All-new Bontrager Gunnison Pro XR is a set and forget tire

The Bontrager Gunnison is a new "all around trail tire" that gets the job done.
Bontrager Gunnison mountain bike tire profile

Bontrager recently revamped their line of XC and light-duty trail tires, updating compounds, casings, and tread designs. Along with the shift, the brand is renaming their tires with nods to iconic racing and riding destinations Vallnord, Sainte-Anne, Montrose, and Gunnison. I’ve been testing the Bontrager Gunnison tire since April, and I’ve found it’s a fast roller that’s decently capable in a variety of trail conditions.

Bontrager Gunnison Pro XR key specs

  • All-around trail tire
  • 27.5×2.6″, 29×2.4″, and 29×2.6″ sizes
  • Claimed weight: 980g
  • Price: $49.99 (tested) to $69.99
  • Buy from Trek

The Bontrager Gunnison Pro XR mountain bike tire is available in 27.5×2.6″, 29×2.4″, and 29×2.6″ sizes. I tested the 29×2.6″ version front and rear on a hardtail Trek Marlin+ at pressures ranging from 20-25psi. The tire features a dual compound construction with softer, faster-wearing shoulder knobs and a harder, faster-rolling center tread. The Bontrager Gunnison RSL XT tire (not tested) upgrades to a triple-compound construction to further dial in performance and longevity.

The 60tpi casing comes with puncture protection, though not Bontrager’s highest grade apex puncture protection. At a 980g claimed weight as tested, the Bontrager Gunnison Pro XR is a medium-weight tire.

My tire came set up tubeless with Bontrager TLR tire sealant inside. The rear tire had a slow leak initially but after adding some extra sealant, it held air consistently. The Trek website says to use 3.01oz of sealant per tire, which I find oddly precise. Stan’s recommends 5oz for a 29x.26″ tire, so my guess is the real answer is somewhere in between.

Looking at the tread pattern, the Gunnison features two sets of alternating center knobs. The two-knob set is ramped and siped while the three-knob set is steeper and wider, with the outer knobs serving to transition to the shoulder. The shoulder knobs alternate between two different shapes, with one angled inward and the other more parallel to the sidewall. Presumably, the Gunnison takes the place of the SE4 (currently on sale for as low as $39.99), which has a very similar, though not identical, tread pattern.

On the 2.6-inch-wide version I tested there is a lot of space between the knobs, allowing the tire to clear mud and debris easily. To be clear, the Gunnison isn’t designed for wet or loose conditions; Bontrager says it’s their “all around trail tire.” The tread isn’t quite deep enough for the loosest conditions, though I found it’s fine for climbing and cornering in damp conditions. Braking traction is good with the square-edged knobs easily digging into the soil.

The medium-depth center tread rolls fast and easy, aided by the fact that this wide tire weighs under a kilogram. It’s a great hardpack tire and is surprisingly quiet on pavement.

Photo: Leah Barber

Leaning the Bontrager Gunnison into corners, the side knobs do a good job holding a line. However, the transitions tend to feel a little dodgy, and I never got a consistent feel for when the side knobs might take hold. Part of that could come down to the higher pressure I was running to compensate for my heavy test bike. The sidewalls on the Pro XR version are plenty supple, and I think I’d really like the 2.4″ version of this tire on a lightweight downcountry bike. The 2.6-inch-wide Gunnison takes on a mostly rounded profile on 30mm-wide rims.

Despite some hard and heavy hardtail riding, I didn’t get any punctures while testing. It’s been many years since I’ve mountain biked in Gunnison, but from what I can remember of the trails there, the Bontrager Gunnison tire seems like a reasonable choice.

The Gunnison is designed to be mounted front or rear, or front and rear, as tested. This is a rare tire that I think works equally well front or rear.

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Pros and cons of Bontrager Gunnison Pro XR


  • Fast rolling and mid-weight tire
  • Good performance in a variety of conditions
  • Effective debris clearance


  • Transitions are hit or miss
  • Jack of all trades, master of none

Bottom line

The Bontrager Gunnison Pro XR is a fine tire for most conditions, and if you’re looking for a tire you can set and forget, this is the one. It’s not the sexiest or most exciting, but it definitely gets the job done.

  • Price: $49.99 (tested) to $69.99
  • Buy from Trek