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  1. #1
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    Dont need huge tires

    So, probably like a lot of you reading, I've slowly been making my bike beefier and beefier. This is because I was starting to break things and decided to install heavier/less breakable things.
    This is a good thing. Means Im progressing in the direction of riding I like.
    But the XC side of things was really starting to suffer.
    I was finding myself pushing up more and more hills that I used to be able to make. Flat trail sections werent as fun, etc...

    A week ago I blew out my front tire(IRC Trail Bear 2.5) and had an old set of Hutchinson Mosquito's 1.9 in the garage that I decided to throw on just as a joke.
    Im riding a Heckler with a Z1FR(coil) and a coil rear shock, so the bike is setup towards the heavy end. The Trail Bears were a HUGE set of 2.5's(they were kinda light but really wide) and taking those fat things off and putting the tiny Mosquitos on dropped a little over 2lbs off my bike.
    Thats 2LBS!.
    and honestly the weight was good, but the rolling resistance and new agility with the small tires was incredible.
    I was having fun on the climbs and flats again, but still had all the ability ot roll the ladder drops and jumps that I was used to on the bigger tires.

    The only downside is extended downhills. If yopure used to big wide saggy tires making you float huge downhills then this is the only drawback to going back to skinny tires.

    So give it a try. All this market shift towartds fatter/heavier/bigger is good. But maybe not so much for tires for AM rides.

    -the end

  2. #2
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    yeah.. there is a balance... I'm personally liking wide/light tires like the Scwhalbe Nobby Nics 2.4... not ultra wide.. about 2.25 actual width, but have great volume and low weight... I'm trying a Big Betty up front next though

  3. #3
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    That is quite a radical shift and I believe there would be a better compromise w/ all the current tires available. I run Kenda Cortez tires which offer hi volume and low resistance tread pattern / tread compounds. I ride w/ a few guys running DH tires on their AM rigs , lets just say the tires nor the bikes are used to their potential - use the right tool for the job tire or bike.

  4. #4
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    Nevegal 2.1's are great AM tires. 2.5's.... damn.
    "You can't discern by calculating in your mind how it will work. You have to feel how it rides differently to understand."

  5. #5
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    I went from 2.3 Minions down to a 2.1 Spec Resolutions and love it!

  6. #6
    zip it up, zip it out
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    I run a 2.1 blue groove up front (its a big 2.1), and a 2.1 pana fire xc pro 127tpi in the front direction out back (smaller 2.1 ) on my hard tail

    I find that this combo kicks butt in all the of the MO coditions except for mud

  7. #7
    TNC
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    Well, those 1.9's are tires, they are round, and they will roll, But I find it hard to believe you're not going to see a very noticeable traction and handling reduction in sketchy situations. Everything's a compromise, but unfortunately, unless you're riding really high traction buff trail, we usually have to select our tires for those trail conditions that can get us hurt, or at least make the ride really lousy.

    Now...maybe your selection of 2.5 Trailbears was a little on the overly big and heavy side, but I'd think something more reasonable in size and weight would give you a better balance. Additionally I think you can go a little bigger on the front...say a 2.3 or so...and go smaller on the rear...maybe 2.1-2.2 for the best balance and compromise. Your Heckler isn't an XC bike IMO, but you're right in that it doesn't have to be built up into an overweight DH/FR rig with boat anchor tires. There are some awfully good, reasonably big, but reasonably light tires available these days to pick from.

    Maybe your terrain and riding conditions are different, but I'd hate to run anybody's 1.9's on a Heckler on any trails I ride ranging from around my home area to a place like Moab.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by poopsoup
    The only downside is extended downhills. If yopure used to big wide saggy tires making you float huge downhills then this is the only drawback to going back to skinny tires.
    I really consider my AM bike a short travel DH bike with a few compromise because I have to climb the 2,000 ft first. I've tried a bunch of single ply tires ranging in size from 2.1 to 2.35 (Nev's) and all of them sucked. The single best thing I ever did was try a real, two ply DH tire at 20psi on the front.

