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