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  1. #1
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    Different tire front than back?

    I've been reading a lot of reviews on tire selection and have noticed that a lot of you run a different tire front than back and vice versa. Which I get. What I don't get is the reasoning for running an aggressive knobby tire up front and a seemingly not so aggressive tire (or one with a lesser rolling resistance) in the back. I would expect that the knobbier tire would be better suited out back since that's where the power is transferred and you would naturally want the majority of the grip out there, especially while climbing. Why would you want the grip in the front? Understandably you'd want it in the front for the descent, but then why not just put aggressive front and back?

  2. #2
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    Cool understood. Appreciate the help!

  3. #3
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    Your front does the turning, and if your front tire washes out, you're SOL. If the back washes out, it's pretty easy to correct. It's also easy to put weight over the rear tire when necessary, not so much with the front. Also, the front does the majority of the braking, which means you want something that's going to dig in when you clamp down on the lever.

    The rear really just needs to be good enough that it doesn't spin out on climbs, but if you've ever run less agressive tires, you'd find out that you really don't need much back there to hold traction.

  4. #4
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    Well I go knobby front and rear.... that is just how I roll !!

  5. #5
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    you want your front tire to always have maximum traction. You don't want your front tire breaking loose before your back tire, which is why a lot run a size larger up front.

    You feel rolling resistance a lot more on the back tire, so you try to minimize that, while using a tread that matches the terrain/conditions to still hook up. A sloppy trail, and a dry hard pack trail requires different tread, for maximum efficiency.

    I always run an aggressive tire up front, just for piece of mind, but try to get as fast a rolling tire, as I can get away with, in the back.

  6. #6
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    Interesting. I haven't yet seen the wider tire up front but it of course makes sense. I'm still in the transition from road biking and the consensus there, if anything, was wider in the back.

    Care to share a sample set-up?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cave12man View Post
    Interesting. I haven't yet seen the wider tire up front but it of course makes sense. I'm still in the transition from road biking and the consensus there, if anything, was wider in the back.

    Care to share a sample set-up?
    Completely different concerns in road bike land. If you lose an edge on a road bike, you're on the ground, there's not a huge soft-surface traction concern, especially on racing tires. Also, road tires were, for a while, so narrow that the tires were actually pulled back to the rim, reducing the contact patch, due to the thought that less tire on the road means less resistance. Also, due to the geometry (and weight) of a road bike, it's very easy, if you're sprinting out of saddle, to un-weight the rear wheel and cause traction issues.

    As for not having seen it, most manufacturer's don't run the staggered setup (unless they do on a DH bike), but in general people will run one size larger in the front (I run a 2.5 Minion up front, a 2.35 Holy Roller in the back). This also came about because for a while you had larger tires hitting the market with frames that couldn't fit them, but forks that could, so people would run a 2.35 in the front and a 2.1 out back simply due to clearance issues.

  8. #8
    agu
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    Quote Originally Posted by cave12man View Post
    Care to share a sample set-up?
    Some combos I've used include:
    A) Maxxis Ardent 2.25 front, Maxxis Aspen 2.1 rear; both tires on Velocity Blunt SL rims

    B) Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25 front, Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 rear; front rim is a Velocity P35 and rear is a Blunt SL

    *The P35 is a 35mm wide rim, while the Blunt SL is 25mm wide.

    C) Maxxis Ignitor 2.1 front, Maxxis Ikon 2.2 rear; front rim is a Velocity P35 and rear is a Blunt SL. Note that even though the Ikon is listed as wider, it measures up close to the "narrower" Ignitor.

    I liked Combo A for it's straight line and hardpack trail speed, but the Ardents didn't seem to corner too well.

    Combos B & C work for a wider variety of trail conditions, with C being the more budget friendly option. I still have the Blunt SL front wheel, which is lighter than the P35, for "racing".

    Note that I run these on a rigid 29er singlespeed, so your mileage may vary.