    However, I can totally understand that if live in an area that doesn't have a lot of speed and chunky sharp rocks you don't need big tires. You use your suspension for man made stunts & jumps, rather than out and out trail chunk. That makes a lot of sense. Look at dirt jumpers, BMX etc they don't run DH tires.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  9. #9
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    Maybe you don't notice a lower volume tyre as much on a full-sus bike as you do on a hardtail..? I certainly find larger volume tyres more comfortable on my hardtail, but also less nervous and sketchy on the rough stuff. Currently have 2.35 single-ply Minions on, sometimes a 2.35 single-ply High Roller at the back - but then these do come up reasonable small. I think that tyre choice (and tyre pressure) is probably one of the most subjective choices that a mountain bikes has to make.

  10. #10
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    I recently went from my 2.35 single ply Super Tacky Minions to a 2.1 Blue Groove Stick-E on the front and a 1.9 Larsen TT on the rear. This was on my slightly chunky, almost freeride light set up Banshee Pyre. I swapped the tires out to shave weight and make my bike roll a heck of a lot faster for a cross country race. I thought the skinny tires would be good to have around so I could throw them on occasionally for a long cross country ride. I was pretty much killing myself laughing at how tiny the rear tire looked. (I'm used to my 2.5" Michelin Dh tires...) However, the funniest part is that the skinny tires are still on my bike. I have yet to find their limitations. I expect that I will find their limits at some point, but then it will be the 2.35 Minions that get put on occasionally, while the skinny tires are my primary set. Oh and just for the record: I ride hard and heavy over rough terrain. Granted, it won't work for everyone, but for me it was a small investment in time and money (so much cheaper than sticky downhill tires!) and it has really paid off, might be worth at least giving a shot.

  11. #11
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    I too made a similar move recently on my older slayer. Went out to buy 2.3 Kenda SB8 and the shop only had 2.1's. They are perfect for 'aggressive cross country'.
    I do not miss my 2.35 high rollers at all. The sb8's are a little squirley in the loose corners but the difference in rolling resistance and weight is unreal.

  12. #12
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    If you like the Trailbears - why not try a set of the 2.25" size - I have them on my Ransom and love them. Reasonably easy-rolling but also pretty good in the rocky/rougher stuff. Nice overall "trail" tire!

  13. #13
    "El Whatever"
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    I'm with Crisillo here... There's a balance.

    If you don't ride much aggressively or weight that much, a large tyre will slow you down no matter what. It won't give more traction or inspire more confidence because you're not riding it to the limit.

    In my particular case, a real 2.35" is my max. I currently run Rampages 2.35" or a Nobby Nic 2.4" (more like a 2.25" as Cris mentions).

    Actually, I don't know if a 2.35" on the back of the bike would be good for me.

    Another factor to consider is the lost weight on the wheels. Maybe most of the agility and such did not come from the smaller tyre dimensions per se, but in the form of weight reductions.

    As others have said, try a smaller version of that tyre you like on the rear of the bike to start with.
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  14. #14
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    For me it depends where I am going to be riding. For long xc riding I use panaracer 2.1 f & r. For xc riding with some down hill section I use a 2.2 spech up front. Panaracer 2.1 rear. For shuttle runs with a lot of down hill and rock gardens. I go with a 2.35 Nevegal sticky front and 2.2 spech rear tire. This is for my 2005 spesh enduro am bike.

  15. #15
    Mojo0115
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    i am liking the 2.35 Nevegal sticky front and 2.2 Karma rear I am currently running.

  16. #16
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    Someone wrote, "use the right tool..."

    Which I think applies well to tires.

    For example, in situations with lots of sand, high volume flotation is going to be much better than low volume sinkage. In this situation, the high volume tire will even roll better than the smaller tire.

    There is also a point that a few posters have aluded to:

    Tires are a part of the suspension

    And as such, higher volume will actually improve rolling resistance in rough terrain by keeping the momentum of the bike/rider moving forward rather than deflecting off terrain.

    There are situations where lower volume, skinnier tires rock the AM world.

    Tune the tire choice, like you tune your fork choice to your type of riding.

