GOODYEAR NEWTON TIRE REVIEW – THE FIRST LAW OF TRACTION
Downhill and enduro-focused mountain bike tires bring the grip.
GOODYEAR NEWTON TIRE REVIEW
Goodyear’s mountain bike tires have been on the market since 2018, but their Newton tires have only been on the market for about a year. Their purpose is to be a competent downhill and enduro alternative to the typical big and trusted names in the industry, like Maxxis, Schwalbe or WTB. By the looks of things, they seem to have done a good job, but we took them to the trail to really find out.
The Goodyear Newton tires are separated into MTF (front) and MTR (rear), which each have unique characteristics that make them good for what they do. There are three casing options available designed to be selectively good for a specific job. There’s the single-ply, 60-tpi Trail version aimed at being light but with no extra protection; the dual-ply, 120-tpi Enduro version aimed at being fast-rolling, compliant and strong with a butyl layer installed for extra sidewall protection; and the dual-ply 60-tpi Downhill version with a larger butyl layer and designed to provide the ultimate protection for today’s downhill courses.
The Enduro and Downhill variations both have Goodyear’s Grip3S rubber compound, which uses 40a rubber for the side knobs and 42a rubber center knobs, all stacked on a 60a rubber base for support. This construction is designed to provide sufficient bite with ample rebound control for increased control. The Trail version is made up of the Trail2 compound, which uses 50a rubber for all treads over a layer of 60a rubber for increased base support. The tread pattern is designed to roll smoothly with a ramped tread design spaced relatively close together in the center. The center knobs are offset from each other in alternating pairs to provide a smooth transition to the side knobs when cornering.
Like the Newton MTF, the MTR contains a very specialized compound customized to each use. The Downhill and Enduro variations again use the Grip3 rubber compound, only swapping out the center knobs to 50a rubber (instead of 42a) to join the 40a side knobs over a base of 60a rubber for a platform that can better withstand the harsher conditions rear tires often face. Rolling resistance was less of a focus with the rear tire, which commands the use of paddle-like sets of wide center treads to bite the soil whether under power climbing or when braking. The side knobs are elevated slightly over the center knobs, giving the tire an aggressive square look. Both Newton variations feature arch-supported side knobs, allowing for a level of deformation to increase bite and thus traction when cornering.
Field test results:
We tested the Newton tires with the Enduro (EN:Wall) casing, which was enough for the intense Enduro runs we subjected them to. When we mounted them, we often had a difficult time getting them to seat with a normal pump, even on rims that were typically quick to take a tire to them. We always found we needed a strong blast of air, which isn’t exactly unusual but can be annoying when you don’t have an air compressor handy. Even our flash charger pumps had a hard time with a couple of the rims we mounted them on.
Though most of our testing took place in dry southwestern conditions, some of our time was spent in more alpine terrain at a bike park where the trails are well groomed and generally hardpacked. The first thing we noticed is that they rolled faster than we expected given their aggressive look. Our first few runs at this facility found us searching in vain for traction in the front tire in the multitude of flat corners. This was slightly discouraging, but we kept on going. As we got used to the tires, we began to trust them a bit more but still had that sensation of the front end wanting to step out on tight, flat corners. We didn’t feel like we could commit to these corners with the front tire. This is where we noticed the round profile of the MTF and how the side knobs aren’t as pronounced as we’d expect. They don’t stick out like they do on the MTR, and we wished they did just a little more, because we felt that was a main issue in our traction issues at this park.
Most of the traction issues we had were felt at low speed on corners that are hard to get traction on anyway, but it just seemed a little bit more of an issue than usual. Once we started getting up to speed and could push into corners with a little bit more authority, the traction improved. There was a generally smooth transition between the stages of the tire, and we felt the lean angle improve as we went deeper into the test. We still feel like the side knobs on the MTF could be a little more pronounced, however.
When we took the Newton tires to the sand and loose gravel of the desert trails, that’s where they began to shine. More and more we felt we could trust them in corners, though we felt we needed to run slightly lower pressures than we were comfortable with most of the time to do so. Our front tire consistently sat at around 22–25 psi, while the rear felt better at 27–30 psi; keep in mind this is in harsh rocky conditions where pinch flats are a constant threat.
We used the Goodyear tire-pressure calculator a little later on, and found the pressures we were running are similar to what they recommend, so we’d recommend giving that a try if you purchase these tires. We never had an issue with this, however, and made it down the mountain each time with full tires and smiles on our faces. Braking control of both tires was exceptional, and the rear tire never stepped out on us unexpectedly and always caught predictably when we went into a drift. The MTF took a little bit more time to trust, but we got there in the end. We feel two Newton MTRs may be a good way to go in some cases, just like two Minion DHR IIs can be a treat in certain situations.
So, would we recommend Goodyear’s Newtons to our friends, neighbors and kind inquisitors? Well, at $80, you’re looking at a good tire for the money. It performs well enough to be compared with the best Maxxis has to offer at roughly $25 cheaper, and that’s not bad. They’re not exactly light tires, and that can be an issue in certain situations, but we didn’t really feel the weight as any consequence for what we were riding, aside from maybe having to put in a little bit more effort on some of the steep climbs we had to navigate to get to the awesome downhills we sought to test on. So, yes, we can recommend these tires and think you won’t have any regrets if you decide to make the purchase. They’re likely to last you a long time unless you’re a chronic skidder.
• Excellent braking performance
• Strong sidewall protection
• Good cornering grip on loose surfaces
• MTF loses grip on tight hardpack corners
Price: $80 per tire
Weight: MTF: 1276g, MTR: 1201g