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  1. #1
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    First epic MTB ride; need help with tires

    I am planning on doing this ride which will be my first race and longest mtb ride ever. It is 60 miles and has a little bit of everything from big climbs to technical single track. It will take place at the end of the month and since it is in southern BC, I am planning on it being wet. I need some advice on deciding which tires to use but mostly for the front tire. I have been perusing the forums for the last two days which has helped me narrow the field but the field is still pretty big.

    Right now I have an Ignitor on rear (really like) and a Prowler on the front (not so much) and also have an Ardent 2.4 in reserve. The Prowler really doesn't inspire confidence on loose ground and especially when it is wet. The Ardent is rock solid as a front tire but really slows me down. I will need all of the help I can get so less rolling resistance will be very much appreciated.

    Some rear tires I am considering are the Ikon, Saguaro, and Slant Six or I might just stay with the Ignitor. For the front.... I really haven't settled on anything except I have read good things about the Purgatory and the weight looks good.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Hans Dampf.

  3. #3
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    Maxxis Ikon's or Continetal X'Kings are going to be hard to be for all terrain races, whilst still maintaining good XC speed.

  4. #4
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    I've run the slant six and it's not my choice for anything damp. It actually didn't seem to roll as fast as you would think looking at the tread, either.

    I don't have your answer, but I do like my Specialized Ground Control, and I know people happy with The Captain and Purgatory as well. I would be cautious about any of the small, shallow knob tires when dealing with damp loamy soil or actual mud. Usually you need deep lugs for that.

  5. #5
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    No suggestions, as I am in the desert, but I can say that the Ikon and Saguaro are NOT for wet riding. But they're fantasic in the dry.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    No suggestions, as I am in the desert, but I can say that the Ikon and Saguaro are NOT for wet riding. But they're fantasic in the dry.
    Agreed but the GATO could be a good tire for it. Run them LOW and watch as they come alive!
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  7. #7
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    I will take all of your advice and no small closely spaced knobs for me which eliminates the tires mentioned.

    I moved the tires around and tried the Ardent up front and have to say it isn't as slow as I remember. I know I lost a few pounds and have been riding a lot so maybe that made for it. I also tried the Prowler on the rear and not only is it crappy on wet stuff but also on anything slightly loose. When I road today I couldn't understand why my rear wheel was breaking free so much and sliding until I had an "aha" moment and remembered I had the Prowler back there. What a difference between that and the Ignitor.

    So I guess I will save some $$ and put the Ignitor back on the rear, keep the Ardent up front, and donate the Prowler to someone who likes doing burnouts.

  8. #8
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    I just ordered Maxxis tires: Ardent 2.25 up front and an Ignitor for the back. After reading many reviews here and other places, this setup should be a good all around performer.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Hans Dampf.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbhiii View Post
    I just ordered Maxxis tires: Ardent 2.25 up front and an Ignitor for the back. After reading many reviews here and other places, this setup should be a good all around performer.
    Thanks for the confirmation. I think they will serve me well and save a few dollars I really don't need to spend. Wished I did what you did and got the 2.25s instead of the 2.4s but might appreciate the extra volume once I am up and over the hump.

    Thanks for the recommendations for the Gato and Hans Dampf. I will keep them both in mind when I need to look for replacements. The Gato looks especially appealing considering the price and the low weight.

  11. #11
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    I just ordered a pair of Kenda Nevegals to replace the Bontrager XR1's that came on my new Trek 6000.

    I can't say the XR1's sucked, as I haven't actually ridden offroad with them yet, but I can tell by the tread (lots of small, shallow knobs) that they'd be lowsy in the wet, rocky trails around here.

    The Nevs just came in today, and they look great. I went with the 2.35 size, as I'm replacing 2.2'sand I heard the Nevs run a tad small.

    I'm hitting the trail on Sat, so I'll let you know how they work out.

  12. #12
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    No good Ouch...

    Quote Originally Posted by cbhiii View Post
    I just ordered Maxxis tires: Ardent 2.25 up front and an Ignitor for the back. After reading many reviews here and other places, this setup should be a good all around performer.
    The last time I put an Ignitor on the rear, non UST, set up tubless on Stan's, I could not believe how slow it rolled. Sorry.

  13. #13
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    The Spec Ground Control would have been a good knobbie, all-round, race tire.

    I would not do the S Works version as those sidewalks are paper thin.

    The 2.1 is a bit small,but rolls fast and grips well. The 2.3 might be ok for both front and back. Wish they made a 2.2 at the 2.3" tires weight and beefed up the sidewalls. That said, yep, if I were to do that race and had to pick right now thats the tire I'd use.

    Schwalbes get a lot of attention but I don't ride them so no comment.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    The last time I put an Ignitor on the rear, non UST, set up tubless on Stan's, I could not believe how slow it rolled. Sorry.
    Oh really!. That's not encouraging. I had the Ignitor on the rear since I purchased the bike so don't have anything to compare it to. So what do you use that rolls better?

  15. #15
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    I found the ignitor to roll pretty well set up tubeless. I run the captain in the rear now and I feel it is a tad slower, mainly due to the weight. You will have to decide what is more
    If It was me I would get the ground control 2.1 rear and a Purgatory or nobby nic up front. Both do very well clearing out the wet stuff so you have traction I would give the nod to the purgatory though.

