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  1. #1
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    Tires for dry, dusty conditions

    Hello, I've recently started getting more serious into mountain biking and have been riding on some pretty dry trails. I'm running with Kenda Slant 6s front and rear and find myself sliding out on loose dirt (they are awesome on hardpack and just about everywhere else).

    I've done some research on tires and the options are so mind boggling. So many out there. What tires/tire combination would be recommended for the Texas summers? I'm in the DFW area.

    My main goal is to find a do-it-all tire, something that can grip but not too slow (well I guess that's really what everyone is looking for). But if this summer is like all summers, it's going to bone dry and very dusty - but maybe a bit wet at times.

    I'm leaning toward trying a Kenda Nevegal front and Slant 6 rear since I've heard good things about this combo - that and I already have some Slant 6s. Or maybe just Negevals on front and rear.

    I've also heard good things about WTB VelociRaptors as well as Maxxis Crossmarks. What are your opinions on these tires? Any more suggestions?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Kenda Nevegals are a good choice for the DFW area. I would go with those.

  3. #3
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    Been running a Racing Ralph 2.4 on the front and a Nanoraptor on the rear for years here in DFW area.

    Plenty of traction and no issues with the powder.

  4. #4
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    stay away from kendas if you can afford it, they are very slow rolling
    continental mountain king and schwalbe nobby nics roll faster than an sb8 and have better grip than a nevegal (Long but good thread on tires with actual testing), but they can be on the expensive side...conti x-kings are a little less aggressive and roll just slightly better than the other two with a bit less grip
    i currently run nobby nics f/r

  5. #5
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    Are you running tubeless? I ride hard, packed clay and sometimes sand. I began with tubes on Kenda small block 8's, switched to Bontrager more aggressive tires and when I converted to tubeless the Kenda's were the only tires I had that would fit tight enough to seal tubeless. I dropped the psi to about 30 and now the bike rides very well. The Kenda's are not my favorites by any stretch, but going tubeless and dropping the pressure really made a big difference in performance for me.

  6. #6
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    I ride in Austin and ride 2.35 Nevegals front and back. I dont care about rolling resistance, I just want to be able to corner well and give me good grip on rocks and stuff. The Nevegal on the rear is a pig, but it is very predictable cornering IMO.

    (Plus, I found a deal online a couple weeks back for Nevegals for $12.50 apiece..... Wish I'd bought more than 3 before they sold out.)

  7. #7
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    I don't run tubeless. Maybe when I've got more budget for it. I've been reading reviews on all of the tires suggested and all of them have their downfalls, haha. Go figure. Even my slant sixes have downfalls - but I have already figured those out myself. Well, have to weigh pros vs cons then. Will take some time to do this tomorrow after my exam.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koin View Post
    I don't run tubeless. Maybe when I've got more budget for it.
    I did the conversion, Gorilla tape and Stan's sealant. Cost me about $35 and 1/2 of a Saturday morning. What I like is that I can easily swap out tires and if I don't want tubeless anymore or run into problems, I pull the valves off the rim, throw in a tube and I am back exactly as I was before.

    There are plenty of YouTube videos on Ghetto Tubeless or many bike shops will help you convert with a Stan's kit if you don't want to prep your own rims.

    Anyway, just tossing it out there because i thought the only option was expensive tubeless wheelsets and tires. I used non-tubeless tires/rims and my setup works fine.

    g'luck!

  9. #9
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    Oh wow, didn't know that was possible. I might try that, maybe I can keep my current tires if I do. I like the slant 6s, especially on the hardpack. Maybe just some lower psi would do some good - I'm running at 30-32psi with tubes, had a couple of pinch flats already.

  10. #10
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    Before I did this I looked at several YouTube videos and the different methods they use. When I was comfortable I understood, I went for it and it was fine. The good thing is if there is any problem, you can go right back to tubes.

    Couple of key points I learned:
    Have an air compressor with a tank. I bought a small one for $40 at the pawn shop.

    Buy a quart of sealant, not the small 2oz bottles. You may spill some or do a tire twice.

    I chose the 1.88" wide roll of Gorilla tape sliced in half because each piece will be less than 1" wide and you shouldn't have to trim the edges. You don't want any tape up on the lip of the rim where the tire needs to seal. It all needs to sit down in the valley of the rim.

