Author Topic: Mtn. bike tire advice needed  (Read 1415 times)

Svend

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Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« on: November 09, 2011, 04:57:35 pm »
This one's for Josh, and anyone else who knows mtn. bike tires.....

While everyone here (including me) has been talking skis and jackets lately, I've still been riding the damp fall trails here in Ontario.  Well, this weekend I finally decided to chuck the Bontrager tires that are on my Fischer 29er.  As soon as I would hit a patch of firm wet clay (never mind proper mud  ::)), the tires pack full of the stuff and it becomes like riding with slicks on ice.  Not to mention the added ten pounds of heavy muck that I'm spinning.  Riding with my wife and brother, they have no such problems with their tires -- they don't pack nearly as much, and whatever is on there clears pretty quickly.  Therefore I know it's my tires that are the problem.  So....time for new rubber, and since we probably have about another 2 to 4 weeks of riding left, I might just swap 'em out soon and enjoy some frosty morning rides until it snows. 

So, I wouldn't mind a bit of advice on some possible choices on my short list....

Criteria:
-- good mud clearing; low mud packing (natch)
-- good rolling resistance (I still ride long stretches on gravel rail trails just for a cardio workout)
-- reasonable weight for a 29er tire (<700g if possible, but will sacrifice weight for other benefits, if necessary)
-- good grip on hardpack clay, slippery wet hard clay, some sand, roots (lots), occasional rocks
-- width 2.1" to 2.2"
-- tube build; not UST

Our area has typical eastern woodland trails -- very similar to what I see in Josh's videos.

Short list of tires that may fit the bill (in no particular order):
-- Maxxis Ignitor
-- Maxxis Ikon
-- Specialized The Captain Control
-- Hutchinson Toro
-- Kenda Slant Six

The best reviewed on-line for 29er applications are the Ikon, Captain, and Slant Six.  Can't find much about the Ignitor in 29" size, and there is little of anything about the Toro.  So, some real-world feedback from other northeast riders, esp. those on 29ers, would be brilliant.  Josh, I seem to recall that you have / or had, the Toro and Ignitor.  Any comments on those or the others?

Looking forward to hearing back.....

Cheers,
Svend

**Addendum:
Looked at a couple of other possible choices last night....
-- Maxxis Ardent (non-UST has a reasonable weight)
-- Tioga Psycho Genius
-- Michelin Wild Gripper
-- Specialized Purgatory (rear only? Captain on the front?)

So much to choose from.....  ::)  List isn't that short anymore.....

« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 07:22:50 am by Svend »


bushwacka

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2011, 06:36:19 am »
I have run from your list the toro, ardent, ignitor and ikon.

First any tire can be run with tubes if you like, but I think it pretty much like running skis with out a good tune.

Hutchison Toro 2.15 - slowest rolling tire out of the 4 mentioned. decent mud shedding, great climbing grip, good corning grip. Best grip on wet rocks/roots of the 4 and the heads and bounds the least prone to flats. If you like to lean the bike over at all its a very poor front tire.

Maxxis Ardent 2.25 - second slowest roller out of the 4 mentions. Best cornering grip out of the 4. Horrible grip on mud, but does clear mud fine. Worst grip on wet roots of the bunch as the open intermediate section of the tire just lets go. Its the one of the best dry/loose on dry tires out there for the front for aggresive  riders who corner with alot of angle corners but sucks in wet conditons. 2nd most durable tire mentioned here.

Maxxis Ignitor 2.1 - second faster roller out of the tire mentioned. decent grip all around, but not enough grip for the front end of my bike. Clear mud well and is the best tire for mud, and second for wet rocks/roots. I have had extreme durabilty issues riding rocks with these and have never had a tire make it though a rocky race. I know longer run them for this reason alone. The fastest tire in the world doesnt matter if you can not finish. i never had a problem on non rocky trails with them.

Maxxis Ikon 2.2 - faster roller of the bunch. packs with mud easily, does better on wet roots/rocks than the ardent. cornering is the worst of the group though and I could only ever see it as a rear tire. Again I have had durabilty issues with these things on rocks so I no longer run them. I have also found better fast rolling tires.


beginning of sept I order some Geax and have been thoroughly impressed with then. I think the saguro could be your tire.

