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Thread: PA trail tires

  1. #1
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    Good job! PA trail tires

    Hello all,

    I was going to post a tire question in the Tire forum, but since you all ride where I am going to ride I figured I'd get better answers here.

    I've got a hard tail Cannondale Caffeine 3 frame that I've built up to be (will be) a XC/AM machine. More XC than AM at the moment. (likely to stay that way) But I bought the rims before the frame as my original plan was to get a Santa Cruz Chameleon and run it as an AM/ light FR rig. They're OEM Sun Ditchwitch (Rhino lite XLs I think) and are quite heavy and wide. (non UST)

    I also was originally going to go with a Maxxis Minion DH F/R combo, but now I'm trying to shave a little weight. I would like to be in the 2.1-2.35 range and of course my main terrain is Northeast rocky, rooty, muddy, gnarly, single track. (LOVE IT!)

    What do you guys recommend in that regard for tires? I'm a fan of the idea of running a dedicated front and rear, but I'm not stuck on the idea. Currently I have a WTB Velociraptor front, and a Kenda Klaw XT rear. Both are fairly generic (esp the Kenda) and heavy.

    I'd been looking at Kenda Nevegals, Small Block Eights, and various Maxxis tires. I also had a good feeling for the WTB Weirwolf, and Prowler MX tires.

    I really like WTBs offerings in the Prowler XT, as a rear, and Weirwolf as a front. At a grand total of 1558g (plus tubes/stans) that seems a bit heavy, but I do want a wider more aggressive tire set.

    Knowing PA like you do what do you guys think? I'll be primarily riding in stuff like Blue Marsh Lake, and French Creek as well around my parents place near Kutztown. (Rockland township: rocks, rocks rocks, roots, and more rocks) I'm more concerned about grip and toughness than with weight, but I can't be hauling around a 30+ lb XC bike either.

    Current config for those who want to know:

    Frame:2007 Cannondale Caffeine 3 frame with reducers
    Fork:Rock Shox J1 fork at 80 or 100mm. This piece must GO! It is a big source of weight and barely works. I got it for $5 though so I can't complain. I plan to go no more than 130mm w/ this frame and as such plan to get either a Tora, Recon, or (hopefully) a Revelation. Not sure on coil or air, but it must have travel adjustability. (compression, lock out, and motion control a major plus of course)
    Pit:generic bars and stem. Got these (along with the shifters) from an OEM Iron Horse ht that my store sells.
    Brakes: Avid BB7s w/160mm rotors. Damn good deal on eBay. Needed some TLC, but after that these work flawlessly.
    Drivetrain: OEM/ Shimano Acera 8 spd shifters (got a set of 9 spd XTs on the way!)
    XT front, Shadow XT rear. Love the shadow!
    Race Face Evolve XC X-type crankset. Like it, but would like to get an XT crank eventually.
    Generic SRAM 8 spd cassette with chain. Will be upgrading of course when I go 9 spd.
    OEM Sun Ditchwitch rims. These are OEM spec on the Diamondback Mission 1. They're really wide (29mm) and heavy, but I got a good deal on them, and I originally planned a Hardtail AM/FR bike so...
    Oh and I have an FSA DH-300 post with a crappy Avenir saddle (work for a Diamondback dealer)
    I don't see myself sticking with this frame for more than a couple of seasons as the AM scene is calling me. I ain't rich as you can tell by my component list, but I'm getting there with the bike. I plan to get something like a Santa Cruz Chameleon eventually and go big with the fork options.

    Thanks for reading! I could use a good suggestion on tubes too since I can't afford Stans at the moment. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Inbred Homebrewer
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    Alright - that's a crazy amount of info, but -

    First of all - If you think your current tires are "heavy", DH tires are definitely NOT for you. Your current setup are average weight for XC tires, and are about half the weight of a set of dedicated DH tires.

    It's nearly impossible to find a medium-large volume 'All mountain'-type tire that weighs less than what you have now (~650 - 700 g / tire), and those that do exist have a tendency to flat easily, wear insanely fast, or both. That said, I would worry less about the total weight and more about the performance (i.e. traction), rolling resistance, and durability when choosing tires. Unless you're racing cross-country, who cares about a hundred grams one way or the other?

