Goodyear

Goodyear Launches MTB Tires, First Ride Impressions

Words, Photos: Chili Dog

A couple of months back we received a cryptic email in our inbox. The subject line simply read, “New Tire Brand.” Aside from saying the launch was going to be in Carson, California, there was no extra information. Needless to say, we were left scratching our heads as to who would be entering the bicycle tire business. The mystery ended after we confirmed our attendance and signed the NDA. We were told to show up at Goodyear’s Los Angeles Airship base.

Goodyear has a long and storied history in vehicle tires and rubber products. However, back in 1898 when Goodyear first put its name on a production tire, it wasn’t destined for a car. It was a bicycle tire. Since then, the brand has made a name for itself in the motor sports world, with a heavy presence in Nascar and other pavement race series.

So why enter the high end bicycle space after such a long hiatus? According to their own research, the usage of cars in cities is declining, and they see a future in making bike tires to compliment their already strong vehicle line up. Not surprisingly their line up hits hard on tires aimed at the general public, but it doesn’t stop there.

The line spans everything from basic commuter tires to top of the line World Cup DH treads, and they’re set to expand even further in the coming year. Pricing is competitive, with the most expensive MTB tire in the current line up coming in at $90. All of their mountain tires are tubeless ready. To go along with their new tires, Goodyear is also launching tubeless sealant.

Goodyear worked closely with unnamed World Cup DH athletes and freeride legend Geoff Gulevich to develop the tires. While the company utilized input from pro athletes, they have refrained from sponsoring any pro teams until their full tire line up is released in the coming year or so. That said, their starting line up of tires is already impressive.

 

Here is our best attempt to break down the extensive combinations of compounds, casings and tread patterns so it’s easy to digest .

The Rubber

Goodyear’s experience, technology and resources will undoubtedly make them a force to be reckoned with. Tires are not an easy undertaking both technologically and from an infrastructure standpoint. Creating a new line of tires is a heavy undertaking, but unlike small MTB specific brands, Goodyear has got the means.

They went all in on the bike project, starting from scratch with new compounds developed in-house. According to Goodyear their, “mountain tires focus on traction, low rolling resistance, and multi-density compounds to afford traction across a broad range of varying conditions.” All of the MTB specific compounds fall under the “DYNAMIC” name and are then broken into the following sub categories:

DYNAMIC: Pace60

Developed for multi-surface and off-road usage, with a focus on grip. This hard compound has a low rolling resistance and is best suited for XC applications.

DYNAMIC: A/T

The All-Terrain compound offers excellent rolling efficiency while maintaining a high level grip to minimize power transfer loss. This compound is best suited as a trail, all mountain and enduro rear tire compound.

DYNAMIC: R/T

The Rugged-Terrain compound is specifically formulated to balance grip, wear and efficiency. This compound is best suited as a trail, all mountain and enduro front tire compound.

DYNAMIC: RS/T

A Rugged Soft-Terrain compound formulated for maximum grip. This compound is best suited for DH applications where grip is the primary objective and rolling resistance is less important.

The Tires

Goodyear

PEAK is an XC focused tire offered with the DYNAMIC: A/T comound.

ESCAPE is a trail, all mountain or enduro tire offered with the DYNAMIC: R/T compound.

Goodyear
Goodyear

NEWTON is an all mountain or enduro with a tread pattern that caters to rear wheel usage. It is offered in both the DYNAMIC: R/T and RS compounds.

NEWTON ST is an all mountain or enduro tire with a tread pattern designed for the steering wheel. It’s offered in both the DYNAMIC: R/T and DYNAMIC: RS/T compounds.

Goodyear
Goodyear

The Casings

The tires are offered in a variety of casings to meet the budget, weight and performance requirements of different riders.

PREMIUM utilizes a balanced, robust casing that combines exceptional ride quality with outstanding durability.

ULTIMATE utilizes a smaller thread fabric and less rubber, making the tire more supple and faster rolling with improved traction.

EN utilizes a 1.5-ply constructed casing, which increases sidewall layers by 50% to provide additional support while maintaining a supple feel.

DH utilizes a 2-ply casing that increases sidewall toughness by 100%. This, along with a butyl insert, provides the ultimate in support and durability for DH applications.

The Ride

 Goodyear was kind enough to give us each sample tires after the press launch so that we could give them a preliminary test on our local trails. We brought home a Newton EN Ultimate DYNAMIC: R/T and an Escape Ultimate DYNAMIC: R/T tire to test. While a Newton ST would have been the optimal choice up front, options were limited due to the pre-release timing.

Goodyear reps mentioned that the shape and compound of the bead was developed for improved bead retention and seating. They also claimed that the tires could be mounted using only a floor pump, and sealant is not required. Although skeptical, we decided to test the claims at home. It worked. Not only did we seat the tire with a floor pump onto our Spēd wheels and a set of Enve’s, but they held air overnight without sealant. Of course after our initial test was over we opted to add in sealant before setting out to the rocky trails.

In our limited time aboard the tires so far, we are very impressed with the ride. Tires are not a simple thing to do well, and many brands have failed in their quest. Thankfully Goodyear seems to have done their homework before unveiling their new venture to the bike world. Small features like a slightly knurled tread bed help shed mud and siped knobs make these tires a performer on the trail.

Cornering grip from the Newton, which we mounted on the front of our test sled was impressive thanks to the hulking, staggered side lugs that are siped to conform to the terrain. Though the rear Escape Ultimate is less aggressive than our typical rear tire of choice, its low rolling resistance was welcome on long climbs. Despite its seemingly mild tread pattern, it too had fantastic cornering and climbing traction. The treat pattern is actually reminiscent of the familiar Kenda Nevegal.

The Wolf’s Last Word

With the seemingly endless number of fantastic tires on the market right now, it’s hard to believe that Goodyear would decide to throw their hat in the ring. They’re no stranger to competition though, and came in with an impressive showing born from their extensive experience in the rubber and tire industry.

We’re excited to put more time on our test tires, and hope to try a few of the other tread designs and compounds in order to bring you a comprehensive and full length review in the coming months.

Website: https://www.goodyearbike.com

Price: $65-90

Goodyear

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