Geax Gato 2.3 - rolls about as fast as ardent. Absolutely the best mud clearing out of any of the tires mentioned and by far the best grip on mud/wet rocks/roots/logs. Cornering grip on anything that is slightly soft is pretty freaking amazing. durability has been zero flats while on my bikes. Currently running front and rear on my Single Speed as that the bike that comes out to play in foul weather. its the best foul weather tire I have found so far and its not shabby everywhere else.

Geax saguro 2.2/2.0 - rolls about as fast as the Ikon. Slightly better cornering grip in dry than that tire, and alot better in the wet. Does better than all but the Gato on wet rocks/roots. mud doesnt pack to much Durability has again been great.  I wish it was slightly better lateral grip in the front.

Geax aka 2.2/2.0 - rolls faster than anything mentioned here. second best dry cornering grip of everything mentioned only after the ardent. Does well on wet roots and rocks, but does easily pack with mud. been amazing durable for a 600 gram race tire. My go to race tire front and rear next year whens its dry or at least when its not going to get mud.

currently i am running Gatos front and rear on my single speed, and gato front with saguro rear on my Anthem X. For fall time weather the Gato front/saguro rear is a really good race set up.

some thoughts on the other tires

Kendas - although I have never have used anything you mention, the sidewalls are very flimsy, which means no tubeless and lots of pinch flats with tubes.

Maxxis - I am convinced their rubber compound is the worst compound for wet rocks/roots. Even the 3c tread still seems to suck

Specialized - some of the best tires on the market, but also the most expensive. The captain works better on the rear with like a eskar/purgatory front.






Liam

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2011, 02:06:36 pm »
I ride in New England, a lot and at a pretty high-level.  I only ride 29ers at present.  I use both Stan's tubeless set ups (all on flow rims) and tubes.  I vastly prefer the ride quality of the tubeless set up.

Maxxis Ardent 2.25 is Great REAR tire, but an awful front tire for all the reasons Bushwacka said.

However, The Maxxis 2.4 ardent performs like a completely different tire than it's skinneir version.  It is far floatier, double the grip, better cornering and very tough.  It's just a great tire. Even as a front tire in tricky terrain.  Both tires can handle lower pressures WITH tubes (good sidewalls).

I'm going to disagree with Bushwacker, and strongly recommend The Kenda Nevegals 2.2 29er tires (they're huge, wider than the maxxis 2.4 ardent!) with a major caveat:  These must be run tubeless.  Kenda's really do suck with tubes, they flat at any pressure under 36psi, sidewall rips are endemic.  But, and  I can't explain why, they work wonderfully with Stan's (once sealed, you need about 1.5x the normal amount of sealant).  I've had a Neve on the front of my bike for a year with no issues.

If you have the money, also consider the Scwalbe Nobby Nic.  The Conti Mountain Kings are a good 29er tire as well.   I hate specialized tires.

All those skinny tires: The Slant Six, Ignitor, Ikon, etc-do not belong on a serious mountain bike unless you are racing at a high level, and even then, they make more sense if you are racing in the Southwest or SoCal than New England.

The whole lower rolling resistance thing is over played for non TOP EXPERT level racers and above.  I always say nothing increases your rolling resistance like falling down!  Get yourself the chubbiest tires you can fit on your frame, mate them up with Stan's flow rims and go tubeless.

I've only used GEAX tires in a 26er, and I liked them.

I've heard raves about the Panaracer Rampage 2.35---but that must be run Tubeless to get the most out of that tire. I have used it on bikes I borrowed and liked the 29er version.  I had one on an old 26er and hated it.

 


« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 02:13:40 pm by Liam »

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 06:28:46 pm »
Took a while for me to reply here, but I wanted to spend some time checking out all your recommendations.  There's a lot to respond to here, but first a word about the terrain in these parts.  Not sure what the New England or Vermont trails are like, but here there is very little really gnarly stuff on the ground.  Roots (lots of them), round smooth rocks (occasionally), sand, beds of rounded gravel -- glacial deposits, basically -- with the rest being clay or loam.  No sharp rocks or jagged gravel stones, no rock ledges and bedrock poking up (well, it's here, but I have to drive a long way to get to it -- not my daily ride).  So really big rugged tires with tough sidewalls are probably overkill here, but would be good just for a bit more "suspension" on the hardtail.  For traction....not needed. 

