Karma 1.9 best race tire for lightweights?
I am about 145 and need a light, fast rolling tire that can handle most race conditions I might run into around the southeast. I am a fairly aggressive rider but don't really ever cut sidewalls....so the Karma seems like a great bet for my uses. Any thoughts here? Maybe the 1.8 Bonty XDX? No Crows! Don't trust em at all from what I have seen.
I ran a set of the 1.9 Karma's on my 29er, as they were my favs for my 26er. I mounted them up just before we vacationed in Vail and despite the issues I had keeping air in them, they worked pretty darn well. (notorious for taking a while to seat tubeless) When I got back to Austin and took them out to the local trails, they didn't perform as well as I'd hoped. They had decent traction (for the most part), but were a bit too narrow for the rocky conditions we see around here. I also noticed the cornering wasn't great...maybe due to the higher air pressure I was forced to run. After about 3 rides I pulled 'em off and went back to the Maxxis Crossmark. For this area, they seem to be one of the best all-around tires. They are pretty fast, light, and make a decent race tire.
Fwiw, I'm about 150-155 and riding a Niner Air 9.
I've got a set of the 1.9's on a bike that is used for dirt commuting that has about 25% road. Liked them for that. Used them this spring for a race, did 75 miles (10 laps) on a flattish, hard pack course that didn't have much tech stuff but enough roots and rocks that you needed to keep the pressure up on them. After the race I decided I'd stick with the 2.2's next year. The higher pressure needed to keep from flatting beat you up more and the higher pressure also meant I need to keep things in check a little more in the fast, dry corners. Overall the slightly lighter weight/less rolling resistance didn't seem worth the trade off for me. Rider stats: 160# without gear, tend to ride aggressively.
Now that there are other options, I regard Karma's as wet-only race tires. As long as the mud is not sticky, they do fine there, in a low-grip way.
IME the Racing Ralphs, but 2.25 and 2.4, are faster in any dry trail conditions. Weight of a tire is too small a factor to ever out-weigh (pun intended) the advantages of rolling resistance, control, grip and comfort. Even at double the actual weight, I'd still get Ralphs over Karma's. the point is to be quicker to the finish, not to have the light bike, right?