    If I had to do it again I would not use motorcycle valves, the base is too large. I would buy a pair or Continental tubes online with the fully threaded shrader valves or use Presta with a Shrader rim adapter.

    You might speak to your local shop and just see what they say. Mine wanted me to use a Stan's kit and they would do part of the work. I ended up only using Stan's sealant and not his rim tape.

    All in all for me, it worked out fine. If your tires happen to be a little big and you can't get an air seal tubeless, you might need another set of tires. My stock tires were fine, the set I wanted to use was too loose.

    G'luck!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the awesome tips. I'll be out of town this weekend - taking a break from school - not, Ochem is gonna haunt the entire trip, gotta bring it with me. Maybe next weekend I might try it out. I was thinking of switching to WTB VelociRaptors since they seem to be pretty good all around tires, high on weight and rolling resistance. Then again, perhaps if I try running tubeless, I may be able to get my slant 6s to work better. They are awesome on the hardpack, great cornering, super grip, and fast. Just those dusty corners in the prairie areas...

  12. #12
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    I highly recommend a larger valumn racing ralph. They are pricy but work.

  13. #13
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    Some of the most awesome things I found doing it myself were 1) The front wheel didn't take the first time so I had to do it twice. 2) They lost a lot of air the first 24-48 hours then sealed up. 3) I was scared to death my tires would explode on the trail because I did it myself and 4) after about 50 miles with no more problems, I LOVE that I did it myself and the bike rides awesome.

    it's a process. Enjoy!

  14. #14
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    I'm a big fan of the Rubenas I've been running.

  15. #15
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    Nobby NicsSUCKED!!!!!!

    They lasted about 20 min. sliced and sliced on rocks. Ifyou have rocks just stay away

  16. #16
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    no, they dont....the first incarnation had thin sidewalls in the standard non ust version, but that was remedied a few years back, UST, Snakeskin, and Double Defense tires all have solid sidewalls that wont let you down

  17. #17
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    I had mine about 6 months ago....so they weren't the old kind. They were the snake skin evo. I swear 25 minutes tops the treads were sliced on both tires.. the boom a side wall. Now they rolled awesome... But I would never take them anywhere there was rocks.

    Now I run maxxis highrollers.....ustnot even one slice in 6 months.

  18. #18
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    Having run Nevegals, Blue Grooves, Eskars, Enduros, NoNics, Fat Alberts, Big Betty, Butcher, Trail Kings, and the like down in ATXs loose-over conditions, I've found that (for me/bike/riding/rim/tire profile/casing/pressure - many many variables here keep in mind) I really prefer tubed setups with a Conty Trail King in the back and something like a Butcher or Big Betty up front. The conty has a good casing, the Black Chili rubber compound is the best in the bidness IMO (soft, yet rolls well, much better than a nevegal in this tread pattern, lasts a long time and hooks up like mad in the wet). Second up is the Fat Albert, but Im not sure how the newer compound will last out back. Running the butcher up front now after 4 years on a big betty up front, and I dig it.

  19. #19
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    weird cuz ive ridden them all over TX/AR/CO, in very rocky terrain, for about 3 years now with neve an issue, got any pics of them?
    havent heard many issues with them at all, and they are a favorite of many riders, you must be unlucky

  20. #20
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    Kenda Smallblock 8's are considered "death tires" by most racerbois. They work alright in the rear but don't have enough traction for front use. I suggested Rocket Ron's in the Houston tire thread, and I'll suggest them here again. I ride all over the state on a regular basis and they work fine for me wherever I've been. I am running 29'er tubeless, weigh around 165, hardtail and FS bikes, and run 25psi.

  21. #21
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    Used Kenda Slant Six F/R in the past. Recently just tried Continental X-King Protection 2.2s F/R and couldn't be happier. Very low rr and the grip is astounding. No flats so far.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelly_NH View Post
    Recently just tried Continental X-King Protection 2.2s F/R and couldn't be happier. Very low rr and the grip is astounding. No flats so far.
    New back tire is an X-King 2.4. Holds the bike stand down very well. Will test later this week when new axle comes in.

  23. #23
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    I have been using Schwalbe Racing Ralphs for the past 6 months. These had good traction and not a lot of rolling resistance, but seemed to wear down fairly quickly.

