View Poll Results: 2012 Racing Ralph or Maxxis IKON - 29er REAR tire

Voters
172. You may not vote on this poll
  • Maxxis IKON 2.2 w/ EXO, EXC and 3C

    98 56.98%
  • 2012 Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 pacestar w/Snakeskin

    74 43.02%
Results 1 to 39 of 39
  1. #1
    No pain no gain
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    87

    29er Racing Ralph VS. Maxxis IKON

    29er XC REAR tire - Schwalbe Racing Ralph vs. Maxxis Ikon

    I am in search of a GREAT XC/all mountain 29er REAR tire, specifically for dry, hard pack and forest trails (very few roots, some rock gardens, but mostly flowing, dry, single track). No muddy or wet conditions. Would like as fast a tire as possible, which still hooks up and offers traction on the sketchy climbs when needed. Rear tire application only.

    From all my reading, I have narrowed it down to a 2012 29 x 2.25 RaRa (tubeless ready, pacestar w/ snakeskin for sidewall protection, 610 grams), or a 29 x 2.2 IKON with EXO 3C EXC (120 TPI 580 grams), but am having a tough time deciding between the two. These tires retail for $80.00, so I want to choose wisely the first time (Note: Schwalbe somewhat changed the RaRa for 2012 from previous models).

    Any real world experience out there? I understand the RaRa hooks up great and is a fast tire, with the only real complaint being how quick they wear out. Is this also true for snakeskin w/ pacestar? The only edge I have found with an IKON over a RaRa is in durability. I don't believe I have heard or read that it is faster or hooks up better, so this is why I am here.

    Is the IKON as fast as a Racing Ralph, and does it offer as much traction on the climbs? (I a not so concerned about the cornering on the rear, a little drift is fine).

    Feedback on either of these tires?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jacksonj51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    62
    Those are two tires I have been testing back to back alot recently.

    Personally I prefer the Ikon. Its just as fast as the RaRa, doesn't wear out nearly as fast as the RaRa, and most importantly for me the Ikon hooks up better. I've had to lower the psi in the RaRa many times over to the Ikon and it still slips more than the Ikon.

    Plus Ikon's are cheaper at around $60 vs RaRa's(tubeless ready, pacestar w/ snakeskin for sidewall protection) I can't find under $75

    I'm speaking as a rear tire of course, I don't like either of them as my front... just not enough grip & traction. I'm also in So-Cal with those same conditions you describe

    Just my .02 cents

  3. #3
    No pain no gain
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    87
    Sorry - I just realized I did not post this under the 29er "components" section. Moderator - can you move this thread to the 29er tire section?

  4. #4
    No pain no gain
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    87
    How much do you weigh, and what air pressure are you running in the IKON on the rear? Impressive the IKON hooks up better, those small knobs on the Maxxis have me wondering about traction.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jacksonj51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    62
    I'm 185lbs. Running them on chinese carbon rims tubeless of course. I'm running around 25psi in the rear. They are both fast tires but I swear the RaRa always feels like it has 35psi in it and wants to break loose but those are in steep rocky conditions but the Ikon always seems to hook up a bit better no question for me.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    16
    I've used both, when its dry I prefer the RR. Wet roots and rocks are the RR weakness,the Ikon is better in the wet. Neither of the tires are good mudders. Both tires roll well and are good xc tires.

  7. #7
    ~Reformed Mechanic~
    Reputation: Ace5high's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,177
    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryb02 View Post

    Any real world experience out there? I understand the RaRa hooks up great and is a fast tire, with the only real complaint being how quick they wear out. Is this also true for snakeskin w/ pacestar? The only edge I have found with an IKON over a RaRa is in durability. I don't believe I have heard or read that it is faster or hooks up better, so this is why I am here.

    Is the IKON as fast as a Racing Ralph, and does it offer as much traction on the climbs? (I a not so concerned about the cornering on the rear, a little drift is fine).

    Feedback on either of these tires?
    Yes, I have run both Ikons and RaRa (both kinds) almost exclusively for over the past year as tubeless. Im not sure I can give you one better than the other but I can tell you pros and cons of each.

    I love Ikons for the dry weather personally, and as a rear tire only, unless your very concerned about weight. I found the Ikon to be a little too slick in the front for my liking though it was far from "bad" traction considering what it weighs, it just cant keep up with thr RaRa or a nobby nic up front.

