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Sometimes picking out new components for your mountain bike can be daunting because of the sheer amount of choices out there. Tires are no exception and there are some things to put into consideration. Our friend Mark gives us his take on the e*thirteen LG1 Plus Semi-Slick 29 x 2.35 tire. Check it out!
As someone on an endless search to find the perfect rear tire for Southern California conditions I figured it'd be worth sharing my thoughts on the e*thirteen LG1 Plus Semi-Slick tire. I've put a little over a hundred miles on this version of the tire so far - enough to form a solid opinion - though to be honest, conditions have been uncharacteristically good of late (SoCal must be the only place in the world where 2 inches of rain can result in perfect riding conditions the following day).
To provide some background, I switched to e*thirteen tires a couple of seasons ago when they released their first generation TRS tires. If you've tried them you'll know they're kinda sluggish on the climbs but Holy Moly do they hook up on the way down! Wet or dry, dirt or rock they grip like proverbial nuggets to shovels. Not that e*thirteen tires are perfect - if you're in an area with a lot of sharp rocks I'd recommend the 'Classic' version of the TRS's over the 2nd generation produced by a different manufacturer - they seem to have fared much better for sidewall cuts and punctures despite what the marketing might tell you. They have a slightly more rounded profile than the 2nd gen which seems to work better once you get them on wider rims (30mm + internal diameter). If you ride hard you're looking at around 400 miles before the corner blocks start to deteriorate (for both generations) and from that point on they fade fast. Subtract another 25% if you regularly ride in areas with a lot of granite. Regardless, from my perspective, it's hard to find a better front tire in terms of bang for buck and durability versus weight.
As for the rear, that's a different story. I've been on the hunt for a durable, fast-rolling, predictable and solid cornering tire with decent braking traction for a long time. Needless to say, that is an excessively long list of requirements so this has involved a lot of trial and error.
For reference, I've tried a bunch of different rears including:
Evidently, as time and laziness would have it, I found the best tire to pair with a TRS-R upfront was, in fact, a well-worn TRS+. I guess neglect occasionally does have its benefits, which led me to consider buying a tread cutter to replicate the rolling advantages of a shorter tread with those grippy side knobs while still new. Then I began to think that might be getting a little obsessive. Fortunately, my predisposition to laziness took over, and instead, I spoke with e*thirteen who informed me they'd heard the feedback about rolling slowness and had a semi-slick on the way.
...Which brings me back to the review for this tire.
So, is the e*thirteen LG1 Plus Semi-Slick the Goldilocks of rear tires? Well, if the mismatched front and rear tires make your eyes twitch then yes, it's probably enough to alleviate your discomfort. I'm shallow enough to admit this factored into my purchasing decision. But there's more to it than that.
Based on a preference for durability and longevity I settled on the LG1 S/S Enduro Plus version which basically translates to a harder compound, more cut resistant tread but less burly than a full-on DH casing. Personally I don't see the benefit of soft compounds in the rear as long as you have decently meaty cornering blocks. Unless you're buying tires purely for racing. Or you have more money than you know what to do with. Or you have a fetish for changing tires more often than is necessary. Whatever toots your trumpet.
Regarding the performance of the tire (arguably the part of the review you hoped would've been covered by now), they seem to tick all the boxes. There's no weirdness transitioning from center tread to the cornering blocks, they definitely roll much better than the TRS's - pretty much on par with other semi-slicks and I haven't yet spun out on punchy climbs or standing to pedal on the steeps (noting the point about having more traction than usual around here for most of these rides). Downhill they hook up great on the corners with pretty much the same feel as the TRS's and I can't say I've experienced much loss of braking traction considering this is a semi-slick. To be honest, I think the fact that you pretty much forget about the tire is a great sign it's doing what you want. The tread seems to be holding up well after the first 100 miles and I haven't experienced any tubeless sealant bleeding or notable loss of pressure over time. I'm hoping the 'apex inserts' hold up to a decent beating without paying the weight penalty of running the 2-ply DH casing. So far so good considering it's been down all the same rocky technical descents that have eaten numerous other tires in the past.
Any downsides? Not many I can think of. They're not quite as voluminous as some of the newer 2.5/2.6in tires (though ironically the cornering blocks measure wider edge to edge on these 2.35 tires than Specialized 2.6's on the same rims) so there's a little less cushion, but the sidewalls have a nice stout feel that I really like. A minor quibble is that they have a habit of flinging little pebbles up until the tread burns off, which I guess could be justified as a sign of a grippy tire doing its job, but you might want to tape up your seatmast/inner chainstays if you're at all pedantic about that. The only other downside is if you use another brand's front tire your eyes (or those of your OCD riding buddies) may begin to twitch again - pro/on? You decide!
All in all, I'm happy with them and hope that this review helps you narrow down something that might meet your needs too.