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  1. #1
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    what tires for oakland county trails riding???

    I live in waterford, and will be riding all around the area (hopefully) this year. branching out from the treefarm trail that I rode all last year.

    anyways, what tires are recomended for the type of trails we have in this area? I have maxis holyrollers and there ok, just wonder what Im missing out on? with better tires. Im goin tubless soon and figure this would be the time to lighten up the tires and hopefully improve the grip at the same time.


    I ride a hardtail 26" if that matters. ofcourse Im not looking for the lightest tire possible, cause I know that comes hand in hand with durability issues. (flat tires right?) oh, and I try to ride all the rock gardens, logrides, and jumps I can find if that matters also.

  2. #2
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    I ran specialized tires for years. As I got better and faster I started having issues with the front tire washing out in high speed turns. If you look at a specialized tire they have a very square profile which is what causes the sudden loss of traction when you push it. I had a couple of nasty high speed crashes (broke my thumb!) and finally decided to start trying some other tires.

    Last year I tried Kenda Karmas on both front an back. WOW! They roll fast and have great grip. At the limits of traction they are super predictable. They progressively lose traction instead of giving up all at once.

    The rubber compound seems MUCH stickier than the tires I ran before. They also have a much rounder profile. All in all I think they are a superb all-around tire for Michigan. They tend to run smaller than specialized tires (not sure compared to others). I ran 2" tires but this year I'm going with 2.2" which seems to be very close to a specialized 2" tire.

    I also picked up a Kenda small block 8. I think mid season when the trails are dry I'll run that in back. I hear that a Karma in the front with a small block 8 in the back is a perfect dry/hard pack set up for this area. But in the spring and fall I'll probably run Karmas on both ends.

    I also live in Waterford. Have you made it out to Pontiac Lake yet? You have one of the best trails in Michigan in your back yard!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_d
    I ran specialized tires for years. As I got better and faster I started having issues with the front tire washing out in high speed turns. If you look at a specialized tire they have a very square profile which is what causes the sudden loss of traction when you push it. I had a couple of nasty high speed crashes (broke my thumb!) and finally decided to start trying some other tires.

    Last year I tried Kenda Karmas on both front an back. WOW! They roll fast and have great grip. At the limits of traction they are super predictable. They progressively lose traction instead of giving up all at once.

    The rubber compound seems MUCH stickier than the tires I ran before. They also have a much rounder profile. All in all I think they are a superb all-around tire for Michigan. They tend to run smaller than specialized tires (not sure compared to others). I ran 2" tires but this year I'm going with 2.2" which seems to be very close to a specialized 2" tire.

    I also picked up a Kenda small block 8. I think mid season when the trails are dry I'll run that in back. I hear that a Karma in the front with a small block 8 in the back is a perfect dry/hard pack set up for this area. But in the spring and fall I'll probably run Karmas on both ends.

    I also live in Waterford. Have you made it out to Pontiac Lake yet? You have one of the best trails in Michigan in your back yard!


    great. thanks for the info. I'll def. look into those tires.

    nope, I was told pont. lake is too technical for a "beginer" and was fine with just goin to treefarm so far. but this year Im planning on exploring the other trails. yeah Im just south of the airport, so pont. lake is like 5 min.s away. could probably get there in 15min.s on my bike. is it full of hills? I was thinking Id go to hickory glenn to try out my SS.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by irocss85
    great. thanks for the info. I'll def. look into those tires.

    nope, I was told pont. lake is too technical for a "beginer" and was fine with just goin to treefarm so far. but this year Im planning on exploring the other trails. yeah Im just south of the airport, so pont. lake is like 5 min.s away. could probably get there in 15min.s on my bike. is it full of hills? I was thinking Id go to hickory glenn to try out my SS.

    Keep in mind the Kenda Karma's are a fast rolling tire with great hard pack grip and mediocre grip in loose soil or wet soil. All tires are a compromise. It's not possible to be good at everything. If you're relatively confident in your bike handling skills you'll be super happy with them. If you're still not very confident you can go with something like a Kenda Nevegal. That tire has awesome grip on almost any surface or condition. Unfortunately it's also one of the slowest rolling tires out there.

