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  1. #1
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    Surly Knard 29 x 3, 120tpi vs 27tpi?

    I have two Knards, a 29" x 3" 120tpi and a 26" x 3.8" 120tpi, the tread is the same, but the sidewalls/casing couldn't be more different.

    The 29" 120tpi is very thin, the packaging said "ultralight", which is what it feels like compared to my other Surly tires; this is my first ultralight. My initial impression was: whoah, that's thin, I'm gonna cut that thing on a rock".

    The 26" 120tpi feels like a typical Surly tire, supple, but not overly so, same feel as my Larry 120tpi.

    The other thing I notice is that the 29"x 3" 120tpi requires a lot more psi than I would have expected for a flotation tire. I run 18-20 psi in my Hans Damph, 12-14psi in my Larry/Knard/Devist8or, so I expected a lower psi in my 29" Kard, but in reality I have to run the same pressure in the 29" Knard as I run in the Hans Dampf or I get sidewall fold.

    Since the Krampus; and I'd assume the Knard, are meant for all around riding, I wonder if Surly made the right choice in specing the 120tpi as an ultralight? I realize they did it to save weight, but if have to carry my ride home on my shoulder after ripping out a sidewall, I think I'd rather carry the extra tire weight while riding...

    I orderd a 29 x 3" 27tpi, it should be here by next weekend, I'm hoping that it has the standard sidewall.

    Has anyone had the chance to compare the two 29" Knard casings side by side?

  2. #2
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    I run my fat tyres at 7.5psi to 9psi, for trail use, in snow, ice etc, more like 5 or 6psi. 120tpi Knard I run at 14 to 15psi, any harder and I feel you lose the benefit (cushioning) of the 3" tyre YMMV. All with tubes.

  3. #3
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    I run Maxxis Freerider tubes 26 x 2.2-2.5, 295gm a pop.

    I'm on one wheel, hence my tire pressures are a little higher than you biker types

  4. #4
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    When I got my 120tpi Knard, it was so thin I thought it would not hold up to rocky trails. However I've taken it out on some pretty rocky stuff and it's held up fine so far. On the Flow, the sidewall is not exposed, so maybe that helps. I have to admit I'm being somewhat careful with my lines when I see sharp rocks, as opposed to my Hans Dampf Snakeskin where I never worried about hurting the tire.

    I set the Knard up tubeless on my Flow Ex. It was very easy to set up and it's been flawless so far. I'm 225 and ran my HD at 25psi, and I'm currently running the Knard at 19. I primarily got it for better rollover, but the extra cush is a nice bonus.

  5. #5
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    How do you think a Knard would work on a regular flow? I'm thinking about using it on the front of my rigid 29 SS. I currently have a 2.4 Ardent on there set up at 20 PSI. Any lower and I get rim strikes. I weigh 175.

    Would you go with the 120tpi or 27tpi? I am not too worried about weight with this build as it is my training/winter/fun bike and it sounds like the 27tpi will take lower pressures and be more resistant to sidewall fold.

    In another thread a guy was running the Knard on a Crest rear wheel. So I know it will work. I am just wondering if I will see a benefit over the 2.4 Ardent or not. It doesn't seem as the Knard is as knobby as the Ardent.

  6. #6
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    First I called Surly and they couldn't tell me if the tires were significantly different, then I called a bunch of fat bike specialty shops and they couldn't tell me the difference, so in the end I just cut to the chase and bought them both!

    After a few rides on both versions of the Knard 29 x 3" tire, here's what I think; but with a caveat: I ride a mountain unicycle

    Knard 29 x 3": 120tpi vs 27tpi

    Overall:
    The Knard is fat, fatter than a Duro Wildlife Leopard, more volume than a Gazz 3", Surly calls it a 29+ and you can believe it's true! So how does a fat tired 29er ride? Well, as you'd expect, coming from a 2.4" tire (Hans Dampf), the Knard takes some adjusting, both in terms of technique and tire break in. The Knard is a flotation tire, so unlike more common three inch muni tires (Gazz, Leopard, Intense DH), it has a softer feel and responds more to tire pressure, it is less edgy, and it is more spongy than a typical mtb tire. The tire needs to be ridden a few times before it feels right, to stretch out the rubber and rub off the mold release compound.

    Folks who already ride a 26" flotation tire will notice some similarities, but it is not a 4" flotation tire, the Knard is far more agile with charcteristics common to a high volume mountain bike tire. The high volume allows low pressure riding that is comfortable and smooth, so it works great for mud and snow, and feels comfortable rolling over rough terrain. Pump the Knard up and it firms up to provide a solid ride, though at high pressures it can get a bit bouncy; this is where finding the pressure sweet spot becomes key.

    Knard ultralight, supple and smooth:
    The 120tpi Knard uses an ultralight casing to keep the tire under a kilo, so the casing is very supple and feels thin. At 17-18psi it has a good all around ride feel and I was able to do some very nice uphill rock/root crawling as well as some amazing power slides in swampy conditions. However, I found that the 120tpi did not have a enough sidewall strength at lower pressures to maintain stability in hard carves/fast turns on firm surface and off drops. I rode the 120tpi Knard at pressure as high as 22psi and as low as 12psi, at the lowest pressures I had great traction but the tire was squirmy, all I got from the higher pressures was a harsh ride and a lot of bounce.

    Knard on the cheap or best for big boys?
    The 27tpi Knard has a significantly thicker casing and a much stiffer feel in the tread. In comparing tires to known mtb tires, the 120tpi Knard is more like a Racing Ralph and the 27tpi Knard is more like an Ardent. Though I am still breaking in the 27tpi, so far it seems to be a better tire for bigger riders and more extreme terrain, it feels more "sincere" on firm surfaces and has less sidewall collapse off drops. I have not run the pressure up, so I don't know if it will suffer from bounce. I started with 13-14psi, bumped to 15psi and left it there; unlike the 120tpi, the 27tpi seems to be less sensitive to changes in tire pressure.