So, Liam, I hear you that the "skinny" tires you mentioned are not for a serious bike, but the trails out our back door are smooth enough that they would actually work quite well.  OTOH, some of those tires (Small Block 8, Ikon, Larsen, AKA) would clog with mud worse than my Bontragers, so would only work in the dry summer.  But....I could go with a lighter tire with more open tread and not worry about ripping open the sidewall.

I'm looking for a versatile tire that will do well in all seasons -- put it on and forget it.  I don't race, so will sacrifice some weight and rolling resistance for better traction and shock absorption.  Cornering grip is not the most important, as I don't carve corners at high speed (yet  ;D), but I do value the grip of the side lugs on off-camber slopes and roots. 

Now, about those tire recommendations:

Maxxis Ardent -- sounds like from what BW said, that they are not as versatile as I would like, if they pack full of mud and slip; no improvement over what I have, and would just add weight.

Toro -- if it's slow rolling, I'll pass.  I still ride weekly on the rail trail just for cardio exercise, so would like to keep rolling resistance reasonable.

Ignitor -- sounds like it might work very well here.  My daughter's bike has them on, and she likes them a lot.  So far durability has not been an issue due to the lack of sharp rocks.

Geax -- hey Josh, I'm happy that you tried those and they're working well for you.  I recall you weren't keen on them earlier this summer.  My wife's bike has the Arrojo, which was replaced by the Gato, and they have been stellar -- she was with me last weekend when my Bontragers got choked with half-inch layer of mud, while her Geax still gripped fine, treads still poking through the glop.  I wouldn't hesitate to put some of those on any of our bikes.  One of our small local shops highly recommended the Sagauro -- he races and still has them on at this time of year...mud grip has been fine.  The Gato looks like a winner too.  Definitely in my top 3 list.

Kenda -- the Slant Six is the only one I would consider.  Nevegal is slow rolling (according to others who know it well); SB8 and Karma have thin sidewalls; the former would pack with mud; the latter has the same tread pattern as my Bontragers, so I'm not interested -- time for something different.  As for the Slant 6, I checked them out in our local shop yesterday, and the sidewalls are considerably thicker than any other Kenda I have seen.  The knobs are well spaced and low profile for mud shedding, ramped for low rolling resistance, and siped for grip.  They actually look very promising, and the shop guys were raving about them as an all-round great tire for our local area, and not just for racers.  Here are some reviews that I found:
http://thebonebell.com/2011/05/06/review-kenda-slant-six/
http://rock-racing.blogspot.com/2011/06/kenda-slant-six-review.html
http://robonza.blogspot.com/2010/11/kenda-slant-six-tires.html

Schwalbe -- the Nobby Nic is a great recommendation.  Yes, they are expensive (almost as much as a car tire...yikes!), but apparently worth it.  A friend who races DH, has these on his XC bike, and loves them.  They are supposed to be a great all-round, all-season performer, and seem to have all the attributes I'm looking for.  Goes into my top-three list.

Time to call some shops and see if I can get a pair ASAP before the snow flies.  I want to get some rides in soon  8)   Some may be hard to find -- Geax and Schwalbe -- but Slant 6 are in a shop about a two miles down the road.  Will hit the phone tomorrow and see what else is available.


Guys -- thanks so much for your very thorough and helpful replies.  Much appreciated, and I'll let you know what I end up with and how they perform for me.

Cheers,
Svend

PS -- we should start a tire swap page here on the forum....I've got a growing quiver of tires hanging from my garage wall that are little-used or brand new, some of which I would be happy to send to someone who can use them....free for a postage stamp.... ;D
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 06:39:47 pm by Svend »

bushwacka

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2011, 07:40:49 pm »
you wont carve corners at high speeds untill you have a tire that can its a catch 22.

I sent you a PM, I have some tires for you.




GreenTrails

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 08:52:34 am »
I ran a slant 6 rear for most of the summer, an OK tire, but mostly anything works in the rear if you expect it to slide sideways - I've run small blocks, Exiwolves, and some other skinny treads in the rear with some success.

