I’ve been running ITS (Intense) tires for a while now and this season I’m rockin’ the ITS Invaders on my DH rig. The Invader was originally simply called the DH tire, and for good reason too. At 1300 grams and a full 2.5 inches wide these are big tires. Some of you probably gasped at the weight, didn’t you?! Well there’s a reason for all that heft.
For starters, the Invader is a double ply tire which is two fabric layers for added protection, durability, and flat resistance. ITS also included a pinch flat bumper on the sidewalls for even more protection. The bumper is inserted between the bead and the tread to reduce chances of pinch flatting off squared edged bumps plus it adds support at lower tire pressures. All this adds up to one tough tire.
The tread pattern on the Invader is a mix between three different knob zones. The central trapezoidal knob has a decent bite and cuts into the softer stuff nicely. The double row of transitional square knobs work on corner entry and exit while the stout outer cornering knobs are slightly edged to keep your bike on line.
I installed the Invaders on my Deemax wheels with no tubes and 4 ounces of Stan’s per tire (no these aren’t tubeless tires but I’ve been able to run them without tubes). I had no problem beading or seating the tires – I just used a floor pump and they beaded perfectly with no real strain getting them on. Some tires are a pain to seal when going tubeless but the Invaders sealed up nice and fast, probably due to the double ply and extra rubber. Now this task took a total time of 1 hour (mounting, adding Stan’s and spreading the sealant around each wheel). After that I reset the pressures (I run 30psi) and I was off to the slopes.
I received these in January and had a chance to use them in very firm ground conditions initially (literally frozen) and more recently in soft, muddy terrain mixed with slate rock and roots. This extreme mix of terrain provided the perfect testing conditions. Over the course of my testing, the 50a durometer tread started to show some signs of wear which is to be expected, especially when riding the hard rocky stuff (think of dragging an eraser along sand paper).
In soft conditions (tacky mud) these tend to run a bit on the slow side as they really bite into the terrain (I found at faster speeds massive mud chunks would fling off the back of my bike and into my buddies’ faces.) This is actually a good thing since the tire offers both good speed and lateral control (some slip but manageable). On the medium terrain is where these work best; I got great directional control and good braking. On the harder terrain (hardpack and rocks) these tires work well but tend to wear quickly, especially if you make the mistake of being to aggressive on the brakes when riding rocks.
Overall the ITS Invader is a good high volume tire (your rims will love you for this) capable of handling a wide range of terrain. These feel like a mix between a Maxxis Ardent and Kenda Nevegal with characteristics of both. Over my time with these I didn’t get a single puncture or one ding on my rims (for me that is great, I hate rim dings). So the dual ply and pinch flat bumpers are working well. At about $54 MSRP these should last a full season of riding (unless you’re riding slickrock a lot).
I would like to thank the folks at ITS for sending down the Invaders for review.