    Hickory Glenn is fun. It reminds me a bit of the tree farm in that it's relatively flat but it has some fun stuff on the trail to keep things interesting. The only thing I don't like about it is it's a little disjointed. It's not just a loop so you have to know where to go. I don't like those kinds of trails because I'm directionally challenged. The people I ride with don't seem to mind trails like that as much as I do.

    You should also plan to hit Island Lake recreation area and Stony Creek. I would do them in that order. Island Lake has two loops and easy to find your way around. You can ride either or both loops. Stony Creek is another disjointed trail. So take a look at the map before you go or go with someone who knows the trail.

    I usually tell beginners to stay away from Pontiac. But if you've been riding the tree farm for a year you should plan to hit it this year. If you get some rides in at Hickory Glen, Island Lake and Stony Creek you should be fine to tackle Pontiac this year.

    Pontiac is nothing like the tree farm. The tree farm is relatively flat, smooth, tight and twisty. Pontiac is hilly, flowing, fast, loose and rocky.

    Pontiac is physically very challenging. You really need to manage your energy. Don't get discouraged if you literally think you're going to puke and your legs cramp up the first time out there. Unless you are in awesome shape, plan to take some rests your first time out. Also you will almost certainly not make all the climbs. If you ride it a few times though you'll be amazed at how much your conditioning increases, how much easier the climbs get and how quickly your times out there will drop.

    Pontiac is as technically challenging as you want to make it. Pontiac can be a super fast trail. If you ride it fast the techinical level increases dramatically. If you make a point to keep it slow the first few rides out there it's not too bad. Just make sure you take a break at the top of the climb if you need it. The downhills are loose, rocky and fast. You don't want your HR to be 200 BPM and your legs to be jello when you tackle them for the first time.

    Just keep your weight back on the downhills and pick a line and commit to it. Keep the speeds slow your first few times until you get familiar with the downhills. But don't go too overly slow. A little bit of speed gives you stability and the energy to roll over obstacles.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_d
    you get familiar with the downhills. But don't go too overly slow. A little bit of speed gives you stability and the energy to roll over obstacles.
    great info. I'll prolly wait till somewhere near mid season, let me get my legs back and my conditioning some. even at tree farms, the first 2 miles are hard(cause it takes me a while to get into my rythem and feel strong again)but then Im good to go and its not soo much work until around 7-8miles in. then I start to get a little winded and lose coordination some due to exhaustion. this year Im hoping to get my cardio better.

    I have a nevegal tire on my SS and yeah I can see why that would be a great tire in loose/wet conditions and why its NOT an ideal tire for dry rides. its really chunky. for now I'll toss those rims/tires onto my 1x9 HT and maybe look to swap out the tires in june/july ish. and go tubless at the same time.

  6. #6
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    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...e.aspx?sc=FRGL

    http://www.treefortbikes.com/product...C-26-x-22.html

    whats the diff. between the "black" kevlar and the K917 kenda karma?

    and why does this one say for mavic ust wheels? actually, thats wht I have is mavic ust crosslands to put tires on. this tread is dif. then the others show.
    http://www.airbomb.com/ItemMatrix.as...0E%B60XE%B6000

  7. #7
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    I think different websites use different descriptions. They all have kevlar beads so don't let that the fact that some descriptions mention kevlar and some don't throw you.

    K917 is just Kenda's model number and that represents all the Karma's regardless of the type. I'm not sure why Jenson's site shows K917 for some variations and not others. It probably just depends on who keyed the item information into their sytstem.

    UST is the tubeless version. They are MUCH heavier so unless you are running tubeless you want the standard DTC version.

    So it boils down to their being 26" version, 29" versions, tubed versions and tubeless versions.

    All the different versions can be seen on Kenda's website (http://www.kendausa.com/en/home/bicy...in/karma.aspx). If you're running tubes and assuming you're on a 26" wheel you want either 212397 (2.2") or 212127 (2.0").

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_d
    I think different websites use different descriptions. They all have kevlar beads so don't let that the fact that some descriptions mention kevlar and some don't throw you.

    K917 is just Kenda's model number and that represents all the Karma's regardless of the type. I'm not sure why Jenson's site shows K917 for some variations and not others. It probably just depends on who keyed the item information into their sytstem.

    UST is the tubeless version. They are MUCH heavier so unless you are running tubeless you want the standard DTC version.