    Which one is best for you?
    I am heavy, 200#, so keep that in mind when deciding on which version to buy. I would keep the 120tpi if it was the only version available, but for my weight it would be a three season tire. If I were lighter, say <160-180#, the 120tpi would be a nice all around tire. For me, at my weight and the varied terrain and conditions I ride, I prefer a tire with some structure (Hans Dampf, Ardent, The Todd, Devist8or), so I'm willing to pay the weight penalty, and so I would choose the 27tpi Knard for all around riding.

    Choosing a rim:
    The other thing to consider is rim choice. I'm riding a Nimbus Dominator2, it weighs a hefty 1000gm and is only 42mm wide. On the 120tpi it felt like the tire wanted to pop off the rim, both due to having a loose fit and having a very supple "ultralight" casing. On the 27tpi the tire was still loose on the rim, but when I aired it up to 30psi, it stayed on the rim just fine and did not require any bead adjustment.

    The Surly Rabbit Hole rim is designed for this tire, at 50mm it is not that much wider than the KH Freeride, but it may fit the tire better and at 700gms it is a light rim. Sadly it is also a 32 hole rim, so unless Nimbus comes out with a 32hole hub or Surly makes a 36 hole rim (very unlikely), the Freeride is probably the best choice. The D2 is a good rim, it's inexpensive and it works fine, but it's also heavy and narrowish.

    I know you biker types are always thinking lighter is faster, as if... so of course you are going to try and mount the Knard on the narrowest rim possible. Both versions of the Knard are loose on the rim, not sure why, but comapred to the other tires I have used on this rim, the Knards are too loose. Anyway, more power to you if you can get a narrower rim to work, but when I watched the 120tpi Knard pop off my 42mm rim at 20psi, I started thinking that a narrower rim might not be such a good idea. The 27tpi Knard also went on loose, but it seated better and appears to be staying better as well.

    So, is it worth going to all the trouble of getting a frame/fork/rim to fit this tire?

    Absolutely! First of all, if you are a 29er fan like me, this is the fat tire you dreamed of, light, soft riding, and fast. But more importantly, Surly has opened up a new genre of tire/wheel building that will likely lead to more 29+ tires by Surly and others, so having a wheel and frame to accomodate these tires is the price for playing.

    Knard 120tpi, 970gm, $120 = lighter riders, cushy ride, more feel, squirmier
    Knard 27tpi, 1270gm, $90 = heavier riders, soft ride, less feel,

    Dimensions 27tpi @ 15psi:
    Casing 70 x 64
    Tread 74 x 68

    Note that my 120tpi @ 20psi measured a couple centimeters smaller in the width and height.

  7. #7
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    Surly Knard 29 x 3, 120tpi vs 27tpi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I have two Knards, a 29" x 3" 120tpi and a 26" x 3.8" 120tpi, the tread is the same, but the sidewalls/casing couldn't be more different.

    The 29" 120tpi is very thin, the packaging said "ultralight", which is what it feels like compared to my other Surly tires; this is my first ultralight. My initial impression was: whoah, that's thin, I'm gonna cut that thing on a rock".

    The 26" 120tpi feels like a typical Surly tire, supple, but not overly so, same feel as my Larry 120tpi.

    The other thing I notice is that the 29"x 3" 120tpi requires a lot more psi than I would have expected for a flotation tire. I run 18-20 psi in my Hans Damph, 12-14psi in my Larry/Knard/Devist8or, so I expected a lower psi in my 29" Kard, but in reality I have to run the same pressure in the 29" Knard as I run in the Hans Dampf or I get sidewall fold.

    Since the Krampus; and I'd assume the Knard, are meant for all around riding, I wonder if Surly made the right choice in specing the 120tpi as an ultralight? I realize they did it to save weight, but if have to carry my ride home on my shoulder after ripping out a sidewall, I think I'd rather carry the extra tire weight while riding...

    I orderd a 29 x 3" 27tpi, it should be here by next weekend, I'm hoping that it has the standard sidewall.

    Has anyone had the chance to compare the two 29" Knard casings side by side?
    What is the 29" rim width you are using?

    I was surprised at how thick/stiff the 120tpi Nate casing were. Have had 30tpi tires feel more supple. Supple tires, like you describe the Knard 29, is my preference for two wheels, any rim, any terrain.
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  8. #8
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    The Knard is a flotation tire, so it will ride completely different from an Ardent, less edgy, more squishy, not a hard charging tire, not all that for hard pack.

    I'd try a Hans Dampf first, think beefier and higher volume ardent, better edging, more traction, stiffer sidewall, more durable, stickier rubber. I run the Pacestar version.

  9. #9
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    It doesn't seem as the Knard is as knobby as the Ardent.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I was surprised at how thick/stiff the 120tpi Nate casing were. Have had 30tpi tires feel more supple. Supple tires, like you describe the Knard 29, is my preference for two wheels, any rim, any terrain.
    I was also very surprised & impressed by how thick Surly 120 tpi 26 sidewalls are. When I ordered the 120 tpi Knard 29x3 I expected its sidewalls to be similar to its 26 inch brothers, but they are not! Knard 120 tpi sidewalls are super thin.

    Since you prefer supple tires I think you'll really like the Knard, if you don't have one already.

  11. #11
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    Think Racing Ralph on Steroids, not a mud tire per se, though I have found that it is very controllable (consistent) in slimy conditions, but not a tractor tire by any means.

    You want volume and mud controlling torque, get a Hans Dampf.

    I'd only get an Ardent over an HD to save weight, otherwise the HD is a better tire

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