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  1. #1
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    Maxxis Ardent UST vs Specialized Ground Control UST tire for AM bike?

    I'm having a hard time deciding between which of the two to use for the upcoming summer season riding and some Enduros. I plan to use as a rear tire for my +34lb AM bike that I ride pretty hard (Banshee Rune V2) and require the extra sidewall protection with UST sidewall on the rear wheel, whereas I can get away running TLR up front. Tire would be primarily for dry and loose conditioned riding and replacing a Specialized Purgatory UST that is on currently w/Butcher 2.3 up front. Anyone with experience between the two and which one may be a little tougher, but still offering good roll and traction? Just in past year, I haved killed at least 4 rear tires that were all TLR and UST with exception of Ardent EXO that blew off the rim and ripped as a rear tire. Outside of that, I liked how it rolled and handled. Oh, tires will be going on Stans Flow EX rim and found Specialized tires work pretty good with Stans rim, whereas I have had issues with single ply Maxxis (Minion and Ardent).

    Thanks for any feedback between the two.
    Ride On!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgusta View Post
    I'm having a hard time deciding between which of the two to use for the upcoming summer season riding and some Enduros. I plan to use as a rear tire for my +34lb AM bike that I ride pretty hard (Banshee Rune V2) and require the extra sidewall protection with UST sidewall on the rear wheel, whereas I can get away running TLR up front. Tire would be primarily for dry and loose conditioned riding and replacing a Specialized Purgatory UST that is on currently w/Butcher 2.3 up front. Anyone with experience between the two and which one may be a little tougher, but still offering good roll and traction? Just in past year, I haved killed at least 4 rear tires that were all TLR and UST with exception of Ardent EXO that blew off the rim and ripped as a rear tire. Outside of that, I liked how it rolled and handled. Oh, tires will be going on Stans Flow EX rim and found Specialized tires work pretty good with Stans rim, whereas I have had issues with single ply Maxxis (Minion and Ardent).

    Thanks for any feedback between the two.
    Cant comment to durability, but I was looking for a tire that was a little cheaper than the ardent. I ripped the sidewalls on two ardents in about 6 months of twice a week riding.

    I just put a 2.1 ground control on @ 20 psi (I weigh 165) and the hookup is at least as good as the ardent if not a touch better. Not sure about the durability since I only have one ride. It was a 2bliss tire, but not sure what special compounds etc. It weighed about 617g if that helps.

  3. #3
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    Maxxis Ardent UST vs Specialized Ground Control UST tire for AM bike?

    What bike do you have that 2.1 Ground Control on? What front tire are you running? I've been thinking of a ground control for the back but wasn't sure b/w the 2.1 or 2.3.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    Cant comment to durability, but I was looking for a tire that was a little cheaper than the ardent. I ripped the sidewalls on two ardents in about 6 months of twice a week riding.

    I just put a 2.1 ground control on @ 20 psi (I weigh 165) and the hookup is at least as good as the ardent if not a touch better. Not sure about the durability since I only have one ride. It was a 2bliss tire, but not sure what special compounds etc. It weighed about 617g if that helps.
    Did you have an Ardent UST? That's what I just put on and rode for first time tonight and was pretty well pleased. The Ardent UST is almost a 1/2lb heavier than the EXO version and has much thicker sidewall/rubber altogether so should hold up much better than single ply version did for you. I rode it pretty hard tonight (220lbs ride weight) on fairly technically challenging and fast AM trails with a mix of tech rock gardens, tons of burms, doubles and jump lines. The tire didn't lose any pressure whatsoever with no sealant used during install. To me that speaks to the stoutness of the tire as my Purgatory UST required sealant to not lose any air during a ride. The Ground Controls do look good and MBA raved of them in the tire shootout they did last month. The Ardents are pretty fast to me, while still offering enough grip in loose over hardpack like I rode tonight.
    Ride On!

  5. #5
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    I've tried the Ardent 2.25 UST and the GC 2.35 UST - the GC wins, hands down, in my opinion.

    I feel they both suck when things get wet and greasy, but that the GC sucks less than the Ardent. Mostly really only on wet rocks/roots. The Ardent feels like it rolls a bit faster, but at the expense of having worse traction overall than the GC.

    GC 2.35 UST is currently on the back of my Blur TRc - I like it fairly well, but end up on wet stuff enough that I'll be replacing it with something else. Have a couple other things in similar size and UST-ness to try.

    Also having good luck with the full UST rear/tubeless ready front combo. Digging the Bontrager XR4 2.35 in front at the moment - all three bikes - hardtail, 5" trail bike, 6.7" bigger bike. Trying out the smaller version on the back of my hardtail - also tubeless ready not full UST. Nice and fast, feels good wet and dry. I'd very much like them to make a full UST version of that for the bigger bikes!