    So it boils down to their being 26" version, 29" versions, tubed versions and tubeless versions.

    All the different versions can be seen on Kenda's website (http://www.kendausa.com/en/home/bicy...in/karma.aspx). If you're running tubes and assuming you're on a 26" wheel you want either 212397 (2.2") or 212127 (2.0").
    thanks but the link didnt work. I'll go to the website though. hopefully they show the weights there I can see. I do have mavic ust rims, and am goin to go tubless, but I plan on using stans sealant anyways so does that mean I dont need the ust tires? I konw the weight of the sealant will offset the weight of the tube that Im not goin to use . but Im curious what the weight diff. between non ust wheel and sealant, vs ust tire and no sealant? dont really have alot of large thorns around my trails (that Ive ever seen yet) and if I tore the tire due to gashing the sidewall on a rock edge suppose sealant woudlnt help in that situation anyways. hmmm, ........

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by irocss85
    thanks but the link didnt work. I'll go to the website though. hopefully they show the weights there I can see. I do have mavic ust rims, and am goin to go tubless, but I plan on using stans sealant anyways so does that mean I dont need the ust tires? I konw the weight of the sealant will offset the weight of the tube that Im not goin to use . but Im curious what the weight diff. between non ust wheel and sealant, vs ust tire and no sealant? dont really have alot of large thorns around my trails (that Ive ever seen yet) and if I tore the tire due to gashing the sidewall on a rock edge suppose sealant woudlnt help in that situation anyways. hmmm, ........
    for some reason my work pc is blocking that link. but I got there the long way.
    http://www.kendausa.com/en/home/bicy...ain/karma.aspx

    yeah that makes it easier.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by irocss85
    thanks but the link didnt work. I'll go to the website though. hopefully they show the weights there I can see. I do have mavic ust rims, and am goin to go tubless, but I plan on using stans sealant anyways so does that mean I dont need the ust tires? I konw the weight of the sealant will offset the weight of the tube that Im not goin to use . but Im curious what the weight diff. between non ust wheel and sealant, vs ust tire and no sealant? dont really have alot of large thorns around my trails (that Ive ever seen yet) and if I tore the tire due to gashing the sidewall on a rock edge suppose sealant woudlnt help in that situation anyways. hmmm, ........
    To be honest I've never run tubeless. Every time I compare the pros and cons I just can't see any justification. Don't let my bias sway you though. I think the only way to really know is to try it yourself.

    But in case you're interested, here's why I've never tried them. Supposedly tubeless is lighter. But everytime I do the math, I don't see them being lighter than a light tubed tire like the Kenda Karma. The UST tires are WAY heavier. In the case of the Karma, it's almost 300 grams heavier! That's alot when you consider the non-UST tire is 455 grams. If you run non-UST tire with sealant the difference in weight is the difference between the weight of the tube and the weight of the sealant. I've never weighed the sealant but that has to be within a few grams I would imagine.

    Supposedly you can run lower pressure with tubeless. I have never had a pinch flat. I don't have a desire to run less pressure than I do (30 - 40 depending on conditions). I run the highest pressure that gives me good traction. So I see zero benefit here for me. I'm a pertty light rider though, For heavier riders pinch flatting on tubes might be a real issue and tubeless might be a legitimate improvement in that case.

    Thorn protection (when using sealant)- This is a non issue for me in Michigan. Maybe I'm just lucky but in the last 6 years of riding I've racked up thousands of miles on the local trails and have never had a flat due to a thorn.

    Cost - Tubeless is generally more expensive.

    Hassle - Tubes are easy. I read post after post about "I can't get my tires to seal". Or people complaining about cleaning sealant out, etc. I'd rather just keep it simple and avoid any unecessary hassle and headache.

    Changing flats - The bottom line is, it's always going to be a bigger problem with a tubeless tire. I can change a tube in 2 minutes or less and be back on my way.

    My views on tubeless tires always seem to be in the minority but in the May 2011 edition of Mountain Bike action they have an article talking about technologies that are here to stay and technologies that are fads. They say, "The tubeless revolution has fizzled" and "Tires and tubes will still float the majority of mountain bikes on the trail for the foreseeable future". So I guess someone finally agrees with me!

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