Bontrager Race X Lite-my detailed experience with them

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by OscarC, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. OscarC

    OscarC New Member

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    Hi everyone, just want to share my experience with the Bontrager Race X Lite tires. I'm not comparing to other tires because the type of riding, riders weight and riding surfaces make a difference in one experience. So, here is the set up and specifics first so you can get a feel for the conditions I used the tire under and what my opinions are based on.

    The Bike: The tires came with my Trek OCLV 110 Madone 5.9 and Bontrager Aero Wheels. The bike is the red and carbon US Postal Office team bike. 52cm.

    Me: I'm 5'7 and weight 142 lbs. I train with a HR monitor. I don't race criteriums cause I don't want an inevitablle crash. I will do Centuries or doubles. I am however, doing mountain bike races on a not so good at all hardtail and really, really, bad at downhill but more than make up for it on the uphills. Mnt. bike races seem to be more abundant locally.

    Type of Rides: I ride hard and fast (20 to 21 mph). Mostly I like climbing hills and mountains. I climb Mnt. Wilson in California about every Saturday, it's about 6000 ft. of climbing and 26 miles to the top from my drive way, so a 52 mile round trip. Downhill speeds up to about 40 to 45mph. All my rides are timed so I can improve my time and speeds.

    My experience with the tire: First, I pump the Race X Lites up to 120PSI as I don't mind a harsher ride. I wipe down the tread with a rag and inspect the tires after everyride with a flash lite. The flash light makes any bits of glass that may be imbedded in the rubber sparkle, so their easier to see to get them out. I check for cracks or cuts that may look unsafe. I did get cuts in the rear early on (about 500 miles) that measured about 4 or 5 cm which made me wonder if I should replace it but I left it on with no problems. I have pulled out slivers of glass that might have caused a flat for sure if I let them work their way in. A couple of these slivers left a small whole that with my flash light, I can see a tiny bit of thread. I did not get any flats through the 2,000 miles and yes I rode over glass, pot holes, small rocks at high speed, and other pieces of metal. One time I also locked the rear into a skid to slow to a red light from a very fast downhill. My rear tire has lasted 2,000 miles while the front still looks like it could go a least another 2,000 miles. The rear might go another 2-300 miles but I am quite satisfied with what I have gotten out of them. I don't rotate my tires. The rubber seems soft and very grippy in the turns. I did have confidence flying through turns at high speed. I've only ridden in wet road conditions from heavy fog, but didn't really put them to the test as I prefer to be careful. Besides about 4 to 5 cuts on the rear the only thing I noticed at about 500 miles was that the original oval shape of the rear tire lost it's shape to a more flat shape. The tires always felt fast and even after the rear lost it's shape, I thought it might make me slower, but my times never reflected this. Probably just a mental thing.

    Overall, I'm happy and pleasantly surprised that the tire worked so well and held up, especially the rear. I would definetly ride the Race X Lite again. I am open to trying new things so I have already purchased a set of the new Continental 4000's and anxious to see how they work since I keep hearing and reading good things about them and I think Continental makes Bontrager but not sure. I'm hoping they will make me faster but I'll have to refer to my previous times and rides to see if there is any noticable difference.

    I hope my personal experience on these tires and detail is helpful to everyone.
     
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  2. Furious_g

    Furious_g New Member

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    Well written! Thanks, I am in the market for some new tyres and will take this on board. :)
     
  3. BILLYHOLMES

    BILLYHOLMES New Member

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    A very interesting read. I too am considering a Trek Madone, what are your thoughts, would you recommend one?

    Regards,
    Bill.
     
  4. OscarC

    OscarC New Member

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    Hi Bill,
    Absolutley I would reccommend a Madone 5.9 to anyone in the market for a high end carbon road bike. Of course I'm sure that any other high end MAJOR brand is probably just as good though. I'm extremely happy with my bike. For me it was love at first site. For me, part of my criteria was that the bike had to have Dura Ace 10 speed, all carbon bike of course, red as a main color, and most importantly it has to be a proven bike. The US postal colors fit the bill for me as I am extremely picky about quality and looks. I have to admit at least for me, I don't get as excited about the Discovery Channel color scheme. All the Bontrager components on mine seem to be super high quality, and after reading and researching, I bought into Trek's OCLV carbon process. It seems Trek has thrown alot of money into their research. The 16 bladed spokes aero wheels feel strong, silent, are sharp looking and for me acentuate the look of the bike. I'm not sure if the aerodynamic kick out on the seat tube really makes that much of a difference but who cares. Most of the other high end bikes also have some distinguishing shapes as well. The Bontrager lettering and logos are also in red and seem to nicely fall in place with the whole color scheme. The carbon seat post, stem, and handle bars also have very nice detailing and overall it's just a really great package. When I ride I feel like all the power goes straight to ground and nothing lost in flexing of parts. Feels strong and stiff. Very responsive feel in the turns. The botton bracket is pretty beefy which I'm sure helps the stiffness and ridgitity. Lastly as far as it being "proven" well what can you say, Lance raced it. What a better stamp of approval. People make fun of the prices and the "Lance Factor" but I don't even really care. An argument can be made that for ththe price I paid could also have all the parts hand picked, frame, and built for you. But that really costs more in the long run. Since the Madone for all intents and purposes is mass produced and with Trek's buying power, the prices really are lower and pass on the you including the mark up of the Lance factor. Don't forget all $ that went into research...

    It seems that there were alot of backorders for this at Trek and they gave priority to a sold bike vs. not sold. I was standing with the guy when he ordered it from Trek so I know there was no smoke and mirrors there. I bargined on the price of the bike at the shop and paid $4,800 cash, no taxes which saved me another $396. The MSRP is listed at $5279. Maybe I could paid a little less if I had waited some but I didn't care. At some point the savings and time is not worth it. Besides, I was committed to $ not getting in the way of what I wanted. When spending those kinds of $$$ on a bike, the worst thing would be to have a regret and wish I would've bought something else, a different color, shape, brand etc...

    What if Trek hadn't a nice Red bike? Probably would have looked at Cervelo, they have a nice red expensive bike too. As far as I'm concerned, any bike ridden in the big Race Tours such as the Tour de France is a proven bike.

    But those are just my thougts, hope that helps, good luck in the bike hunt!

    Oscar.


     
  5. StartTday

    StartTday New Member

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    The Madone 5.9 is a nice bike. I ended up with what I have based on frame geometry and which if found more comfortable.

    I havent tried the Race X Lites but after reading your post I might have to try them out. Ive been riding Pro Races for awhile now. I started with Continentals and I wouldnt trust those with my life. I was scared to death taking any corner at a higher speed. That and they wore out very fast.

    Anyway great review and thanks for sharing!
     
  6. triguy98

    triguy98 New Member

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    The performance of the Xlites doesnt surprise me as I have had the Race Lites on my tri bike for year now with no problems. They sure are better than the wire bead Selects it came with.
     
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