Vredestein might not be well-known to many mountain bikers (I had never heard of them until Monday evening) but the Dutch-Indian tire manufacturer has been moulding rubber rings for cars, tractors, road bikes and mountain bikes for 105 years. Its road bike tires have a high reputation for quality and protection – the Fortezza TriComp clincher tires is able to run at pressures approaching those of a tubular tire.
There are three mountain bikes tires being brought into the U.S., all aimed at the high-end XC race category.
The Spotted Cat is a small block, fast rolling tire designed for racing purposes. It has a 120 TPI casing, tubeless ready or non-tubeless clincher, and comes in 2-inch wide 650b or 29-inch diameter.
The Black Panther is an all-round competition tire with a chained central section for lower rolling resistance. They come in 2.2-inch width, with standard or tubeless ready casing.
The Black Panther Xtreme (Yeah, I rolled my eyes at the name, too) is a more aggressive pattern that is ideal for front tire applications or more variable conditions. There is more bite on the shoulder cornering knobs and has wide spaced tread for mud clearance, braking and accelerating.
What can we tell you about the tires performance? Not much yet. Once we find a member of staff willing to forgo their big meat for some skinny racing rubber for an extended test period and really put these through the wringer, we will be sure to pass on our findings.