The one road tire for race day and every day Bontrager's design team and the development of the all-new R3 Road Bike Tire
They say you can’t reinvent the wheel, but Bontrager’s design team did reinvent the tire that goes on it. The R3 road bike tire was a project three years in the making, one that started with a complete overhaul of the tire development process and ended with a new standard of testing, an entirely new rubber compound called TR-Speed, and the one road bike tire to rule them all.
Here’s what the team knew: a great road bike tire is fast-rolling and light. But most road tires are quick to wear out and not especially confidence-inspiring when it comes to punctures. Moreover, they’re not great for a variety of conditions. Changing your tires for race day is a hassle, but there wasn’t one single tire that was long-wearing, puncture-resistant, durable enough for training rides, and fast enough for race day.
So Bontrager took all the best-loved parts of the existing R3 Hard-Case Lite road tire and improved on them, creating the one tire that’s right for race day and every day. The new R3 is 7% faster, 22% more protective against flats, and 75% longer-lasting. Plus, it’s available in a variety of widths—each with a size-specific, lightly treaded design for traction and cornering confidence.
Not every road is perfect. So rather than testing R3 on a steel drum like everyone else, Bontrager created a customizable rolling surface capable of recreating several outdoor riding conditions. This allowed the team to gather and analyze more performance data than ever, and it ultimately led to some major discoveries.
The tech behind the tire
One such discovery was that even tires without directional tread roll faster in one direction than in the other—by 10% on average. Put it another way: direction matters. A lot. That’s why R3 is built on a supple, 120 TPI casing that’s directionally optimized for faster forward rolling and more free speed.
The team went all the way back to the drawing board for R3, then took another step back from the design and totally reworked the material. R3 is built with a proprietary TR-Speed rubber compound that’s faster in the lab and on a variety of road surfaces.
More miles, fewer flats
Bontrager also improved the new R3’s puncture protection by adding a breaker belt made from tightly woven Nylon105. The result is a lighter tire with better road feel, a 12% increase in protection against punctures, and a 75% increase in tread life so you get that new tire feel for a whole lot longer.
About the Author: Trek
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