1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    tires and mud issue

    the problem is simple here, whenever at that time of the year i hit the trails, my knobby tires become slicks from the mud gluing to them , the trails I ride are a mix of many things , clay, sand, black soil, rock, fallen dead leaves, wood and everything is damp (temp overing at around 1 celcius daily)

    the tires in question are a specialized fast track (2009 thread pattern) in the front and a cst cheyenne for the tail end.

    its problematic more so with the specialized than the cst (both running tubes)

    do i need different tires for this time of the year or do i suck it up and take a couple spills each ride because my front tire is not grabbing the ground ?

    (ps i need to adjust my cheapie fork, more travel may hel i think i got like 15 mm travel)

  2. #2
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    Every tire manufacturer (Specialized included) makes several different tread patterns. Some treads are designed to shed mud and some are designed to pack up, it depends on what conditions and what the intent of design was.

    If you want a tire for mud then you should do some research and pick a tire that sheds well. Here is one example: Beaver don't know much about it, only know what it was designed to do.
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  3. #3
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    Try making a move over to some Gato tires, they look like they'd do great, and they're cheap in case it doesn't work out. My old Bontrager 29-2s were just terrible - at one point the mud got so thick I could not rotate my tire because it wouldn't fit through my fork anymore.
    "Faster, Faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - Hunter S. Thompson

  4. #4
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    The fasttrack is simply not enough tire for the conditions. Look for big knobs with a bit of space between them. Right now I'm liking the specialized purgatorys on my 29er in pretty much any weather. They will pack up in the peanutbutter type mud if you don't keep your speed up, but pretty much every tire will bog down when things are at their worst.
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  5. #5
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    the tire that zebrahum suggested isn't bad if you don't want a second set but you gotta remember just like bikes there isn't really a good do all tire. Having a second set for this time a year isn't a bad idea. Look for a knoby tire with large spacing between them so the mud can slip off easier.

    Something like this

    Medusa

  6. #6
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    Yes the Fast Trak is not a mud tire but for fast rolling hardpack and minor variance from that.

  7. #7
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    Since you've already given CST a try, take a look at their Ouster tyre. I've had the pleasure of testing the 29er protos and they work FANTASTIC in mud, excellent shedding and very good grip on wet slick surfaces, just run the right PSI and you're good.
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  8. #8
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    That Medusa ... It looks so angry!
    "Faster, Faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - Hunter S. Thompson

  9. #9
    CSC
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOJO K View Post
    The fasttrack is simply not enough tire for the conditions. Look for big knobs with a bit of space between them. Right now I'm liking the specialized purgatorys on my 29er in pretty much any weather. They will pack up in the peanutbutter type mud if you don't keep your speed up, but pretty much every tire will bog down when things are at their worst.
    My Specialized Captains seem to enjoy "rocky road" mud...peanutbutter clears out pretty well:

    EDIT: I'd look at the Purgatory if your mud is sloppy (watery...not too clingy. Like decomposed leaves and needles in a forest, not clay and volcanic tuft). For the sticky stuff, go thin. I have heard that thin tires + spaced knobs are the key, as they won't pack up as much mud, and your weight will help clear out the mud as the tire rolls. In this case, my buddy and I couldn't pedal downhill because of how packed up the space between the tire and the fame was.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tires and mud issue-mud.jpg  


  10. #10
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    Here is the worst mud i ever ran into using the tire pictured: It jammed up so bad i could no longer pedal.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tires and mud issue-475916_3342405358471_1299319230_o.jpg  

    tires and mud issue-423666_3415688630507_940153842_n.jpg  


  11. #11
    CSC
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    Yeah, that's what my friend's bike looked like. Some locations are just not worth the trouble in the winter/spring...unless you have the time to get off and clear out the frame every 100 feet.

  12. #12
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    Low flat tightly spaced knobs is horrible in muddy condition. You'd need tall spaced out spikey knobs for that regardless of the brands.