    A UST Purgatory is on the back of the big bike - why not just get another one of those? Or, what don't you like about that tire? Granted, it rolls more slowly, but IMO, works great otherwise.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    I've tried the Ardent 2.25 UST and the GC 2.35 UST - the GC wins, hands down, in my opinion.

    I feel they both suck when things get wet and greasy, but that the GC sucks less than the Ardent. Mostly really only on wet rocks/roots. The Ardent feels like it rolls a bit faster, but at the expense of having worse traction overall than the GC.

    GC 2.35 UST is currently on the back of my Blur TRc - I like it fairly well, but end up on wet stuff enough that I'll be replacing it with something else. Have a couple other things in similar size and UST-ness to try.

    Also having good luck with the full UST rear/tubeless ready front combo. Digging the Bontrager XR4 2.35 in front at the moment - all three bikes - hardtail, 5" trail bike, 6.7" bigger bike. Trying out the smaller version on the back of my hardtail - also tubeless ready not full UST. Nice and fast, feels good wet and dry. I'd very much like them to make a full UST version of that for the bigger bikes!

    A UST Purgatory is on the back of the big bike - why not just get another one of those? Or, what don't you like about that tire? Granted, it rolls more slowly, but IMO, works great otherwise.
    Good info. I really dig the Purg UST in the rear and is my go to tire during the wet season, but ripped the bead not long ago and it needed to be replaced and wanted a better, faster dry season tire with just enough grip to get me down the hill. I could see how the CG grips and tracks better than the Ardent, but also looks like it would wear much faster than Ardent since it is softer and knob design looks more susceptible to wear. Half the rides I do are paved road or fireroad up to trail descent and Spesh tread seems to wear a little faster than I like, especially the softer side lugs not before long when used in rear. As a front tire, like the Butcher lasts a good while for me, so that stays on all year. The Ardent UST did great for me last night with loose dry over hard conditions and usually don't need a ton of grip out back for the descent in these conditions as my front end stays glued with rear sliding a bit more around the loose turns is fine by me. I could see the Ardent sliding out too much under wet conditions though, back to Purg for that.
    Ride On!

  7. #7
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    In that case, I'd go with whichever one you get a better deal on!

    Or, a High Roller 2.35 UST? I've got one of those in the garage, likely to go on the trail bike once the Ground Control is dead.

    Seems like it would be a happy medium.

    The new Minion DHR II comes in a 2.3" EXO casing "tubeless ready" version now as well. No idea how it rides though. Price is pretty good though...

    Universal Cycles -- Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO Tubeless Ready Tire
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
    In that case, I'd go with whichever one you get a better deal on!

    Or, a High Roller 2.35 UST? I've got one of those in the garage, likely to go on the trail bike once the Ground Control is dead.

    Seems like it would be a happy medium.

    The new Minion DHR II comes in a 2.3" EXO casing "tubeless ready" version now as well. No idea how it rides though. Price is pretty good though...

    Universal Cycles -- Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO Tubeless Ready Tire
    Funny you mention as I was in the Universal Cycles (Portland, OR) just the other night when I picked up the Ardent UST and compared to HR UST 2.35. The HR actually weighed a good 100g's more when I weigh them together on digital scale and I have found the HR to be not nearly as fast rolling as Ardent or Purg for that matter since I mounted an old 2.5 HR single ply wire bead (old CRC $20 special) as tubeless last week that was still less weight than 2.3 Purg UST w/tube that rolled noticeable slower up the road at Sandy Ridge trail system (have to ride paved road for 3.5 miles to get to radical trail goodness). I agree the DHR II looks awesome, kind of like a Clutch, Ardent and Minion had a bastard child. Think they would be great for wetter, looser conditions where traction is paramount. I think I would run these over HRII's under these conditions and stoked they have them TLR in 2.3. The 2.4 HRII's are a bit too big for me to use as a rear tire. A solid 2.3 is about all I need max and this may be my mid-summer tire when conditions turn really loose and duffy.
    Ride On!

  9. #9
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    ime the gc not only rolls quicker but has better bite too. no idea on the toughness as that does not matter to me. but for mostly dry, hard to loose conditions i dont think you can beat a gc in back.

  10. #10
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    Can't comment in the durability as I have not run the UST versions, but I have run both a GC 2.3 and an Ardent 2.25 in the rear. Both 26" on 5 - 5.5" bikes.

    Similar size-wise.

