they were the lightest setup I could find to offset the CC weight penalty - but I never looked at the Nobby Nic as every time I tried it, I hated it. I'm not running 2.6 though, only 2.4
  • + 1
 Look at a Maxxis Rekon 29x2.6 too, i run one on the back of my Honzo. Awesome tire for all-round trail use, really softens things up and offers nicely predictable grip. 2.3 Minion up front so i can get my skid on.
  • + 2
 I'd like to see a tire test of Minion vs Minion Clones - call it The Clone Wars. XR5, Butcher, whatever the Onza WTB and Kenda versions are....
  • + 1
 The 5 series isn't really that close to a Minnion..
  • + 4
 @Nathan6209: Yeah you're right except for looking almost identical.
  • + 0
 Testing the tyres on rims they aren't designed for is surely an unfair appraisal of them? It would be like putting 26" wheels in a 29er and saying the handling was a bit strange. As we all know tyres completely change the way they feel in the smallest of changes.

Probably worth deleting and retesting...
  • + 2
 Not really - these tires worked just fine on those 28mm internal width rims. A couple millimeters of extra rim width wouldn't have had much difference as far as handling goes.
  • + 4
 #2.6aintdead
  • + 1
 Reading these comments make me second guess my recent purchase of SE4's in 2.4 for a 27.5 wheel...Knew I should have went SE5 even though it's only a 2.3.
  • + 2
 Minion DHF 3C 2.5" front and a Bontrager SE4 2.4" is my favorite tyre combo to date!
  • + 2
 Been running a very similar combo, just a 2.3 on the front. SE4 is a cracking all rounder, not too draggy, reasonable grip, light, survived Finale without puncturing...
  • + 2
 What's the difference between tires and tyres????
  • + 7
 Tyres come from England.
  • + 1
 Love my HoneyBadger as a rear on my HT 29er. Any suggestions for a "better' replacement?
  • + 1
 I'm sure @cvshredclub finds this useful lol
  • + 9
 2.6"


Are we just stating numbers from the review or do you have a point?
  • + 1
 Sections sections
  • + 1
 No mention of a TIE despite the header comment.... Frown
  • + 1
 Biggest problem with this tyre is that it isn't a Minion
  • - 1
 I rate the 2.4" SE4 as worse than a Trailstar Hans Dampf as a front tyre but pretty good as a rear.
  • + 2
 Complete opppsite, I rate Hans Dampf Trailstar worse than XR2 which has half of the knobs of SE4. But I guess it has to do with variety of terrains found on planet Earth Wink For mixed roots/ rocks granite slabs, mostly in wet, Hans Dampf does not match SE4 and when even slightly muddy surface is involved it sucks big time. It is a dry conditions tyre and definitely nothing for those who have even basic idea about leaning the bike. it sucks as front tyre virtually everywhere and before rear tyre inclusive club joins in, saying that some tyre is ok for the rear as if it was some kind of merit is like saying crossfitters are power lifters too.
  • + 1
 Agree with Waki. In moist Welsh woodland The Hans Trailstar was the most dangerous tyre I’ve ever used. I want to try one again after a couple of years to remind me how bad it was. But had a few test rides on the 2.4 SE4 which was surprisingly pleasant under the same conditions.
  • + 7
 @iqbal-achieve:
I gotta throw my vote for the most 'dangerous' tire being the fricken Maxxis Ardent.
Like riding on snot-covered ice. Landing on a rock-with both tires in line- the rear end came around. Luckily the Ardent is so bad that it never regained traction and high-sided me, as I would've gone off the side of very tall hill. It just totally let go and spun all the way 'round and low-sided me in a straight line.
Don't know and don't care what its fricken problem was/is. I know I'll simply never ride on one ever again
  • + 4
 @YoKev: agreed. Ardent is one of the worst wastes of rubber for a knob pattern since Continental Diesel. To the point where when someone mentions how good they are, you know they can't ride for sht. Full send Jerry.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: @WAKIdesigns Me and my riding mates have used trailstar HD for years now as they are such an excellent all round tyre, never had any issues and stick like 5hit to the sheets - are we talking about the same tyre?

Genuinely confused. I'd say there's 12 of us who use MM up front and HD out back and have been constantly pleased with the awesome grip!?