    As for suggestions? I've been riding all over SE PA for many years, and have been very pleased with the Weirwolf 2.5" as a front tire. It's light, rolls & hooks up well, and durability was great for me. For the rear, I've been partial to DH tires from Intense and Maxxis. The maxxis high roller single-ply w. super tacky rubber was awesome while it lasted, but wore out much too quickly. The older intense FRO 2.35" was great, and lasted a very, very long time until, eventually, the edge knobs would start to peel off. - but, again, those were ~ 1300g (nearly twice the weight of your Kenda Klaw!).

    Currently, I'm using a much lighter set of Hutchinson Barracuda Airlight 2.3s and - so far - I like them a lot. The sidewalls are much thinner than what I'm used to, so it took a while to find the sweet-spot pressure-wise - but no flats to-date. They roll really fast over hardpack for such a knobby tire, and hook up well in loose, to moderately-loose terrain. I only decided to try them because Pricepoint is selling them for $15, but I'm glad I did. At 690g (claimed), I've probably dropped a pound or two of rotating weight.

    FWIW - I also have Rhino Lites. And - 30 lbs is easily do-able on long XC rides, provided the weight you're carrying is worth it.

    Ultimately though, the problem with asking for tire advice is that everyone's always going to tell you what works for *them*, at their weight & for their riding style. What works for me may totally blow for you or anyone else. Trial & error is often (unfortunately) the only way to find the 'perfect' set for you.

    Good luck...

    Quote Originally Posted by Energetik
    Hello all,

    I was going to post a tire question in the Tire forum, but since you all ride where I am going to ride I figured I'd get better answers here.

    I've got a hard tail Cannondale Caffeine 3 frame that I've built up to be (will be) a XC/AM machine. More XC than AM at the moment. (likely to stay that way) But I bought the rims before the frame as my original plan was to get a Santa Cruz Chameleon and run it as an AM/ light FR rig. They're OEM Sun Ditchwitch (Rhino lite XLs I think) and are quite heavy and wide. (non UST)

    I also was originally going to go with a Maxxis Minion DH F/R combo, but now I'm trying to shave a little weight. I would like to be in the 2.1-2.35 range and of course my main terrain is Northeast rocky, rooty, muddy, gnarly, single track. (LOVE IT!)

    What do you guys recommend in that regard for tires? I'm a fan of the idea of running a dedicated front and rear, but I'm not stuck on the idea. Currently I have a WTB Velociraptor front, and a Kenda Klaw XT rear. Both are fairly generic (esp the Kenda) and heavy.

    I'd been looking at Kenda Nevegals, Small Block Eights, and various Maxxis tires. I also had a good feeling for the WTB Weirwolf, and Prowler MX tires.

    I really like WTBs offerings in the Prowler XT, as a rear, and Weirwolf as a front. At a grand total of 1558g (plus tubes/stans) that seems a bit heavy, but I do want a wider more aggressive tire set.

    Knowing PA like you do what do you guys think? I'll be primarily riding in stuff like Blue Marsh Lake, and French Creek as well around my parents place near Kutztown. (Rockland township: rocks, rocks rocks, roots, and more rocks) I'm more concerned about grip and toughness than with weight, but I can't be hauling around a 30+ lb XC bike either.

    Current config for those who want to know:

    Frame:2007 Cannondale Caffeine 3 frame with reducers
    Fork:Rock Shox J1 fork at 80 or 100mm. This piece must GO! It is a big source of weight and barely works. I got it for $5 though so I can't complain. I plan to go no more than 130mm w/ this frame and as such plan to get either a Tora, Recon, or (hopefully) a Revelation. Not sure on coil or air, but it must have travel adjustability. (compression, lock out, and motion control a major plus of course)
    Pit:generic bars and stem. Got these (along with the shifters) from an OEM Iron Horse ht that my store sells.
    Brakes: Avid BB7s w/160mm rotors. Damn good deal on eBay. Needed some TLC, but after that these work flawlessly.
    Drivetrain: OEM/ Shimano Acera 8 spd shifters (got a set of 9 spd XTs on the way!)
    XT front, Shadow XT rear. Love the shadow!
    Race Face Evolve XC X-type crankset. Like it, but would like to get an XT crank eventually.
    Generic SRAM 8 spd cassette with chain. Will be upgrading of course when I go 9 spd.
    OEM Sun Ditchwitch rims. These are OEM spec on the Diamondback Mission 1. They're really wide (29mm) and heavy, but I got a good deal on them, and I originally planned a Hardtail AM/FR bike so...
    Oh and I have an FSA DH-300 post with a crappy Avenir saddle (work for a Diamondback dealer)
    I don't see myself sticking with this frame for more than a couple of seasons as the AM scene is calling me. I ain't rich as you can tell by my component list, but I'm getting there with the bike. I plan to get something like a Santa Cruz Chameleon eventually and go big with the fork options.

