But then it started the spring rains, so the Continental X-Kings that came in around the same time were put on the bike first. As soon as things dried out, though, the Syncros were mounted up. The X-Kings are great tires, but they require quite a bit of sealant since they’re not (at least not our test ones) tubeless ready, and they come in 90g heavier per tire. The Syncros FLavor tires, however, are tubeless ready out of the box, and in practice they don’t need much sealant. Dropping a bit over 100g of outside rolling resistance makes for a very fast feeling bike.
But with extremely low, widely spaced knobs, do they hook up?
I mainly tested the big tire, which has a claimed size of 29×2.25. With about 32psi mounted to a Stan’s ZTR Arch rims, they measure out at 55mm (2.16″) wide at the outer edge of the side knobs. So, they come in a bit narrower, but visually they look quite round and robust.
The knobs are really low. Despite the side knobs gaining a tiny bit of height on the outside edge, the tire maintains a very round profile.
The low end of the recommended PSI is 30, and I routinely kept it there. That’s where it felt best. There are times when I know it dipped below that on days when I was too lazy to reinflate. The tires held air well enough for days at a time, so some rides would see them rolling out with nothing more than a quick squeeze test.
With such low pressure, small rocks and such (pictured) could easily fit between the knobs and the supple casing would deform around them. They also deform well over roots, larger rocks, bumps, etc. They are quite comfortable, but still capable of taking a bad landing or two-foot drop without nailing the rim. The rubber is good ‘n’ grippy without feeling so soft that it would wear too quickly. Indeed, they’ve held up well to a summer of riding.
Our local trails in Greensboro, NC, have a good variety of hardpack, pea gravel, dirt, dust-over-hard, roots, rocks, etc. The Syncros FLavor tires excelled at them all. They roll well, feel fast and I didn’t have any flats or sidewall tears throughout the test period. That said, they haven’t been ridden in areas with massive, rough rock gardens or deserts with sheeps head thorns either. But they have been ridden hard, jumped, dropped and mashed through plenty of high speed corners.
One area where they really surprised me was over the small gravel that litter several corners on one of our more popular local trails. Country Park drains the fastest thanks to a very hard ground, so it’s usually very dry. The pic above shows the outside edge of the trail -you know, where you end up when you’re going fast or intentionally trying to push the boundaries of a tire- where a solid 1″ to 1.5″ of pebbles cover the hardpack.
Unless I was reckless, the tires held on longer than I expected. In fact, the FLavor’s grip was much like my parenting method: I would push the limits and they would start counting.
Two and a half.
Two and three quarters.
I’d push a little more to see what I can get away with.
Two and nine tenths.
OK, OK, Fine, I’ll be good! Traction at two and nine tenths was not quite 100%, which is what let me know bad things would happen if they made it to three, so I reined in my behavior until the next corner. Even when I did push it past the limits, a quick correction brought everything back into line quickly and without drama. No screaming kids (me) or flustered parents (tires). Everything was peaceful and happy again. If only it worked like that in real life.
The Syncros FLavors are now my official summer tire. I love them. For my local conditions, they do everything perfectly. I’m bummed that the fall leaves, while beautiful, will force me to put something a bit knobbier on my bike. And if I were headed somewhere wetter or with lots of bigger rocks or sharp edges, I would probably put something a bit beefier on. These aren’t labeled as race-day only, they’re Dual Compound, but don’t claim any specific flat protection. Given the weight, though, I wouldn’t push my luck in the back country with them.
For good ol’ singletrack and racing on dry days, I’d even give these the edge over the lighter Specialized Ground Control tires I reviewed simply because they have a higher volume, wider body and hold their air better.
Note to Syncros: Hurry up and update your website to put these tires on there!