I'll second Liam, that The Nevegal is a pretty good choice for the front.  I hate an unpredictable front end and have never had a tire as predictable as the Nevegal.  (disclaimer - we ride the same places).  Combine the Nev in the front and a fast rolling tire in the back and your net is very reasonable...

The only time to run a small-block in new-england is mid-winter on crusty snowmobile trails with about 20lbs of pressure.  It works really well in both the 26 and 29 inch size. 

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 09:20:24 am »
Hey GT -- thanks for the feedback.  What are the trails like in N-E? Rocky? Smooth clay? Just curious to know, because for some areas certain tires work well in that terrain, but not elsewhere.  Would be good to put Liam's and your advice into context.

That said, the Small Block 8 is too limiting for me -- summer only -- so I'm really not considering those. 

That's good info on the Slant 6.  The local guys here are very keen on them, and say they work well on the hard wet clay.  Is it still on your bike now? Working well on damp fall trails?

I kinda like your idea of running the Slant 6 rear / Nevegal front -- hadn't considered that combo, but it makes sense.  Put the slower roller on the lighter front end, but use a grippy aggressive tread for control.  Good idea.


Liam

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 12:21:56 pm »
GreenTrails,

I saw Rich L, The Batachelor-Hpoffman's and Steve Powers finishing on the DH trail at the B'East yesterday...but not you?
Where were you (we cleaned the hell out of Tomahwah-added several new lines, and Horace's Grove yesterday). How did the tour go?
 
Liam

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 07:15:36 am »
you wont carve corners at high speeds untill you have a tire that can its a catch 22.


Good point -- and up 'til now, I haven't had such a tire.  The Bontragers I've been using have very sparsely-spaced side lugs, that are quite small and soft.  Edge hold for cornering is a major shortcoming with these, and I have not been happy with this part of their performance.  Looking forward to getting some tires on that can actually hold a sweet carve.  Should up the fun factor two-fold!


GreenTrails

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 11:47:42 am »
GreenTrails,

I saw Rich L, The Batachelor-Hpoffman's and Steve Powers finishing on the DH trail at the B'East yesterday...but not you?
Where were you (we cleaned the hell out of Tomahwah-added several new lines, and Horace's Grove yesterday). How did the tour go?
 
Liam

I came down shortly after they came through, I rode back up to Warfield with Rich and a bunch of others that came down with Billy Schaefer.  Delayed 'cause I waited at the top to make sure a few folks found the downhill then left them to fend for themselves and ripped it up (down).  Tour went real well.  35 riders, 20ish miles 3500' of climbing/descending.

GreenTrails

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2011, 11:55:13 am »
Hey GT -- thanks for the feedback.  What are the trails like in N-E? Rocky? Smooth clay? Just curious to know, because for some areas certain tires work well in that terrain, but not elsewhere.  Would be good to put Liam's and your advice into context.

That said, the Small Block 8 is too limiting for me -- summer only -- so I'm really not considering those. 

That's good info on the Slant 6.  The local guys here are very keen on them, and say they work well on the hard wet clay.  Is it still on your bike now? Working well on damp fall trails?

I kinda like your idea of running the Slant 6 rear / Nevegal front -- hadn't considered that combo, but it makes sense.  Put the slower roller on the lighter front end, but use a grippy aggressive tread for control.  Good idea.

The slant 6 self destructed a month or so ago.  Bead blew off the tire like a rifle shot, kinda typical of KENDA failures, it was showing wear so was due for replacement, though I didn't need the 4mile hike out of the woods in the gathering dusk.  Typical trails, ledge periodically protruding through organic soils, lots of hardwood roots.  Hilly, so off camber is pretty common.

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2011, 12:27:29 pm »
Ouch -- sorry to hear that.  Hope you were wearing comfortable biking shoes....that's a long walk.

Doesn't give me much confidence in Kendas.  I didn't realize they had all those durability issues -- thin sidewalls, pinch flats, exploding beads.  My daughter's bike has some Karmas on, and if I get a pair of Slant Six for mine, I'll make sure to keep an eye on the wear and tear on them.  Any sign of decay, and off they come.  Not too keen on having a tire blow during a fast descent, never mind the long walk back to the truck.  Thanks for the heads up.

