As used by Team Wideopenmag
Goodyear Bike Newton Tyres
2019 was a big year of change for Team Wideopenmag. The team moved away from a long-running, big-name tyre sponsor to work with newcomers Goodyear Bike Tyres.
With most of a season in the bag, scores of podiums, a Megavalance win and (almost) a national series overall win it’s time to look at how our year on Goodyear Tyres has played out.
When American tyre giant Goodyear entered the mountain bike market two years ago, riders and industry veterans alike, understandably took notice.
Having manufactured tyres for just about anything with wheels since 1898, it stands to reason that Goodyear knows a thing or two about manipulating rubber. With four tyres in their mountain bike range, our team of gravity racers has been squaring up and beating the competition aboard Goodyear’s aggressive Newton tyres.
But what makes these tyres worthy of your attention and what are their limitations?
After six months between the tape, we caught up with the team to find out…
#TeamWideopenmag: Rider Bios
Name: Connor Smith
Home: Rugeley, West Midlands
Year racing: 4
Name: Daniel Cope
Home: Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales
Year racing: 5
Name: Christo Gallagher
Home: Edinburgh, Scotland
Year racing: 11
Name: Chris ‘Hutch’ Hutchens
Home: Oban, Scottish Highlands, now Bristol
Year racing: 20+
Tech Specs: Goodyear Newton EN and Newton EN ST
The Newton is tubeless-ready tyre and is available in both 27.5 and 29in sizes and in both 2.4 and 2.6in widths, with an additional array of options that cover casing strength, rubber compounds and weights.
With a total of 12 tyres in the Newton ST range, let’s break down the tech before delving into the ride.
DYNAMIC: R/T Rugged-Terrain Compound – Formulated to balance grip, wear and efficiency making it a great tyre for trail riding and an ideal rear tyre for enduro racing.
DYNAMIC: RS/T Rugged Soft-Terrain Compound – This is a softer compound for maximum grip and best suited for DH racing applications or as a front tyre for enduro racing.
PREMIUM – Combines ride quality with durability and is a bit heavier.
ULTIMATE – Utilises a smaller thread fabric (and less rubber) to reduce weight.
EN – Aimed more at enduro racers and trail riders, features a 1.5-ply casing, which increases sidewall layers by 50%.
DH – A heavier 2-ply casing that increases sidewall toughness by 100%, perfect for DH racers and those who want peace of mind.
M:Wall – Manufactured from a durable ‘mono fabric’ and offers cut and abrasion resistance.
A:Wall – This is only available on Ultimate casings and features a butyl layer located within the casing, providing additional sidewall support.
Available in a selection of sizes, compounds and casings to suit the rider, Goodyear’s engineers set about delivering a balanced tyre that could perform in a variety of environments.
The Newton’s tread pattern features multi-siped, ramped centre knobs, which help to reduce rolling resistance, while the tall, arch-supported side knobs provide braking and cornering grip. ‘Siped’ in case you’re wondering, means that the rubber is sliced cross-ways to aid grip, like the soles of your welly boots.
To get an idea of how these tyres perform, we went straight to our team who have been putting them through their paces for the past six months.
Yes, full disclosure, our team is sponsored by Goodyear and yes, they’ve won races on these tyres. Goodyear supports the team and help to make it a success by providing products and funds.
The aim of this article though – and the others that will follow – is to have an honest, no bullshit look at the equipment that we use. we’re hoping to shout about their strengths and help you understand who and what they’re for, and perhaps not for.
For 16-year old Connor Smith, he’s been experimenting with tyre widths and prefers a 2.6in up front (if grip is an issue) and then drops down to a 2.4in if the track is more “flat out and dusty”.
Enduro pinner Christo loves the 2.6in in both front-and-rear, and in 29in too, as does fellow Scotsman Hutch, who’s currently on 27.5in wheels. Downhiller Dan has similarly experimented too, but found the 2.6in “too chunky” for his style, preferring the smaller 2.4in width.
Christo, who’s been killing it on the enduro circuit this year, beating a host of factory riders and taking the win at Tweedlove, only uses the DH casing. That’s a lot of tyre to pedal between enduro stages, but he says “the drag is equal to running two [Schwalbe] Magic Marys in SG compound”. He prefers the added grip and dampening qualities of the heavier tyre. He also describes the rate of wear to being on a par with the aforementioned German tyre he used last year.
Performance, according to Hutch, depends very much on the conditions. Hutch was the first rider on the team to test the tyres and it was his feedback that helped make the decision to bring them on as a sponsor.