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  13. #13
    29ers Forever
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    I would suggest changing the tire. I had to do the same with my bike. I bought a specialized purgatory for the rear tire that has great traction in mud and does not get built up as bad in clay-ish mud like I have in my backyard. For the front tire I bought a Kenda that corners great in mud. Get a good open tire for the rear with large treads farther apart, and a narrower front tire with deeper treads. That is one of the best configurations you can get.

  14. #14
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    You shouldn't be riding...

    To the posters who loaded pics of mud packed in to their seat and chain stays, you shouldn't be riding on trails in those conditions. You're tearing them up. And really, it's not that much fun to stop every 1/4 mile and use a stick to clean the mud out.
    JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer

  15. #15
    CSC
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Low flat tightly spaced knobs is horrible in muddy condition. You'd need tall spaced out spikey knobs for that regardless of the brands.


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    The problem I run into is the mud around my school adheres to the tire...tread pattern doesn't help. My friend was running fast tracks, I had new captains, and both caked up. A skinny tire would hold less mud, though 2.0" seems pretty skinny already. That being said, I had a pair of Prowler SS tires (DH/park 2.3") that, while they were not meant for muddy conditions, cleaned out really well with the mud I deal with back home. Snow, too. It really is a combination of the tire pattern and the mud consistency.

  16. #16
    CSC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC View Post
    To the posters who loaded pics of mud packed in to their seat and chain stays, you shouldn't be riding on trails in those conditions. You're tearing them up. And really, it's not that much fun to stop every 1/4 mile and use a stick to clean the mud out.
    I was riding on a morning following a cold snap. Most of the trail was frozen, until about halfway, when it started to thaw out with the sunlight. Not like we are bogging up trails on purpose, haha. Sometimes you get halfway through a ride and things turn sour. Lesson learned: don't ride on the trails here in southern Oregon in the early spring

    Also, it was more like every 50 feet. We bailed after a few rounds of cleaning out, and rode straight down a ridge back to the road. Not fun.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC View Post
    To the posters who loaded pics of mud packed in to their seat and chain stays, you shouldn't be riding on trails in those conditions. You're tearing them up. And really, it's not that much fun to stop every 1/4 mile and use a stick to clean the mud out.

    True, that's the main reason why I don't own mud specific tires. Heck I hate cleaning after the rain, so I don't even bother riding in wet conditions. That said there's nothing like riding after a light rain when the tires grip is like velcro

  18. #18
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    Yep...

    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    True, that's the main reason why I don't own mud specific tires. Heck I hate cleaning after the rain, so I don't even bother riding in wet conditions. That said there's nothing like riding after a light rain when the tires grip is like velcro
    There's very few feelings like when the trail gives you hero dirt.

    There are no tires that will shed mud as pictured above.
    JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSC View Post
    I was riding on a morning following a cold snap. Most of the trail was frozen, until about halfway, when it started to thaw out with the sunlight. Not like we are bogging up trails on purpose, haha. Sometimes you get halfway through a ride and things turn sour. Lesson learned: don't ride on the trails here in southern Oregon in the early spring

    Also, it was more like every 50 feet. We bailed after a few rounds of cleaning out, and rode straight down a ridge back to the road. Not fun.
    Captain is somewhat tight tread also.

