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Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyres



Confidence-inspiring tyres that are faring well in all conditions.

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Despite a puncture-resisting later, the Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyres roll quickly and gip securely in all conditions.

Tyre choice is becoming increasingly important with the conditions and temperatures changing almost daily. It seems like only a few weeks since the blustery days gave way to dry, warm rides. Now we have more changes to deal with as the daylight hours shrink and the showers become more frequent.

All this combines to make tiding challenging and tyre choice puzzling. The potholes are plentiful complete with a wet topside and debris on the roads; riding while escaping suffering a puncture is not easy.

There are some who prefer the plusher ride provided by 28mm tyres but if you prefer 23mm tyres, then the Bontrager AW Hard Case may just be the job. The AW stands for 'all weather' and Bontrager claim they offer consistent braking and cornering traction in all weathers. The 'Hard Case' refers to the the lightweight material inserted to provide puncture protection.

To complete the process there is a unique bead profile which is alleged to close the gap between the rim and the tyre to improve aerodynamics.

The reality has proven to be pretty close to the marketing material. Despite the slim profile, the tyres were easy to fit by hand and once pumped up to the required pressure felt assured.

On the road in dry and wet

The first few days of riding provided positive feedback. The roads were dry and the tyres provided low resistance ensuring there was no effect on speed. Cornering is never risk free but always more assured when the rain stays away. Unfortunately that soon changed but it did give me the chance to put the Bontrager AWs through their paces in the wet. Leaning the bike through corners, the grip felt secure and there was no loss of traction in a straight line or going up hill.

Despite their slim profile the AWs have dealt with all terrains in all conditions. The tread on the sidewall gives sufficient grip in the corners and the hard case has proven more than capable of dealing with the variety of grit washed onto the roads. Given the constant roadworks and the preference for covering the surface with loose chippings the tyres have been up to the task.

So far so good and I think the Bontragers will continue to perform admirably in the autumnal showers. Given their slim profile they will probably get changed when the real winter weather sets in but for now they are man enough for the job.


The Bontrager AW Hard Case tyres are perfect for the road conditions at this time of year. The wet weather has not challenged the AWs which have proved to be sure footed with promising speed. Cornering is assured and so far the Hard Case has resisted any debris.


Confidence-inspiring tyres that are faring well in all conditions.

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Make and model: Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyre

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Road riders looking for a slim profile tyre able to cope with all weather as the name suggests. Since I have used them they have been a revelation.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The profile of the tyres is aimed at improving the aerodynamics whilst the design provides decent traction when cornering without effecting rolling resistance.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

These AW hard case tyres are well made and with the kilometres accumulating they are holding up well.

Rate the product for performance:

Whether cornering, rolling on the flat or heading up hill - the Bontrager AWs have been sure footed without having an effect on the go forward speed.

Rate the product for durability:

In the short term they are durable and showing every promise of doing so in the long term. A few hundred kilometres is not sufficient to prove but it is a good start.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

Certainly not the lightest but then you aren't looking for that type of tyre during autumn. So no penalties here.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Despite the 23mm size, they are not harsh compared to bigger rivals.

Rate the product for value:

Reasonably priced but then you are getting a decent rubber for your money but perhaps for longer term autumn/winter use you would go for the 25mm version.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The AWs have performed really well in testing conditions, allowing me to ride consistently and with confidence.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Confidence inspiring, easy to fit and proving to be pretty sturdy.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Perhaps a little over-priced but it would be money well spent if you went for the slightly larger version.

Did you enjoy using the product? I have and continue to do so.

Would you consider buying the product? I would, yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Confidence-inspiring tyres that are faring well in all conditions.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 178cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three  My best bike is: As above

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT


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