I presume Maxxis and Schwalbe are better? Geax I have some experience with -- totally problem-free.


Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 08:01:20 pm »
Guys - a quick update.  There wasn't much available in the shops here at this time of year for good 29er tires, so I settled for the Slant Six.  Actually they were a great deal (half price), so even if I don't like them in the long run, I won't cry about the cost.

My initial impressions of their performance, after a couple of hours in the fall woods:

Pros:  fast rolling (WAY faster than the Bontragers...nice!); great cornering grip; very good climbing grip, even on loose gravel, surprisingly; excellent handling on tight trails, switchbacks, narrow trees; very predictable steering; seem to stick well on slippery clay (but didn't find much of that on my last rides).  They seem well-suited to the smooth hard packed clay of the trails around here.

Cons:  grip on off-camber roots is so-so (this may be pressure-related); harsher ride (ditto)...the rubber compound seems harder (maybe because of the cold temps?), but they do ride a lot less plush than the soft big knobs on the Bontragers; I will play with the pressure to try to get a softer ride.

I'll get more time on them this week and see how I like them.  So far they are a big improvement in many ways over the Bontragers, but not sure if they're ideal yet. The faster rolling will be bonus for the long cardio workout rides on the rail trails.  But....the harsher ride is a big turn off for me, being on a hardtail bike.  I may look for a fat Nevegal or Nobby Nic for the front, or perhaps go with some mid-width Ignitors or Gato/Saguaro front and back next season.  But these will do for now.

My feeling is that these would be excellent tires for a full-suspension XC bike on smooth trails, without sharp rocks (Jim, Lynn, are you taking note?).  Time will tell how they are with lots of roots, and in mud or slick wet clay.

BTW, these were a bear to get on the rims.  Needed a lot of muscle and metal tire irons to pop the last few inches on.  I may not get them off again without destroying them.

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

Cheers!

« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 08:45:29 pm by Svend »

jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2011, 09:14:48 pm »
I hear you Svend.
Anybody have any experience with the 26" Continental X-King (tube type)?   :D
"If you're gonna play the game boy, ya gotta learn to play it right."

Liam

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 08:09:13 am »
Not a bad tire Jim.  But not a favorite either.  For me, if I were still running 26ers I'd use either a Schwalbe Big Betty Gooey Gluey Compound in the Front or ye old Kenda Nevegal Stick-E 2.35 in the front and a Maxxis ADvantage 2.4 (pay attention the size is critical-the narrower ADvantages suck) in the Rear.  That was the best set up I ever used.    All of these Stan's Up real nice, too (as Does the Conti).  The Big Betty and The ADvantage 2.4 can be run at fairly low pressures with tubes (28-30psi), the Kendas...not so much.  High 30's minimum.

There is no downside outside of expert level race courses in a fatter tire...especially on a 26er.

My Rule of thumb: Grippy Rubber, wide, floaty absorbing tires in front, rugged, good rolling, floaty tire in rear (same way I'd build a ski really).  You can go grippier and stickier in the rear IF it's a crazy wet year and the terrain demands it. 

Svend, you've thanked us for advice but went out and bought the exact tire we advised against?  What else was in that shop other than the S6???

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2011, 10:05:19 am »
Svend, you've thanked us for advice but went out and bought the exact tire we advised against?  What else was in that shop other than the S6???

Hey Liam, not disregarding your advice, and do appreciate it.  But as I said, there wasn't much for selection in the shops around here -- Geax Saguaro and AKA, Rocket Ron (only 1 tire), Small Block 8....and that's about it.  None of them really stellar in the mud-shedding and wet grip department.  I know the Slant Six are not ideal, but that's the best I could find on short notice.  I really wanted to get some new rubber on quickly for the last few weeks of the season, to get me through the wet slick stuff, and the Slant Six are a compromise, but will have to do for now.  Over the winter I will get a wider larger-lugged tire for the front, like a Nevegal, Nobby Nic, Rampage, or Gato, and swap out at least one of the Slant Six for something more suitable.

