This week is Tire Review Week. For our second review, we have the ITS System 29 Cross Country Tire:
Intense Tire Systems gave me a set of their moderately new System 29 tires to test out. These are 29′er cross country tires that come in at 2.25″, and weigh about 700g a piece. (Site says 698g) Their bulbous size, and moderately low tread are interesting, but how did they hold up?
First of all, the weight was noticable coming from a pair of weight weenie 2.0″ race tires, but luckily the center tread is slightly curved to lower rolling resistance. This profile being about 3mm high off of the carcass makes it a bit difficult to handle in poorly groomed terrain or mud, but does great on grass, road, and hardpack dirt. They are most definitely a cross country riding tire. I would like to compare them to Continental’s X King 29er Tire, or Schwalbe‘s Racing Ralph TL-Ready 29r Tire, but with the lack of major knob height.
The tires did hold air well, and even worked well as a tubeless system, but were probably the most difficult tire I have ever had to mount. I broke four tire levers attempting to get them off my Bontrager 29′er rim, and once removed (due to a major tubeless burp), I was not willing to attempt to put them back on. Even my LBS took twenty or so minutes to install them the first time on my wheels. Very, very frustrating… If you believe your rims have a history of being difficult to mount tires on, avoid these.
I put about 350 miles on the tires before removing them, and the center tread had reduced down to about 1.7mm in height. What does this mean? They’re one, maybe two season tires. You’ll get a year out of them if you are lucky.
Fortunately, they retail for about $33, or around half of what you will pay for one of the big boys’ tires! Is the low cost worth the one year? Sure.
The bulbous size of the tire makes for a very comfortable ride, but also does not feel as responsive as smaller tires do. I’m not sure this is either a good or bad thing, but it is another thing to consider when looking for what you want to buy. They also slip around in snow, and want to ‘float’ on top of it, and avoid finding friction.
I will have to say that they are very resistant to cuts or flats. I had one freak accident pinch-burp that left me stranded, but nothing else in the entire year I used them. I was impressed with this attribute, and associate it with the strong rubber density compound used on the side knobs and carcass.
All in all, it is an interesting and low-cost 29′er tire with a few neat gimmicks. ITS hopefully will put out a few more 29′er tires or maybe the same in different widths to please more customers!
Overall Rating: 2.5/4 Stars
Low rolling resistance
Great on groomed trails
Possibly too wide for a XC tire?
Low Tread height
You can buy the ITS System 29 Cross Country Tire here:
Company Product Info:
System 29’s huge air volume makes it an excellent trail tyre, capable of tackling gnarly terrain with total confidence. The tread pattern provides low rolling resistance and plenty of hook up.
WEIGHT: 698 Grams
Folding Bead: By using a lightweight & Felxible bead we are able to reduce the weight of the tyres. They are also Easer to Handle and Store.
C3 Compund: Intense”s proprietary Cross Country Compound, provides excellent traction and durability.
SinglePly: 1 Ply Casing refers to layers of reinforcing fabric in a tyre. 1 ply tyres are constructed with a single fabric layer for fast rolling and lightweight tyres.
LSG: Low Specific Gravity rubber compound is used to reduce the weight of the tyre casing.