I got Minions on my new bike and can't say the difference has been that huge.
  • + 1
 @YoKev: you’re right, I should have said ‘one of the most dangerous’ lol
  • + 1
 @OrangeGoblin: Grip wise, virtually every tyre is ok on the rear. You have to look deep to find something not ok. Like the stupid Conti X-King. Except Rock Razor is way better than HD unless you ride mud, which judging by your flag you do. Hans Dampf still be worse than Aggressor in terms of durability and grip, this SE4 will be better too. SE4 is virtually a cut down Magic Mary. As for Magic Mary vs DHF I would be surprised if an Englishman would have any other reaction than yours since you have so much mud and Magic Mary just does better in soft ground than ANY Minion. Also when it comes to wet, for the front tyre, Minion has to come in MaxxGrip. having said all that I would never use Hans Dampf on the rear unless it is Super Gravity as I kill all 1ply Schwalbies rather quickly. And in the same way. Big hole up top, small by the bead.
  • + 2
 @YoKev: 2.4 Ardent is a godsend when the last tires you were on were Kenda Nevegal's....
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: agree had a hard headed friend who steadfastly clung to those freaking Ardent in 2.1 for years even though we ride some crazy stuff. Amazing how his riding improved when he switched to DHF 2.5. Of course, now he is blind to any other possibilities.
  • + 1
 @OrangeGoblin: I ride hardpack, loose over hardpack and all day rock gardens ...mostly limestone. Not many aggressive riders here can keep the side lugs from ripping of the HD. ...or really any of the Swchalbe tires. I've gone back a few times only to be disappointed again. The SE and XR 4 do not suffer this fate, but the trade of is small knobs, rounder profile. Also, the roll really fast on hardpack and rocks.
  • + 1
 Magic Mary is the best front tire I have ever owned. I had one that came with my bike and I had to retire it after nearly 5,000km because the side knobs were starting to peel off. Hans Dampf came on the rear with the same bike and lasted a month. I now have a Assegei on the front (despite the name). It has been a great tire so far.
  • + 1
 @Victoriamike: Magic Mary is indeed great but it works best in softer ground. A matter of taste off course but for machine dug berms and hardpack they feel squirmy and Minions seem better suited there. Also latest Addix SEEMS more durable. Unfortunately snake skin casings still cannot take abuse that a 140+ bike under an average rider can put it through. On another hand single ply casings on such aggressive tyres are generally a bad idea, that includes Maxxis EXOs, but it is not manufacturers fault that this is what Joeys use and they stand for 80% of MTB demography. The Super Gravity are legit tits.
  • + 1
 i ll get a hans dampf sg for my hardtail. i like the nobby nic for handling everything from pumptrack to the local trails. it has not the most grip but drifts very predictable (most used tire on 4x bikes). the hd looks similar and the singleply nn has kind of a hard time on the rear of my hardtail. addix is also a lot better than the old compounds, especially in wet or cold conditions.
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: mm DH has been great for me in the wet, even better than the DHF/DHR2 combo. Holding up well enough on the DH bike that I'll just put new tire on the front and move the used front to the rear. Been a long time since I've done that....
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: i was riding it on wet roots and slick shallow mud and the SE4 didn't brake or turn in the mud. Was ok on the roots I guess. HD kinda sucks in the same mud but the SE4 was worse.
  • + 1
 @PhillipJ The Hans Dampf Addix Soft is a pretty good rear tire for dry conditions. Running a Schwalbe other than a Mary up front is just unnecessary.
  • + 0
 @endlessblockades: addix soft on the rear is like Maxxis Maxx Terra and Maxx Grip, or like that movie with Kevin Costner “Gone by the wind”. I genuinely loved Rock Razor SG in Soft Addix. But it took me literally a month, 7 lift days to wear it out completely. Fortunately it costs half of Minion DHF dual ply
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Huh, maybe I don't skid enough to destroy it that fast. I did do 7 race days (practice/race runs - DH and Enduro) last month and it's worn, but not too bad for a softish tire. I bought it to roll fast, but at my age and skill level it really doesn't matter that much. I would probably go back to a Mary and call it a day. Or a life.
  • + 1
 Bondampfer!
  • + 0
 Reviewing a tyre on a rim it's not designed for. Classic.
  • + 0
 since when did tires get designed for specific rims? hilarious.
  • + 1
 @laxguy: Since the rim width dictates how the profile of the tire will form when inflated. Put it on too narrow a rim and the shape changes.
  • + 4
 @OrangeGoblin, these tires worked just fine on the 28mm rim I used. If I'd run into any issues - excessive roll, burping, etc..., I would have tried a different wheelset. But there were no problems, which is what I said in the review.

There's no concrete rule when it comes to tires size / rim width - the numbers I mentioned are simply what I've had the best luck with.
  • + 0
 @laxguy: was that whoosh of going over your head or something else?

Think of it this way. A wide rim will stretch the casings contact point where it sets on the rim, causing the tire to flatten its profile out.
A narrow rim will cause the profile to become taller, or perhaps balloon out (not good).

A car analogy would be low riders with the tires that are too small for the rims. It gets that cool low rider look, with the sidewalls turned in towards the main tread, really showing off the rims, but it really isn't how the tire was designed to be used.

Depending on how the tire is constructed (sidewall strength, carcass shape, etc) it will assume some shape at either extreme or, more likely, someplace in the middle. If the tire is designed to perform best at a certain profile, getting the right rim to achieve that profile is desirable.

Really, I think it would be interesting if tire manufactures started putting profile numbers on their tires. The theory isn't any different than a car tire, which has 3 dimensions rim, width, profile.
  • + 2
 @Poulsbojohnny: whoooosh again.... maybe read mikes comment and think about what youre saying when applied to a BICYCLE....

heres a fun one for you -- i haven't the slightest clue what the width of my rim is, and it didn't stop me from buying any old tire off the rack and riding just like everyone else.
  • - 1
 @laxguy: Physics are physics. What makes a bicycle rim/tire any different?
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: I take your point, and appreciate the reply as I genuinely think its a worthwhile discussion, despite my facetious reply.

If, and I quote you here, the rim you used was "...a smidge narrower than the ideal range of 30-35mm for a tire this wide, but it didn't pose any issues out on the trail", why would you not use one IN the ideal range?

The ideal range surely indicates a low threshold and a high threshold with 'perfect' being roughly somewhere in the middle, and/or this range accounts for different tyre profiles.

FWIW I ride a 2.6" on a 37mm rim (Factory recommended/fitted/supplied) and I can't imagine how different that 9mm makes to how the 2.6" would make!!

So you rim was below this lower threshold and so changes how the tyre behaves, meaning it was tested in not ideal conditions which seems an undesirable test basis, allowing a world of unknown unknowns. And whilst it didn't cause any problems, it wouldn't have behaved the same as on the ideal rim width.

I'm only banging on about it because in an ever confusing world of standards, consumers (maybe not ALL) use the suggested rim width to make purchasing decisions, and therefore will be pairing it with/buying it for a 30-35mm rim and getting different results than you.

It just seems like things should be tested in recommended conditions to replicate real world consumer use, but I bow to your superior knowledge, it just contradicts recommendations and makes getting things right a whole lot fuzzier. :-)
  • + 1
 rocket science. gtfo

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