    I have just switched over to Maxxis Crossmarks both front and rear and I am a big fan thus far. Very little rolling resistance but I still feel comfortable while making hard turns into dusty corners.
    When I'm not riding I help beginner mountain bikers learn new skills at Texas Mountain Bike Trails.

  24. #24
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    Side note, in the loose sand on any trail in the area any tire will wash out.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Gillespie View Post
    New back tire is an X-King 2.4. Holds the bike stand down very well. Will test later this week when new axle comes in.
    How's the tire working out?

  26. #26
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    I ride Cameron Park with a Hans Dampf in front & 2.25 Maxxis Ardent in the back. Trails have turned to powder & the Ardent does pretty good. Have both set up ghetto tubeless with no issues. Both tires have reinforced sidewalls.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelly_NH View Post
    How's the tire working out?
    Not completely sold yet. Only have one ride on it and washed out hard once, but it's also on a new bike in ultra dry conditions (loose over hard pack), so at this point the tire's faults could be blamed on operator error. Planning on spending some time at a bike park this weekend and can update after I get more hours on it.

  28. #28
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    i wasnt thrilled with my X-king either, good roller with average grip, but it started tearing knobs off and the sidewalls started rubbing through exposing the threads very early on...exchanged it for a nobby nic

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by clewttu View Post
    i wasnt thrilled with my X-king either, good roller with average grip, but it started tearing knobs off and the sidewalls started rubbing through exposing the threads very early on...exchanged it for a nobby nic
    IMO, it will be great for Houston and Austin (with my riding style), but the mountains are really dry right now. Hasnt rained much at all this year and the trails are like riding on marbles.

  30. #30
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    well, the rocks in Austin were a major culprit in the damage to my tire, this was about a year ago
    it was good for hardpack, but anything loose or rocky not so much
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tires for dry, dusty conditions-conti-x-king.jpg  


  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Gillespie View Post
    IMO, it will be great for Houston and Austin (with my riding style), but the mountains are really dry right now. Hasnt rained much at all this year and the trails are like riding on marbles.
    If you make it over to ATX to ride, we should get together...but marbles abound here. Austin might have been a bit wet, but erosion has really thrashed all the trails.

  32. #32
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    How many times do i need to repeat it?

    If you are a good rider kenda small block 8's is all you need in texas.

    Anything knobbier tells me that you suck.

    Kenda small block 8's are like trail velcro.

  33. #33
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    Haha, Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and the great debate. Lots of opinions here. I've switched the front to a IRC Trail Bear - it's been sitting in a dusty shed for a few years but is still like new, even has the little production nubs still on it; and best of all, it was FREE!!! So I'm running a Slant 6 in back and the Trail Bear up front. So far it's working and has been a very economical solution. Less washouts now. I wish I could afford to try out all of the tires listed.

    I'm not skilled enough to need only SB8s haha. I'm still a bit of a noob, but am slowly getting better.

    Thanks and I look forward to more healthy debating!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by HAL 9000 View Post
    How many times do i need to repeat it?

    If you are a good rider kenda small block 8's is all you need in texas.

    Anything knobbier tells me that you suck.

    Kenda small block 8's are like trail velcro.
    Curious if you've taken those Small Block 8's over to Revielle Peak Ranch. I can't imagine trying those there. I had X-King F/R and was wishing for some larger lugs like a Trail King.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by HAL 9000 View Post
    How many times do i need to repeat it?

    If you are a good rider kenda small block 8's is all you need in texas.

    Anything knobbier tells me that you suck.

    Kenda small block 8's are like trail velcro.
    That's true for Houston which, for you, is all of Texas.

  36. #36
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    Knocked a hole in the center of the tread on he X King yesterday. Stans sealed it up about half way down the run. We were riding in very sharp rocks, but I expected more from a 800+ gram full UST 330 tpi tire.

    Overall, in dry, dusty conditions, the X King sucks.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pelly_NH View Post
    Curious if you've taken those Small Block 8's over to Revielle Peak Ranch.
    like i said works well everywhere here is some hill county action a while back and they stuck like glue at double lake this morning.

    however i must reassess my previous statement about small block 8's and say ride whatever makes YOU happy and what works for YOU.


