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Bontrager R4 320

Supple tyres with a high thread count that ride like a dream

Despite their name, Bontrager’s R4 320 Open Tubulars are actually clinchers. They take their ‘Open Tubular’ name from the fact they’re made using the same materials and techniques as their tubular equivalents – specifically, the Bontrager tyres used by the Trek-Segafredo team of Fabian Cancellara and co.

Or at least these are the tyres Trek use when they’re not bouncing around the cobbles of Roubaix on unmarked FMB or Veloflex tyres. The R4 320 Open Tubulars are just a little cheaper, and you don’t have to mess around with glue or tape.

What that means in practice is these clinchers have exactly the same 320tpi (that’s threads per inch) construction as their tubular siblings. The higher the thread count on a tyre, the more supple the tyre will be and, in case you’re unsure, 320 is right up at the higher end when it comes to thread counts.

Softer, supple tyres conform to the road surface better than harder, more rigid ones, and they’ll grip the road better as a result.

Bontrager’s decision to offer the R4s in 25mm is a clear indication of where they think the tyre market is going

Interestingly, the R4 clinchers only come in one width: 25mm. A lot of tyre manufacturers have made the move towards wider tyres in the last few years, but Bontrager’s decision to offer their flagship model in just one width is a clear indication of where they see the market going.

It also means the tyres will interact far better with Bontrager’s super wide Aeolus carbon wheels, which is a plus for anyone concerned with aerodynamics.

  • Price: £50
  • Website: Trek

Outside of the tyre’s ride properties though, the R4s have one significant thing in their favour. And that’s their colour. Gumwall tyres are old school, classy and super cool.

If we had our way, gumwall tyres would be mandatory across the board because they’re fantastic. If you want these in all black, tough, Bontrager don’t do them. And you need to have a word with yourself.

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