  16. #16
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    see above

    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz View Post
    Oh really!. That's not encouraging. I had the Ignitor on the rear since I purchased the bike so don't have anything to compare it to. So what do you use that rolls better?
    I made a second post.



    The ignitor makes for a nice front tire, so not a wasted purchase. Though seems like others may have had better luck. Like you mentioned, the Purgatory makes a good front and rolls pretty well.

    While you want something that rolls fast on the rear, you'll also want something rugged, with thicker sidewalls, to handle that kind of terrain. Looks like a race I'd rather just finish, than actually win. Does not seem like your every day XC event. Good luck.

    Totally agree with thinking about the Geax Sagurao out back _if_ it's not too wet. Seems like it would be a fast roller but still tough enough to take a beating. While I never rode a WTB Wolverine that might be good out back if you can push that kind of weight - about the same as the Geax. The Geax however, can be found very cheaply online.

    Again, good luck.

  17. #17
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    The Specialized Captain has worked well for me as an everyday front tire...with a Fast Trak Control in the rear. That setup seems to do really well in all conditions. As suggested before though, stay away from the SWorks versions. The sidewalls might be a little too thin to be reliable for that long of an event.

  18. #18
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    2012 bontrager xr4 / 29-4 .very good reviews.I ordered one but have not tried yet

  19. #19
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    I'm running Bontrager 29-4's front and rear and have found them to be excellent in all conditions I have encountered with them thus far (no real heavy mud yet). They roll fairly fast for such an aggressive tread. The angled leading edge apparently helps with that. I'd say they're worthy of the good reviews at this point.

  20. #20
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    Some good.news

    I was able make contact with the organizer of the event and told that even if the trail is wet it never is soupy or muddy or at least very few sections are. It is mostly really good hard pack with some rocky sections. I am thinking this means I might be okay after all with some fast rolling tires with tighter knobs as long as they are OK on wet roots and rocks? I probably will stay with the Ardent up front but reconsidering the rear tire.

    Sorry for the late homework.

  21. #21
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    i hear the schwalbe hans dampf's are a great all around tire that doesn't have a lot of rolling resistance but if you do a lot of riding like the epic you are doing i would recommend the racing ralphs the specialized ground control are a great summer tire

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz View Post
    I was able make contact with the organizer of the event and told that even if the trail is wet it never is soupy or muddy or at least very few sections are. It is mostly really good hard pack with some rocky sections. I am thinking this means I might be okay after all with some fast rolling tires with tighter knobs as long as they are OK on wet roots and rocks? I probably will stay with the Ardent up front but reconsidering the rear tire.

    Sorry for the late homework.
    looking back at your OP, yes, I would run the Ardent up front and the Ignitor out back, assuming both have good tread.

  23. #23
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    To the OP, thanks for asking this question. I'm in a similar situation. I maybe doing my first long MTB ride near the end of October. I heard it's 50-55 miles and 6-8 hours long. Right now I have the Specialized Purgatory 2.2's up front and S-Works Ground Control 2.1 in the rear. I think I'm going to change out my rear tire, cause I've also read that the S-works tires tear faster than most tires.

  24. #24
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    Ive been happy with the Ardents; front and rear 2.25. Good in the slick and I run ultra low pressures in the real wet stuff; and they run great.
    “People fear death even more than pain. It's strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death." JM

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    I just ordered a pair of Kenda Nevegals to replace the Bontrager XR1's that came on my new Trek 6000.

    I can't say the XR1's sucked, as I haven't actually ridden offroad with them yet, but I can tell by the tread (lots of small, shallow knobs) that they'd be lowsy in the wet, rocky trails around here.

    The Nevs just came in today, and they look great. I went with the 2.35 size, as I'm replacing 2.2'sand I heard the Nevs run a tad small.

    I'm hitting the trail on Sat, so I'll let you know how they work out.
    Here's the update if anyone is interested:

    I went with 2.35's, and when I got one of them mounted up, it was a bit wider than the2.2 it was replacing. So it looks like the sizing is pretty close to advertised.

    I went with Stick-E front, and DTC rear. The Stick-E is cool, if you squeeze one of the knobs, you can feel that it's soft rubber and actually a bit tacky, and that once released it takes a moment to form back into shape.

    The Stick-E seems to work, as I crossed plenty of (sometimes wet) roots at an angle, as well as crossing some offcamber sections with roots and sometimes mossy rock. No slip from the front. Only time in two hours that the front loss grip was when I hit a corner that was basically all sand, the tire slipped a few inches then caught.

    The bike felt like a tank with these tires on it, I was amazed at how well I could climb. Loose, rocky hillclimbs? No problem. Throw in some roots as well? The Nevs laughed at them. This was my first time out on this trail, and as I was approaching a few of these climbs I thought no way would I make it. But as long as I used the right technique, the Nevs climbed up with basically no wheelspin. I can count on one hand the number of times I spun in 2 hours.

    Anyway, I'm incredibly happy with them, they handled everything that trail had to throw at them with ease.

    Also, as being someone who's just getting back into riding after a decade, I LOVE riding with these high volume tires! My last bike that I used to ride offroad had 1.95's on it, and these 2.35's perform SO much better, both traction wide and shock absorbtion wise. I was very impressed how the rear tire damped alot of impacts at roughly 35psi.

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