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  1. #1
    FX4
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    Need a little help with tires...

    After two accidents this week both involving my front tire sliding out from under me which resulted in a scraped knee, bruised thigh, and a jammed thumb I realized that my old school mentality with tires and tire pressure may need to go. I ride in the Pittsburgh Pa area and during the fall there is a lot of wet leaves and slick mud on hard pack with the local trails. Yesterday I came around a corner I have done fifty times at speed and the bike kept going straight, I ended up rolling down the hill side with my thumb and knee hurting.

    At any rate, the trails are rooty, fast, covered in leaves, and some have a thin layer of mud over hard pack. None of it seems good for traction. I also from time to time go up to Moraine which has a really techy rock garden and in general is a very rocky techy course. I have two bikes with the same tires. A Trek Mamba 29 er which I am setting up for more XC style riding and a Fuel EX7 which I'm setting up more for all mountain. I need tire recommendations for both as well as how to get the tire pressure right. I also prefer tubed tires over tubeless, just easier to fix a flat in the middle of nowhere.

    In order of needs:
    Mamba:
    Low rolling resistance
    Excellent traction for XC muddy single track stuff
    Good wear
    Price does not matter

    Fuel:
    Excellent traction - all mountain stuff, climbing, fast downhill stuff, shouldn't slide out from under me...
    Low rolling resistance
    Good wear
    Price does not matter.

    How do you figure out the tire pressure that works best in a systematic way?

  2. #2
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    I have recently run the kenda small block eights 2.35 in the summer, corner surprisingly well, but mostly a summer tire, not a spring or fall tire. Extremely fast rolling tire has good traction but braking in the steeps is a little dangerous.

    Then I run conti mountain king 2's 2.4 for spring, fall and any lift served. I've been happy with them, so I stick with them, they do everything good. My other buddy runs the maxxis highrollers, he has super cornering technique, but they help I'm sure. Highrollers are a bit heavier than the mountain kings. I haven't found a lighter, better rolling, tire that corners good and has really good traction besides the mountain king 2.

    I also run all my tires tubeless, both tires seal well I just carry a tube with me in case of flat.
    determined to put the "mountain" back in "MOUNTAIN BIKING!!!" "HIT IT!"
    2012 MOJO HDeeeeeeee!!!!
    2010 scott CR1 comp

  3. #3
    FX4
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    Thanks. I have read a few people like the conti Mountain King as well as the Maxxis highrollers. Carrying a spare tube is probably a good plan for flats. What advantages do you see going tubeless?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FX4 View Post

    How do you figure out the tire pressure that works best in a systematic way?
    Keep going lower each ride until you flat or the tire feels squiggly under cornering.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FX4 View Post
    Thanks. I have read a few people like the conti Mountain King as well as the Maxxis highrollers. Carrying a spare tube is probably a good plan for flats. What advantages do you see going tubeless?
    THe highrollers seem to be a very good do all tire as well as the mountain king... those would be pretty much what I would go with. Tubeless has it's advantages.. drops about a pound without tubes, less rolling mass (a little faster) and you can run much lower pressures without pinch flats. and usually if it's just a pin whole, no need to replace the tube etc.. as the tubless fluid will usually seal it right up without you even noticing, until you take the tire off someday, an see all the places the sealant ended up... Some people say it's a pain, but is pretty easy for me now that I've done a few.
    determined to put the "mountain" back in "MOUNTAIN BIKING!!!" "HIT IT!"
    2012 MOJO HDeeeeeeee!!!!
    2010 scott CR1 comp

  6. #6
    usually cranky
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    for slick mud over hard there is no good answer though i have been hearing of people having good luck with conti barons in similar conditions. may want to give a set of those a shot on your fuel.

  7. #7
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    About to try the ardent/highroller (f/r) combo on my fuel this week and next weekend in downieville. I'll report back if interested.
    Last edited by NuckingFuts; 10-20-2012 at 07:09 AM.

  8. #8
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    i have a few questions.

    I personally like wierwolves 2.3. I am told bronsons are similar but better for wet conditions to shed mud. I hate 2.1 for overall handling; they are more for cycling not riding or ripping it up.
    I found the majorty rule is wider means better cornernig and tackyness but also means heavier so more rolling resistance. Pick your poison.

