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  1. #1
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    Tires for the North Shore - RM Element BC Edition

    Hey All,

    So I've had half a dozen rides on the new 970 Element and one of the things that's become readily apparent is the lack of traction at the rear from the Continental X King 2.2 tire. Front grip ain't so bad funny enough.

    Every ride, barring one where it was dry and frosty, was a bit damp (or downright damp) and the Conti tires are just not quite beefy enough.

    I've had several recommendations - based on where you shop and what kind of tires they sell..duh. At first I was leaning towards a Conti Trail King, but then I heard some quality control issues have arisen (blistering, wobbles etc).

    Maxxis High Roller IIs/DHR IIs and Schwalbe Hans Dampfs (followed by Kenda Nevegals) seem to be leading the recommendations. I'll probably get something heavier/stickier/tractionier for the winter, and keep the lighter X Kings for summer/dry. Chances are I'll keep tubes in 'em so I don't have to deal with the tubeless mess. I'm not in the market for a second set of wheels at this point.

    I have a couple of quick questions;

    - I have lots of clearance in the front to run pretty big tire. I'm a bit more concerned about running a 2.3 or 2.35 in the rear. Anyone running a 2.3 or 2.4 in the rear of their element? As far as I know, the aluminum rear end on my bike has more clearance than the full carbon...but I don't want to risk it.
    - Anyone else on the shore riding a tire they really like? Specialized Ground Control? WTB? A tire recommendation from Sedona is appreciated, but probably not of the same value.

    Thanks!

    Quinn

  2. #2
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    Skip the X-Kings, the Mountain King 2.2 II Protection with Black Chili Rubber are great for 9-10 months of the year (or any of this winter too). Still reasonably light and fast rolling. I've been running them on my Instinct.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  3. #3
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    Re: Tires for the North Shore - RM Element BC Edition

    I went from always running Maxis DHR/DHF for the last 6 years or so, to the stock Mountain King 2.4 protection black chillis that came with my 2013 Slayer.

    I figured that I'd swap the tires to the usuals right away, but ended up riding the MK's for 4 days and liking them.

    The MK has a softer sidewall that I can feel in the corners and it doesn't step into a drift the same way, but they feel like they ride lighter and with less rolling resistance than the DHF/DHR. So plusses and minuses IMHO.

    A full season on and I never did end up swapping the tires out.
    Last edited by iscariot; 01-25-2014 at 11:04 PM.

  4. #4
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    Seems like the Contis run small? 2.4 more like a 2.2? Your experience?

  5. #5
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    Conti sizing is a bit out to lunch. The Mountain King II and X-King run small, the Race King is about right, and the Trail King is huge.

  6. #6
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    Conti's a bit inconsistent about that. Race King 2.2 in 26" are closer to 2.4" casing size, but the Mountain King Protection 2.2" in 29" tires are skinny, just 51mm wide across the knobs.

    The guys at Different Bikes who ride 29er's like the winter time combo of a 2.35" Schwalbe Hans Dampf in the gummy rubber for the front and a Maxxis Minion DHR II in the back. Not that fast rolling but very grippy on wet wood.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  7. #7
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    That wet wood thing is a *****. I was out in the endowment lands with my little guy this afternoon, and even those roots are slippery.

  8. #8
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    That's where the Black Chili rubber makes such a difference. On 26" wheels for at least 10 months of the year, Race King Supersonic 2.2 are still my 'go to' tire. Great grip on wet surfaces, but they are challenged in deeper squidgier mud. In mud season I switch to Mountain King Supersonic 2.4 (same size casing as the RK 2.2 - just bigger sideknobs). I am constantly astonished at how much grip the Race Kings have in Black Chili compound.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  9. #9
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    That's a good recommendation. Maybe some MK IIs protection in the bigger 2.4 might be a solution.

    At Lynn Valley bikes, they were initially recommending the Trail Kings, but had a lot of warranty issues, so have moved to the Maxxis HR II and the DHF/DHR II package.

    John Henry bikes were suggesting the Schwalbe Hans Dampfs.

    Either way, I'd like to get as much information as possible before dropping nearly $100 per tire! Crazy!

    As much as I love the LBSs, I think for the price I might have to consider some online orders. Saving $60 or more on a pair of tires is substantial.

  10. #10
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    Different said the Hans Dampf are super sticky on the rear but wear incredibly fast, so they combine the Maxxis DHR for decent wear, with the extra grip of the Hans Dampf on the front to avoid rude surprises on roots, bridges and log crossings.