    Thanks for reading! I could use a good suggestion on tubes too since I can't afford Stans at the moment. Thoughts?
    [SIZE="2"][/SIZE]"mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  3. #3
    Killer of Chains
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    I previously rode big wide DH tires, and it was a mistake.

    On the soft/rocky PA trails, you'll be impressed by the momentum you preserve in going with a faster tire.

    For the longest time, I was concerned that I'd lose grip going with a "XC" tire, but ultimately, it was my skill level and suspension setup that determined the amount of grip I was getting in the corners, but the lessened rolling resistance is well worth the small change in downhill turn-in and braking ability that is sacrificed.

    I've got a Lefty I may be willing to part with for the right price, if your interested.

  4. #4
    poormtnbkr
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    Continental, Bontrager

    Personally i have come to love the Continental Gravity 2.3(wire bead or Folding it will be lighter and faster than what youre on), There is new conti out with a similar knob pattern called i the Mountain King. Its available as a 2.4 in 29er and 26er. I think that will be the next tire i purchase. Currently i am running the Bontrager Earl, this tires are fast and huge volume at 2.4. They are fast and ride superbly soft but they just dont dig like the gravity.

    In erie there is mud, rock, shale, hardpack, roots, and sand. gotta run an all mountain tire. Hope this helps.
    Keep Your Scene Tight!
    Grow your trails long not wide.

  5. #5
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    Yeah. I just rode about 13 miles here in the Reading area. I started off at the Exeter River trail (flat stone/sandy easy) and then hit the south end of Neversink Mountain's trail system which is a long climb up a gravelly, rooty, trail. It starts out as gravel over hard pack, and ends up as large (fist size or smaller) rocks over loose. I must've spun the back one 20 times. I loved the trail though. I'll see what happens tire wise.

  6. #6
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    Running 2.35 kenda nevegal stick-e's that work really well and I am planning on mounting up a set of the dtc versions on an extra set of wheels to compare the two this season.

    As far as tubes go Poormtnbkr got me using continental tubes and they have been awesome especially considering I don't always land correctly.

    I am considering making the switch to stans as well but Im really lazy when it comes to working on something that is not broken.

  7. #7
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    For Rothrock and Prompton, the Panaracer Rampages served me well. Nevegals, not so good. Ran really high pressure and they came alive.

  8. #8
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    I'll second the Hutchinson Barracuda recommendation. I have the same rims as you and I'm running the 2.35's, which are big, really big, close to 2.5's of other tires. They roll very well and are great in the loose over hard that's so common around here. Not very heavy for their size either.

    Of course, I tend to ride more aggressively than some, so I like the near DH type tires.

    I also think the Nevegal is a great all around tire. Run those on my DH bike.

  9. #9
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    i have a hardtail with rynolites on as well. I ride on alot of different terrain and right now i am running a 2.1 nevegal on back and 2.1 blue groove on front... combo sounds goofy i know but i got a good deal on it. It is actually working pretty good, the nevegal is awesome though, just today i was riding with a buddy and on a loose climb his tires slipped and he had to stop but the nevagal kept its grip. Just some food for thought

  10. #10
    GoCyco
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    Nevagals

    2.35 front / 2.1 rear on the 26er
    2.2s on the 29er

    28-30mm rims
    22 PSI

  11. #11
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    I also have an F3 Caffeine frame. I'm no tire expert so I'll just make one point: I bought a set of Fat Albert 2.35" and they were too fat for the back end. Tire would rub on the front derailleur. So, be careful about the wide ones....

    In the end, I didn't like the FA on the front either. They're really heavy and feels sluggish and doesn't like to turn (gyroscope effect). I had a 90g tube in there too, so I pretty much had the mass minimized.

  12. #12
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    conti vertical pros, conti mtn kings, wtb moto raptors, and schwalbe alberts are very good tires for pa terrain. all of these would probably be a bit lighter than what you're currently running.

