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Vredestein Tyres B.V has been producing tires in the city of Enschede, Holland for nearly a century. With a wide portfolio of tires for most automobile and two wheeler applications, Vredestein is a household name in Europe and America. Although it is not as well known among the local cycling community as some of the other European tire giants, this is set to change soon with the recent introduction by Entrocycles here. The brand boasts a wide range of bicycle tires for road racing, touring and mountainbiking. In fact, their road tires have been raced with great results in the various tours. Vredestein has also co-sponsored a professional mountainbike team with Cannondale.
The is designed for mountainbike marathon racing, the latest trend in a long list of endurance sports. The tire has a roundish casing of 2 inches, with big boomerang-like knobs facing in an outwards direction. The centre row of knobs are staggered, perhaps designed for better mud clearance. The row of knobs at the edge are of an unusually big L-shape. The tire is bi-directional capable, which means that the user can choose the rotational direction of the tire to further finetune its ride characteristics. For the duration of the the test, both tires were mounted in a forward direction for lower rolling resistance. There’s no mistaking these tires for any other model, with a huge T-REX2 wording printed out in a loud yellow colour on the sidewalls. Unusually for a tire that’s designed for marathon racing, it isn’t particularly light at 640grams. However, it would appear that weight isn’t everything once the tire was being tested.
Trex2 In Action
With a relatively high weight, wide spacing of the centre knobs and lots of ‘hair’ on the tire left over from the moulding process, I wasn’t expecting much out of its rolling characteristics. Within a few hundred metres on the road, it was a revelation to experience the low rolling resistance of the tire. It has the similiar sensation you get when you ride on the painted yellow lines, with very low tire noise/feedback. It was almost like I was riding on semi-slicks, maintaining higher speeds was easier than the pair of Schwalbe Jimmys I swapped with. I had to double check the tire pressures and circumference to make sure I wasn’t getting a false reading.
However, mountain bike tires are designed for offroad terrain, so enough of the road test. The recent monsoon season made certain that I had little in the way of dry trails to ride, and hence it was tested in various states of dampness. The tire’s low rolling resistance continued to shine in offroad situations, where once it is easier to maintain the rolling speed in relatively smooth conditions. On loose gravel surface, the tire isn’t as grippy as some other models in climbing. On some of the steeper hardpack climbs which were slick with rain, the tire would spin out if the rider applies too much torque to the wheels.However, braking power is excellent, with the tire able to stop the bike quickly. Cornering on the said surface resulted in a gentle and controllable drift. The big knobs gripped reasonably well in wet hardpack offcamber situations.
However, the achilles feet of this tire appears to be roots, especially wet and thin ones. I had some scary episodes when I tried to muscle my bike over small roots that were laid diagonally across my line. The front tire cleared without problems, but the rear tire would easily be caught by the roots and lose traction. The mud clearance capability of the tire is average with the gaps between the knobs easily packed when encountering thick mud, and reluctance to shed mud unless it was subjected to high speeds.
In a dry, typical marathon XC race course, this tire offers a serious competitive advantage. It’s combination of low rolling resistance and good side knob grip allows competitors to conserve their energy on the straights and corner confidently at speed. For people who have to actually
cycle a considerable distance to get to their favourite trails, this tire also offers low rolling resistance and good wear rates. However, if Vredestein could reduce the weight of this tire below 600grams or offer it in an UST format, that would benefit the marathon racer even more. For XC racers looking for something faster, Vredestein also offers the Killer Bee.
The T-Rex2 are available in 26x2.0″, steel and folding bead versions.