- Intense Tires 909 EX Dual Compound LITE tyres
Intense Tires’ 909 tag is applied to the company’s downhill/freeride-orientated offerings, but at well over a kilo apiece, none of them can exactly be described as light. Aiming to bridge the gap between the demands of extreme punishment and all-round capability, the 909 EX Dual Compound LITE tyres shed a substantial amount of weight.
The tyre is made lighter thanks to a 73tpi casing, with the weight of the 2.35in tested a claimed 880g. There’s a 2.5in version available too, but that nudges over the kilo mark and is a hell of a lot of tyre – the 2.35in tested is well suited to the tamer variety of freeride we like to partake in. Take note, there’s no 2.7in version available in a LITE version.
All the 909 tyres share a broad tread pattern, with large mid-height knobs arranged in a style reminiscent of that found on moto bikes tyres. Mud plugging is aided with plenty of space between the knobs for gloop to squeeze between. Intense has been offering Dual Compound for the past year or two, and here a 55/60 durometer compound is combined, with the softer rubber running along the central section.
The width of the tyre works best on a wider rim, such as a DT 5.1. The tyre copes well in a range of conditions, from wet rocks where it seems to cope fine, to mud and even hardpack/dusty trails are handled well. They’re not too draggy and the softer compound along the central section offers good braking traction in a straight line, and the transition to the slighter firmer compound side knobs is smooth.
Push past the limit of adhesion and they break traction with a nice smooth transition to sliding. Performance through softer muddy trails was helped by the ample space for mud to slip between the knobs, and the height of which improves their ability to dig through the soft stuff. It’s surprising to find they only weigh 135g more than the System 4s we tested last year.
So, unless you need the additional puncture protection or softer compounds of the bigger 909 tyres, the EX Dual Compound LITE, in 2.35in width, makes a good choice for freeride bikes that nudge into both extreme and all-mountain camps. A good fit-and-forget tyre.
Positives: Loads of grip, not too heavy, all-round ability, good wear-rate
Negatives: A little heavy for extended climbing
Verdict: Less all-round capable than the System 4, but for freeride duties this is a truly capable tyre. It balances a reasonable weight with top-notch performance that delivers astounding grip corner after corner.