  13. #13
    trail addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by Energetik
    Hello all,

    I was going to post a tire question in the Tire forum, but since you all ride where I am going to ride I figured I'd get better answers here.

    I've got a hard tail Cannondale Caffeine 3 frame that I've built up to be (will be) a XC/AM machine. More XC than AM at the moment. (likely to stay that way) But I bought the rims before the frame as my original plan was to get a Santa Cruz Chameleon and run it as an AM/ light FR rig. They're OEM Sun Ditchwitch (Rhino lite XLs I think) and are quite heavy and wide. (non UST)

    I also was originally going to go with a Maxxis Minion DH F/R combo, but now I'm trying to shave a little weight. I would like to be in the 2.1-2.35 range and of course my main terrain is Northeast rocky, rooty, muddy, gnarly, single track. (LOVE IT!)

    What do you guys recommend in that regard for tires? I'm a fan of the idea of running a dedicated front and rear, but I'm not stuck on the idea. Currently I have a WTB Velociraptor front, and a Kenda Klaw XT rear. Both are fairly generic (esp the Kenda) and heavy.

    I'd been looking at Kenda Nevegals, Small Block Eights, and various Maxxis tires. I also had a good feeling for the WTB Weirwolf, and Prowler MX tires.

    I really like WTBs offerings in the Prowler XT, as a rear, and Weirwolf as a front. At a grand total of 1558g (plus tubes/stans) that seems a bit heavy, but I do want a wider more aggressive tire set.

    Knowing PA like you do what do you guys think? I'll be primarily riding in stuff like Blue Marsh Lake, and French Creek as well around my parents place near Kutztown. (Rockland township: rocks, rocks rocks, roots, and more rocks) I'm more concerned about grip and toughness than with weight, but I can't be hauling around a 30+ lb XC bike either.

    Current config for those who want to know:

    Frame:2007 Cannondale Caffeine 3 frame with reducers
    Fork:Rock Shox J1 fork at 80 or 100mm. This piece must GO! It is a big source of weight and barely works. I got it for $5 though so I can't complain. I plan to go no more than 130mm w/ this frame and as such plan to get either a Tora, Recon, or (hopefully) a Revelation. Not sure on coil or air, but it must have travel adjustability. (compression, lock out, and motion control a major plus of course)
    Pit:generic bars and stem. Got these (along with the shifters) from an OEM Iron Horse ht that my store sells.
    Brakes: Avid BB7s w/160mm rotors. Damn good deal on eBay. Needed some TLC, but after that these work flawlessly.
    Drivetrain: OEM/ Shimano Acera 8 spd shifters (got a set of 9 spd XTs on the way!)
    XT front, Shadow XT rear. Love the shadow!
    Race Face Evolve XC X-type crankset. Like it, but would like to get an XT crank eventually.
    Generic SRAM 8 spd cassette with chain. Will be upgrading of course when I go 9 spd.
    OEM Sun Ditchwitch rims. These are OEM spec on the Diamondback Mission 1. They're really wide (29mm) and heavy, but I got a good deal on them, and I originally planned a Hardtail AM/FR bike so...
    Oh and I have an FSA DH-300 post with a crappy Avenir saddle (work for a Diamondback dealer)
    I don't see myself sticking with this frame for more than a couple of seasons as the AM scene is calling me. I ain't rich as you can tell by my component list, but I'm getting there with the bike. I plan to get something like a Santa Cruz Chameleon eventually and go big with the fork options.

    Thanks for reading! I could use a good suggestion on tubes too since I can't afford Stans at the moment. Thoughts?
    If you want a good tire for a lot of conditions, in the 2.3 ballpark, with low weight, I would recommend the panaracer rampages. I don't think you will find many other candidates with such good weight, traction, speed, price at that size. They are not perfect, but a very good rear tire and OK on the front. If you charge corners hard, you may want a little more grip on the front tire.
    You better just go ahead and drop that seatpost down to the reflector... the trail gets pretty rough down there.

  14. #14
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    Maxxis highrollers have always done me well with variety P.A terrain,and their weight is impressive.I've yet to run them in a 2.35 though,and I ride in western PA.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Six Pack
    If you want a good tire for a lot of conditions, in the 2.3 ballpark, with low weight, I would recommend the panaracer rampages.
    I would like to third or whatever it is we are up to on the Rampages, I'm surprised you don't hear more about them. I think they're similar to Nevegal's but with better rolling resistance and the knobs actually stay attached to the tire. It's all I use on either my 29'er singlespeed or 26 full sus. bike.