    GC had a little better drive grip, especially over wet rocks or roots, where the lack of transition knobs tripped up the Ardent. Did not notice a difference in braking, but I don't really notice that on the rear unless it is a really big difference. Rolling was similar. In terms of cornering and general stability, though, I liked the Ardent better.

    Overall, if I had to run one of those again on the rear, I would go with the Ardent, especially if it was mostly DH and dry.

    After trying those two and a Nobby Nic 2.25, I finally settled on the Spec Purgatory for the rear, and I'm really happy with it.

    I also run a 2.3 Butcher in the front. Had it first paired with the Nobby Nic, then the GC, and now the Purg. I like the Purg the best. Not as fast rolling as the others, but has the best combo of drive grip, cornering, and general stability.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Can't comment in the durability as I have not run the UST versions, but I have run both a GC 2.3 and an Ardent 2.25 in the rear. Both 26" on 5 - 5.5" bikes.

    Similar size-wise.

    GC had a little better drive grip, especially over wet rocks or roots, where the lack of transition knobs tripped up the Ardent. Did not notice a difference in braking, but I don't really notice that on the rear unless it is a really big difference. Rolling was similar. In terms of cornering and general stability, though, I liked the Ardent better.

    Overall, if I had to run one of those again on the rear, I would go with the Ardent, especially if it was mostly DH and dry.

    After trying those two and a Nobby Nic 2.25, I finally settled on the Spec Purgatory for the rear, and I'm really happy with it.

    I also run a 2.3 Butcher in the front. Had it first paired with the Nobby Nic, then the GC, and now the Purg. I like the Purg the best. Not as fast rolling as the others, but has the best combo of drive grip, cornering, and general stability.
    Thanks for the feedback between the two KP! I rode the Ardent UST for the second time today under really dry and fairly loose conditions on mixed rocky rech and flow- style, enduro DH moto-hybrid/single trails at Post Canyon in Hood River, OR today. Tires did fairly well given the really loose and mostly blown conditions, but did skate out from me a time or two. Went down and hammered my already haggered right forearm/elbow on one turn. After this, I was imagining how the GC would handle under these conditions, so went to LBS following and they only had Control casings in stock that looked paper thin at sidewall (only 645g's) even though Control casing Spesh tires mount great to Flow rims with thicker TLR bead. My UST Ardent still hasn't loss a single lb of pressure ridden hard on fast/techy terrain with no sealant. Still interested in trying a GC UST though.
    Ride On!

  12. #12
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    Well, just killed the Ardent UST yesterday within 2 weeks and about a handful of rides at most. Was pre-riding the HR Oregon Enduro course yesterday and blew tire going thru one of the only rock sections. Have tear at bead that sealant wont seal or can patch due to proximity to bead and tear on top in between center knobs all the way thru the tire as well. So much for Maxxis LUST. Just mounted an old Spesh Clutch Control (so far the only tire I haven't torn). Will be slower to roll than Ardent UST, even though a touch lighter, but a big grippier in the loose and the course is pretty much blown out in a lot of sections. May try the DHRII TLR 2.3 to replace the Ardent eventually that will be a bit slower, but can get them for <$50 locally, whereas the GC UST would be $65.
    Ride On!

  13. #13
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    Tearing side walls is kind of my specialty due to my sloppy bike technique and rocky desert trails in Arizona. I tore side walls on two XC spec back tires. After the 2nd free replacement (nice warranty on spec tires) the bike shop refused to give me anything else but the UST GRID.
    So I went with GC UST Grids 2.1 on the back (I have the captains on the front).
    I had that set up for few months and put a close to a thousand miles on it (including a grueling bike race). The thread has worn, there are multiple abrasions and cuts, there are wet spots of stan's seeping thru from all the thorns and barbed wire I ran over.... but the tire still holds air.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalaficionado View Post
    Tearing side walls is kind of my specialty due to my sloppy bike technique and rocky desert trails in Arizona. I tore side walls on two XC spec back tires. After the 2nd free replacement (nice warranty on spec tires) the bike shop refused to give me anything else but the UST GRID.
    So I went with GC UST Grids 2.1 on the back (I have the captains on the front).
    I had that set up for few months and put a close to a thousand miles on it (including a grueling bike race). The thread has worn, there are multiple abrasions and cuts, there are wet spots of stan's seeping thru from all the thorns and barbed wire I ran over.... but the tire still holds air.
    With you there - the little bit of extra weight is worth it (IMO) if it means not having to replace the tire as often due to sidewall cuts/gouges. Particularly for the rear, where it's getting dragged through the rocks that the front might be finessed over and around a bit better.
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  15. #15
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    I just put a purgatory 2.3f and 2.3r ground control . I ride at sandy a lot as well and I'm liking it so far. Big change from my nevegals. I'm probably the only person still running tubes though