    P

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzsean
    i am liking the 2.35 Nevegal sticky front and 2.2 Karma rear I am currently running.
    This is a great combo that I just stumbled upon when trying to piece together the best AM tire combos.

    For AM, pick a 700-800 gram grippy, wide tire for the front, and a fast rolling, high volume 600-650 gram tire in the rear. Gives you the best of all worlds: good cornering grip and braking bite from the beefy front tire, fast acceleration and low weight from the lower profile rear tire.

    More examples: WTB Weirwolf 2.5 front with a Mutanoraptor 2.4 rear, Hutchinson Barracuda 2.3 front with a Python 2.3 rear, etc.

  18. #18
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    You can have my 2.3-2.5" tires when you pry them from my cracked, dented rims.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P
    Tires are a part of the suspension

    And as such, higher volume will actually improve rolling resistance in rough terrain by keeping the momentum of the bike/rider moving forward rather than deflecting off terrain.
    Well said.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzsean
    i am liking the 2.35 Nevegal sticky front and 2.2 Karma rear I am currently running.
    I may try something like this on my heckler. I'm running 2.35 dtc nevegals front and rear right now. I really like it for the most part, but that's probably a lot more tire than I need out back and it does start to feel really heavy/slow/loss-ey. the rear is nearly due for a replacement anyhow, maybe a narrower smallblock 8?

    Dan

  21. #21
    SLX
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    Im in the same position as you poop, I have 2.5 trailbears on my Enduro, they are great but as you said they are slow. I actualy weighed them on a scale and they came to a bit over 1000 grams! Thats about 200 grams over what they should weight, says the web site. I think ill save these for lift parks and special use.

  22. #22
    squish is good
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    Quote Originally Posted by wreckedrex
    I may try something like this on my heckler. I'm running 2.35 dtc nevegals front and rear right now. I really like it for the most part, but that's probably a lot more tire than I need out back and it does start to feel really heavy/slow/loss-ey.
    I was running a nevegal 2.35 front and 2.1 rear, both stick-E on My Reign for a couple months at the beginning of this season and hadn't noticed any significant improvement in climbing and it was really squirrely when running some of the big bike downhill trails out in my area. I recently slapped a 2.4 mutanoraptor I had laying around and it actually pedals better than it did with the skinny nevegal but really grips in the loose sand and the ride is alot better since going to a larger volume. I used to buy into the smaller rear tire thing but I think I'm just gonna buy my tires in pairs of same sizes from now on because the small bump compliance is so much better, even with a rear suspension.

  23. #23
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    Yeah, I remember when 2.1 Fire XCs were the sh!t and pretty much the benchmark for all-purpose riding.

    I put em back on as a quick fix (generally running 2.2-2.3s now) and they felt very squirrely and well, weenie.

    Aint never going back -- low pressure, high volume is the way to go.

  24. #24
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    I run different sizes on different bikes

    I run Maxxis HR UST 's in a 2.5 size on my XC bike - they actually measure out at more like 2.25.

    On my FR/AM bike, I run a Michelin 2.8 in the front and a 2.5 Michelin in the rear.

    I echo what others have said about tires being part of the suspension. In addition, I ride very fast downhill and bigger tires = greater contact patch with the dirt which = better traction for turning and stopping. As for the weight, I don't care, since I rarely ride it uphill.
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  25. #25
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    compromise is key...

    I recently got a new reign and the first thing I did was slap on some 2.35 stick-e nevegals. Now I am not sure if they have a wire bead but they do say DH casing on the side. I put them on because I thought they would be the perfect match for such a capable bike. I do a 40k ride each weekend though, about 25k out and back to the mountain, 10k road climb up an insanely steep, seemingly endless mountain and then about 5k of slippery, technical jungle DH hiking trails. I was not able to do the climb with these tires. I tried twice and it just kicked my ass. Last sunday I put on some 2.3 continental verticals that I had prior to the nevegals and I went right up the mountain climb without having to walk or stop. It is a 1.5 hour climb so it really kicks my ass. The verticals are noticably less grippier and make the trail a little wilder but are still grippy enough that I feel the compromise was worth it.

