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  1. #1
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    29er XC race tires with tougher sidewalls

    I purchased my first 29er this fall, and it came stock with Racing Ralph Evo tires. I was running them tubeless on Stan's Arch EX rims. I sliced the front sidewall at Betasso on my very first ride, and I sliced the rear sidewall on Voodoo at Lake Pueblo a couple of months later, neither of which are exactly the most technical trails.

    Any recommendations on lightweight, fast rolling XC race tires in the 2.1-2.2 size range that have tougher sidewalls? Are the Specialized Fast Traks any good? Does tubeless just not work with lightweight tires (neither of the flats would have happened with tubes)?

    I'm planning on racing some of the more technical courses this year like the Whiskey Offroad and Gunnison Growler, and I'm very aggressive on the descents, probably in the top 5% of competitors in the categories I race in.

  2. #2
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    I had the same problem w/ wtb tires that came stock on my Breezer. Went with Geax Saguaro 29 UST, and never a problem. UST have a thicker sidewall.

  3. #3
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    Fast traks are lightweight but you should get the Control, walls are tougher than S works

    I'd go with a Continental Raceking, better traction than Fast trak and definetely stronger.

    Heard great comments of Geax though
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  4. #4
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    For the most part, light tires don't have tough sidewalls - that's partially how they achieve their light weight. UST tires have the burliest sidewalls but are significanly heavier. Check out Pro Tection sidewalls from Continental or EXO sidewall tires from Maxxis. We've had good luck with both of those.

    Most people do not know that popular tire companies offer the same tread pattern now with a couple different sidewall choices.
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  5. #5
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    did those racing ralphs have snakeskin? because I've never been so confident blasting square-edge rocks since getting a set of schwalbe tires with snakeskin sidewalls, those shits have proven indestructible so far. snakeskin/exo/pro-tection, etc. are worth the extra grams IMHO

  6. #6
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    Agree on the Snakeskin. I have been racing the Ralphs with snakeskin side walls and had great results, the weigh penality is minimal.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dthomp325 View Post
    ... sliced the rear sidewall on Voodoo at Lake Pueblo a couple of months later, neither of which are exactly the most technical trails...
    The Lake Pueblo Trails may not be very technical, but that loose rock can be quite sharp. When you go tearing through the corners and it sounds like you're riding through broken dinner plates? That stuff can be hell on tires. I've probably suffered more cuts there than any other single place. I once cut through a Specialized Captain in the middle of the tread, not the sidewall!

    That said, I have had very good luck with Control-level Specialized tires. The S-Works-level tires' casings are paper thin.

    I've also had the best luck with getting Specialized tires to mount up tubeless and consistently hold air. OK experience with a Racing Ralph. Completely gave up on a Conti X-King Protection. If anybody wants one of those with about 200 miles of front wheel wear, let me know. I will make you a deal!
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  8. #8
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    I've run Maxxis Ikon EXO 29er tires for two seasons (four total tires) on Stans rims and had no flats, I'd recommend 'em. Light, fast rolling, and good tread for the Front Range.

  9. #9
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    Hutchinson Toro with hardskin sidewalls 2.35 x 29 (actual width is 2.125)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr View Post
    For the most part, light tires don't have tough sidewalls - that's partially how they achieve their light weight.
    This. And 29'er tires are gonna be heavier than their wee-tired counterparts. Significantly heavier. And if they aren't heavier, the weight has gotta come from somewhere... you can't fool physics.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by drtdogger View Post
    I've run Maxxis Ikon EXO 29er tires for two seasons (four total tires) on Stans rims and had no flats, I'd recommend 'em. Light, fast rolling, and good tread for the Front Range.
    +1...

  12. #12
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    For 2014 the Specialized Grid sidewall is supposed to be much lighter. It is one step tougher than the control sidewall.
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  13. #13
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    29er XC race tires with tougher sidewalls

    Quote Originally Posted by drtdogger View Post
    I've run Maxxis Ikon EXO 29er tires for two seasons (four total tires) on Stans rims and had no flats, I'd recommend 'em. Light, fast rolling, and good tread for the Front Range.
    I ran these on through 2012 and early 2013 and really liked them until they wore out - then I switched to Hans Dampf (stupendous grip but slow). The Maxxis with the EXO where near indestructible. I highly recommend them and my bike was way faster than my ability to push it

    I'd like to go back to them but these days prefer the grip if bigger tires.
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 01-28-2014 at 08:10 AM.

  14. #14
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    Most "top 5%" racers I know figured out what tires work well for them long before making it to the front of the field...

    That being said, Maxxis Ardent front/Ikon rear works for me and I'm no lightweight.

  15. #15
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    I know different people have good luck with some, and bad luck with some. Someone will always tear something that someone else has had great luck with.

    I, personally, have had fantastic luck with all continental protection tires. I've ridden the race king in the rear for the last year now (in addition to the x-king, mountain king in the previous year). Tread is wearing out, the sidewalls are showing thread, but I have not had a single problem...even after riding pueblo just 2 weeks ago...and the tire looks like absolutely sh!t. Been riding tubeless since day one.

    I ran the race king in the rear for the growler last year. No problems with durability or traction...most of the steep climbs are slabs, so race tires out back work just fine.

    Be careful with a race type tire in the front for the growler in case you have not ridden at Hartman's before. I would just plain recommend against it.

  16. #16
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    The problem is using a xc race tire out of its context. Leave the racing bits for the races. Using appropriate equipment for the conditions is more important than saving a few grams of bike weight.

  17. #17
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    Maxxis Ikon's come with the Exo sidewall and are still pretty light: ~600g. Great tire too.
    Blur LT & Highball

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