Versus All Mountain Tire Review
New Tires and More Tacos, Please
Words by Mike Wirth / GooseWorks Mobile Bike Tuning
Versus is a new tire brand that sells online direct to riders. According to them, that means you can ride fresh tires for less, because less money spent on tires means more money for post-ride tacos. Since we constantly have a hunger for both fresh treads and tacos, we had the Versus guys throw a pair of tires on one of our favorite enduro-style shred sleds to see if they could handle a proper Loam Wolf thrashing.
Versus has multiple tire offerings all designed to satisfy the needs of aggressive all mountain, enduro, downhill riders. Our take on the company model is simple, and not new in the cycling industry these days: offer a quality product that’s comparable in performance to the other options available from larger, more mainstream brands, and deliver it direct to consumer at a lower price by avoiding middlemen. Versus takes their rider commitment a step further, and stands behind their tires with a 30-day money back guarantee. If you don’t like the tire, or if it fails in that timeframe, they’ll refund your money. They also offer discounts for referrals to other riders, as well as special discounts if you buy 2-, 4-, or 6-packs of tires at a time. Last but not least, they are part of the “1% for Bikes” program, which donates some of the proceeds to worthy causes such as trail advocacy groups and trail builders. Bottom line, this is a small company that cares about not only the nitty gritty performance of their tires, but also the impact riders and their knobbies can have on trail access. That’s something we all should believe in when we’re shopping for new rubber.
Versus offers multiple versions of their tires, including options for folding bead or wire bead, different casings, and the distinct yellow splatter you see on the tires tested here. These 29 by 2.4-inch wide tires come with a 63 thread per inch (tpi) inner casing, and a 60TPI outer casing, and tipped the scales at 1030 grams per tire. The beads snapped into place easily with both a floor pump and compressor and a splash of sealant, making installation a breeze. We’re told that the splatter coloring adds a few grams compared to the black version, as the yellow is added after production and is purely for aesthetics. Our folding bead 29er tires sell for $60 a piece in black, and $65 for the splatter version. The wire bead version is a bit less expensive at only $50 and has a slightly lower durometer for the gravity riding crowd. All Versus tires can be ordered through Versustires.com
Before we even unloaded our test bike with these tires mounted, we were fielding questions about them. Whether it was the yellow splatter or the big bold VERSUS sidewall hot patch, these tires stood out amongst a sea of the typical tried and true tires we typically use. For this reason alone, we would gravitate toward the standard black versions for most bikes, rather than the splatter ones. Some riders will revel in this attention, but most of the comments we received were about how it looked as if we rolled the bike through a parking lot with wet paint stripes. Still, for those who love to be different, these tires deliver.
On the trail, the Versus tires have a reliable and predictable feel with plenty of usable traction. They sport a “round-ish” profile with an aggressive side knob that feels confidence inspiring when cornering, and gives plenty of notice before they break free and begin to drift. There are tires out there that offer more bite on aggressive turns, but we’d be hard pressed to name a tire that does that without giving up performance in rolling resistance or elsewhere. Speaking of that, the Versus tires feel fairly snappy to accelerate out of turns, giving the bike a nice “well rounded” feel that’s not skittish like an XC tire, but quicker than a full DH one. On some of our steepest and loosest straight line descents, the all mountain struggled to slow us as well as a true downhill tire would have, but that was expected. The casing feels relatively soft and supple over rocks and roots. But thanks to the even mesh impregnated in the casing, we did not experience a puncture during our several hundred miles of rough trail testing. Nice!
After sever hundred miles of testing, including many miles pounding fire road climbs and pavement in addition to trail miles, we found the wear to be on par with other high end tire offerings. These are not so soft as to be a race only tire, but are soft enough to offer tons of tacky traction. We expect them to last upwards of a thousand miles if pushed to the wear limit, but Versus makes them affordable enough to replace we doubt we’ll take them down that far.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Soliciting advice on tire selection on the trail is the bike equivalent of discussing politics at the dinner table. Everybody has an opinion that’s unflinchingly rigid, and whether it’s backed by fact or not, you are gonna hear about it. Versus is coming to a crowded MTB tire market that’s full of many other excellent and well-established options. When you ride Versus tires, you can simply say that the design, construction quality, weight and overall ride characteristics of your tires are comparable to other top-tier tires options. Bottom line, the performance is there, and it’s the direct to rider sales model that sets Versus apart from the rest. The fact that Versus makes it easy to order online, very affordable, and offers a 30-day money back guarantee makes our next tire purchasing decision a little easier. See you at the taco shop at the bottom of the trail.
Price: Starting at $50;
Predictable handling, reasonable weight, and supple feel
More money for tacos plus a 30-day satisfaction guarantee
Performance and tread wear on par with other top notch tire brands
Some proceeds go to trail access
Straight line braking traction could be improved
Some would rather have the all black version, some loved the splatter look
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