Bontrager's road 'R' tyres come in a range of four options - top of the tree being the R4 with these R3s a notch below.
Out on the road the low weight of 185g per tyre makes them easy to whip up to speed while the 120tpi casing has enough suppleness to iron out small road imperfections, even pumped up to their 125psi maximum.
Grip is very good thanks to a soft rubber compound and on a dry day you can really bank the bike over and be confident it's not going to slide out from underneath you. The R3s give a lot of feedback to your hands so when they do start to break traction you can easily feel it coming and adjust your speed and position to counter it.
On the flat, rolling resistance is low and speed easily maintained, how much of this is down to the 'Slick Aero Wing Technology' is anyone's guess though. This is the name given to Bontrager's design of sidewall profile which fills the gap between tyre and braking surface once the bead is hooked into the clincher rim. It doesn't work with every rim though; ironically my deep section aero wheels still had a gap but the Campag Zondas I also tried them on fitted absolutely flush.
Like the Ultremo ZXs these replaced, the R3s are performance tyres and won't last long if you use them every day or in bad weather. I did get some wet miles in though and while the puncture protection belt kept things inflated, small stones and flints did leave marks in the rubber.
If you do happen to flat the R3s are very easy to remove and refit just using your hands so you shouldn't be left at the side of the road cursing your bloodied knuckles and snapped tyre lever.
Seven colour options in the 700Cx23mm size should enable you to colour match your bike, but the 700Cx25mm and 650Cx23mm sizes come in black only.
All in all the Bontrager R3s are impressive race tyres virtually matching the Ultremo ZX's for performance and grip. Taking into account that at £29.99, the RRP of the R3s is 12 quid cheaper per tyre than the Ultremos, they are a performance bargain.
Fast, grippy and relatively cheap - but keep them for the Sunday best bike.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager R3 tyre
Size tested: 700x23C
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Bontrager pitch the R3 as a performance/sport tyre which is about right for the performance and price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Puncture protection belt
120 threads per inch carcass
Aero side walls
Fast rolling and grippy.
Don't expect to get mega mileage out of them but keep them dry and they should see you through a race season.
A quoted 185g is pretty good in terms of the competition.
Even at max pressure they aren't bone shakers.
£30 places them in Conti GP4000 territory, and I rate the performance of the Bontragers much higher.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well - as a race tyre the performance/price is a good compromise.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip level is confidence inspiring.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Wet weather durability isn't the greatest I've experienced.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 34 Height: 180cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Ribble Gran Fondo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.