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Featured Review: Bontrager Race X Lite AC Clincher Tire
Price Paid: $60.00 at Lutherville Bikes
Review Date: September 12, 2009
Used product for: 3 months
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 5 of 5
Specialized Sequoia (alum w/CF Fork), Alex rims (oooh..), Sora 3×8 gearing (aaah….) Topeak rack & trunk bag.
I was looking for Race X Lite Hard Case but somehow got the Race X Lite AC. The labeling mentioned flat protection and the sales guy played that up in a big way. In the store, I thought that the AC was “HC” for hard case. I had previously bought a set of Bontrager Race Lite Hard Case tires in 32mm for my hybrid, and they never went flat. So I liked the Hard Case label, and maybe I am a bit of a Hard Case too.
This was my first time ever installing a tire without a wire bead. It didn’t form a U channel in which to pour in some baby powder. It was weird, but I figured it out and got it on properly. That was at home on the couch, I don’t want to do it again on the street, but I could. I may not have to.
After a few hundred miles of riding, (some limestone trail [NCR] and lots of road) the tire looks almost like new. The is a scrape of some rubber, but it is minor. I do recall a time or two where something hard shot out from under my tire, and that abrasion is probably the result.
In contrast, my front tire (Specialized All Condition Sport) has soft tread that gets a lot of small cuts, one of them currently open and gaping (but still small). Although the front tire has been around longer than the Bontrager, it is certainly less than 1,000 miles old and makes the Race X Lite AC look pretty darn good.
Recommended pressure is 100-130 psi, so I stay at 100-110, as I am a fairly light 160 pound rider. The ride seems the same as with the previous tire (Specialized All Condition Sport, which handles well enough but is a hole-magnet), maybe slightly less grippy than its soft treaded predecessor. But it is very similar in handling from what I have experienced so far, and that is good.
My front tire needs to be replaced (due to its small gaping cut) and I may put another Bontrager Race X Lite AC on it, but this time in 25mm rather than 23mm. I may be commuting to downtown, and want something that grips in the wet and is flat resistant as well. If anyone else has experiences with this (or other) tires, please post reviews so that we can learn from you.
I rated this overall as a 5 because it has done all that is expected of it so far, and value a 4 because bike tires should not cost what car tires cost.
It has been doing well for 300 to 500 miles so far, and on some rough roads, downtown Baltimore city streets (such as the Hanover St bridge which has a lot of debris on and near it).
$60 for a bike tire? I can get a good, and I mean very good car tire for $66 new online. Other than the price, not enough time with the tire to find any flaws, if there are any. The LBS who sold me this bike aren’t thrilled to see Bontrager on my wheel as opposed to Specialized. Oh well
Similar Products Used:
Bontrager Race Lite Hard Case in 32mm on my former bike, a hybrid. I started club riding on it, never a flat. Had trouble keeping up, but no flats.