After announcing a full range of enthusiast-level bicycle tyres in 2018, Goodyear has gone high-performance with its latest Eagle F1 and Eagle F1 SuperSport tyres. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the first batch of Eagle F1 rubber to hit Australian shores. We've spent the last three months putting countless kilometres into both the race day special Eagle F1 SuperSoft and regular Eagle F1 and have found them to be robust, efficient and well suited to modern riding needs. Read on for more on Goodyear as a brand and our in-depth look at the performance of the tyres in the real world.
** Who's it For?:** Road riders and racers wanting a tyre that won't break the bank and balances class-leading weight, all-weather grip and low rolling resistance.
What we liked: The supple ride quality, impressive durability and the racecar evoking aesthetic.
What we didn't: No tubeless compatibility for flagship options, availability not as accessible as rival options.
Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Co.
In a history spanning over 120 years, Goodyear has manufactured tyres for vehicles ranging from interplanetary rovers, commercial automobiles, and race cars. Still, in 1898, the company's very first product was a bicycle tyre.
In the world of bicycle tyres, automotive tyre manufacturers throwing their hat in the ring is hardly uncommon. Afterall, Kenda, Continental, Michelin and recently, Pirelli have all entered the market and carved out their own market share. When the world's third-largest automotive tyre manufacturer re-entered the bike market proper in 2018, the bike industry stood up and took notice.
That first re-entry into a hyper-competitive market saw Goodyear establish a foothold in the Mountain Bike, Commuter and Training Tyre market. In automotive circles, the Eagle F1 name is revered as the most successful tyre in formula one history. Chalking up 368 wins from 494 starts in its 34-years in the sport. So it's fitting that the flagship offering should share the same name.
Race Day Special, or Everyday Performance
Two iterations of the Eagle F1 are hitting the market, the all-rounder Eagle F1, and the racing skewed Eagle F1 SuperSport. The key differentiation between the two lays in the rubber compounds used, tread thickness and the overall weight of tyres.
While Goodyear is understandably keeping its cards close to its chest regarding the makeup of the co-developed rubber compounds used, the Dynamic:GSR compound is said to strike a balance between grip, durability and low rolling resistance. To ward off flats, both the standard Eagle F1 and the SuperSport make use of a puncture protection layer dubbed R:Shield.
Moving to the tread pattern, the Eagle F1 has a dual integrated Tread Zone which is said to ensure cornering performance doesn't come at the expense of acceleration and braking performance. The SuperSport, on the other hand, makes use of a thinner tread cap to keep the weight down. Claimed weights for the tyres come in at a claimed 210g for a 25c wide Eagle F1 whereas the SuperSport is said to tip the scales at 190g for the same width.
It's worth noting that both the Eagle F1 and the Eagle F1 SuperSport are clincher specific, eschewing the recent trend of performance tubeless tyres for the road. The Eagle F1 is available in 23, 25,28,30 and 32c sizing whereas the SuperSport is available in 23, 25 and 28c sizing.
Both the Eagle F1 and Eagle F1 SuperSport are priced at AU$79.99. However, it's best to check with your nearest bike store for local availability and pricing.
Having been handed a couple of sets of the latest performance rubber to hit local shores some three months ago, the BikeExchange test team has collectively put over 2,500 km into the Goodyear Eagle F1 and around 3,500km on the Eagle F1 SuperSport. With riding conditions varying from fast and furious summer crits, wet rides on rough chip-seal roads to light offroad jaunts along fire roads and rail trails, the latest rubber from Goodyear has undoubtedly been put to the sword over our long-term test.
I've personally shod my bike with the all-rounder Eagle F1 for the last three months and have found them to be a serious competitor to the market leaders in the high-performance road tyre market. As a motorsport enthusiast, the Eagle F1 printed on the sidewall harks back memories of my motorsport heroes winning races in cars shod with Eagle F1 rubber. After wrapping my hoops in a set, I had these same memories while staring gleefully at my bike.
The 28c set tested weighed in at a competitive 230g on my scales, meaning I was immediately 100grams of better off in terms of rotational weight. While the argument around rotational weight is polarizing, personally speaking, 100grams off my wheelset made for a tangible difference in how my modest carbon wheelset felt out on the road. This is particularly evident when putting the power down on steep pinches. The SuperSport was even more impressive, tipping our Park Tool scales at 200g on the dot for the 28c version tested.
The printed width of 28mm was more or less true to size, with the tyres maintaining a 28mm at 85PSI width when mounted on my 19mm internal rim width wheelset. The same can be said for the SuperSport, with a quick fit test showing the 28mm wide rubber measured in at whisker under 28mm on the same wheelset at the same pressure.
Out on the road, grip levels on offer are on par with other category-leading options from likes of Continental, Pirelli, Vittoria and Schwalbe, with the tyres offering confident handling across a range of weather conditions. It's common for performance tyres to excel in dry handling and the complete opposite in the wet, however, we're happy to report this is not the case with both the Eagle F1 and the SuperSport.
During the testing period, across two sets of tyres, both testers only recorded one puncture, a pinch flat on the front Eagle F1 SuperSport after near on 3,500km of use. This was genuinely surprising given the intended usage of the tyre. Handling characteristics for the SuperSport impressed over the test period too with our tester experiencing zero slippage in race conditions while diving for a late apex, or attacking a sharp corner.
Onto ride quality and the lightweight of the tyre contributes to the supple ride nature of the rubber. Combined with the 28c width, we found both sets of tyres to soak up road buzz well, however, with its minimal tread cap, the lightweight SuperSports were most at home on hot mix tarmac. While there are no official rolling resistance figures on the market as of yet, the tyres certainly feel every bit as supple and efficient as our typical go-to tyre, the Continental GP 5000, which is no mean feat.
In a competitive market that's continually trying to keep pace with riders needs and emerging trends, on the surface, the decision by Goodyear to release two iterations of a clincher only performance tyre certainly leans more towards safe rather than revolutionary. However, what Goodyear has done is remind us just how good a performance clincher can be. Striking a balance between weight, all-weather grip, rolling resistance and durability, the Eagle F1 has quickly become a tyre that I have no hesitations in recommending for any enthusiast-level rider wanting a change from the norm. The same can be said for the SuperSport, with Goodyear proving that race day special tyres can indeed double as a competent performance riding tyre both in and out of the competition.
Thanks to Goodyear Bicycle Tyres Australian distributor PSI Cycling for providing the product for this review.
Looking for more information? Our comprehensive Guide to Road Bike Tyres is loaded with everything you need to know about the rubber on your ride.