    I would say that the nevegals offer the most incredible grip I have experienced yet, but are probably the worst rolling/ boat anchors I have experienced as well. The verticals on the other hand were predicable on the downhill and I really didn't need to back off my speed, but man did I appreciate them allowing me to finish such a long (4+hour) ride in a healthy fashion. I am going to keep them on.

    Great thread, let's keep the opinions coming.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P
    Someone wrote, "use the right tool..."

    Which I think applies well to tires.

    For example, in situations with lots of sand, high volume flotation is going to be much better than low volume sinkage. In this situation, the high volume tire will even roll better than the smaller tire.

    There is also a point that a few posters have aluded to:

    Tires are a part of the suspension

    And as such, higher volume will actually improve rolling resistance in rough terrain by keeping the momentum of the bike/rider moving forward rather than deflecting off terrain.

    There are situations where lower volume, skinnier tires rock the AM world.

    Tune the tire choice, like you tune your fork choice to your type of riding.

    P
    While I don't do much downhill, I'm a heavy rider at 230, and its sandy, MI is sandy everywhere. So right there are two reasons I wanted a wide tire with more flotation and bigger footprint. I know they weight is added, but I also don't have any long climbs in my area, so I'm not hurt by it that much.

  27. #27
    I already rode that
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    I always used what I liked best for the places I ride. Dont need no stinkin magazine/forum rats to tell me what I should be using.

    With the larger tires (and heavier with most) I just get used to the weight and it just takes sometime longer to clear the stuff I used to clear with skinnier tires. Pressure also matters in condtions/rider preference as well. I ran my Fire XC's pretty low and they still work great.
    Riding F/S since oct 94'

  28. #28
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    Any good suggestions for a 2-35- 2.5" tire that is under 700 gms and has firm sidewalls?

  29. #29
    I can ride a two-wheeler
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    i know this doesnt meet your specs

    but the specialized chunder is 2-30
    i love em...best tires I had

    http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Tire/product_125769.shtml

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by buggymancan
    Any good suggestions for a 2-35- 2.5" tire that is under 700 gms and has firm sidewalls?
    In my own experience, something like the 2.35 Panaracer Rampage (700g, if I recall) or 2.25 Cinder (think it's slightly over 700g) have better than most sidewalls for their weight; they also have an ASB (Anti SnakeBite) strip that certainly reduces pinch-flats for me.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by moshelove
    I recently got a new reign and the first thing I did was slap on some 2.35 stick-e nevegals. Now I am not sure if they have a wire bead but they do say DH casing on the side. I put them on because I thought they would be the perfect match for such a capable bike. I do a 40k ride each weekend though, about 25k out and back to the mountain, 10k road climb up an insanely steep, seemingly endless mountain and then about 5k of slippery, technical jungle DH hiking trails. I was not able to do the climb with these tires. I tried twice and it just kicked my ass. Last sunday I put on some 2.3 continental verticals that I had prior to the nevegals and I went right up the mountain climb without having to walk or stop. It is a 1.5 hour climb so it really kicks my ass. The verticals are noticably less grippier and make the trail a little wilder but are still grippy enough that I feel the compromise was worth it.

    I would say that the nevegals offer the most incredible grip I have experienced yet, but are probably the worst rolling/ boat anchors I have experienced as well. The verticals on the other hand were predicable on the downhill and I really didn't need to back off my speed, but man did I appreciate them allowing me to finish such a long (4+hour) ride in a healthy fashion. I am going to keep them on.

    Great thread, let's keep the opinions coming.

    If you like the "Verticle "give the "Gravity" a try, Good predictable and rolls well....imo the Gravity and vert are my two favorite tyres.

  32. #32
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    I recently ripped a hole into my rear FireXC 2.1 and I decided to replace it. I moved my front to the back and picked up a FireAM 2.3. So far I honestly can't say if I like it or not. It's a little bigger and weighs very little more than my other tire. The biggest change is the knobs. The layout has been changed a little and the grip isn't the same as before. I'll continue riding it till I'd decided if I like it..