“I started with the Premiums, which were good in the loam at the Forest of Dean, where they hooked up really well. But the slightly harder [compound] was noticeable on wet rocks and a wee bit sketchy”
Hutch quickly migrated to the Ultimates as “they’re much better on the wet stuff” for all his riding and racing in 2019, culminating in winning the 2019 Megavalanche in masters.
Away from the race tape, Connor confesses that they’re “good for schralping” when his local Cannock Chase turns into a marble pit in the dry summer months. Training at the formidable Revolution Bike Park in the greasy aftermath of a rain shower, they surprised him once again with their grip although both Connor and Dan also insist they’d like a dedicated mud tyre from Goodyear in the future.
Whilst the DH’ers are looking for a specialist tyre, Christo has a different opinion.
“There’s no point having a tyre that’s too specialist and just good at one thing,” insists the 2019 Tweedlove champ. “I prefer to run just one tyre [all year] and learn how it behaves in different conditions and trail types…it’s just easier, plus you can swap a worn back for a less worn front”.
When it comes to tyres, the devil you know than the devil you don’t certainly rings true and it’s an approach that is working for Christo this season, which is quite possibly his best to date.
Room For Improvement
With a slew of podiums for Dan and Connor and a few big wins for Christo and Hutch, the Newton STs have done their job, but the team are not without their feedback for Goodyear.
Hutch, with over 200 races to his credit, including World Cup downhill, would like to see “a slower, softer compound…and perhaps a multi-compound tyre that’s harder in the centre and softer on the sides.”
For DH racer Dan, the wide-open slopes of Bala threw up a couple of issues.
“You can sometimes feel the tyres roll in fast corners” confesses the young Welshman.
Bala’s corners are fast and rough, and not far off those encountered on World Cup circuit – the track was after all made by the Athertons and a precursor of what we’d later see at the Dyfi Bike Park. Dan also thinks that the “sidewalls could be thicker.”
Fellow DHer Connor has had a different experience.
“I’ve only had one puncture, which was just unlucky…hitting a pointy rock at Revs”. The feedback shared by all and bucked by Connor, is that the centre knobs are a little short and need to be a fraction taller. Connor would like them to be “less prominent, but not as extreme as a [Schwalbe] Rock Razor…the rolling speed would be amazing!” But then that’s downhillers for you, who prefer specialist tyres, unlike Christo in enduro
Reaching out to James ‘Dru’ Farrow, the team’s mechanic, he agrees that “feedback from the riders suggests that the centre tread needs to be a little taller, and the spacing slightly wider.” Dru would, who looks after Dan and Connor on the circuit, also like to see a dedicated wet conditions tyre.
Christo, who’s experience of the Newton STs has been extremely positive, would also like to see a taller centre tread and an even softer compound option in the future.
None of that feedback should be taken as the riders writing-off the tyres, however. Team Manager Dave Konstanz told us “we moved from a more established tyre brand to work with Goodyear knowing full-well that they were just getting started.
We want to use our feedback and experience to help them develop the products and grow as a brand. It’s hard to make an impact to a big, established brand and we wanted to be there from day one to be part of the story”.
With feedback from four different racers competing in two very different disciplines, are the Goodyear Newton tyres for you? According to Christo and his love of the beefier DH Ultimates, “they’re for riders who like a nice dampened descent and don’t mind a bit of extra weight going up.”
Dan isn’t without his feedback but insists that they’d be perfect for anyone who loves “steep, tech trails”, which makes sense when you live in South Wales like he does.
Hutch concurs with Dan and thinks they’re a great tyre for those hunting out steep, natural lines far from the confines of the trail centre. Connor, who’s been running them on his trail bike as well as his downhill bike, thinks they’re better suited to enduro and trail applications than thoroughbred, competitive DH.
There you have it, the Goodyear Newton tyres from the horse’s mouth, warts and all.
Hope you enjoyed this article and look out for more soon!
You can learn more about Goodyear Bike Tyres over at GoodyearBikeTyres.com
Full disclosure: Team Wideopenmag are supported by Goodyear Tyres, through the UK distributor Paligap. The team receives free of cost product and financial support which goes towards the cost of running the team. In return, the riders use and endorse the products and promote them on the race scene and social media. Regardless of that, we’ve aimed to give you a rounded, honest and (hopefully!) useful insight into the team and the products that we use. If you have any questions… feel free to comment!