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  1. #1
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    Best Front/Rear Tyre Combo for Winter?

    Hi All

    I am currently looking for advice as to suggestions anyone may have regarding what is a good front \ rear combo for winter tyres. My Stump jumper still has the older Specialised Resolution Pro tyres front and rear and they are ready for replacements.

    My riding terrain is generally XC and trails but at the moment my regular trails are MUDDY beyond belief and I wanted to make sure I got some tyres that could cope. After reading all sorts of sources however I find that many riders prefer a combination of tyres rather than a matching set.

    My initial thoughts were to put a Mud tyre on the rear to gain extra traction but many say they would never do this and that a mud tyre should go on the front for better control.

    Has anyone got the definitive answer to this? (I know tyre choice tends to be subjective but any help would be appreciated before I part with any cash)

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Definitive? Hell no. :-P

    There are really two variables. Tire volume and knob size.

    For mud, it's all about big honkin' knobs. They're weird on the road and don't always roll fast, but if there's traction to be found, they're going to find it. Lots of space around them is important for mud clearing.

    Volume is a little trickier. Mud tires tend to run narrower than other tires targeted for the same riders, but I don't think that's necessarily the right approach. If there are wet roots and slick rocks on your trails, narrower means less consistent. And the idea behind narrower is that they can sink down to more solid ground. But really deep mud and snow don't necessarily let that happen, while a big contact patch can still help. So I'd stick with high volume unless your trails are pretty smooth, with a thin layer or slick mud over firm ground.

    TBH, I can't be bothered to change tires seasonally. I've typically just used all-conditions tires full-time. I'm swapping my new bike over to 2.25" Schwalbe Rocket Rons as soon as they come in, and it'll most likely stay that way until I make a big change in my riding style, Schwalbe stops selling them, or I get a new bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you need 2 sets of tires, winter and summer. Honestly, if you don't have 20 minutes time (max) to swap out tires and toss in some sealant then you're just too damn busy.

    We can't ride when trails are muddy so I don't have a reco on those but it would pay huge dividends to have the 2 sets. Why not check your local shops to see what they recommend or ask in the wheels and tire forum. Mud tires are very specific and you probably wouldn't want to run them unless needed.

    As for summer tires, same scenario. Best to select tires based on your local conditions. I really like Trail king in front and something faster in the back. The Specialized ground control is an awesome all round rear tire.

  4. #4
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    Been happy with Nobby Nics this winter. Only time they didn't shead mud well was in a low lieing area that was thick mud. Will not ride that section again till it dries out. To much damage to both the trails and drivetrain.

    I run a faster set of tires for the summer. The NN's are a little to squirmy and loose for loose over hard conditions. Read and heard several good things about Geax Gatos for wet muddy conditions. Reasonable priced as well. After seeing them in person, not so sure I would want to run them in dry conditions.

    I don't care for all around tires. They tend to be average and not do anything well. Doesn't take much time to swap out tires.

  5. #5
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    I'm not sure where you are located or what your local trails are like, but in general, if they're really muddy, you should find something else to do until they either dry or freeze up. Riding soft trails can really the crap out of them.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I'm not sure where you are located or what your local trails are like, but in general, if they're really muddy, you should find something else to do until they either dry or freeze up. Riding soft trails can really the crap out of them.

    NEMBA: New England Mountain Bike Association - NEMBA Library
    Good advice on the one hand but on the other, here in the north west UK, we rarely get much else other than rain so I am afraid if I were to avoid riding due to some mud I would hardly get much riding done at all.

    Good article though thanks

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbi4Prez View Post
    Been happy with Nobby Nics this winter. Only time they didn't shead mud well was in a low lieing area that was thick mud. Will not ride that section again till it dries out. To much damage to both the trails and drivetrain.

    I run a faster set of tires for the summer. The NN's are a little to squirmy and loose for loose over hard conditions. Read and heard several good things about Geax Gatos for wet muddy conditions. Reasonable priced as well. After seeing them in person, not so sure I would want to run them in dry conditions.

    I don't care for all around tires. They tend to be average and not do anything well. Doesn't take much time to swap out tires.
    I agree

    Rather have "the right tools for the job" as it were. I don't mind swapping tyres twice a year. I'll check out your recommendations

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I actually did have a period of swapping tires relatively frequently. I may still put a Nobby Nic back on my old hardtail, which has a Racing Ralph on the back right now. But for the most part, I just don't feel like I get enough of a change in traction without going to further extremes than I care to.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Best Front/Rear Tyre Combo for Winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I actually did have a period of swapping tires relatively frequently. I may still put a Nobby Nic back on my old hardtail, which has a Racing Ralph on the back right now. But for the most part, I just don't feel like I get enough of a change in traction without going to further extremes than I care to.
    I guess you were correct in the beginning to say there is no definitive answer. I wondered what people's opinions were on having two winter tyres front and rear or whether it's best to have different ones on and if so which way round?

  10. #10
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    I run a Nobby Nic in back and Hans Dampf in front year round. Works for me in all conditions.

  11. #11
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    Front and rear tires do different jobs. So it very often makes sense to use different tires. The standard combination is to put a higher traction tire in front and a lower rolling resistance tire in the back. It can be a little different in the mud, though, because it can be impossible to get up short little steep rollers with a lower-traction tire. Sticking something with a bigger knob on the back makes sense for that. At the same time, people don't tend to descend as fast - there's too much rolling resistance - so often it's not necessary to go as much higher-traction in front.

    Actually, my plan of matching the tires on my new bike is partly bowing to more mud and more slippery corners in my closest riding spot since moving, and less of an emphasis on racing. I was thinking about putting something even bigger on the front, but I'm a sucker for high thread counts and the Nobby Nic doesn't come in 127 tpi.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    Best Front/Rear Tyre Combo for Winter?

    That makes sense. I've got it set up as you describe with higher traction up front. I'll see how it goes tomorrow.

    Thanks got the great advice.

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