    Bigger isn't always better I guess!
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  33. #33
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    Compromise is a wonderful thing.

    I've always been more a horizontal rider than a vertical rider. I had been into the Fire XC Pros (1.9's when you actually measure out the 2.1's) but have since swapped them out. I've compormised a bit by putting a 2.35 on the front and a 1.9 on the back. No easier / harder to pinch the back and it keeps the faster rolling but the front now stays planted better and doesn't seem to get a knocked around by the trail.
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  34. #34
    Was that a Bobcat?
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    I can see your point. I run 2.25 IRC Mibros and they are perfect for me and my area. Good tires, not too wide, not too skinny, good light weight, fast tires that have excellent traction.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by poopsoup
    So, probably like a lot of you reading, I've slowly been making my bike beefier and beefier. This is because I was starting to break things and decided to install heavier/less breakable things.
    This is a good thing. Means Im progressing in the direction of riding I like.
    But the XC side of things was really starting to suffer.
    I was finding myself pushing up more and more hills that I used to be able to make. Flat trail sections werent as fun, etc...

    A week ago I blew out my front tire(IRC Trail Bear 2.5) and had an old set of Hutchinson Mosquito's 1.9 in the garage that I decided to throw on just as a joke.
    Im riding a Heckler with a Z1FR(coil) and a coil rear shock, so the bike is setup towards the heavy end. The Trail Bears were a HUGE set of 2.5's(they were kinda light but really wide) and taking those fat things off and putting the tiny Mosquitos on dropped a little over 2lbs off my bike.
    Thats 2LBS!.
    and honestly the weight was good, but the rolling resistance and new agility with the small tires was incredible.
    I was having fun on the climbs and flats again, but still had all the ability ot roll the ladder drops and jumps that I was used to on the bigger tires.

    The only downside is extended downhills. If yopure used to big wide saggy tires making you float huge downhills then this is the only drawback to going back to skinny tires.

    So give it a try. All this market shift towartds fatter/heavier/bigger is good. But maybe not so much for tires for AM rides.

    -the end
    Yep, don't need 6" of travel, either.

  36. #36
    I AM I AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by buggymancan
    Any good suggestions for a 2-35- 2.5" tire that is under 700 gms and has firm sidewalls?
    Syncros Point N Chute 3 (Factory) 2.5 weighed in at 755g, so the 2.35 may be worth a try.
    Don't know what you class as firm sidewalls, reckon these would come close.

    May not be the best in Mud but have plenty of grip for all round riding and a couple of days ago I rode through a patch of sand & felt like I was just about floating through it!
    Traction is better or equivalent to Michelin Hot S, Maxxis Advantage I've had before. The knobs are big enough for plenty of grip but small enough to offer good rolling resistance. Relatively closely spaced though so that's why I say may not be the best in mud, however yet to test that out.

  37. #37
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    It depends where you ride, style, personal preference...

    Personally, anything less durable than a 2.35 Maxxis is going to get destroyed as a rear tire really quickly, and thats a 900g smallish tire. I look to the front for lightweight and grip, they don't get torn up like the rear tire... my favorites so far are the 2.4 Nobby Nic and the Maxxis Advantage 2.4. The Maxxis has more grip, is bigger, but weighs 1/2 lb more. It also washes out pretty quick which some people might find uncomfortable, but it has very high limits. The NN is more predictable, but doesn't hook up quite as well...
    .