    Quote Originally Posted by qduffy View Post
    That's a good recommendation. Maybe some MK IIs protection in the bigger 2.4 might be a solution.

    At Lynn Valley bikes, they were initially recommending the Trail Kings, but had a lot of warranty issues, so have moved to the Maxxis HR II and the DHF/DHR II package.

    John Henry bikes were suggesting the Schwalbe Hans Dampfs.

    Either way, I'd like to get as much information as possible before dropping nearly $100 per tire! Crazy!

    As much as I love the LBSs, I think for the price I might have to consider some online orders. Saving $60 or more on a pair of tires is substantial.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  11. #11
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    Not sure of the price for the maxxis HR2 but one of my riding partners has them and swears by them. I am running a Trail King 2.2 black chilli on the front of my Slayer and a Minion DHF on the back. i have(had) a DHr on the back but switched it out as it didn't corner nearly as well as the DHF.
    There are some good local buys on P**bike right now for just the tires you are refering to.

  12. #12
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    Cool. The Maxxis tires all feel really beefy and heavy...Schwalbe too. The Contis feel lighter - not sure if that translates to reliability or not. I'm definitely more of a technical cross country rider, but not a weight weenie. A couple hundred grams won't kill me. And a bit more volume might be nice too - I went down Empress Bypass the other day, and it was pretty bumpy. At the very least, I'd like to consider a size increase from the 2.2 Contis to a 2.3 or 2.4 equivalent and maybe run a couple of PSI less pressure.

    I think the Maxxis HR2s were about $95 at Lynn Valley Bikes - which seems like a great store. At that price I'm going to be committed to it for a while.

    Has anyone had experience with Michelin? It might be interesting to try a new tire just to get some new collective experience for the group.

    Quinn

    Quote Originally Posted by team ti View Post
    Not sure of the price for the maxxis HR2 but one of my riding partners has them and swears by them. I am running a Trail King 2.2 black chilli on the front of my Slayer and a Minion DHF on the back. i have(had) a DHr on the back but switched it out as it didn't corner nearly as well as the DHF.
    There are some good local buys on P**bike right now for just the tires you are refering to.

  13. #13
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    I have ridden the michelin wild rock'r 2 and it's a fantastic tire. Comparable to the HR2 3c up front. Vitalmtb had a great review up on the Michelin wild rock'r as well. Weird how Pinkbike gets the * treatment...

    Edit: nevermind I guess that dude did it himself.... odd

  14. #14
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    I have a pair of Michelin Wild gripr 2.25 on my element 29 right now. Only 2 rides so far but roll well ,decent cornering. Slightly shallow tread so wont be good in the really deep slime but was fine down Neds and Severed post rain I have found that tire pressure is more crucial to traction than the actual tire. I am amazed at some of the pinner xc tires my ride companions use because they are too lazy to change them out! Skillz trump technology everytime. Try messing with your psi and going tubeless if you haven't already. You might surprise yourself . Also, I don't recommend Nevegals. Might have been good 15 years ago but the new designs and compounds outroll and outstick these dinosaurs by a long shot. Grippy but really really slow.

  15. #15
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    I was up there in the fall on one of Wade Simmons rides, and asked him this same question after seeing how poor my Ardents were doing on the wet and steep stuff. Wade and the other locals we were with all recommended Maxxis Minion DHF tires for the front and rear.

    So far I've been pretty impressed with how grippy they are, though like any sticky tire, they do roll a bit slower too.
    Tarekith.com

    '12 RM Slayer70, i9 Torch, Flow EX, XT Brakes, 5050 s3.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the feedback. You're right about the tire pressures - I started high (like 50psi!) and I'm down to 30/32 f/r by my gauge's measurements. I could probably take a few more psi out again. I've got Stans ready to go, but haven't made the leap yet.

    And there's definitely something to be said for practice. I'm a decent climber, but I could be always be better, still I'm finding these tires pretty sensitive to spin out in the smaller rings.

    Quote Originally Posted by team ti View Post
    I have a pair of Michelin Wild gripr 2.25 on my element 29 right now. Only 2 rides so far but roll well ,decent cornering. Slightly shallow tread so wont be good in the really deep slime but was fine down Neds and Severed post rain I have found that tire pressure is more crucial to traction than the actual tire. I am amazed at some of the pinner xc tires my ride companions use because they are too lazy to change them out! Skillz trump technology everytime. Try messing with your psi and going tubeless if you haven't already. You might surprise yourself .

