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winter xc/am tire options

Oct. 26, 2010, 12:18 p.m.
Posts: 2313
Joined: Sept. 18, 2008

discussing options with friends lately for the little pedally bike, thought i might share some thoughts:

maxxis:
in order of increasing traction, but increasing rolling resistance:
aspen, ardent, advantage, high roller, minion.
new ikon likely falls between aspen and ardent. these are only 29er choices.
i like them all but wish there was something between super-tacky (42) and 60a compound, like around 50 for winter.

conti:
black chili compound is impressive, but favors rolling resistance over grip more than i would like for winter. still, it sticks like i imagine maxxis 50 would, but rolls like maxxis 60, so pretty darn good.
trail king (aka rubber queen) 2.2 is great. 2.4 way too tall, rolls over badly in tight corners.
2011 mountain king looks like hybrid between old mtn king and trail king, could be good.
2011 x-king looks like a good race tire, probably the stickiest rubber of all the race-type tires out there.
race king and speed king are just silly.
both coming in 29er versions too.

schwalbe:
2011 will all be tubeless-ready, meaning they hold sealant better without being heavy like UST tires.
tubeless is finally working well for me with stans rims/tape.
they have supposedly improved rubber too which they could use. lots of 29er options too.
i really like rocket ron and racing ralph - retardedly fast for how much traction they give. feels like maxxis 60-ish rubber.
havent tried nobby nic, but its a step up in traction apparently.

michelin:
they are all relatively heavy. lighter xc tires have hard rubber. rubber gets softer as beefiness increase across the line, no good for winter xc tire choice.
wild gripper is apparently massive for its size, with good grip, but fairly hard rubber. i have one coming to confirm. no 29er.
wild racer is less grippy and comes in 29er, could be good for summer.

hutchinson:
also relatively heavy and same rubber issue as michelin.
barracuda is overkill for little bike, but toro looks good - a bit faster, still with good grip.
2.15 tubeless-ready version is light, but not sure about rubber, likely too hard. comes in 29 too.
2.35 regular version is a bit heavy but comes with their medium rubber. no 29er version though. gonna try one in 26.

kenda:
sidewalls are garbage, prone to pinch-flatting, but run tubeless it wouldnt matter.
nevegal 2.1 is generous size and comes in sticky version while still being light. kenda sticky is maybe like maxxis 50-ish. 2.2 29er has dual-compound only which is crap.
excavator 2.35 was massive, 2.1 is like 2.2/2.3 but only comes in dual-compound which is not very sticky. lots of bitey knobs though, might be ok. no 29er version.

panaracer:
rampage sc 2.35 is apparently like 2.2 size, kinda mid-weight, and has their sticky-ish rubber. tread pattern similar to nevegal, maybe a better alternative? gonna try it out too. no 29er though.
fire xc pro 2.1 was a classic tire, but real skinny and pretty hard rubber.
their other tires get mixed reviews, not interested in gambling.

thoughts?

Oct. 26, 2010, 12:49 p.m.
Posts: 2452
Joined: Jan. 8, 2004

Two things regarding the Maxxis tires. The High Roller is a far slower rolling tire than the Minion DHF. I also think the High Roller has better traction than the Minion DHF. Maybe just me, but we could devise an experiment to settle this once and for all.

I measured the Super Tacky Maxxis rubber as being more like a 48-50 with my durometer. Kenda Stick-E wasn't much harder with an average of about 52. On the DH bike I found the longevity of the ST Maxxis rubber rather poor with the side knobs all torn off of a Minion DHF after a couple days in the bike park.

I find Kenda's DTC near lethal in the wet in Vancouver on all their tires. The center is rather hard and offers very poor braking performance in my experience. I wish Kenda would offer more of their tires in a lighter casing and Stick-E.

A tire that I'm going to try this winter me thinks is the Kenda Nevegal 2.5" Free Ride Stick-E. It's a 1000 gram tire and with a large volume casing, so can likely get away with softer tire pressures. Should offer a good compromise between grip, rolling resistance and weight. Would be more awesome in a 2.35" casing.

I'm also interested to try out some of those Continental tires, as well as some of the Geax tires. Another interesting tire is the Specialized Clutch, I'm keen to try a set of those on both the DH bike and the little bike.