    I really like the Purgatory Front Ground Control Rear combination.
    I don't ride after the rain, but my trails have a bunch of areas that just don't dry out, so I run this combo all year.
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  20. #20
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    If you are picking up the trail with your tire, try not to ride. Everyone gets caught out in less than ideal conditions sometimes. As mentioned, some tires with tall, wide knobs will leave the dirt on the ground where it belongs.
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  21. #21
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    If the temps are hovering around freezing, it's a BAD time to ride. Even if you're a couple deg below freezing, areas in the sun will thaw and get nasty like that. And IME, that type of clay mud you get that's mixed with ice crystals is the absolute nastiest mud you will encounter on a bike. I even avoid hiking in that crap. The simple answer is to ride earlier in the AM or late at night when everything is frozen up. Won't cost you anything in tires...but it might cost you a decent light set.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    If the temps are hovering around freezing, it's a BAD time to ride. Even if you're a couple deg below freezing, areas in the sun will thaw and get nasty like that. And IME, that type of clay mud you get that's mixed with ice crystals is the absolute nastiest mud you will encounter on a bike. I even avoid hiking in that crap. The simple answer is to ride earlier in the AM or late at night when everything is frozen up. Won't cost you anything in tires...but it might cost you a decent light set.
    Where I'm at, it's well below freezing...and then it heats up....fast. Yeah, it had ice crystals, fine grit, and grass woven into it...might as well have been reinforced concrete. Nasty stuff, and I swear it took years off of my drive train.

    First and last time I ever made the mistake.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSC View Post
    Where I'm at, it's well below freezing...and then it heats up....fast. Yeah, it had ice crystals, fine grit, and grass woven into it...might as well have been reinforced concrete. Nasty stuff, and I swear it took years off of my drive train.

    First and last time I ever made the mistake.
    now you're aware of it, you can plan for that and give yourself a little more cushion.

    where I live now, the soil is so sandy there's not much risk from playing with that freeze/thaw boundary. but I know that generally around 8am or so is when the morning temps bottom out and when the sun pops over the treetops around 9-10am, that's when the temps really start to rise. so I have about 1-2hrs after the morning low before things get to warming up.

    as I'm moving north in about a month, I'm going to have to familiarize myself with a new pattern of daily temp swings and soil conditions. I'll be dealing with a similar sort of heavy clay that gets nasty as it thaws and will have to find out what that temp range is that I should avoid to avoid that mud. I dealt with it back in undergrad 10yrs ago but I will have to re-learn it.

    And if you have mountains, it definitely complicates things. You will have things like temp inversions, and the times will differ because you'll be waiting for the sun to peek over the mountains and the elevation and aspect of the trail on the mtnside will make a difference and all that. and yeah, the sun will be higher when it does crest the mountains, so the temp change will tend to be more rapid (IME, from pretty limited time in the mountains).

  24. #24
    CSC
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    now you're aware of it, you can plan for that and give yourself a little more cushion.

    where I live now, the soil is so sandy there's not much risk from playing with that freeze/thaw boundary. but I know that generally around 8am or so is when the morning temps bottom out and when the sun pops over the treetops around 9-10am, that's when the temps really start to rise. so I have about 1-2hrs after the morning low before things get to warming up.

    as I'm moving north in about a month, I'm going to have to familiarize myself with a new pattern of daily temp swings and soil conditions. I'll be dealing with a similar sort of heavy clay that gets nasty as it thaws and will have to find out what that temp range is that I should avoid to avoid that mud. I dealt with it back in undergrad 10yrs ago but I will have to re-learn it.

    And if you have mountains, it definitely complicates things. You will have things like temp inversions, and the times will differ because you'll be waiting for the sun to peek over the mountains and the elevation and aspect of the trail on the mtnside will make a difference and all that. and yeah, the sun will be higher when it does crest the mountains, so the temp change will tend to be more rapid (IME, from pretty limited time in the mountains).
    I'm on one side of a lake, trails are on the other...crazy weather patterns because of it. Yeah, the clay/volcanic tuft dirt is basically a death sentence for components from November till mid April...unless it's really cold and has not snowed for a good 2 weeks. The locals won't touch the place in the winter.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    Here is the worst mud i ever ran into using the tire pictured: It jammed up so bad i could no longer pedal.
    Here is a tip from the world of dirt track racing.. before hitting a muddy trail, spray a light coat of baby oil on the areas of your frame and forks that will get clogged up with mud. For the most part the mud will fall right off and not build up on the bike.


    Disclaimer: Don’t put baby oil on your brakes, seat or grips… Mmkay

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