Big wheels with big versatility
Bontrager has been pumping out 29er tires for years and was one of the first companies to truly give some tread options to those running the bigger wheels, and the XR3 is all about options. A high center tread allows for fast rolling but it’s the aggressive side knob that enables it to handle whatever the trail can throw at it. The spacing between the knobs allows for ample mud clearing and the 2.1 Team Issue has a higher thread count which helps keep the weight down to a mere 535g.
The XR3 mounts up as a pretty skinny 2.1. Setup tubeless and at 26psi the outside knob-to-knob measures 49mm (1.9″) with a casing width of 46mm (1.8″). In comparison the Bontrager rubber doesn’t have nearly the volume of the WTB’s 2.1 Prowler and I did notice some added rolling resistance due to the size of the center tread knobs, but at more than 130 grams lighter the XR3 is a more legitimate option for an all-conditions race tire.
The XR3 is offered in a few different models, one of them being the TLR (TubeLessReady) but I didn’t have any problems mounting up the Team Issue XR3 on Stan’s rims.
Is it for you?
If you are looking for an XC tire that is aggressive enough for high country shredding and lightweight enough for race day, the XR3 is a great option. With a MSRP of $59.99 you aren’t going to break the bank to get up and rolling. The only hold up could be getting your hands on a pair. After checking with a few of the local shops here in Colorado, not many have the 29″ XR3 in stock, but Bontrager says they are available.