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Madonna della Guardia trail in Finale Ligure is my favorite place to test new tires. Photo: Megan Chinburg

I have ridden a few gravity-focused, semi-slick rear bike tires, and my appreciation for the genre continues to grow. The new semi-slick tread from e*thirteen, dubbed the LG1 EN Semi-Slick, is a solid choice for dry-ish trails when gravity is not the only thing moving the rider forward. If you are going to pedal along the way, this rear tread will cut the effort.

The overall tread pattern is well thought out. Every other row of center nobs line up with the shoulder knobs to make a smooth transition between the two sections. The tightly packed central knobs are siped to add braking and early cornering traction while keeping the tread as smooth and fast as possible. Shoulder tread is bolstered by what e*thirteen calls “accordion sipes” designed to allow the side tread to deform predictably, free of squirm.

The casing on these tires is a stone fortress. The designers added an aramid layer to the sidewalls, simultaneously providing cut protection and improving air retention. Together with the reinforced pinch flat zone, these tires appear ready to be ridden rough.

After a few months of hard testing, the center tread still provides ample braking traction, and all of the shoulder knobs remain intact. The 2.35″ tire measures roughly 2.4″ on this DRC rim, with a 30mm internal width. Photo: Gerow

On the trail

I rode with the LG1 EN Semi-Slick on my leggy-forked hardtail, and a 160mm full suspension all-mountain rig, and I loved it on both bikes. Contemporary all-mountain sleds are great at improving nearly every element of trail shredding, but they are undeniably heavier. With the low-profile, tightly packed center tread on the semi-slick tire, that weight has less resistance to deal with while pinning it in a straight line. Plus, I found the same cornering grip promised on the brand’s other gravity tires.

On grip, the LG1 Semi-Slick handily outshines the other semi-slick rear tires I have ridden. The siped center knobs are soft enough to grip better than many of the low profile XC treads I have ridden, and outside of super steep fall-line riding or mud, they provide ample braking traction. The tire transfers seamlessly to the shoulder knobs and provides a glued sensation when leaning in. I didn’t notice any squirm or awkward movement in the tread while pushing through corners, and the tread breaks loose predictably in most turns.

I rode with this tire in nearly all conditions, including a downpour, and it performed well in almost everything the sky threw at me. Optimal under the sun, this tire is manageable when the trail becomes wet, thanks to the widely-spaced shoulder knobs that don’t pack up with mud. When it’s actively raining the center tread does become slick with packed mud, as will happen with any semi-slick tread.    

The 2.35″ (59.69mm) tire measured almost precisely that on my DRC Bigfoot rim, with a 30mm internal width. Photo: Gerow

I pushed this tire harder than most, trying to puncture it or tear it asunder. My job when reviewing tires is to ride them as hard as the most aggressive reader would, and then report the results. As a lighter rider, that requires me to cross the limit in rock gardens and when landing jumps.

I mounted a foam insert in the tire to save my rim, and otherwise kept the pressure low (20 psi / 1.4 Bar) and the beating high. I rode some of the roughest trails in Finale Ligure and Sestri Levante, in addition to my home trails in Turin, often trying to keep pace with folks who are far faster than me. The combination of rough tracks and fast friends typically results in a puncture, but not this time.

I heard the rim pang against a rock more than once per lap in Finale and Sestri, but at the end of the descents I had the same air pressure I started with. I didn’t lose any sealant from punctures or sidewall tears, and the tire didn’t weep fluid from its sidewalls. I re-checked the sealant before sitting down to write this review, and there is still plenty sloshing around in the casing. 

Finally, the tire’s tread is oddly durable considering its sticky grip. Often high-grip, siped tires wear out quickly, but this one has not. After several months of riding roughly six days per week, the tread is still providing copious braking and cornering traction. I pedal a few kilometers on pavement to get to my daily loop, and even that has somehow not sanded off much of the fast rolling middle tread. This is due, no doubt, to the selection of a soft/tacky compound for the side knobs and a longer-wearing compound in the middle.

