DELIUM RUGGED ALL-ROUND TIRE REVIEW
AFFORDABLE MOUNTAIN BIKE TIRES WITH PREMIUM PERFORMANCE
Review by Drew Rohde
If you are looking for some of the best affordable mountain bike tires on the market, these Delium Tires could be for you. We first spotted the Delium Tires crew at Sea Otter last year, with a small, tucked away booth that housed some impressive looking tread patterns. We were instantly impressed by the patterns and offerings of their tire range. Then we learned their prices and we got even more excited. Delium Tires are hoping to shake up the mountain bike tire market by offering some premium performance contenders at half the price of their competition. We were stoked to get their Rugged All-Round tire out onto the trails and see what can be achieved with a $45 tire.
Delium has come to market with four tread patterns to suit everything from XC and light trail riding to hardcore enduro, gravity and eBike shredding. Within each of these tread patterns are a choice of three casings. They begin with the thinnest “Light” casing on the quicker rolling Fast and Steady treads, the mid-weight “All-Round” casing on all tread patterns, and the burly “Reinforced” casing on the heavier hitting Versatile and Rugged models. The pricing is determined by the casing selected, with the Light casing running for $35 per tire, the All-Round at $45, and the Reinforced at a still impressive $55. We put the Rugged All-Round tires to the test in the high desert around Bend, Oregon to see how they stacked up to the established brands with much higher price tags.
The Rugged tread pattern features a repeating 3-2 lug pattern, absent of a “float zone” that should offer up rather predictable grip as you transition from upright to leant-in on the shoulder knobs. There’s no ignoring its visual similarity to the Maxxis Assegai, but there’s more to a tire than its basic tread layout. There is a large diagonal sipe on each of the large knobs of the “2” row, giving more edges to latch onto the ground and increasing the flexibility of these knobs. The rows with three knobs see a large central knob flanked with two smaller knobs that sit mid-way in the transition zone to the side knobs. Each of these knobs features a subtle central sipe.
All of the knobs are 6mm tall in the center, giving the all-important bite into softer terrain without approaching spike levels of penetration. The side knobs alternate between a rectangular block and L-shaped block, sitting at a slight offset from each other to ensure you hook up regardless of the lean angle.
The All-Round construction features a soft triple compound rubber, with medium durometer 60a rubber on the center tread, soft 50a rubber on the side knobs and a hard base to give them support. The casing is triple zone, with an extra-supple section directly under the tire knobs to allow them to conform to the trail; cut protection on the sidewalls to prevent any slashing on sharp rocks; and a rim impact protection zone down at the folding Aramid bead to offer increased security for both the rim and tire bead in this area. The casing is designed to be tubeless ready, and the tires are certified to ECE-R75 for eMTB use. Delium offers the Rugged All-Round tire in 27.5” or 29” with a 2.5” width only, with the retail price of $45.
Getting Delium’s Rugged All-Round to seat onto the rim proved to be a little inconsistent and trickier than some. One of our three sets had a tendency to collapse and fold, losing its shape in the process. We did get them to seat eventually with a good blast of air and some coaxing, but it was certainly not the most straightforward tire to do so. Once aired up, they held pressure and sealant just fine, so it’s safe to say their tubeless-ready carcass does a good job at sealing in the air.
Hitting the trail, we were quite impressed by the rolling speed on offer from the aggressively treaded tire. This was most likely a combination of a slightly harder rubber compound and thinner casing being a little more supple than the outgoing stickies, as well as the slightly higher pressures we were running to ensure the casing had enough support under hard compressions. Although they only weigh 990g, with a casing that is lighter and a touch less protective than we’d typically fit to test rigs like the Yeti 160E, we didn’t get a flat despite our best efforts in terrain that’s claimed many wheel and tire victims in our past.
Cornering grip was excellent across a wide range of lean angles, thanks to those intermediate lugs ensuring there’s always a good number of knobs digging in. The hard rubber base and relatively big shoulder knobs meant that you could push the tire hard into anything with support without the knobs folding and feeling vague. In the same vein, there was seldom a time when the tire would “snap” out of traction, with a relatively predictable breakaway over most surfaces that encouraged the limits to be tickled regularly.
Our only real criticism of the Rugged All-Round model tested was the braking bite, which lacked a little on harder packed terrain. In the softer, loamier soils of the PNW other testers didn’t suffer from the same issues, with the relatively tall knobs digging in and generating the required bite just fine. We would have loved to put a set of the Rugged Reinforced tires to the test, to see if the softer rubber compounds and slightly lower pressures we would be running would give us the hook up on the loose and rocky terrain that we were missing.
Thanks to the relatively hard rubber compounds in use through the center tread, and slightly less berm ripping occurring during the test period thanks to the winter conditions, the Delium tires have shown great longevity. They have endured nearly 120 miles with only slightly rounded edges to show for it, adding further to that great value proposition. At $45 a tire, we would be stoked to recommend these to a friend, so long as they’re not seeking the absolute grippiest or heaviest hitting rubber. We’ll be looking forward to putting the Rugged Reinforced tires to the test in the future to see if they answer our braking traction prayers.
The Wolf’s Last Word
At just $45, it’s safe to say that Delium Tires have knocked it out of the park with their Rugged All-Round tires. Though we’d still opt to try their Reinforced casing version of the Rugged for the rear on an eBike and more aggressive enduro and gravity riding, the All-Round tires are certainly a good all-round option for those who could benefit from their lighter weight and faster rolling. Two thumbs up for these tires and their awesome price tag.
Weight: 998g (29”x2.5”)