  38. #38
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    I hear many riders complain about their tires who are just not properly addressing the bike.
    If there is something wrong with the size shape angle or length of any part of the bike then traction can be lost on any tire and any surface.
    Sometimes it's bad posture and other times the stem is too long or seat to far back etc.
    I also believe that a high quality tire can add a lot of ease to finding and keeping traction and resisting environmental breakdown.
    Special purpose tires obviously do best on the intended terrain they were designed.

    Nice looking Bike!
    I love to get out and ride trails that look a lot like that in SA TX.
    I prefer my Specialized Ground Control tires in tubeless over the stock tire;
    esp. for now being able to safely run a lower pressure and it has little more grip.
    The trade off for the extra grip and cushion is more weight and they drag and whail on pavement.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrwhlr View Post
    That's true for Houston which, for you, is all of Texas.
    nope small block 8's work well at barton creek too.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by HAL 9000 View Post
    nope small block 8's work well at barton creek too.
    Maybe on main trail.

    I'm with Mrwhlr. There is a reason we have knobby tires.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero View Post

    I'm with Mrwhlr. There is a reason we have knobby tires.
    Higher volume, lower profile tread is the ticket. Chunky knobs don't do much on big rocks besides squirm around.

    The high volume will help add a bit of cush, put more tread on the trail, and reduce the risk of pinching.

  42. #42
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    HAL back at his ridiculous over-generalizations again...an SB8 will work on any trail, even lift accessed, but it isnt always the best tool for the job

    if you ride hardpack or smooth uniform rock, a micro-nobby like an SB8 is great, but if you are riding anything that resembles loose over hardpack or chunked up rock (especially if riding aggressively, which hal doesnt fall into this category from what i gather from his posts), get some knobs and some volume

  43. #43
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    If I understand it correctly, the large knobs are most needed in mud.
    Medium and small amounts of gap between the treads is sufficient on hard dry surfaces if the rubber compound is sticky enough.
    Results may vary.
    Based on these generalizations the SB8 could work fine on the trail in the photo above.
    However, I do not think it would be the absolute best "special purpose" tire for that environment.
    Last edited by Trail_Blazer; 08-06-2012 at 02:24 PM.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    If I understand it correctly, the knobs are most needed in loose dirt, mud, sand, gravel.
    fify

  45. #45
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    As per usual, Hello Kitty is galactically incorrect.
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

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    It should probably be noted that the performance of a 29" SB8 will generally be better that that of a 26" due to the greater surface area in contact with the ground. Since HAL is riding a 29er, he may have a different view on their performance vs those of us who have ridden 26" SB8's. I loved my 26" SB8's fall through spring. Not so much in a hot, dry summer. The loose conditions get deeper than the tread, and that makes the tread useless.

  47. #47
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    I still maintain that SB8's are death tires, at least on the front. I do have to side with HAL here though in saying that large knob tires simply aren't necessary anywhere in Texas. In fact the whole thought process that started tire companies making big knobbies 20+ years ago has largely changed. The other extreme of paper thin no-tread slicks is also on the outs. ]
    Current "technology" is small knobs, controlled flex sidewalls, and high volume/low pressure, with wider spacing between knobs for wet/muddy conditions. I just got back from a week long Durango trip and my Rocket Rons worked just as well there on the rocks/shale/hardpack/desert as they do here on our state's trails.
    I haven't used big knobs in over a decade and I think I can hold my own with anyone here on "aggressive" riding. Mtb'ers overthink tires. Just find something you feel comfortable with in general and then adapt your riding techniques as conditions change.

  48. #48
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    Rocket Ron's are a knobby tire

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbscott View Post
    I still maintain that SB8's are death tires, at least on the front. I do have to side with HAL here though in saying that large knob tires simply aren't necessary anywhere in Texas. I just got back from a week long Durango trip and my Rocket Rons worked just as well there on the rocks/shale/hardpack/desert as they do here on our state's trails.
    Rocket Rons are knobby tires!
    So your saying knobs are not important because your knobby tires work well all over the state trails?
    I am confused, or maybe you are.
    lol

    I had Rocket Rons too and they did work "ok" but I upgraded for a slightly beefier tire the Specialize Ground Control when I went tubeless.
    I definitely noticed an increase in grip!
    Plus it increased my traction considerably in the loose terrain like mud, sand, gravel, and loose dry dirt.
    The trade off was added weight and slower spin speed on pavement, well worth it to me.

  50. #50
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    I consider Rocket Rons small knobs, semantics I guess.

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