Goodyear is a familiar name in the automotive market, but they've had a pretty minimal presence in the bike world - especially when it comes to dirt. They've had a solid little lineup of tires for a few years now, but early issues with the performance of their mountain bike tires may have slowed their entry into the market. Looking to change that, they've been hard at work making incremental changes to the Newtons, optimizing their compound, construction, and pattern to best suit gravity riding.
It's a common complaint, but the mountain bike market has a tendency to be pretty myopic when it comes to tire choice. To be fair, Maxxis and Schwalbe do a damn good job making their lineups perform well and cover all the bases, but there are plenty more options out there that do the job just as well. After a summer of riding, I think the Goodyear Newtons belong on the list of capable competitors.
Newton MTF & MTR Details
• Intended use: Enduro, Downhill, Trail
• Front- and rear-specific patterns
• Claimed weight: 1280g (F), 1130g (R)
• Configuration tested: 29 x 2.5" & 2.4", Enduro casing, Grip3S
• Measured width: 2.53” and 2.41"
• Measured weight: 1409g (F), 1244g (R)
• MSRP: $70-80 USD
- Size options: 27.5x2.5, 29x2.5
- Casing options: Trail, Enduro, Downhill
- Compound options: Trail2, Grip3S
- Size options: 27.5x2.4, 27.5x2.6, 29x2.4
- Casing options: Trail, Enduro, Downhill
- Compound options: Trail2, Grip3
The Newton MTF and MTR are designed to work well in a "broad range of conditions from loose dust to wet loam ... at home on challenging terrain where high levels of control are required." This pretty much spans the gamut of what you'd expect of an all-round gravity tire, and that's certainly what the Newton aims to be. Up front, the fairly open and pronounced front tread is meant to clear well, with reinforced knobs that should resist any serious fold-over while cornering. There are wide sipes that only go about halfway into the knob, adding surface are without effecting the structure too much. The MTR is a more standard affair, resembling a cross between a Maxxis DHR II and a Schwalbe Big Betty. The knob pattern is similar to the former, with the structure and casing shape more like the latter.
Both tires feature Goodyear's Enduro casing, which utilizes two 120 TPI plies to provide stability and durability. The MTF utilizes the Goodyear Grip3S compound, which is their stickiest and softest offering. The 40/42/60a density combination is meant to offer a very slow rebound and provide the most grip possible. In the hand, it feels similar to MaxxGrip or Conti's Super Soft rubber, with fairly slow rebound and easy deformation. The MTR uses the slightly stiffer Grip3 rubber, which has a triple-density 40/50/60a layup, meant to balance durability and grip.
The tread of the MTR looks a lot like the Michelin Wild Enduro, to the degree that they may share some lineage. Goodyear's early attempts (2018-2019) at the mountain bike tire game were a little unsatisfactory, with hard rubber produced by a third-party manufacturer. According to some people on their team, they made a concerted effort to move away from that supplier, moving production to their own facility in Nantou, Taiwan.
The Enduro casing on test here uses a dual-ply 120 TPI construction, which manages to be quite supple for how durable and supportive it can be. If you're after something stiffer, the Downhill casing is a dual-ply 60 TPI, while the Trail tires use just one 60 TPI casing. For my purposes, the Enduro strikes a nice balance, and feels similar to other tire casings I tend to like, such as Maxxis' DoubleDown and Continental's Downhill tires.
Setup-wise, I was able to run quite low pressures with the Newtons without running into any stability or durability issues. In the dry, I was running 22 or 23 psi in the front, paired with 25 or 26 in the rear. When things got a little loose or wetter, I dropped down to 21psi front, 24psi rear. Generally a couple lower than an equivalent DoubleDown casing, for reference.
It's worth noting a strange issue I had with the very first set of these I was sent. They were nearly impossible to get seated on the rim due to a loose fit, requiring me to resort to some old janky tricks from the early tubeless days. Instructions, should you ever encounter this issue: Put a tube in the tire, inflate that until the bead is seated, pop only one side of the tire off the rim, install the tubeless valve, then inflate the whole thing with a compressor or charger pump.
I reached out to Goodyear to inquire about the issue, and they assured me that the set was probably part of a non-production batch, or some sort of anomaly. After mounting up another 2 sets of the Newtons, I had no similar issues, so I do think that loose fit was some sort of early batch issue. Ride Impressions
Pretty much every time I hop on a new pair of tires, I expect a few sketchy moments to occur in the adjustment period, as I get used to the boundaries and edges of grip. After fitting up the Newtons, I kept waiting for those moments to occur, but the tires never really delivered a terror-inducing slip. That's not to say there's no end of grip on these new Goodyears, but it's well past the point of commitment, meaning they hook up quite well when you're pushing them hard.
I received my test set a few weeks before the start of Crankworx, and had some time on them at home before deciding that bike and tire combo would be the one I took with me for two weeks of Whistler laps and lots of pedaling. Long story short, I'm quite happy with my choices. More on the bike side of things later, for now let's stick to the tires.
The Newton MTF has a really nicely rounded profile, a feature I've come to look for in aggressive tires, as the smooth lean angle you get with a nice round casing means they're less likely to break away on sketchier terrain. If you're only riding in deep soil, you can get away with something edgier, but when loose conditions are present, round feels correct. Out back, however, I like the fairly flat-top profile of the MTR as it serves as a great braking anchor when needed, plus it breaks away before the front, a sensation that I tend to prefer.
That shape profile is matched with the slightly different rubber compounds in the front and rear tire, which biases towards sticker and slower rebound up front, and firmer and faster rolling in the rear - again, a combo that makes sense to me. The Grip3S front rubber is very soft, without feeling too wiggly on rocks and roots, and holds its own in wet conditions. Same goes for the rear, though it's ever so slightly worse in the wet. One of the longer days of Crankworx was an all-day pedal ride with a bunch of industry folks that happened to coincide with a dawn to dusk downpour that only let up as we were finishing our day up back at the Village. This was the first truly wet weather I'd ridden the Newtons in, and I really came away impressed. They stuck to muddy slabs nearly as well as the MaxxGrip boots everyone else was wearing, and though they might've been ever so slightly slipperier on wet roots, I never felt like they were holding me back.
Luckily, most of the weather through Crankworx was much more warm and pleasant, meaning there were plenty of dry park laps to take the Goodyears down. Despite the soft rubber and prominent knobs, they really held up well, only showing minimal wear after plenty of downhill miles. I've continued to ride the same set in Bellingham (where tires do seem to last a very long time), and they're still going strong. I'm now running three pairs on different bikes, and haven't had any flats or unusually quick wear.
One area where the Newton MTF falls a bit behind other aggressive tires like the Specialized Cannibal, Maxxis DHF, or Schwalbe Tacky Chan is in very hard-pack corners, where you'll have to lean the Goodyears a little bit farther than you might want to really get side knob engagement. I didn't find them too sketchy in these settings, but I'm also relatiively light at 180 lbs, so bigger riders might be stressing those fat side knobs a little more than they can handle in huge bike park berms.
The only real downside I can think of with the Newtons is the weight. At 1200-1400 grams for the Enduro range, they're in keeping with other competitive options, but the measured numbers are a good bit higher than the stated weights. To me this wasn't really an issue, but I know there are plenty of people who'd rather not roll around on a few kilos of rubber. Those people probably don't want tread this aggressive though, so they'll likely keep their distance.
Excellent mechanical grip in loose and challenging conditions+
Sticky rubber that works fine in the wet+
Front and rear combo compliment each other nicely+
A good bit heavier than claimed weight-
Not the absolute best wet-weather grip, but quite good