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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    Yep, don't need 6" of travel, either.
    In an AM forum, you must take this comment with a grain of salt. I couldn't disagree more with this comment. Ride a bike that fits your needs. Plenty of mountains, obstacles, and rock gardens will let you use all 6" of your 6" ride. If your local terrain is semi-flat then a XC bike will fit your needs just as a long travel bike (7+ inches or so) will quench your downhill thirst. My Trek Remedy 6 is a perfect 6" bike for central PA and if you have similar terrain then I suggest you give a 6" bike a try.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by psunuc
    In an AM forum, you must take this comment with a grain of salt. I couldn't disagree more with this comment. Ride a bike that fits your needs. Plenty of mountains, obstacles, and rock gardens will let you use all 6" of your 6" ride. If your local terrain is semi-flat then a XC bike will fit your needs just as a long travel bike (7+ inches or so) will quench your downhill thirst. My Trek Remedy 6 is a perfect 6" bike for central PA and if you have similar terrain then I suggest you give a 6" bike a try.
    I have ridden many years in the northeast and southeast which is similar terrain to central PA, as well as several years all around Tahoe which (IMO) generally favors a longer travel bike than the east coast does. Over the years as my riding has progressed I found myself going bigger and bigger on the travel and tire size. After riding a 6" bike for a while, I realized I just did not need it for what is considered to be "AM" riding. A 5" bike is plenty for 3-4 foot drops as long as it has the appropriate build. I found that when I when I get up into the 6" range it becomes more of a hold-on-and-bomb-it type of riding and less finesse on my part, and I am giving up something in the xc department, which I consider to be critical part of a true AM bike. I found this to be even more true on the east coast were things are tighter and often steeper (in my experience). In my book AM means "ALL mountain" and that includes xc climbs and twisty singletrack as well as jumps and drops.

    I think the point that the OP was making was that, in regard to tires, he found bigger was not always better for an ALL mountain bike. I am making the same statement about travel. There's nothing wrong with going with a 6-7" bike with 2.5" tires, and if it makes you happy, that's awesome. Choice is good and one great thing about the sport is that we all get to choose our own weapon, sometime for the same battle. However, I think that with all of the AM marketing hype going on, people are being told they "need" a bigger bike than they usually do. For most of what I believe is commonly considered "AM" riding, I think anything from 4"-6" can work fine, and some even go more or less. That's great; different strokes - different folks. My point is you don't "need" 6 inches of travel unless you are doing some pretty serious drops, for which the appropriate build will give you a light FR bike, not a versatile AM bike.

    I agree that you should go with whatever you want to ride AM, and there are perfectly good option with less than 6" if that's what one wants.

  40. #40
    attending to my vices
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    I want to pose a new question that I don't think is off topic and instead of starting a new thread maybe we can share opinions on this while we discuss widths as well. Specifically:

    What do you think is the fastest rolling tire, that you would honestly say is still AM worthy in slick or wet terrain where tractions is a necessity? I think anything smaller than 2.3 on the front is really pushing more into XC territory personally. I loved the switch from 2.35 stick-e nevegals to 2.3 continental verticals, but on the slick, rooty jungle trails I am riding, they are still not quite as predictable as I would dream for. I am hooked on the fast rolling feeling though for sure. So let's target what is the fastest rolling but still DH (direction) worthy, grippy, light weight AM tires.

    I think many of us commenting in this thread are in agreement with the OP that less can be a bit more.
    OVER THE LINE SMOKEY!

  41. #41
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    A 5" bike is plenty for 3-4 foot drops as long as it has the appropriate build. I found that when I when I get up into the 6" range it becomes more of a hold-on-and-bomb-it type of riding and less finesse on my part, and I am giving up something in the xc department, which I consider to be critical part of a true AM bike. I found this to be even more true on the east coast were things are tighter and often steeper (in my experience).
    Couldn't have said it better myself. I worked my way from 4" to 5" to 6" and now am working my way back down. I think 5" is the sweet spot, but 4" is a close second for my idea of AM here in the East.

    I found that the 6" bike encouraged and rewarded more daring stunts but also kind of makes you feel like you're a wimp if you don't ride that way. Giving up climbing and rolling performance just wasn't worth being able to run straight over everything and fly as high as possible. It changes the way you ride, and I found those changes weren't really all that enjoyable after the newness wore off.

    Back on topic- my current tires are 2.2/2.25 Bontrager Jones XR TR. I think they weigh about 580g each and are just grippy enough to suit me. I ran Bonti Revolt TRs before that and they are grippy enough unless it is muddy. They weigh about 540g, IIRC. Both are very fast and their biggest drawback is wear and weakish carcasses.

    I want to try Nobby Nics.

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