    The RaRa is slightly heavier than the Ikon and I can just barley feel the difference in the rear (most cannot feel the weight difference). The RaRa however does hookup better in the rear if things get a little more aggressive. To answer your question the Ikon it does not climb as well as the RaRa and cannot brake nearly as well as it. I personally prefer the RaRa in most situations and especially when things get wet out. I would say if your racing and every gram counts the Ikon has the edge but for everyday use the RaRa is going to provide better traction.

    Also, In my experience the sidewalls are a bit tougher on the RaRa , there have been many guys who sliced sidewalls on Ikons. Probably because they were doing more trail than XC use.

    Now the New RaRa vs the Old RaRa Im liking it and seems to hook very well and predictable around corners. However, I feel like it may not roll as nice as the old one. Maybe this is just in my head but thats my observation anyway...

    I have 1 brand new 2012 RaRa 29x2.25 im looking to get rid of if your interested PM me
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Climber999's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    720
    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonj51 View Post
    Those are two tires I have been testing back to back alot recently.

    Personally I prefer the Ikon. Its just as fast as the RaRa, doesn't wear out nearly as fast as the RaRa, and most importantly for me the Ikon hooks up better. I've had to lower the psi in the RaRa many times over to the Ikon and it still slips more than the Ikon.

    Plus Ikon's are cheaper at around $60 vs RaRa's(tubeless ready, pacestar w/ snakeskin for sidewall protection) I can't find under $75

    I'm speaking as a rear tire of course, I don't like either of them as my front... just not enough grip & traction. I'm also in So-Cal with those same conditions you describe

    Just my .02 cents
    I just wonder, what do you use for your front?

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jacksonj51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    62
    Quote Originally Posted by Climber999 View Post
    I just wonder, what do you use for your front?
    Depends on conditions really... I prefer a Hans Dampf trailstar up front as my goto but its a bit heavy so sometimes I run a Nobby nic 2.35 and or a Maxxis ardent 2.4

    Just put a racing ralph on the front for today's ride in a few hours... dry high speed lots of fire roads kinda ride. I enjoy changing and testing tires although spendy

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    311
    I didn't know what to get for my El-Mar Ti so I asked Cy at Cotic (who knows a thing or two about riding). He reccommended 2.2 Ikons EXOs and I've NOT regretted fitting them. Haven't tried the RRs so can't comment on them.

    Ps. Jackson: I'm 172 lbs (probably 195lbs with riding kit and camelbak) I've been running 25 psi on the rear and 23 psi on the front with no trouble.

  11. #11
    Trail Junkie
    Reputation: dubdryver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,160
    There have been a lot of comparisons between the Ikon and RaRa. I think hands-down the Ikon does offer better value because its longer lasting..if I wrote anymore, it would just be echoing the other great qualities that make it such a great tire.

    I still have mixed feelings about the RaRa. I find them to really be psi. sensitive tires...having them a little bit off either high or low changes the ride characteristic drastically....the Ikons are much more predictable, but they will still let you know when the psi. is off. That said, the RaRa do perform well as a front tire when the psi. is right. My only positive experience with RaRa's were solely with the cheaper "Performance" model and not Pacestar Snakeskin. I didn't like the Pacestar snakeskin model much.
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Intense Spider 29 C
    Cervelo S2
    Trek Boone 5 Disc
    Spech Tricross Expert
    Raleigh RX 1.0

  12. #12
    ~Reformed Mechanic~
    Reputation: Ace5high's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,177
    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    There have been a lot of comparisons between the Ikon and RaRa. I think hands-down the Ikon does offer better value because its longer lasting..if I wrote anymore, it would just be echoing the other great qualities that make it such a great tire.

    I still have mixed feelings about the RaRa. I find them to really be psi. sensitive tires...having them a little bit off either high or low changes the ride characteristic drastically....the Ikons are much more predictable, but they will still let you know when the psi. is off. That said, the RaRa do perform well as a front tire when the psi. is right. My only positive experience with RaRa's were solely with the cheaper "Performance" model and not Pacestar Snakeskin. I didn't like the Pacestar snakeskin model much.
    Interesting... My RaRa's are outlasting my Ikon's... The Ikon is more predicable I think but gives up too much traction anywhere for me to justify the couple of grams saving...
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MRMOLE's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    969
    From my experience with these tires (20,000+ miles on RaRa's, Approx 600 miles on icons), the only place I find any performance difference worth noting is in sand where the schwallbe floats much better for me. I can't comment on durability with only a few miles on the icons but I typically get double the mileage on my RaRa.s compared to other tires I've used (crossmarks, karmans, saguaros). I change my tires when their performance deteriorates, not on how they look, and the schwallbes seem to age gracefully.

