Like most soft compound tires, my rear tire after one day in the bike park started looking like my 4-5 day-old front tire. There’s nothing revolutionary about the compound Bontrager is using—soft tires just wear out quickly.
I’ll admit that I’d been so impressed with how the G5 worked on the front that I was disappointed when I saw how quickly the rear tire wore down. The wear wasn’t excessive, but I found myself wanting to preserve it for a front tire.
That said, the evenness of how these tires broke down is something worth mentioning. Unlike a Maxxis DHF, where the siped centerknobs start wearing down on their softer compounds almost immediately, the centerknob sipes on the G5 are still holding enough meat to do their job. I haven’t gotten any “undercutting” of sideknobs or braking edges on the centers (so it looks like the knob is only half attached) that seems to plague soft compounds.
Just to illustrate why this thing brakes and corners so well (due to proper knob spacing), I took a few measurements. All done on a Mavic 729 rim. Sorry about the High Roller, it was on a narrower rim and the widths wouldn’t be comparable.
There’s a bigger gap (or channel) between the sideknobs and the centerknobs on the G5. And the G5’s centerknobs are spaced out farther from one another than the centerknobs on either the 2.4 Maxxis DHR2 or 2.5 Maxxis High Roller. See? It’s even in the numbers, yo.
My only real complaint with these tires is that there aren’t more of them.
I haven’t gotten a single flat (running tubes the whole time), the tire wears extremely evenly, and I have yet to find any fault with it except that it rolls slowly on the rear wheel. But right now there are only two G5 versions you can buy—a 2.35 and a 2.5, both in a DH casing and a soft compound.
This is one of the most solid tread designs I’ve seen in a long time. It’s similar to the Maxxis DHR2 that I cut—the difference is that I don’t need to cut the G5. This solid design should be available in a hard compound, a 1.5 ply all-mountain version, a UST 2.2/2.1 version etc.
A larger version of any tire has some big advantages, and I’ll be buying the 2.5 as soon as it’s time to replace the front. The bigger the casing, the lower the pressure you can/need to run. I haven’t had many gripes about the 2.35, but a bit more cush wouldn’t hurt.
When these first came out, the 2.35 version tested here was the only one available. Bontrager has a 2.5 on their site now and that’s very reassuring—they have some faith in the design. It’d be nice to see some lighter versions since I want these things on other bikes!
Bontrager killed it with the G5. I’ve been buying other tires and cutting them to get them to behave like this. This is a less expensive tire without the hassle. And it’s not meant just for big bikes. The 2.35 in a 1000g version would make me very happy.
The G5 likely won’t be as popular as some of the tires that Maxxis or Schwalbe are selling, since it’s not on World Cup winning bikes right now (though it was last year). And that’s a damn shame because, in anything other than total slop, it’s better out of the box than most of the other offerings.
So do your part. If you want one of the best DH tires on the market, grab some G5s. Because I want to keep buying this tire for a while and I’m going to be in a fit of depression if it disappears due to lack of sales.