    As far as tire pressure; i go as low as i can without the side wall giving out causing the rear to wash. Once its only the nubs in the tread you feel slipping that about the right pressure. I run a few pounds less in the front as i distribute my weight biased towards the rear when cornering.

    Which leads to my last question about plowing your front end. How is your posture when cornering. Are you leaning your upper body weight inside the bike through the turn. The only time i lean is into a bank or berm where your compressing the bike into the bank.

    On a standard trail turn without any camber in your favor; i would lean into the turn initially to slot the bike and you should kind transfer your hip position outside and pull back. weigh; With the outside crank arm down; your weight should be planted on the outside pedal; You can actually pump your weight back sliding your hips out and compress the rear wheel; while using you inner thigh anchored to the seat; the force will push the rear out and unweight the front. Otherwise staying forward and leaning in is gonna make you plow; especially if your pushing it hard. If your weight is inside and the front goes your done. Its not like concrete you cant lean in. You gota get centered over the bike and force the rear to push around.
    Another little trick when in tight back tp back switchbacks; while sliding your hips side to side, half peddle backwards if there isnt enough time to pedal forward to get the correct crank position.
    back and shifting my weight and slot the bike underneath you.
    Last edited by akiracornell; 10-21-2012 at 04:03 AM.

  9. #9
    FX4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NuckingFuts View Post
    About to try the ardent/highroller (f/r) combo on my fuel this week and next weekend in downieville. I'll report back if interested.
    Please do.

  10. #10
    FX4
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    Quote Originally Posted by akiracornell View Post
    I personally like wierwolves 2.3. I am told bronsons are similar but better for wet conditions to shed mud. I hate 2.1 for overall handling; they are more for cycling not riding or ripping it up.
    I found the majorty rule is wider means better cornernig and tackyness but also means heavier so more rolling resistance. Pick your poison.

    As far as tire pressure; i go as low as i can without the side wall giving out causing the rear to wash. Once its only the nubs in the tread you feel slipping that about the right pressure. I run a few pounds less in the front as i distribute my weight biased towards the rear when cornering.

    Which leads to my last question about plowing your front end. How is your posture when cornering. Are you leaning your upper body weight inside the bike through the turn. The only time i lean is into a bank or berm where your compressing the bike into the bank.

    On a standard trail turn without any camber in your favor; i would lean into the turn initially to slot the bike and you should kind transfer your hip position outside and pull back. weigh; With the outside crank arm down; your weight should be planted on the outside pedal; You can actually pump your weight back sliding your hips out and compress the rear wheel; while using you inner thigh anchored to the seat; the force will push the rear out and unweight the front. Otherwise staying forward and leaning in is gonna make you plow; especially if your pushing it hard. If your weight is inside and the front goes your done. Its not like concrete you cant lean in. You gota get centered over the bike and force the rear to push around.
    Another little trick when in tight back tp back switchbacks; while sliding your hips side to side, half peddle backwards if there isnt enough time to pedal forward to get the correct crank position.
    back and shifting my weight and slot the bike underneath you.
    Thanks for the input and advice. I grew up riding old school BMX, maybe I should say original school BMX in the Santa Cruz mountains of California with the guys that were developing this sport in the early days. So I'm familiar with riding downhill pretty fast although I'm a lot older now. During the summer months I was riding fine with only an occasional crash usually trying something a little more difficult like jumping logs and whatnot. When fall arrived is when I started having some issues. Most of the trees in California are evergreens so we don't get a lot of trails covered in wet leaves. The mud if different. Either it's muddy or its not. No slick over hard pack that I recall. It's been a long time since I have done this type of riding so maybe my memory of things is a little faulty but it seems like most of the skills I developed in my teenage years have remained in tact. I think bike and tire technology has moved significantly beyond anything we had in the late seventies.

    Well let me say this before getting into my crashes. I have been on two wheels most of my life. I currently ride a motorcycle. I preach pedal position to my friends and wife chasing me around so it's not an issue. I think my two most recent accidents were the result of expecting traction and not having it.

    Crash number one: We were single track riding, mostly an XC style track. The course was a bit muddy and I rode up on a berm to keep from riding through large mud hole that developed in the track. When I came off the berm and straightened out the front tire the bike kept traveling in my original direction rather than where I pointed the front wheel. It slid out from under me. At that point the track was a thin layer of mud over hard pack.