  14. #14
    Daniel the Dog
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    6,736
    I got a bubble on my Icon from what I'm assuming is a reaction to Stan's goop. I went a whole racing season with no flats and great traction from the Icon. My rear Icon never developed a bubble.

  15. #15
    Trail Junkie
    Reputation: dubdryver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,160
    I got a bubble once before. A little trick is to stick a needle in the bubble and it goes away.

    The thing that I like the most about the Ikon vs the Racing Ralph is that the tire wears more predictably, and also lasts longer.

    The Racing Ralph is an exceptional race tire. Light, fast, great tread pattern, but it doesn't compare to the Ikon in terms of durability, longevity, and its not near as predictable later on in the season when the tire has a lot of miles on it. From my experience with the Racing Ralph is once the edge knobbies start going (tearing), its time to replace the tire. It's only a matter of time before routine sections that you'd lean the bike over and hammer it become sketchy.


    I've tried many combinations even running the RR with the Ikon, but in the last year I've decided to go away from the RR all together and replaced it with the Ignitor EXO in the front to maintain the consistency that I am looking for. It too is a sub 600g tire so you can still keep the weight relatively low, but superior in every way compared to the RR in terms of grip.

    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    From my experience with these tires (20,000+ miles on RaRa's, Approx 600 miles on icons).
    Could you post a picture of what a 20,000+ Mi. Racing Ralph looks like? I have a few Nevagals with only ~1000mi on them..that have a much higher durameter rating (how the rate rubber hardness) than the Racing Ralphs that have their entire center track worn to nearly a smooth road tire profile. 20k miles is road tire territory, and there is not many if any mountain bike tires that are meant to come come even close to those numbers due to design and the rubber compounds used. The Racing Ralph is definitely not a "hard rubber" tire since the Racing Ralphs have 2 or 3 compound models, and none of the compounds there for ultimate longevity, but more so that they don't rip apart but also to provide ample grip.

    Now I am not calling you out on this, but 20k miles is pretty unbelievable, and if you are truly getting that kind of mileage out of them, you may want to contact Schawlbe and let them know! Who knows, they may make you a "Tester" and start sending you prototypes/product to test. Tire company's R&D and test departments are always looking for those types of number is their product testing.
    Last edited by dubdryver; 01-05-2013 at 03:39 PM.
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Intense Spider 29 C
    Cervelo S2
    Trek Boone 5 Disc
    Spech Tricross Expert
    Raleigh RX 1.0

  16. #16
    Daniel the Dog
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    6,736

    Interesting

    However, it would suck to be 75 miles into a 100 mile race and develop a bubble. I do enjoy the Icon and wish Maxxis would get into the 21st Century and make their tires Stan's friendly.

  17. #17
    Trail Junkie
    Reputation: dubdryver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,160
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    However, it would suck to be 75 miles into a 100 mile race and develop a bubble. I do enjoy the Icon and wish Maxxis would get into the 21st Century and make their tires Stan's friendly.
    I agree...bubbles do suck, but then again..I've only used Stan's sealant in a pinch. I've been making my own sealant for at least the last two years which yields nearly 3 quarts for the same price as one of Stan's.

    Also, I have modified my formula to work better against evaporation (drying up inside the tire) as it seems to be more of a problem where I live.
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Intense Spider 29 C
    Cervelo S2
    Trek Boone 5 Disc
    Spech Tricross Expert
    Raleigh RX 1.0

  18. #18
    Sim
    Sim is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    64
    I think he meant he has ridden 20,000 miles on Racing Ralph's, buying another one when the last one wore out. Not on one tire!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MRMOLE
    From my experience with these tires (20,000+ miles on RaRa's, Approx 600 miles on icons).

