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I'm making my first foray into 29+ terrain. My current bike you helped me to set up -- a Chumba Stella with 29x2.6 tires. Thanks for your previous help and thanks in advance for your help now. On my Chumba, I ran two different sets of tires from Teravail. I originally went with a more durable casing and aggressive tread pattern. After nearly a year of riding, I decided to try their light and supple casing in a less aggressive tread. I changed two variables at once, which is what I always do and always find frustrating. Long story short, I felt like I had an extra gear on the climbs with the lighter, more supple and less aggressive tires, but I also lost traction more frequently and ultimately found the ride springier in a way I didn't like. While the supple casing smoothed over small trail chatter, I felt like the added pressure required to stabilize the tire made for more feedback transmitted to me on larger impacts. Overall, I greatly preferred the stiffer casing. I'm not entirely sure about the tread design, but I think I preferred the larger knobs, too, which have their own give on hard/rocky sections of trail. I like feeling the lugs conform more so than just the casing wrapping around.
I've enjoyed my rigid 29x2.6 experience enough that I want to try full 29x3. I'm convinced that the SE4 in 3.0 is the right front tire for me. I've thought about either the XR4 or the SE4 on the rear. At 190lbs, riding a rigid, steel, XL bike, can you see any reason to chose the XR over the SE?
Thanks and best,
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