  16. #16
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    I've had a lot of success running a Continental 2.1 Vapor Protection on the rear and a 2.3 Gravity Protection up front. Conti isn't making the Vapor anymore, unfortunately. I think my next set will be Maxxis Ignitors, also 2.3 front, 2.1 rear. With all the rocks I encounter I like that these tires have some texture between the knobs to help protect the casing.

  17. #17
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    kenda nevegal

    2.35 stick-e... work great on nepa trails.... the bad is the hi rolling resistance especially on dirt/fire roads or pavement... also it seems the sidewall knobs start to chunck off after a whole season of riding...but when riding on the level or downhill singletrack i think they are faster than other tires ive used...price is reasonable as you can sometimes get 2 for around $70..

  18. #18
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    jenson had contintental flow's (2.3) on sale not too long ago for half off, and so far i've been pretty happy with them. they're reasonably light, have good sidewalls, roll well, self-clean pretty well, do great at lower pressures....and since everyone loves pictures...
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  19. #19
    Lev
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    Anyone here rocking Schwalbe Fat Albert or Big Betty? I keep seeing these on more and more rides here on MTBR.

  20. #20
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    I just started riding Maxxis Crossmarks and am sold! They ride so fast it's sickening. That said, I try to avoid the mud so your mileage may vary.

  21. #21
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    Kenda Nevegals

  22. #22
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    I was using Fat Albert 2.35s front and rear, but substituted a Big Betty for the front late last year before a trip the the BC rockies. Both tyres are high volumes, but I'm curious to go back to the Fat Albert on the front, just to see if I notice any difference in "plowability".

    They have pretty decent sidewalls for the weight, and provide good traction in a variety of conditions. My last tyres was Geax Sturdys which were also a good tyre, but the Fat Alberts give better grip, and have stronger sidewalls. I tore a Sturdy sidewall out at High Rocks on what looked like a fairly tame rock, so they fell out of favour.

    The Schwalbes have also held up to a lot of asphalt miles commuting to and from the trails, and with a goodly amount of air, roll admirably on the blacktop. The rolling resistance off-road seems good too, but as I am not known for speed, you should take that with a grain of salt I've read that a Fat Albert front and Albert rear makes for a pretty decent combo too.

    Also, the Nobby Nics in 2.4" are supposed to be pretty zippy while still providing good traction, but possibly at the expense of durability.

  23. #23
    Lev
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    I've been running a 2.5 Weirwolf LT in front and a 2.1 Weirwolf in the rear. Kind of an interesting combo. I wanted to try out the new WTB stuff out there. The LT really hasn't held up as I would've liked. Most of the riding I do is loose rock and gravel, mixed with some dirt.

    The LT washes out a bit too easy for me. With the lower profile tread pattern, I feel like it's better suited for hard pack conditions. It definitely rails on that stuff. Loose rocks and gravel type conditions should probably be dealt with by something with a little bigger profile.

    I'm looking at some Nevegals or Schwalbes for the next setup. I've used Motoraptors in the past and loved 'em.

  24. #24
    No Gansta Lean here.
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    Another vote for WTB Weirwolfs

    Used to be an old school WTB Velociraptor FR/RR kind of guy.
    Then, I was on a big knob kick for a while. Conti Survival Pro 2.3's. They did well.
    But, I got a diff. frame and couldn't do 2.3's any longer.

    Gotta' say, depending on what you can fit, I'm kind of hooked on WTB Weirwolf's now. I ride Rhinolite's and (always) Conti MTB 26 tubes. But, you can stay light(er) weight wise on the tires yet still go big size wise with the Weirwolfs as the Race model comes in a 2.1, 2.3, and a 2.5.

    I think that I may ride pretty aggressively as well but, I can only fit a 2.1 on the rear (which seems larger than most 2.1's) and I run a 2.3 in the front. The larger the better IMO.

    The tread is great all around. Soft enough, and the knobs hook up well on snotty rocks. The only downside that I've found is that they don't shed goopy mud well. But, then again, I really don't want to be out on the trails if the conditions are that bad. (not talking about shedding the occasional soft spot in the trail)

    But, I do know that Amish Matt's set up works great for him. I think that he may run Conti tubes as well.... ;-)
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