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MRMOLE's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    969
    Hey Dubdryver,
    The 20,000+ miles was my total mileage using RaRa's, not for one tire. I usually get about 4000 mi. per rear tire which is still by far the best mileage I've ever gotten with any offroad tire. At 4000 mi. the tires look like hell but still perform or I'd replace them (I've replace alot of tires that looked OK but didn't work anymore). I like Icons too and IMO they're the only other tire I've tried that equals a RaRa in performance for my needs. My first Icon has about 1700 mi. and still works like new so I don't know how it will compair for longevity but at this point I'm happy running either tire.
    Mole

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    760
    I've had some tread separation on some Maxxis tires blamed on Stan's, the only reason I voted for the RaRa over the icon. I did love the Icon for handling and wear, except I like the RaRa for loose over hard though.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: brentos's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,471
    I've used both.

    Ikon

    Little smaller volume than Racing Ralph.
    Consistent weight (580g).
    Damped, grippy rubber compound.
    Rolls a little slower than the Ralph.

    Racing Ralph (2012)

    Pressure sensitive.
    Inconsistent weights (610g-670g)
    Rolls fast.
    Grips really well when pressure is right.
    Not as damped of a feelas Ikon, seems to ping off rocks and roots more.


    I found myself going with to the Ralph as I liked the way it rolls better, and I bottomed out on the rim more easily with the Ikons. The Ikons did feel like a more controlled tire though. I normaly get 750 mi out of a Ralph, the Ikons seem to wear even better.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,916
    I like the Ikons, but both are good tires. I think the Ikon rolls a bit better and it transitions to the corner knobs in a more fluid manner than the Ralph. The Ralphs can feel vague in transition.

    I think the Ralph has a bit more climbing traction when new. But, the Ikons hold their traction better as they wear. ATMO.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: JSumner13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,568
    I voted for the Ikon here simply due to the fact that this is the ONLY race worthy rear tire I've ever run here in New England where the tire tread wore out before the sidewalls (EXO version). Rolls fast, plenty of volume, light, tubeless friendly (I never had bubble issues).....it does everything a rear tire should. This will be my late spring, summer, early fall rear tire for a long time. I got 8 months out of my last one and that's pretty much unheard of for a lightweight rear tire in NE.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    1,311
    Quote Originally Posted by brentos View Post
    I've used both.

    Ikon

    Little smaller volume than Racing Ralph.
    Consistent weight (580g).
    Damped, grippy rubber compound.
    Rolls a little slower than the Ralph.

    Racing Ralph (2012)

    Pressure sensitive.
    Inconsistent weights (610g-670g)
    Rolls fast.
    Grips really well when pressure is right.
    Not as damped of a feelas Ikon, seems to ping off rocks and roots more.
    ....
    Boy, I couldn't agree with that last statement more. It's been a few years since I rode it but the RR felt like a stiff balloon and I didn't like it nearly as much as the Ikon.
    2 wheels

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,916
    I will say that I just got two new Maxxis Ikon EXO tires and they came in WAY over weight. 634g and 620g.

    In the past I've never had one come in over 590g.

  26. #26
    Dickhouse
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    296
    Maxxis Ikon are durable, fast rollers, but poor rear traction, especially for climbing out of the saddle ala SS riding.
    Something with wheels and brakes.

    92Fifty' Race Team

  27. #27
    ~Reformed Mechanic~
    Reputation: Ace5high's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,177
    Quote Originally Posted by briscoelab View Post
    I will say that I just got two new Maxxis Ikon EXO tires and they came in WAY over weight. 634g and 620g.

    In the past I've never had one come in over 590g.
    Yeah Im not sure Id be happy with that either. My non SS RaRa is 570ish and provides more traction overall, I ride hard and have yet to slice one. That said Ill always be a fan of Ikon, I think price is a large factor here since the Ikon I believe to be the better value.
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  28. #28
    Expert Crasher
    Reputation: GreenLightGo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    6,355
    Quote Originally Posted by dickt3030 View Post
    Maxxis Ikon are durable, fast rollers, but poor rear traction, especially for climbing out of the saddle ala SS riding.
    I used it for almost two years exclusively on my SS and found it just fine.
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  29. #29
    Daniel the Dog
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    6,736
    I agree as the Racing Ralph is not a very good front tire. I slip a lot. The Ikon's on the other hand are great on hard pack...and do last longer.


    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonj51 View Post
    Those are two tires I have been testing back to back alot recently.