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Oct. 26, 2010, 1:21 p.m.
Posts: 4924
Joined: July 10, 2004

I also think the High Roller has better traction than the Minion DHF. Maybe just me, but we could devise an experiment to settle this once and for all.

dude there is no way

Oct. 26, 2010, 1:48 p.m.
Posts: 2313
Joined: Sept. 18, 2008

regardless, the minion and high roller are not strong candidates for my xc bike. the 60a 2.35 folding single ply versions are 700-750 grams, but too slow for such average rubber durometer.

i have used nevegal 2.5 single-ply sticky and spec clutch sx. both are around 1000g and have similar braking/pedalling traction, but clutch is miles ahead cornering.

regardless they are far beyond the scope of this thread.

Oct. 26, 2010, 3 p.m.
Posts: 8935
Joined: Dec. 23, 2005

regardless they are far beyond the scope of this thread.

But I want DH tire reviews for my XC bike :)

I was going to try the 2.15 Toro for the Queens, but ended up going with a less aggressive more pedal option.

Interested to hear your feedback on it and the Panaracer in their more sticky versions. Could be good spring/fall AM choices.

Oct. 26, 2010, 3:28 p.m.
Posts: 11680
Joined: Aug. 11, 2003

regardless, the minion and high roller are not strong candidates for my xc bike. the 60a 2.35 folding single ply versions are 700-750 grams, but too slow for such average rubber durometer.

i have used nevegal 2.5 single-ply sticky and spec clutch sx. both are around 1000g and have similar braking/pedalling traction, but clutch is miles ahead cornering.

regardless they are far beyond the scope of this thread.

I've been running a DHF up front with a 2.35 Larsen TT on the back. Deep mud and snow make the Larsen useless, but for everything else, it's a really decent compromise of traction/rolling resistance.

Oct. 29, 2010, 11:39 a.m.
Posts: 2313
Joined: Sept. 18, 2008

thats a good combo, running that on my 5/6-inch bike.
taking about smaller/lighter rubber here.

Oct. 29, 2010, 12:20 p.m.
Posts: 10309
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

Technically a supertacky Larsen exists. just stay out of the gloopy mud and you'll be fine. probably turn the back tire around to get some pedaling traction.

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Oct. 29, 2010, 1:30 p.m.
Posts: 2313
Joined: Sept. 18, 2008

i have one. they only come in dual-ply ply wire bead, but same tiny 2.35 size. its 1050 grams, and has as little wet/mud grip as the regular larsen except on clean/wet rocks/roots, but even then its marginal.

Oct. 29, 2010, 2:39 p.m.
Posts: 8935
Joined: Dec. 23, 2005

taking about smaller/lighter rubber here.

What about 3.0 Gazzolodi's on 24s?

Oct. 29, 2010, 3:46 p.m.
Posts: 2313
Joined: Sept. 18, 2008

if its not over 1500 grams, i am simply not interested.

Oct. 31, 2010, 9:17 a.m.
Posts: 378
Joined: Sept. 10, 2008

After spending the last 5 years exclusively on Maxxis tires, I just picked up a set of Specialized Clutch SX 2.3s for my Enduro [HTML_REMOVED] so far, I'm really impressed…
They're a large volume tire (equivalent to a 2.5" Maxxis) [HTML_REMOVED] as such I wouldn't describe them as fast rolling - they're definitely faster than a Super Tacky/3C Maxxis though. Grip on wet roots [HTML_REMOVED] rocks is outstanding, as is climbing traction [HTML_REMOVED] they hook up really well in the loam.
Highly recommended.

Oct. 31, 2010, 9:26 a.m.
Posts: 14564
Joined: Dec. 16, 2003

After spending the last 5 years exclusively on Maxxis tires, I just picked up a set of Specialized Clutch SX 2.3s for my Enduro [HTML_REMOVED] so far, I'm really impressed…
They're a large volume tire (equivalent to a 2.5" Maxxis) [HTML_REMOVED] as such I wouldn't describe them as fast rolling - they're definitely faster than a Super Tacky/3C Maxxis though. Grip on wet roots [HTML_REMOVED] rocks is outstanding, as is climbing traction [HTML_REMOVED] they hook up really well in the loam.
Highly recommended.

I've been on these all year and am still loving them for pretty much all conditions. I do find them a bit slow, but it's only noticeable for the first couple of rides. The other remarkable thing is although they are a soft compound, after a full season of riding they are barely showing signs of wear. It would seem they are tough to beat, soft, sticky and long lasting. Specialized hit it out of park with these tires.

Oct. 31, 2010, 10:54 a.m.
Posts: 762
Joined: Nov. 19, 2003

where are those clutch 2.3 available?

Oct. 31, 2010, 4:43 p.m.
Posts: 378
Joined: Sept. 10, 2008

where are those clutch 2.3 available?

Any Specialized dealer can get them for you. I got mine from Travis at Velocity in Langley.

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