e*thirteen LG1 Plus Semi-Slick Tire: Rider Review

Our "Rider Review" article series features honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.

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!

ethirteen LG1 29” tires Rider Review


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.

ethirteen LG1 29” tires Rider Review
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:

  • Maxxis Tomahawk (very skittish, wears super fast... nothing much positive to say except that the tread pattern looks cool)
  • Maxxis Minon SS (Squirrel City! Super fun for getting loose and roosty but if you're into fast and smooth good luck finding any straight-line braking traction - also susceptible to pinch flats)
  • Maxxis Aggressor (to me the 2.3in version is the ultimate 'meh...' tire - it's okay I guess but doesn't really excel at anything nor does it roll significantly faster than a burned in DHR II which is in another league for braking/cornering traction... the 2.5in Aggressor is a big improvement and quite a good choice for those whose chainstays can fit it)
  • Maxxis DHR II (nothing bad to say except that others roll faster and they're not designed to bite on hardpack fire roads so you can get caught out)
  • Maxxis Griffin (I really like these tires with a DD casing - tread seems to last forever and they roll amazing but you're giving up a little in terms of cornering/braking traction - they're more of a trail/long day tire than all-out DH performance)
  • Specialized Slaughter (the Control casing version will slice sidewalls upon giving it a stern glance out the corner of your eye, the Grid version is better but there's something a little disconcerting about how it transitions between the center tread and side knobs)
  • Others like WTB Vigilante (not bad but not fast), Schwalbe Hans Dampf (paper-thin and fast wearing - haven't tried the newer Addix compound), Specialized Purgatory 2.6 (pretty good), but this review is getting a bit long, isn't it?

ethirteen LG1 29” tires Rider Review
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.

ethirteen LG1 29” tires Rider Review
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.

ethirteen LG1 29” tires Rider Review

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!

Final Thoughts

All in all, I'm happy with them and hope that this review helps you narrow down something that might meet your needs too.

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June 16, 2020

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