    Personally I prefer the Ikon. Its just as fast as the RaRa, doesn't wear out nearly as fast as the RaRa, and most importantly for me the Ikon hooks up better. I've had to lower the psi in the RaRa many times over to the Ikon and it still slips more than the Ikon.

    Plus Ikon's are cheaper at around $60 vs RaRa's(tubeless ready, pacestar w/ snakeskin for sidewall protection) I can't find under $75

    I'm speaking as a rear tire of course, I don't like either of them as my front... just not enough grip & traction. I'm also in So-Cal with those same conditions you describe

    Just my .02 cents

  30. #30
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    920
    Quote Originally Posted by MRMOLE View Post
    From my experience with these tires (20,000+ miles on RaRa's, Approx 600 miles on icons), the only place I find any performance difference worth noting is in sand where the schwallbe floats much better for me. I can't comment on durability with only a few miles on the icons but I typically get double the mileage on my RaRa.s compared to other tires I've used (crossmarks, karmans, saguaros). I change my tires when their performance deteriorates, not on how they look, and the schwallbes seem to age gracefully.
    I agree... My 2.35 RaRa looks really worn but still performs like day one

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    920
    A Nic or a Ron PCE are both good rears as well

  32. #32
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    3,489
    Ra Ra if you want much better cornering traction and Ikon if you want tread durability.
    I'd also give the nod to the Ra Ra for speed. I've also been trialling the kratos scylla. Pity it doesn't come reinforced but it's definately a contender. Rounder profile than the other two. Smaller volume but fast, soft riding tire with good tread life.

  33. #33
    May contain nuts
    Reputation: Haggis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,993
    Both are rear tyres only unless the requirement is speed above all else.
    I find RR Snakeskin inferior to Ikon Exo. Slower rolling (they tear noisily on hardpack) and they breakaway on any damp camber much too easily. I much prefer the Ikon.

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    228
    Quote Originally Posted by dickt3030 View Post
    Maxxis Ikon are durable, fast rollers, but poor rear traction, especially for climbing out of the saddle ala SS riding.
    I've had the opposite experience. Running a 2:1 ratio on my SS with a 29x2.20 Ikon EXO on the rear. I run them at 20 psi and have never had traction problems on the rear even with steep climbs. I've had the rear slip out on loose pack climbs here and there but I attribute it more to my less than ideal technique rather than a lack of tire grip.

    I've run a snakeskin ralph 29x2.25 on the rear for quite some time and found it to have great grip, but it hardly lasted 3 months where I ride. I have 4 months on my ikon and they still look great.
    Specialized sucks

  35. #35
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    332
    I seem to be bucking the trend here, but for me, its the Ralph, hands down. I ripped the EXO sidewall on a rear mounted Ikon on its first ride. I feel like the Ralphs have better climbing and cornering traction, braking consistency, and (with the Snakeskin sidewalls) durability. Ikons might have an edge on tread wear and are about equal in rolling resistance. I do tend to run low pressure, no more than 22-25 at 165 lbs.

  36. #36
    mtbr member
    Reputation: serious's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3,198
    I raced on both and find the IKON to be a better front tire for variable conditions. The RR probably rolls a bit better and my be better for dry conditions.

    But as a rear tire, I can barely tell the difference.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    KHS CX 550 cyclocross

  37. #37
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    920
    I have recently become a big fan of the Hutchinson Cougar as a rear tire. Still use the Hans D as a front.

  38. #38
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    279
    Ikon is a very good rear. Hooks up even on the steepest of climbs (+20% grade). They wear pretty good too. On the front, it's a different story. Good on hard pack, but when the dirt starts to get loose, like it does this time of year in SoCal, stay away...unless you like to loose skin.

  39. #39
    .44
    Reputation: stremf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    1,010
    Quote Originally Posted by mcgong View Post
    Ikon is a very good rear. Hooks up even on the steepest of climbs (+20% grade). They wear pretty good too. On the front, it's a different story. Good on hard pack, but when the dirt starts to get loose, like it does this time of year in SoCal, stay away...unless you like to loose skin.
    Were you running the 2.2 or 2.35 Ikons up front?

    I haven't run it as a front, but 2.2 Ikon and 2.25 RR in the back--I really couldn't tell too much in difference. The RR did seen to have a tiny bit more bite, but both hooked up well. Ikon wears much better. I can't see spending the extra for the RR.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •