The Bontrager XR2 Team Issue TLR (tubeless ready) tire is about as good as it gets for an XC race tire. I’ve tried a number of XC race tires over the year and the Bontrager XR2 is one of my favorites. The XR2 almost has a complete ridge down the center of the tire so if you’re on pavement or hard dirt you’ll be rolling on that ridge, which means they’ll be fast with low rolling resistance. However once you lean them over they have good, midsized knobs that will take over the traction duties.
They’re fairly light at 540 grams for the 2.1, which is light enough for any XC race. Theyre also are “tubless ready” which means that they are very easy to mount on a tubeless rim with an air compressor. I run mine on a UST rim with Stans No-Tubes sealant in them.
They have a round profile which means that you never have all that much tire touching the dirt, and therefore you can get some drift in corners. For example, they’ll slide much more than their heavier and wider older brother, the Bontrager XR4.
I’d put these in the category with the Maxxis Crossmark 2.1, Schwalbe Rocket Ron and Schwable Racing Ralph. But unlike the tubeless version of the Raching Ralph these are very easy to mount up with or without a tube. I had a heck of a time getting the UST racing Ralph on my rims.
So, if you’re looking for a tire to ride fairly smooth trails on your hard-tail or mixed road & dirt or for XC racing, I’d definitely recommend the Bontrager XR2. I currently have them mounted up on my Ibis Tranny and am very happy with them. The only downside is that if you do much road riding on your mountain bike (ie. Riding to the trails) I think they’ll wear out faster than say a Maxxis Crossmark. However they’ll last much longer than a Schwalbe tire since those tend to be extremely soft (and expensive) “race day only” tires.
Rolling speed: Fast
Idea use: XC racing, trail riding
Ideal bike: Hardtail up to 4” travel bike