A profile view reveals mega grippy, siped side knobs. Photo: Gerow

LG1 EN Semi-Slick specs

  • Single ply, folding bead (double ply available in the LG1 DH Semi-Slick)
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Optimal internal rim width: 24-31mm
  • Weight: 1050g (29 x 2.3″, “plus” version)
  • $59.95-69.96

Buy from JensonUSA

Conclusion

read a lot about the grippy qualities of e*thirteen tires prior to testing the LG1 EN Semi-Slick, and I was happy to find those reviews ring true. This tire is fantastic for most conditions, it’s reasonably priced compared to other sturdy gravity treads, and it is built to last. If you are looking for a faster-rolling option that won’t compromise braking and cornering traction, the e*thirteen LG1 EN Semi-Slick is definitely worth its weight.

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We would like to thank e*thirteen for providing this tire for review. 

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# Comments

  • G.W.

    how would you say this compares to the Ikon?
    Thanks!
    GW

  • Brian Gerow

    Hey G.W.,
    This tire is a completely different beast, compared to an Ikon. It has a thick and heavy casing, designed to take the beating from gravity riding/racing. The center has more braking grip than an Ikon, and the shoulder knobs are similar to those on most Downhill treads.

  • khdtcb62

    Did you test this on front and back, or just back? I haven’t seem any of the reviews talk specifically about pairing up the Semi-Slick on the rear with the TRS out back. It seems like they would be pretty great together.

    I had an e13 TRS on the front of my 2017 Stumpjumper 29er, paired with a Specialized Butcher on the rear, and it was a great combo, if a little slow rolling. The TRS is without a doubt the grippiest tire I have ever had on the front of a bike. It made possible crazy lines and crazy speeds (for me…), including crazy, mid-corner line changes at speed.

    I never liked the Butcher/Slaughter front/rear combo as I didn’t feel that the Slaughter climbed or cornered very well, though it looks a lot like the Semi-Slick. I didn’t want to put a TRS on the rear because it would have been total overkill and super heavy. I actually thought about getting a TRS and clipping some of the knobs (I know… bad idea.). The Semi-Slick seems like exactly what I was looking for, especially if paired with some version of the TRS up front.

    • khdtcb62

      Ooops… in the first line, I meant to say Semi-Slick out back and TRS up front.

  • Brian Gerow

    khdtcb62, I only rode this semi-slick on the rear, with a Maxxis DHF 3C 29×2.5 on the front. The pair worked well together but given the grippiness of the e*thirteen sideknobs I would love to try it with the TRS mounted out front as well. I think you are spot on with this combination, and I would love to hear what you think if you decide to test it out.

    Depending on your trails, clipping the center tread of the TRS a little might feel really good. I often like tires more when they are about 1/2 worn down, but you could skip to the good part by clipping it. Please let us know how it goes.

    • khdtcb62

      Interesting, and helpful. I am now on the DHF/DHR-II combo – 29×2.3, which is as large as I can go on my non-boost frame. In fact, the 2.3 TRS pushed the envelope a little in respect to fit. It was definitely a wider and slightly taller tire than the DHF of the same indicated size.

      My experience is that the TRS has more grip than the DHF when things get a little sideways, literally and figuratively. It also does noticeably better on off-camber terrain, and on wet roots, which I could take at almost any angle, not having to square up to cross at 90° the way I have had to on virtually every other tire I have ever had on a trail bike.

      I will be going back to e13 this year, especially now that there are a couple of versions that are lighter than the original TRS, as well as the Semi-Slick. It will be a few months though. We are in the middle of winter here in Maine with deep snow and single-digit (F) temps at the moment.

      Part of the reason I went to the MAXXIS tires, other than I has heard great things about them, is that I am hopelessly OCD about, among other things, having the same brand tire front and rear… I couldn’t abide the e13/Specialized combo. There is hope for me now that e13 is making a rear tire!

      Thanks!

      K

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