Bontrager R3 tubeless-ready tyres review

More and more brands are bringing out tubeless tyres. We put Bontragers R3 tyres through some extreme tests to see how they perform

Cycling Weekly Verdict

Winter is coming and these tyres are ideal.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Roll nicely

  • +

    Superb puncture protection

  • +

    Good grip

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can be difficult to fit

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We recently produced a video entitled 'Can a tubeless tyre survive a nail?' The answer, much to my surprise was yes it can.

The tyres used in that particular video were 25mm Bontrager R3 tubeless-ready tyres. I tested the puncture protection by inserting multiple drawing pins and even nails into the tyre carcass. Astonishingly, the sealant was able to seal all the holes, rendering punctures highly unlikely.

Video - Watch how tubeless tyres seal big punctures

After performing the nail test multiple times I have continued to run these tyres including riding them on the epic Rapha Manchester to London ride, in support of Amibitious About Autism. The ride was 388km in a single day and was completed without any punctures.

The tyres with another nail!

The tyres with another nail!

These tyres have converted me to tubeless. They came with Bontrager sealant, but work equally well with other sealants, such as Stan’s. The tyres can also be run with regular inner tubes if you wish.

Quite a few Trek bikes actually come with these tyres, such as the Trek Domane we reviewed earlier in the year.


The 25mm width rolls very nicely too, especially when you drop the pressure to 60-70psi. Riding tubeless gives you the opportunity to ride lower pressure, as there is not risk of a pinch flat.

>>> Buyer's guide to road bike tyres (video)

Grip is great too, while not as supple as a 320 TPI tyre, I felt comfortable and in control when pushing the tyres on corners.

The same tyres mounted on Hed Ardennes Black wheels. A tight fit requiring levers

The same tyres mounted on Hed Ardennes Black wheels. A tight fit requiring levers

>>> Buyer's guide to road bike wheels 

The downside is that they can be difficult to fit, but the difficulty can vary depending upon the tyre/rim combination — Bontrager wheels were easier than the American Classics (see video, above) which in turn were easier than the Hed Ardennes.

Finding a good combination can take some experimenting.

Bontrager's tubeless system detailed

Bontrager's tubeless system detailed

The above picture is a graphic detailing the Bontrager tubeless system. These tyres run brilliantly as clinchers too, with a fast rolling speed and very good puncture resistance.

For more information head over to Bontrager.

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