I should add that I will use your advice for tires for my wife's bike too, as it's due for a new pair next season.  There are Geax Arrojo (predecessor to the Gato) on there now, but narrow -- only 1.9".  I really like your ideas about going wider and high volume to give a more plush ride, esp. for the front tire.  Hadn't thought of that before.....   Her bike is an aluminum 26" XC hardtail, light and fast, but not exactly soft riding, and could really use help with a more cush ride.  Will consider Saguaro rear / Gato front, or something like that.  The Nobby Nic looks great too, and comes in a racy red-sidewall model in the 2.25 width   8)

« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 10:08:44 am by Svend »

Liam

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2011, 11:23:19 am »
Strange tire selection at the local shop-4 overlapping tires that are all the same in purpose and design.   Oh well, ski season is almost all over us.  Do you ride all winter long on snow/ ice?   I use to, but I've become far more seasonal sport specific over the last few years.


Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2011, 11:45:53 am »
I should have mentioned, those tires were at three different shops in the area, within a 30 min. drive or so.  Others a bit further away had nothing worthwhile making the trip for....more Bontragers, an IRC.  Late season, low inventory, I guess.

I will keep an eye on some online shops over the coming months and see what comes up.  I'm quite interested in experimenting with different tires, now that we've had this discussion here.  Want to try swapping them out occasionally and see what works best in this area, and in different seasons.  Getting good deals makes this painless to do if something doesn't work out.

EDIT:  I am actually considering getting a used set of wheels for my bike, just to put a second set of tires on so I can do a quick swap.  One set with narrow, fast rollers for the rail trail rides, like an SB8 or Slant Six, or even a 1.5" cross tire; and the second set with proper 2.2" or 2.3" trail tires. 

Like I said, we should have a tire swap thing going here....  ;D  Anyone want some Bontragers?  ::)

As for winter riding, no I don't do that.  I like the change of seasons, with it a change of sports.  I'll ride the single track when the ground is frozen -- love those cold, frosty days in the woods -- but not when there is snow on the ground.  I'm thinking of taking up nordic skiing this winter, as the same park where we go mtn. biking has excellent XC ski trails.....same routes, actually, on the double-track bike trails.  Should be great for a quick snow fix when we can't make it to the mountain.

« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 12:51:51 pm by Svend »

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2011, 08:33:28 pm »
Sorry to keep dragging this thread out, but I'm curious about one thing that seems to keep coming up -- you guys all seem to be using a wider front / narrower rear tire.  So what is the advantage of using a wider tire on the front than the rear? Seems kind of counter-intuitive, especially for us hardtail riders.  Wouldn't you want a big tire in the rear too, where all the weight is, to give you better shock absorption, grip and float? I get the idea of having a faster rolling tire in the rear, and a more grippy but slower rolling tire in front, with the weight differential and all.  But shouldn't that rear tire be wide too, like the front, but with a faster rolling tread pattern?

So, enlighten me, guys.  Some more insight from the pros needed here.  Thanks!

« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 08:23:07 am by Svend »

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2012, 08:35:24 pm »
Re-posted from Jim's recent tire thread:


Back to the topic of tires....I have a couple of questions for the MTB gurus here...

In some of last year's posts, I think Liam and Josh recommended using a wider tire on the front, and perhaps one with a more aggressive tread pattern.  Why is this? I don't recall ever finding out why.  Wouldn't it be best to run the same tires front and back -- same width, same tread?  (I see from my last post here back in November, that I asked the same question then, too). 

And as followup to that question, should you match the tire profile shape front and rear to keep cornering and handling smooth and predictable? In other words, if the rear tire has a round profile, I would guess that putting a more square profile tire on the front would be bad for handling(?)

The reason for my question is that, while I am really liking the Slant Six's that I put on my 29er last fall (they work great in my local terrain), but about the only thing I am missing from the change-over is the more cush ride that the old Bontragers gave me.  Otherwise, they are better in every way.  So, I am thinking of swapping out the front for a wider 2.2 width, and one with larger tread lugs for a better ride.  Just wanted to check with you guys to see if this is advisable, and if so, do I keep the profile consistent with the round shape of the Slant Six?


bushwacka

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2012, 08:51:01 pm »
quite honestly there is no reason to not ruin the widest possible tires you can on your bike with one catch assuming they weigh similarly.

pros

a. a wider tires roll faster due to its short contact patch
b. a wider tire grip corners better due to its wider contact patch
c. a wider tire can be run at a lower pressure due to its high volume
d. a wider tire has more momentum, due to its higher weight.
e. heavy tires are more damp

cons

a. a wider tire weighs more making the bike slower on steeper climbs and harder to accelerate
b. a wider tire has less grip while pedaling and while braking assuming both are being done in a straight line

I see at XC race and XC enduro race most people running 2.2 on the front at least and 2.1 on the rear at least. You would be surprised how many World Cup XC racer guy who are looking for the most speed on pretty buff courses use 2.35+ especially on on the front.