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalaficionado View Post
    Tearing side walls is kind of my specialty due to my sloppy bike technique and rocky desert trails in Arizona. I tore side walls on two XC spec back tires. After the 2nd free replacement (nice warranty on spec tires) the bike shop refused to give me anything else but the UST GRID.
    So I went with GC UST Grids 2.1 on the back (I have the captains on the front).
    I had that set up for few months and put a close to a thousand miles on it (including a grueling bike race). The thread has worn, there are multiple abrasions and cuts, there are wet spots of stan's seeping thru from all the thorns and barbed wire I ran over.... but the tire still holds air.
    Good to hear and thanks for the feedback as I am pretty hard on the rear tire/wheel as well. Fortuntately, we don't have all the rock you got to bash into up here in Oregon. I have been happily running my Ardent UST over the past month, with tube installed due to previous tear (roll eyes). It did get me thru and won a couple of Enduro races in my Cat though! Still like to try the CG UST 2.3, but don't want to shell out another $65 on a tire just yet. I have and like a DHR II TLR as well, but much slower roller than the Ardent and wants terrain to dig into at speed (loam, duff/loose).
    Ride On!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli rob View Post
    I just put a purgatory 2.3f and 2.3r ground control . I ride at sandy a lot as well and I'm liking it so far. Big change from my nevegals. I'm probably the only person still running tubes though
    Nice upgrade Rob. So many tires out there that out perform the nevagals, even though they are a decent all arounder, but come up short when pushed hard. Spesh makes great tires/tread designs that back up their tires with no questions asked return policy if not happy with tire within 90 days. The Butcher/Purg is my go-to wet season riding set-up in the NW. The Ardent rolls almost identical to Spesh Eskars (better for drier conditions), but I like the thicker UST casing for tougher sidewall, out back at least.

    Don't feel bad about running tubes even though the trend is tubeless. If you aren't flatting all the time, then I would just stay tubes. Right now I have a heavily patched tube in a UST tire on Stans rims, pretty pathetic. For me to be fool proof tubeless, I pretty much need to run 2-ply, but haven't made the jump since I climb so much for my descents and XC/trail ride a lot too.
    Ride On!

  18. #18
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    Yeah, tubeless just wasn't on the top of my priority list as far as upgrades and I've been pretty lucky running tubes. Sticking with it for now. I'm liking how the spec tires are hooking up on all the loose gravelly stuff(like rock drop) Had to adjust my riding a little at first because I wasn't used to a tire performing so well. A lot easier to push around too.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli rob View Post
    Yeah, tubeless just wasn't on the top of my priority list as far as upgrades and I've been pretty lucky running tubes. Sticking with it for now. I'm liking how the spec tires are hooking up on all the loose gravelly stuff(like rock drop) Had to adjust my riding a little at first because I wasn't used to a tire performing so well. A lot easier to push around too.
    Yep, Spesh tires allows for riding on the side lugs pretty nicely with nice square'ish- round profile, whereas nevegals have a tendency to washout too easy if leaned hard due to very round profile with flexy side lugs and why I don't like Conti tires as well (too round). Good for floating over rocks, but poor for carving burms and turns. Maxxis are great for carving as well, but require leaning into the turns pretty aggressively to hook up. I have found Spesh tires to be a good balance between the two for nice consistent feel throughout the turn that usually lets you know before losing traction, insteading of just washing out.
    Ride On!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli rob View Post
    I just put a purgatory 2.3f and 2.3r ground control . I ride at sandy a lot as well and I'm liking it so far. Big change from my nevegals. I'm probably the only person still running tubes though
    at least you can still ride home after side wall tear, there is nothing more frightening than a sudden rush of air from sidewall cuts in tubeless... why? because it sounds just like a rattler. then you realize it was just the blown tire, slight relief and then you realize your ass walking back to the car

    put some Stan's in the tubes and it will bulletproof

  21. #21
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    Hey jgusta,

    where in PDX are you getting your spesh tires? I haven't really found a shop with a good selection.

    I ran the spesh GC 2.35 on the rear for all of 3 rides. My opinion.... don't get one. The problem is that the tread does not wrap around the casing far enough. I can only lean the bike over so far until it completely lets loose. Perhaps it was an older model but looks the same to me.

