I've had the fortune of using this tire for three seasons now - over the course which time I've come to somewhat trust the tread pattern and the alternating knobs which, to be honest, I had first been a bit apprehensive about using on actual terrain. By their sheer appearance, the CST's seem more primed for asphalt than mountain terrain - but they stick true to their offer by providing moderately effective grip on one-dimensional trails.
CSTTires, in their product page description of the CST B-Trails, makes it a point to specify: "The side knobs are taller and more aggressive to ensure confident, flawless transitions coming in and out of turns", and it's for that purpose that I wanted to truly push my momentum around the tighter corners of the numerous trails that I had found myself on. Unfortunately, the tread didn't always hold up in dryer conditions whereby the terrain is more dirt than mud and, even in some wet portions of trail, some slippage had been experienced.
I had tested the tires in a multitude of terrain conditions - wet mud, dry dirt, rock, grass, gravel, even some sandier portions of trail. I also made sure to test their grip on inclines, shifting into a low gear to note any slippage. True to my initial apprehension, they slipped occasionally, in both wet and dry conditions.
On gravel and packed ground, they performed admirably. In looser soil or powdery dirt, their lack of true grip caused some apprehension and limited the sense of freedom to go fast - which is what I always find to be the number one feature of a good tire: that feeling of relinquishing some control to the tire itself and optimizing the experience. Unfortunately, the CST B-Trails fall just a bit short of full trustworthiness.
However, for a novice level biker who finds themselves on relatively flat terrain, gravel, or asphalt, this is a solid and affordable option.
Photo taken from CSTTIRES.COM
Some specs as listed on the manufacturer website:
Tire Size: 26 X 2.10
Tire and rim width: 53-559
Threads per inch: 170
Max PSI: 65
Other hits and misses:
The low-elevated central knob pattern allows for very quick acceleration that's rare to find with most mountain biking tires - it feels more agile than bulky
Sacrificed grip also means sacrificed braking ability, which I noted with these tires - not good for quick braking, especially on steeper declines
CST's "CLXX" technology touts the 170 TPI of this tire which allows for an ultra-light construction; this is true - the tire is exceptionally light, but we're not necessarily talking road bikes. Unless your mountain bike expedition consists of uphill marathons or racing, the slightly lower weight of this tire shouldn't be a deal breaker
For the price, the tread wears quickly - as expected. Top quality rubber will last maybe twice as long as these. Ultimately - you get what you pay for
The price is probably the biggest benefit of all to the B-Trails, which isn't necessarily a good thing