  17. #17
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    That'd be intimidating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarekith View Post
    I was up there in the fall on one of Wade Simmons rides, and asked him this same question after seeing how poor my Ardents were doing on the wet and steep stuff. Wade and the other locals we were with all recommended Maxxis Minion DHF tires for the front and rear.

    So far I've been pretty impressed with how grippy they are, though like any sticky tire, they do roll a bit slower too.

  18. #18
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    RE: Tires for the North Shore - RM Element BC Edition

    They recommend Minions for the element? Would there be a rear clearance issue?


    Sent from my Lumia 920 using Board Express

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Zoidberg View Post
    They recommend Minions for the element? Would there be a rear clearance issue?


    Sent from my Lumia 920 using Board Express
    We were talking about Slayers and Altitudes, didn't realize the Element had that much less clearance.
    Tarekith.com

    '12 RM Slayer70, i9 Torch, Flow EX, XT Brakes, 5050 s3.

  20. #20
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    The clearance looks okay back there, but my rims won't handle more than a 2.35 (or so they say).

    The full carbon elements have less space than the aluminum rear elements like mine.

    I'm thinking a full volume 2.2 would still be fine.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by qduffy View Post
    The clearance looks okay back there, but my rims won't handle more than a 2.35 (or so they say).

    The full carbon elements have less space than the aluminum rear elements like mine.

    I'm thinking a full volume 2.2 would still be fine.
    IDK, the oem Aspen 2.1 on my 950 has left tire rub marks on the seat stays and i run them at ~35 psu.

  22. #22
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    I'm running a 2.35 Nobby Nic on the rear with no clearance issues. Not normally a great winter tire usually but this winter it has been fine. Up front I have a 2.3 Specialized Purgatory and have been really impressed. I'd planned to swap it out for a Hans Dampf like I have on my other bike but haven't felt the need.

  23. #23
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    Hey folks,

    So I opted for a pair of Schwalbe Nobby Nics in a 29x2.25. North Shore Bike Shop had a sale on Schwalbes for $125 a pair - and that felt like a price where I could afford to experiment. They have a couple more sets, including Hans Dampfs, as well if anyone is interested, and lots of Maxxis (all kinds and lots of 29er sizes) at $75, which is $20 less than any other store I've found in Vancouver. https://www.northshorebikeshop.com/ I've had a heck of a time finding stores with stock in any tire in 29x2.2 or 2.25 - I was initially leaning towards Continental Trail Kings or Mountain Kings, but could only find them online.

    I mounted the NN tubeless. That process was pretty straightforward, although I couldn't mount them with a floor pump and had to pull out the compressor. I found the best result was to pull the valve core and use my small nozzle air blower to push a lot of air directly into the stem. The tires seated nicely after this and sealed first try with some Stans.

    I had the bike out today (Monday holiday here in BC) up in the Richard Juryn trails and Circuit 8 then down Baden Powell/Lilloet trails in about the worst tire conditions possible; pouring rain and remnants of ice from our recent cold snap covered off-camber roots and mossy rocks. Slick as sh1t so to speak. Before even leaving the parking lot I could feel the increased traction, but also the stickiness and drag under acceleration on smooth surfaces. Whether that's a result of riding tubeless for the first time or the increased tackiness of the tires I can't say, but I found out about 20 minutes into the ride that I'm going to be trading traction on technical climbs for less efficient climbing elsewhere.

    My Element felt like a completely new bike at first - like it was more plush and had an extra inch of suspension travel. I'd be tempted to add a few psi back into the rear shock in fact. I rode it with a lot more confidence too once I started to get the feeling of the rubber.

    The traction on the NN compared to the previous X Kings was dramatic - because I had ridden this same loop a couple of weeks ago, I was able to get a real back to back comparison, and in places where the Contis spun out, the Schwalbes got me up an over no problem. They braked well too - almost no skidding at any point. I know it seems obvious, but I've never felt such a dramatic difference in tires - definitely stickier, but also slower than the Contis. I think that's a tradeoff I can live with. In fact, I feel like I'm no longer 'equipment' limited on the climbs - now I'm just skill limited.

    We'll see how the long term reliability sorts itself out as that seems to be one of the oft-cited issues in reviews. And while it's only one ride in, the differences between old and new tires is immediate and objectively improved in almost all measurable categories except rolling resistance.

    Next time or next season - maybe some Maxxis or those Continentals for another data point of comparison.

    Quinn

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