VERSUS ALL-MOUNTAIN TRAIL TIRE REVIEW
Words and Photos by Emma Wooldridge and Cole Gregg
Versus Bicycle Tires is a brand that is still relatively new to the MTB world of tires. Unlike other brands with multiple tread patterns, Versus keeps it simple and effective with their offering of just one tread pattern and two casing options. Back in 2020, I was able to get my hands on a set of their All-Mountain tires which had just launched but had yet to spend some serious time on the Trail casing version, until now. Following our Sub-$3k bike shootout, which was supported by Versus Tires, we had a fresh set lying around begging for some punishment over the long term. I have been hammering a set of these over the summer to see how they stack up, and now it is time to share my thoughts.
As mentioned above Versus gives riders an option of two casing options dubbed “Trail” and “Gravity”. In a world of endless acronyms this simple and precise naming convention is refreshing. Both casings are offered in 29” and 27.5” diameters, with a 2.4” width. The Trail casing is a single-wall folding bead tire with a dual durometer rubber of 60/63, while the Gravity casing comes with a double-wall wire bead casing and softer 52/58 durometer rubber compound. There is a weight increase when jumping up to the Gravity tire over the trail tire: the Gravity tire lands at 1,450 grams, while the trail comes in at a respectable 1,050 grams (about 2.31 lbs) for the 29” size option. As you would expect the Trail Casing is aimed at trail bikes or riders that are weight-conscious with their builds, whereas the Gravity Casing is simply aimed at gravity-style riding, be it enduro or downhill.
Both versions of the tire use a carcass with a TPI of 60, but the Gravity Casing’s dual layers are stacked over one another to give gravity riders more support and protection. Both tires also feature Versus “VRSA layer.” This is an additional layer of soft rubber integrated with woven mesh between the casing and tread and helps to act as an additional layer of protection, giving you a little less chance of a puncture. Both versions of the tires receive the same ramped and siped side knobs to minimize rolling resistance and maximize grip.
One of the most unique things Versus brings to the tire market is some wild color options if you do not want to settle for the standard black. Traditionally the most different tire color you would expect to see from major brands would be a tan wall, but Versus takes it to the next level with color splatter options as well as now offering an entirely Teal or Pink rubber tire. Their splatter coloring adds a few grams to each tire as it is added to the tire post-production.
Since the introduction, the tires have seen a small price increase as with many other products in the industry. Even with this increase, they are some of the most affordable tires on the market at their MSRP price: the 29” Trail version lands at $68.50 for the all-black model, with the splatter models coming in at $81.00 each. The Gravity casing is currently only sold in pairs with the all-black being $150 for 2 and the splatter option coming in at $162.50. Versus is so confident in the performance of their tires that they offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you do not love them.
Alright, folks, gather round for a tale of rubber, dirt, and the quest for the perfect trail feel. We are diving into the world of the Versus All Mountain tires, where they boldly claim to have your back, and even your rubber, for 30 days. It is clear that Versus stands behind its products, and from what I can find they are the only tire brand to offer a 30-day guarantee like this. On top of that they have a frequent buyer and referral program set up for devoted fans of the brand to eke out some further savings.
Now, onto the real deal – how do these so-called “budget-friendly” tires feel on the trail? In my time on these, I struggled to find my sweet spot to feel like I could fully commit and lean in unsupportive corners. At first, I figured it was due to me having spent all Spring on a set of aggressive, sticky Continental Argotals, but after three full days at the bike park and countless weekly rides which amounted to tons of elevation and adjustment time, I still never felt like I gelled with them. The compound felt hard and unforgiving on loose, dry and flat corners. Ultimate cornering traction just did not quite give me the confidence but I do believe the softer durometer rubber of the Gravity casing tires would likely go a long way, albeit with a weight penalty. While dry, flat corner traction wasn’t a strength, there were no issues when it came to braking traction – the tires very much remind me of a Maxxis DHR2 in this regard.
When we were lucky enough to get a mid-summer rain day and the dirt was in perfect condition, confidence increased considerably. I think the type of soil you ride in most will greatly define how these tires work for you. Here on the Eastern side of Washington State, we have a very light marbly soil that is always trying to wipe your front tire off the map, so any weak point in a tire will be dramatically exposed. The Versus All-Mountain tread is deep enough with reasonable shedding abilities to allow for softer, loamy or sandy soils to be penetrated and considerably more grip to be found, but harder pack and slick terrain performance left a little to be desired.
Do not get me wrong, it was not all discomfort on the trail with these. On faster flow trails the tires had little rolling resistance even when running slightly lower pressures than usual. On the occasions where I was left in the elusive sweet spot they hooked up great and stayed connected to the trail. And thanks to their relatively hard rubber compound, their wear life was impressive. I would say I am on the very picky side of tire tread patterns and shapes, so for another opinion to add to the mix I loaned my wheels to my buddy, who’s been my riding partner for the better part of 15 years. He is not one to fuss over bike parts, and he rode those tires from start to finish with a casual shrug. To him, they were nothing out of the ordinary, just another day on the trails, so for riders who do not demand every last bit of traction out of their tires, the Versus All Mountain Trail tires could well be a solid all-round shout, especially for riders on a budget.
The Wolf’s Last Word
While Versus Tires Trail tires do have some strengths, offer a decent value and can absolutely perform well, certain conditions will bring to light their shortcomings for more discerning riders. The harder rubber compound found on the Trail models means that riders who regularly ride dry, flat and loose corners will have a tougher time finding confidence. The Gravity tire is heavier but also has a softer compound that may be worth examining if you are looking for something new.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your local soil type and riding style. If you have got smooth trails, berms, or softer soil, you might just find your soulmate in these tires. For my picky-self, the quest for the perfect tire to handle dry, loose, flat corners continues. Lastly, if you are smashing laps in the bike park every weekend and eating through a few sets of tires each season, the savings found by going with these Versus tires might net you out a handful of post-ride meals with an adult beverage come the end of the season.
29” Trail – $68.50 & Splatter $81.00
29” Gravity – $75 & Splatter $80