    Crash number two: Long gently sweeping downhill run that breaks right into a short hard downhill run. You are going about twenty to twenty five miles an hour when it breaks fairly hard right. I rotate the cranks back so my right pedal is high and lean into the turn shifting my weight back as I go into the break. I have done this maybe fifty times over the course of the summer. The issue was is I don't think I have the proper tires for fall riding. This last time I did as I always do and the bike went out from under me on wet leaves. I just didn't have the traction I expected to be there. I was following another guy and he made the turn. Could my technique have been better? Sure I suppose it could have but I think the root cause of my crash was loss of traction. This crash is what got me thinking about tires and tire pressure.
    Last edited by FX4; 10-21-2012 at 06:46 AM.

  11. #11
    RTM
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    I agree 100% with miles regarding tire pressure. And don't get hung up on the PSI since all of our guages are a bit different. My "24psi" may be your pump's "29". In fact I don't even know or bother with the number anymore. I just test mine with a squeeze and know when they are about right.

    Regarding the tire, you may also like the soft compound single ply DHF. Fantastic grip. Although, mud over hard is basically ice. There's not much to do there but tip your hat to the trail and slow down.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten." - Benjamin Franklin

  12. #12
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    i ride tight twisty east coast single track with roots, rocks, plenty of leaves (this time of year), clay mud, loose over hard and hard pack. Trails are slick this time of year here in east TN. I tried the Ardents this year and they just didnt have the traction I need here. i run a Kenda Excavator up front and Maxxis Ignitor out back. Best traction for all conditions for me. I know their not the lightest tire out there, but not ending up on my head every other corner is more important to me.....i have a Morewood Shova and run right around 28-30 psi tubeless f/r.

  13. #13
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    Just checkin. I use to race bmx and was use to pumping off the berms. I had to adjust my style when i found mountain biking cause i started washing the front end alot. I thought maybe you suffered the same technical error i did when you were taking about pushing the the front. But i get totally what your sayiñ; you expect that frontend to intially bite to start you line, and it just didnt. Btw i would look into the wtb bronson, minion single ply.

  14. #14
    FX4
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    Well BMX today is not what BMX was when I was young although people had started dirt track racing. The form of it I rode evolved into mountain biking. We were pretty much making trails down the sides of mountains and riding in dried river beds turning the banks into jumps. We had some pretty cool names for a few, the wall, the wall II, DJ, nutcracker (self explanatory)...

  15. #15
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    Find a Specialized dealer and start trying tires. They have a 30 day no questions asked satisfaction guarantee. My dealer didn't have the tire I wanted for the front when I came in and I bought a tire I wanted to try and had them order the one I wanted. They swapped them out no questions asked. They've got tons of different styles to try out plus most of them come in different sidewall construction so you can get a tread you like but cut weight if you want to, or go with a thicker sidewall for protection. Plus all the ones I looked at were 2bliss (tubeless) ready. I ended up going with a Butcher for the front in the control sidewall which is a pretty good double ply rather than their downhill in the same thing. Got a Purgatory with in the control sidewall for the rear. I'd really like to try out their Ground Control with the control sidewall for the rear. It's a knobby nic clone and I really liked my knobby nic's when I had them except for the fact that the rocks around hear chewed up the sidewalls long before the tread was done. Check out the Specialized site to get an idea of what's available and what they're recommended use is.

    BTW I'm riding in the Mountains of NC so I bet our trails are pretty similar. We vary from dust over hardpack when it's dry to muddy when it rains. Lots of rocks on our local trails. Tons of ups and downs. And this time of year we're dealing with all the leaves as well. So good all around tires for me are a must. I don't change tires due to season or condition.

  16. #16
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    The rains just started here in Nor Cal so I just went to my go to rear tire which is the Continental Baron 2.3 folding bead with the black chill compound, and I have it paired up with a Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 3C 2.5 up front (which I have to say is one of the best tires I have ever ridden.) I rode the trails today with this combo and it absolutely rocked!! Oh and this set up is on a 6" Banshee Rune all mountain bike.

  17. #17
    FX4
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    Thanks everybody for the advice.

  18. #18
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    I've been quite happy with the Schwalbe Hans Dampf as an all-rounder

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