With the introduction of Bontrager’s new All Weather (AW) line of tires, even they admit that previously most tires in the category were an either-or sort of thing. You could have fast tires that weren’t that protective, or slow tires that were built like a tank and various combinations in between. The goal of the new AW line was to combine the low rolling resistance of a race tire with the protection and grip of an all conditions tire to create the perfect year round clincher. For those who aren’t out there racing, this may just be the perfect tire.
Roll on for more details and actual weights! UPDATED
Of course you always have to be a bit skeptical when a company is testing their own product, but in Bontrager’s rolling resistance experiments, the AW3 HCL (Hard Case Lite) tires showed huge gains compared to other industry leaders. At a constant weight and speed the AW3 HCL saves up to 25 watts at 25 MPH. UPDATE: It turns out, that Bontrager did use independent testing to verify the performance of the tires, specifically testing was performed at the renowned Wheel Energy Lab in Finland.
That translates into over 6 minutes or 2 miles difference that the lowest performer on a 36 mile loop.
In order to build in the puncture protection while still keeping the tires supple, there are two different levels of construction – Hard Case Lite, and Hard Case. HCL on the left is the lightest weight design that uses a belt or co-extrusion that is directly under the tread in the center of the tire. It protects the area most likely to encounter glass and other road debris, while leaving the sidewall supple for the smoothest ride. HCL is found on the AW1 HCL, AW2 HCL and AW3 HCL series.
On the AW1 HC and AW3 HC, you can get the upgraded Hard Case option for the maximum protection. The figure on the right illustrates the Aramid breaker belt (1), Anti-cut bead to bead casign (2), and anti-pinch sidewall support (3) which all combine to make a bombproof tire that is still light weight.
Like other Bontrager tires, the AW series incorporates their Aero Wing design (far right) which adds a small wing over the bead of the rim for better aerodynamics. Depending on the model, AW tires are available in sizes ranging from 700×23 to 700×32, and in 60 or 120 tpi casings. The least expensive AW1 HCLs run $29.99, with prices up to $69.99 for the highest end AW3 HC. All tires are available now at your local Trek Dealer.
As far as real world weights are concerned, our test sample of 700×23 AW3 HCLs totaled 236g – which is pretty freaking light for a tire of this category. We’re guessing that much like the Bontrager TLR R3 tires we’re testing, most of the AW tires will weigh either exactly as claimed or a bit under. Full test coming soon.