    I can't ride tubeless either. Tried it again for the 3rd time in the last 7 years hoping ust tires had gotten tougher. Big mistake!! First rock garden I hit coming down falls creek blew up both of my tires! Only had one tube with me & it was getting late so I knew no one was coming down behind me. This after having just finished grinding to the top including the road. Had to get creative & luckily could quasi patch the other tire. Rode down with a whimper stopping every 20 minutes to pump up my front tire. NEVER again EVER! I've come to the conclusion that bigger guys who ride hard just need the extra support a tube provides....end of story.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Hey jgusta,

    where in PDX are you getting your spesh tires? I haven't really found a shop with a good selection.

    I ran the spesh GC 2.35 on the rear for all of 3 rides. My opinion.... don't get one. The problem is that the tread does not wrap around the casing far enough. I can only lean the bike over so far until it completely lets loose. Perhaps it was an older model but looks the same to me.

    I can't ride tubeless either. Tried it again for the 3rd time in the last 7 years hoping ust tires had gotten tougher. Big mistake!! First rock garden I hit coming down falls creek blew up both of my tires! Only had one tube with me & it was getting late so I knew no one was coming down behind me. This after having just finished grinding to the top including the road. Had to get creative & luckily could quasi patch the other tire. Rode down with a whimper stopping every 20 minutes to pump up my front tire. NEVER again EVER! I've come to the conclusion that bigger guys who ride hard just need the extra support a tube provides....end of story.
    Hey Whalenard, sorry to hear about the mishaps on your ride, I bet conditions of Falls Creek were pretty good.

    As far as Spesh tires goes, I usually get them at Camas bikes or FTF (special order for UST). Your overall conclusion with tubeless is pretty spot-on. With that said I have had good luck with Butcher Control ran tubeless up front and UST rear tire w/tube with thicker sidewall . This was my winning set-up for two enduro races so far this summer. Much like the Purgatory, I don't think I would run a GC up front at all as well, only as rear tires. If you haven't tried the CG in UST, that might may be better for you if really wanting to run tubeless and haven't ran the UST GRID version yet. I have torn all, but usually can get more miles on UST Spesh tires vs the control casings, even armadillo for that matter.

    Happy riding. All trails are rolling well around here and just about everywhere as long as you don't melt in the heat
    Ride On!

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    No time on the ardent but I have been on the GC UST GRID for about 6 months as my rear tire and I am very impressed. As of late, I have been doing bike park laps on it and it still wont die. My terrain is dusty, dry, loose with sharp rocks. The cornering is very good, the resistance is also very good (low res), and the durability is awesome. I slashed a sidewall in a control version within a week, it was toast. I have the GC on a 6" bike that I ride lots of shuttle runs/bike park laps and it is still doing great. No worries in the uphill dept. which is a good bit of my riding.

    I would highly, HIGHLY recommend a GC as a rear tire. My front is a butcher SX which I have been fairly happy with but now all of the lugs are starting to "crack" off (looks like the tire is cracking...strange)

    I am trying a hans dampf F, nobby nic R combo next but my go-to rear tire for AM is definitely now the GC.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrniceguy42 View Post
    No time on the ardent but I have been on the GC UST GRID for about 6 months as my rear tire and I am very impressed. As of late, I have been doing bike park laps on it and it still wont die. My terrain is dusty, dry, loose with sharp rocks. The cornering is very good, the resistance is also very good (low res), and the durability is awesome. I slashed a sidewall in a control version within a week, it was toast. I have the GC on a 6" bike that I ride lots of shuttle runs/bike park laps and it is still doing great. No worries in the uphill dept. which is a good bit of my riding.

    I would highly, HIGHLY recommend a GC as a rear tire. My front is a butcher SX which I have been fairly happy with but now all of the lugs are starting to "crack" off (looks like the tire is cracking...strange)

    I am trying a hans dampf F, nobby nic R combo next but my go-to rear tire for AM is definitely now the GC.
    Good to hear about the GC UST. I have only torn one Butcher Control tubeless in past 2.5 yrs (whereas torn 4 Purg control/arm/UST in past year). I would give the Butcher Control a run up front if you dig it as front tire and SX is crapping out on you. Even though the SX is much thicker, I could not get one to seat in the bead at all when a friend gave me his to try. Kept blowing off my Stan's rim whereas the control version has never even burped over +2 yrs of hard riding on it. I still want to try the GC UST rear, but Ardent UST w/tube is holding strong over the past month and has been fast, yet grippy enough when needed in current NW conditions (dry, loose over hard).
    Ride On!

  25. #25
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    I'm running a butcher up front and a purgatory in the rear on my enduro. I feel good with the setup but I was thinking of getting something lighter in the front. I know the purgatory and the ardent are about a pound lighter. Should I go for the lighter rolling weight or stick with the butcher?

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