    Welcome to the dirt.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cave12man View Post

    Care to share a sample set-up?
    I run a Specialized Purgatory 2.4" up front, and Specialized Captain 2.2" in the rear.

    On a prior 26" bike, I had a Kenda Nevegal up front, and a Kenda Slant 6 or Small Block 8 in the back. On that bike I could only fit 2.2's on front and back.

    I went 2.4" up front because I benefit from this where I ride. I could get away with it on the back too, but not super necessary. If you don't need to do that, a 2.2 on front will tend to roll quicker, other things equal

  10. #10
    max_29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cave12man View Post

    Care to share a sample set-up?
    Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4 front
    Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 rear

  11. #11
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    Grip vs. Slip

    1000 words...

    Ardent 2.4 (f) // Saguaro 2.2 (r)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    1000 words...

    Ardent 2.4 (f) // Saguaro 2.2 (r)
    Bravo

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by agu View Post
    Some combos I've used include:
    A) Maxxis Ardent 2.25 front, Maxxis Aspen 2.1 rear; both tires on Velocity Blunt SL rims

    B) Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25 front, Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 rear; front rim is a Velocity P35 and rear is a Blunt SL

    *The P35 is a 35mm wide rim, while the Blunt SL is 25mm wide.

    C) Maxxis Ignitor 2.1 front, Maxxis Ikon 2.2 rear; front rim is a Velocity P35 and rear is a Blunt SL. Note that even though the Ikon is listed as wider, it measures up close to the "narrower" Ignitor.

    I liked Combo A for it's straight line and hardpack trail speed, but the Ardents didn't seem to corner too well.

    Combos B & C work for a wider variety of trail conditions, with C being the more budget friendly option. I still have the Blunt SL front wheel, which is lighter than the P35, for "racing".

    Note that I run these on a rigid 29er singlespeed, so your mileage may vary.

    Welcome to the dirt.
    I am interested in knowing which tire is faster as a REAR tire on dry, relatively hard pack trail conditions... the Racing Ralph or the Maxxis Ikon?? Which FRONT tire do you like more... the Nobby Nic, or the Ignitor??
    Last edited by gregoryb02; 06-15-2012 at 10:39 AM. Reason: add more text

  14. #14
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    Ended up buying 2 nevegals and a buddy is going to let me try a slant six for the rear if i don't like running both nevegals. we'll see!

  15. #15
    agu
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryb02 View Post
    I am interested in knowing which tire is faster as a REAR tire on dry, relatively hard pack trail conditions... the Racing Ralph or the Maxxis Ikon?? Which FRONT tire do you like more... the Nobby Nic, or the Ignitor??
    Hi there. The dry test may have to wait I guess, as the rainy season is starting in this part of the world!

    On dry, hard packed conditions I'd expect the Ikon to be faster. Regarding front tires I prefer the NN over the Ignitor, due to it's more aggressive and wider profile. Note that these two statements were made on the tires' looks alone...real world testing once it gets drier.

  16. #16
    agu
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    Quote Originally Posted by cave12man View Post
    Ended up buying 2 nevegals and a buddy is going to let me try a slant six for the rear if i don't like running both nevegals. we'll see!
    Nice. Nevegal front, S6 on the rear. I've seen some riders use an SB8 on the rear as well.

    Don't forget to play with tire pressures too!

  17. #17
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    most bikers put down less than .5 hp so spinning out a less aggressive rear tire is not a valid concern.

  18. #18
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    I use a Rocket Ron 2.25 up front and Racing Ralph 2.1 in the rear of my HT.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    most bikers put down less than .5 hp so spinning out a less aggressive rear tire is not a valid concern.
    Unless you're climbing the loss stuff on a single speed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Unless you're climbing the loss stuff on a single speed.
    i meant in regards to the amount of power one can put down. spinning out a tire on a climb is more due to a loss of traction.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i meant in regards to the amount of power one can put down. spinning out a tire on a climb is more due to a loss of traction.
    I'd love to see a vid of someone doing a sustained burn-out in the flats.

