Totally locked on, rail-the-corners feel
The Bontrager SE5 enduro tyre is brand new in this chubby, 2.6in, width. The Team Issue version is a heavy duty, tubeless ready model.
Inner Strength casing reinforcement on both the sides and under the tread, making it tough enough for pointy rocks and proper DH tracks.
The tread pattern isn’t a million miles away from the classic, blocky Maxxis Minion DHR II, although the edge knobs are marginally shorter, and central paddles less pronounced, so it rolls over faster. In 2.6in size, the SE5 blows up big, but not huge, with a nicely rounded shape and a very cushioned ride.
Right from the first ride, SE5 grip levels really surprised me. There’s a totally locked on, rail-the-corners feel, with way more cornering and off camber hold than expected from the height of the edge blocks. It’s so surefooted, a pal and I riding the tyres soon established you can keep on pushing the tread, especially on the front end, harder and leaning the wheel over more, and the tyre just doesn’t let go.
The tracking and damping quality of the casing and rubber blend is good too. Bontrager doesn’t quote the softest rubber durometer figures for the SE5, but I’ve not had any problems in grease and damp and rate the rubber as highly as Maxxis’ popular Maxx Terra 3C compound on rock and root. However, the SE5 is less assured in deeper mud (both cornering and slowing down) than the benchmark DHR II if your local riding gets nasty, snotty dirt in the wet.
The extra sub-tread reinforcement makes this bigger SE5 a bit of a chunk and possibly overkill for trail riders in mellower parts of the UK, but if you value grip and toughness and regularly destroy tyres, it’s a great option. It’s ten quid more than the skinnier SE5, but the expensive price is par for the course for a modern fully-featured enduro tyre.
Bontrager’s 2.6in wide SE5 is a bit of a dark horse – it’s exceptionally grippy in all conditions up to properly wet mud, comfortable in rough terrain and rolls very well for such a confident and secure tyre. At well over a kilo, it is pretty heavy though.