Much like the light truck tire market, you can easily spend a premium for quality all-terrain tires, but there are products out there that sell for a whole lot less and still punch above their price point in terms of bang for buck. The Delium Rugged Reinforced tire draws similar parallels to the automotive world, undercutting premium-priced Maxxis and Schwalbe tires by up to 45%.
One way Delium lowers that price tag is by offering tires through their website on the direct-to-consumer business model. Founded in 1956, the Indonesian company has been manufacturing bicycle tires and tubes for over fifty years. Previously, they’ve created products on a larger OEM scale until recently turning their efforts towards the high-performance side of mountain bike tires.
Delium Rugged Reinforced Details
• Extra Soft Triple 42/50/65a
• Triple Zone Casing
• 62 TPI + Rim impact protection
• Folding Aramid Bead
• Sizes: 29 x 2.5" or 27.5 x 2.5"
• Weight: 1235g - 29 x 2.5" / 1150g - 27.5 x 2.5" (claimed weights)
• MSRP: $58 USD
The Rugged Reinforced tire is designed for the most technical terrain with an open tread, triple compound rubber and a gravity casing that protects three areas using different layerings.DETAILS
Delium makes understanding their tire lineup simplistic and also streamlines possible combinations to the most common choices. For example, the low-profile tread of the “Fast” model, aimed at cross-country riding, isn’t available in the heaviest, Reinforced carcass. Similarly, the meaty Rugged model is only available in All-around or Reinforced casings for trail and gravity applications. Delium only offers their tires in one width per tire model, but in two diameters; 27.5” and 29”.
Similar to a Maxxis DH casing, the Delium's Reinforced casing uses a dual-ply, 62 TPI casing, Rim impact protection, all in a folding Aramid bead. TPI stands for threads per inch, as Mike Levy explained in this tire tech video
. Like bed sheet thread counts, the lower the number, the thicker the threads are. Above the bead is a belt to deter flats when the rim might bite through the tire casing, plus a second layer continues up the sidewall to mitigate rock slashes.
Another triple layering strategy is found in the rubber where three durometers make up those square-edge blocks. At the base to support the knobs is a firm 65a rubber, with 50a covering the center and a softer 42a durometer on the shoulder lugs.
As you can imagine, when sporting these gravity-oriented tires, you can expect to hear the "looks like an Assegai" comment frequently. Without a doubt, they are close in appearance to the alternating two-three-two center knobs and are another take on the popular Maxxis tire. When mounted and compared on a 30mm rim, the Rugged has a flatter profile across the top of the tread and measured to exactly 2.5" at the widest point. WEIGHT & PRICE
Each rider will have their own tire security demands based on their discipline and terrain. The Rugged Reinforced casing comes in at 1259-grams for the 29” x 2.5”, twenty-four more than claimed. That aligns closer to the equivalent size of a Maxxis Double Down carcass, which is about 100-grams lighter than their DH casing tire.
Are tires the best place to save money, though? Remember, our bikes cost thousands of dollars. What’s a few hundred more for max traction? Maybe you could spend less on carbon parts or shiny suspension and hoard more black magic rubber. That’s a decision you have to make for yourself, but it doesn’t change the fact that Delium Rugged tires are an exceptional value at $58 USD. Keep in mind too that Maxxis and Schwalbe pricing doesn’t vary between their soft and softest rubbers.WARRANTY AND RETURNS
For up to one year from the date of purchase, or 50% of the original tread depth, Delium provides a warranty for original owners in the North American market. This of course does not include punctures, only manufacturing defects, such as knobs possibly detaching from the casing or warped casings. All of the fine print is clearly listed in the warranty section of their website and instructions for warranty returns will be handled by their warranty team.
There is also a 30-day return policy for tires that are in new condition only. Meaning you have thirty days from receiving the tires, still in their packaging, to begin the return process. Any tire that has been mounted or without the packaging will not be eligible for a refund.
Customers are responsible for shipping costs associated with tires returning for refunds and authorization must be acquired first. This process will be handled by contacting their sales team via the Delium website.INSTALLATION
Tire in hand, you can feel the protective layers throughout the casing. The foldable tire is intended for front and rear use, so I doubled down on the Ruggeds. Popping the tire onto the bead on either rim posed no issue and a compressor or charging pump wasn’t needed. They snapped straight into place with no sign of any wobbles.
The tires never wept sealant, but they would drop considerably more pressure over the span of a few days compared to Maxxis. The loss of 10 psi wasn’t due to faulty rim tape either, the usual suspect when a stored tire drops pressure. That’s not a deal-breaker, but a reminder to always check your tire pressures before setting off.RIDE IMPRESSIONS
Considering the price of the Rugged tires is close to half that of premium tires from Maxxis and Schwalbe, does that mean that the performance is also cut in half? Most definitely not.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the rubber is not as soft of a compound or as slow rebounding as the Maxxis MaxxGrip, however, it is very close to their MaxxTerra formula. If you’ve spent time on both Maxxis compounds, you know that even with the same tread pattern, there is a noticeable difference in grip. Compared to a Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Gravity Soft compound, the Rugged grips on wet rocks and roots with more consistency. There seems to be the extra surface area on tap from the Deliums, which makes control on slick rock slabs manageable. Dropping the pressure helps here because the sidewall is fairly supportive for a mid-weight gravity tire - knock on wood, I haven't flatted on the Deliums yet.
My pressures would hover around 21 psi up front to 24 out back on the dampest days in Squamish and on the North Shore. I also got to feel out the Rugged’s characteristics on the dry, loose, and blindly fast trail conditions around Kamloops, BC, where I upped the pressures to 23 and 27 psi. Tire roll was manageable and no major burps occurred on either wheelset, even when hitting those face-melting corners found in the arid landscape of the province’s interior region. I did start to notice more bounce from the tires than first perceived at lower pressures on slower speed trails. This is where the suppleness in the top makes up for harder rubber and is an example of the compromises one must choose for their riding needs.
On harder pack trails and rock slabs, there is a limit to the 50a durometer top rubber layer on the center though. Striking a balance between sidewall support and grip means a narrower window to hone in on the optimal pressure - something has to give, and sometimes that meant sliding early in a turn or feeling the front tire folding. Where the square profile digs into the perfect loam around the PNW the harder compound and closer shoulder knob didn’t allow for the same lean angles that you can reach with a MaxxGrip Assegai. However, they are predictable across the tread and breaking the rear tire free doesn’t come with a jump or sudden loss of traction. "Consistent" is the best way to describe the traction that the Rugged tires produce.
After weeks of use in every condition possible, the Deliums still look very fresh, even the rear tire. There's no sign of the knobs cracking and they don't fold as easily as some super soft compound tires. It’s all a balancing act: rolling speed to straight-line braking, carcass support to suppleness, quality to cost, durability to weight. However you want to sum it up, the Delium Rugged Reinforced strikes the target of meeting all demands very well in a gravity tire that doesn’t lose much performance to hit a cheaper price point.
Predictable braking and turning characteristics+
Solid mid-weight gravity focused tire for all conditions+
Durable casing with long tread life
Casing could use more damping-
Tackier option would allow more grip without compromising support