When it comes to tires there are a few brands that come to mind, Maxxis, Schwalbe and Michelin to name a few; but there is a another brand that has been emerging over the last few years with UCI world cup XC wins on their tires and a designer that has earned himself the nickname of ‘Mr Tires’ within the industry. That man is Ferran Marias and the brand is MSC Tires, born out of Spain and making a name for itself across the globe. We took a look at their Enduro / DH tire option, the MSC Gripper and after a month of testing, here’s our thoughts….
Product: MSC Gripper Tire
RRP: $119 AUD or 49.99 GBP
The Nitty Gritty
The Gripper is MSC’s stand out Enduro offering for the gravity rider in all types of terrain. There is no doubt that it certainly looks great on paper, available in 2C and 3C DH compounds, with MSC’s Super Shield and Extreme Shield sidewall protection available in both compounds.
- Sizes 2.3 (measure 2.4 on 30mm rim) and 2.4 (measures 2.5 on 30mm rim)
- Wheel sizes 27.5” and 29”
- Use Enduro and DH (3C DH race with Xtreme shield)
- Weight – 27.5 x 2.40″ – 1225g, 27.5 X 2.30″ – 1150g, 1290g for 29” x 2.4
Recommended tire selection by MSC
TRAIL RIDING: SUPER SHIELD FRONT & REAR
ENDURO RIDING: SUPER SHIELD FRONT & XTREM SHIELD REAR
DH: XTREME SHIELD FRONT & REAR
The loose, dusty trails of South East Queensland, Australia were the testing ground and there was no loam to be found here. The tires we tested were the MSC Grippers 27.5 x 2.3 with 2C super shield on the front and 3C Extreme Shield on the rear, both DH casing. Initial impressions were good, however tire pressure was running a bit high at 25PSI for the front and 29 in the rear for a 85kg rider and we did find the tires a touch skatey at these pressures. After we dropped the pressures to 23PSI in the Front and 27PSI in the rear there was an immediate difference, the tires really hooked up with traction and that skatey feeling went away immediately.
One thing that was notable was in fact how well these tires roll, the rolling resistance really does feel less and they seem to accelerate quicker and roll better than the previous DHF / Aggressor setup we were running. You can liken the rolling resistance to that of the aggressor but with more traction and the ability to run the Gripper on both the front and the rear. The 2C compound actually is relatively soft and there is no lack of traction on the front wheel, whilst the 3C is super soft and grips extremely well on the rear. We had absolutely zero flats or punctures over the one month test period and that should stand testament to the quality of the side wall protection, there was no shortage of rocks.
We have tested a few tires to date and thus far it has been difficult to stray away from the Maxxis pairing we had previously grown accustomed to. The MSC Gripper really is a game changer and we can see this tire spending a lot of time on the bikes at Brakes Wide Open. Not only does it grip exactly when you need it to, it grips predictably; something that many tires struggle to achieve in loose and dusty conditions.
The Final Word
We really have grown to love the Gripper as both a front and rear tire, it is a truly great all-round enduro tire. The rolling resistance is decreased, there was plenty of traction and they setup like a breeze without any flats or punctures along the way. Overall it was a great test of a set of excellent quality tires built to go fast in rowdy terrain. The question as always is would we ride these tires again? The simple answer is that they are not coming of the bike any time soon, we have truly grown to love them.