Julian Absalon multitime WC champ runs a a 2.35F and 2.15R tire both in full UST. its shocking how he can be so fast despite his 700 gram 26 inch tires. The fast americans who ride for giant(decker/craig) are running 2.35f/2.2r on there 29er in again GASP Tubeless ready. IMO if the fastest guys in the world understand the physics and use what they is feel is fastest why do people keep insisting on not like they do and run pizza cutter 2.0 and below tires which really only have a place in mud.

As for profile. I personally prefer super round on the front with squarer on the back. Super round on the front because when your leaning the bike over it lets you. Square on the back because its easier to pedal then. What I like might not be what you like but it is worth a try.




Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2012, 07:52:35 am »
Hey Josh,

Thanks again for another very thorough reply.  But I'm still curious about the reason why people run a wider tire on the front.  You've told me what, and who, and sold me on wider tires in general.  But WHY wider in front?

If everyone is doing it, there has to be a good reason.  If wider tires in general are so great, then why not 2.35's on both front and rear?

Regarding profile shape, I am really liking the round shape of the Slant Six.  Just as you said, when you lean the bike over into a corner, the tire just smoothly transitions into the turn.  Very predictable, and no weirdness.  That shape is a keeper for me, and I may always use round profile from now on.  OTOH, it's good to know that I can mix it up and put a more square profile on the rear without inducing some strange handling -- like mismatched tires on a car.

jim-ratliff

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2012, 08:17:05 pm »



Lynn and I are both becoming fans of the rounder profile as well.  My Conti X-Kings are round and Lynn's liking the change from the Small Block 8 back to the Kenda Karma.  She noticed last weekend times when the SB8 was plugging up with light mud and then spinning a bit on the other side of the soft section.  And the lighter Karma carcass (460 grams) isn't for me but it's great for a much lighter rider like her.
"If you're gonna play the game boy, ya gotta learn to play it right."

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2012, 09:35:23 pm »
Jim, just an FYI -- if shedding light mud and wet clay is an issue with the Karma or SB8 that Lynn is using, then the Slant Six may work well for her.  They are not as light as the Karma or SB8 (which is actually a good thing for me -- not being quite as light as Lynn  ::), I kinda need a more substantial tire), but at 600 grams for the 2.1 width, they are not heavyweights either -- about average for that size, it seems.  Their rolling resistance is quite low, they have that nice round profile, and NOTHING sticks to them.  They are remarkably good at mud shedding.  Even the wet, dense, sticky clay that coated my old Bontragers with about 10 lbs of muck, just does not hold on these at all.  Not an ounce.  I am impressed.  For the trails around here, this makes them an all season tire for me. 

I had them out today on some dry clay hardpack with sandy patches, and they performed excellently.  Cornering grip is very, very good, and handling in the corners is quick, agile and predictable.

I have yet to try them on really rocky or heavily root littered terrain, but that is coming soon.  Hopefully they perform well there too.  As yet, I haven't found any terrain that they don't do well on.  So far, so good.....

« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 09:45:03 pm by Svend »

bushwacka

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2012, 05:40:41 am »
Hey Josh,

Thanks again for another very thorough reply.  But I'm still curious about the reason why people run a wider tire on the front.  You've told me what, and who, and sold me on wider tires in general.  But WHY wider in front?

If everyone is doing it, there has to be a good reason.  If wider tires in general are so great, then why not 2.35's on both front and rear?

Regarding profile shape, I am really liking the round shape of the Slant Six.  Just as you said, when you lean the bike over into a corner, the tire just smoothly transitions into the turn.  Very predictable, and no weirdness.  That shape is a keeper for me, and I may always use round profile from now on.  OTOH, it's good to know that I can mix it up and put a more square profile on the rear without inducing some strange handling -- like mismatched tires on a car.

the simplest reason why alot of people run wider tires in the front is this. Most frames can not fit big tires in the rear. I know alot of my friends would run 2.3s+ all around if their frames could.  On both my Redline and Anthem X a 2.3 can sometimes rub.