  22. #22
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    On another note I now have a pair of Nano 29ers that I don't need if anyone wants them!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cave12man View Post
    I'd love to see a vid of someone doing a sustained burn-out in the flats.
    if you you tube "arab drift" there are some kids who geared their bikes super low and actually "burn out" on a road.

  24. #24
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    Now that.....is hilarious. And awesome.

  25. #25
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    15 Yeti ASR-c
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i meant in regards to the amount of power one can put down. spinning out a tire on a climb is more due to a loss of traction.
    Sorry!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Sorry!
    no worries man, i wasnt that clear.

  28. #28
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    Got a ride in with the Nevegals last Sun and while they grip great, you guys are right, they are slooooow. And heavy. I knew they weighed in on the stout side, but they're a little heavier than I was expecting. Picking the bike up and over fallen trees I could really notice the difference. Guess that's the price I'll have to pay. Thanks again for all the suggestions!

  29. #29
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    I can't wait to try an ardent or something like that out front, my stock WTB Prowler SL's aren't bad, but it seems like they leave something to be desired in really dry dirt, which is all it is anymore.

  30. #30
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    SS - FR3 front, Wolverine rear
    FS - Wolverine TCS front, AKA TNT rear, fast reasonably light trail tires

  31. #31
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    I run Hanz Damf 2.35 in front and Nobby Nic 2.25 in rear. Love it; )

  32. #32
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    75% of the time I run an Ardent 2.4 up front, with something lighter/faster out back (Racing Ralph currently, will probably go with an Ikon next). SS, usually rigid. Sometimes when I'm feeling frisky and riding a lot of rocks I go with the Minion 2.5 up front and an Ardent out back


    Arab Drifting with a bike - YouTube Fantastic

  33. #33
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    Depending on where or what I'm riding, I have to pick that rear tire carefully.

    WTB Weirwolf LT 2.55 is still my favorite front tire. Too bad they discontinued it.

    Yeah, I spin out the rear on my singlespeed all the time. Mostly, because I have to stand on a lot of climbs. I lost a bunch of minutes at Sea Otter year before last because I ran a Kenda Karma 1.9 in rear. I just ended up walking a lot of those climbs I normally could grind up. Usually, that tire sticks pretty well, and rolls crazy fast while still being decent in the corners. I'm able to get up all of the climbs on my backyard trails (Joaquin Miller) with no issues with that tire, but I failed to account for all of that loose pea gravel over hardpack at Sea Otter. This last year, I ran a Schwalbe Little Albert in back, which has bigger paddle knobs down the middle, and that was great... well, apart from being skinny as heck (like, a 1.8), the harsh ride, and having to run 35 psi to keep from pinching it.

    Stolen from Shiggy's site:

    Different tire front than back?-schwalbe_lil_albert29x21.jpg

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by cave12man View Post
    Ended up buying 2 nevegals and a buddy is going to let me try a slant six for the rear if i don't like running both nevegals. we'll see!
    I have the old Nevegals on my Cannondale Rush and loved them. I went ahead and ordered two of the Nevegal x pro for my 29er.

  35. #35
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    You guys seen the date on this thread right?

    -->06-07-2012


    My 2011 came with diff tires front/rear from the factory. I run knobby both front/back and wider up front. I'm least concerned about rolling resistance.
    Karakoram...ZS44, X-Fusion, Freq i23, Tioga's, Shadow & XT,Shim Hydro 180/160, MG-1 pedals & more.

  36. #36
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    Still a valid thread if you're looking at tire options...

    I run either ikon 2.35s front and back for XC single track hard pack where I just want to fly or I run 2.4 ardent front and 2.35 ikon back when there is some loose over hard and I need more bite (still a really fast combo). Keep in mind I am a flat lander riding single track flowy forest trails. Not sure how this would work with a lot of altitude changes.

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