Front tire width
Hopefully this has not been asked before and I missed the thread. Iíve heard some discussion about a larger tire width in the front is beneficial. Anyone have a larger tire width in the front? If so, what are the benefits? Also, what width is good?
Generally, benefit of wider front tire is going to be a larger contact patch. This means grip in the turns. Its easier to compensate for your rear tire washing out (fishtail) than your front. Generally, a wider tire will have more volume as well. This is the tire that hits obstacles first and will push force directly into your arms. More volume can dampen that a touch.
That all said, there isn't any problem running the same size tire front/rear. Some ppl will just run a knobbier front and faster rolling rear. Although, generally a smaller tire is lighter. Running it in the rear helps because thats the tire your spinning around with each pedal stroke.
You're spinning both wheels around with each pedal stroke, as long as they are both on the ground. If the rear wheel is spinning faster, it means you're slipping and at that point the weight of the tire is not your primary concern.
The size of the contact patch depends on the pressure. Wider tires have a different shaped (wider and shorter) contact patch, which enables them to roll better at any given pressure. If you lower the pressure a bit, you get a larger patch -> more grip, but still better rolling than a narrow tire.
Why do people use narrower tires then? A: Weight and air resistance. That's it.
I run the same size front and rear, but having a different tread is very much worth considering. Knobby front and rolling rear is a good starting point, as jetboy23 mentioned.
Here is an article that explains the science behind what your saying.
Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko
Rolling Resistance | Schwalbe North America
I prefer 2.1's over 1.9's because they feel more stable in the corners and over rough terrain.
Wider tires have a couple distinct advantages on the front:
-Wider contact patch to grip while turning or leaning the bike over
-More comfortable and more flexible PSI when running a rigid fork.
-Better float over sand patches
I like to ride a front tire that has a reenforced outside "cleat" knobby for when I lean the bike over through corners. You can maintain speed through corners without the loss of grip. The Ignitor and the Conti X King are probably two of my favorites because they don't have a significant gap in the transitioning section of the knobs from the mid to the edge.
Just keep in mind that tire tread design and pattern is just as important if not more important that size/volume. A Conti Race King 2.4 will not have anywhere close to the same amount of bite as a front tires as a Conti X King 2.2.
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I run different size front and rear on my SS. Currently, a 2.3 Exiwolf up front, and a 2.1 nano on the rear. This combination has worked really well for me (for all the reasons mentioned) but I've been giving some consideration to going larger all the way around (2.4, 2.25) on my next set.
2.1 weirwolf rear, 2.3 bronson front....SS Rigid...all tubeless too
A lot of frames have limited clearance for the rear tire so you can't run a fat tire in the back. Another reason to run a fat front and narrower rear tire is that it will slacken your geometry a little bit by raising the front relative to the rear since tire height is usually relative to the width. Also, the front tire takes most of the hits when going downhill and is responsible for the majority of your braking. And finally, sometimes you want the rear tire to break loose before the front, especially on a hardtail. So for all those reasons and maybe a few more, I run a 2.3 Rampage up front on my SIR9 and a 2.1 Ignitor on the back.
2.4 F+R for rigid riding in the southeast. Add some cushion for your pushin!
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