The next reasons are this....

Most good riders live on the front of their bike for cornering and 70-80 percent of their corner force is coming from the front tire.  If you watch someone who can really corner their shoulder will typically be even with the front hub. 



if you watch most recreational riders ride, they typiclally sit their ass on their seat and corner though turning their handlebars instead of getting forward and using their pressure and angles to create the turn.

your rear tire is the tire hat is taking most of the weight while rolling straight and climbing having it weigh less can make it effectively roll faster it does make it spin up faster but just remember this. Assuming 2 tire weigh the same and have the same tread the wider tire always rolls faster.

lastly is some people probably just tried it and liked it......

FYI at XC races its very rare to see someone running a squarer profiles on the front unless it is very wet and muddy.

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2012, 07:55:55 am »
OK -- now I get it.  Thanks for that.  I knew there had to be a good reason for it, and it all makes sense.

BTW, just as a general comment -- the only guys here who race are you and Liam (I think); all other riders on this board do not race.  So we have other priorities for our gear, other than speed and shaving seconds off a lap time. 

So my tire needs have more to do with good grip in corners, roots and rocks, and for climbing; low rolling resistance; low weight; versatile performance in a variety of terrain, incl. wet clay; and quick agile handling.  How fast a tire is on a course, or what setup a pro racer has, doesn't matter at all.  You guys have different needs than I do. 

OTOH, how much the tires wear me out does matter -- I've ridden full-suspension all-mtn. bikes with big beefy tires weighing almost 1000g each, and near the end of a 3 hour XC ride I am ready for a mule to carry me and bike back to the car.  Getting those hummers spinning up to speed and trying to climb was like having lead weights on the wheels.  Fantastic grip in some of the gnarlier terrain where I rode them, but for everything else, forget it.

Up to now, the Slant Six has been surprisingly good for the terrain around here.  Probably not the ideal tire, but the best I could find in the shops last autumn near end of season.  I would have preferred a Saguaro, Ignitor or a Nobby Nic, but just could not find them in 29".  I will keep the Slant Six on for at least this season, put them through a beating in some rougher terrain and see how they manage.  My experience with different types of today's tires is rather limited, but I did not expect the Slant Six to perform as well as they do, given some of the so-so comments here about them.  OTOH, test reviews on the web have been almost 100% positive about these, with only one luke-warm review that I could find.  If I punt them in a couple of months for something else, I will let you know.

Thanks again!
Svend

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2012, 09:12:18 pm »
Josh, I want to replace some aging Geax Arrojo's on my wife's bike, and am thinking the Saguaro would be a good replacement as they are almost the same tread pattern, and she has had great success with the Arrojo.  But, I would like to get her a round profile tire, at least on the front.  You ride the Saguaro -- are they round profile or more square?

BTW, good advice on cornering and body position.  I admit to not being forward enough when I'm doing an easy cruise.  Picking up the pace, and I'm usually OK, but still need a nudge more forward on occasion for better stability and control. 

bushwacka

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2012, 06:35:57 am »
the Saguaro is a round tyre and seems to work pretty well front or back and in seemingly any conditions.

The Geax Aka works damn well as well if you have pretty dry/hardpack trail I would say that it actually corners better than the Saguaro on dry stuff.

To expand better the best corning tires need lots of lean and sometime if people get caught in the dead zone between the center and side knobs. When in that dead zone the bike can feel really loose.  the saguaro doesnt have a dead zone(it has equal sized intermiete knobs) but its corning grip is not as high as some other tires that do like an Ardent.

Svend

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Re: Mtn. bike tire advice needed
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2012, 07:27:28 am »
Thanks Josh.  I looked at the AKA, and it seems like a great tire, but probably not as versatile as the Saguaro.  Such as when it gets wet, or on roots and stuff.  I think the Saguaro is the best bet, and now that I know it has a rounded profile, that's a clincher.  Our local shop has them, so will pick some up soon.

Cheers,
Svend