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  1. #1
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    Hans Damf Review. Clear cut. Least favorite tire.

    The cliff notes: I really dislike this tire in almost every way.

    Now the full dilly. I'm a software developer so first some specs.

    Me: 33yo advanced rider. Talented in technical terrain. Average climber compared to other advanced like riders in my area.
    Location: ColoradBRO.
    Bike: Santa Cruz Bronson.
    Tires: 2.35 Pacestar rear 2.35 Trailstar rear.
    Some tires i like in loose order: Minion, Trail King, Ardent, Advantage, Rampage
    Beer: IPA. Nothing wheat-like or belgian.


    I had high high hopes for these ties. People really dig these things and for the flipping price they should be freaking orgasmic. The reality was from day one I never really liked them. Prior to these I had a 2.4/2.2 Conti trail Kings. The 2.4 is massive and sticky.

    I live on the Front Range. We have a whole lot of rocks. Much of it is Pikes peak granite often loose, sometimes sharp and rubbly. Sometimes big and slabby. We also have some fast buff stuff. The HD just never felt grounded. I thought at first I was just not used to them however I still don't trust them. They've gotten worse actually (more on that in a minute). Never felt like I knew when they were going to let go in the loose corners and didn't hang on to off camber rocks like the contis did.

    Sadly, It get's worse...

    Then the side knobs started to rip off making them even more unstable.

    Then I put a hole in the front tire that stans wouldn't.

    Then I gashed the rear tire sidewall.

    Durability is not good. I'd say tread wear is low average at best. To be fair, nothing lasts long around here. I'm pretty "whatever" on tread wear but would like it if those knobs I use to corner would stay on. The hole and sidewall gash could have been bad luck I guess.The pictures bellow are after ~550 miles or 3 months. The knob thing started at like 100.

    So what do I like? They're light! Oh wait, perhaps that part of the problem? They roll well.

    Hans Damf Review. Clear cut. Least favorite tire.-img_5268.jpgHans Damf Review. Clear cut. Least favorite tire.-img_5277.jpgHans Damf Review. Clear cut. Least favorite tire.-img_5271.jpg
    Last edited by Jwind; 06-27-2014 at 11:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the review and photos---those photos certainly tell the tale. Ouch.

  3. #3
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    Specs:
    Me: late 40's decent rider
    Location: New England roots and rocks
    Tire: Hans Dampf 2.35 Trailstar F & R

    I liked the tire when I rode it on my Ibis HD, but I had some of the same issues. First I never had issues with the sidewall, I actually think their snakeskin is incredibly durable, especially compared to the Specialized tires I ride. I also never had puncture issues, But I was tearing side knobs off mine in the 4th ride, way less than a hundred miles, lots of off camber roots and rocks. Then they stared oozing Stan's after a few months, without there being tears, punctures or any type of hole. My terrain doesn't have thorns or issues like that, but it has rocks that seem wear out sidewalls and show threads on my Specialized Tires. Since tubeless, 5-6 years ago, I've only had 2 flats. For me.... they were not worth the money.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    I had the same undercutting issue on the side knobs. It is a well known problem on those tires. I thought they handled like better rolling Nevegals until the undercutting started to occur. I have since gone back to the trusty Minion.

  5. #5
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    Haha, do a search - there's volumes on this stuff in this forum section (many similar posts by me on the exact same experience). Could have saved you the trouble!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  6. #6
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    I liked my Dampf and the only reason I took it off was to save it for when the ground was softer to save the knobs.

    I had 60 miles on the tire when I started the ride where the knob tearing occurred. Incredibly short life tire, that's for sure. If they fixed that issue, I'd keep the tire on. For now, High Roller 2 it is.

  7. #7
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    Jwind, I have same issues with Nobby Nic, 29 x 2.4. It is a fun high volume tire but wears fast. Knobs rip off, look worn after about 15-20 hours. Great tire for wet, if I won lottery I would buy these again. Seriously, I continue to go back to GEAX GATO (29 x 2.3 TNT and 26 x 2.3 TNT) every summer for volcanic dry NORCAL rocky sections. I just don't poke holes in these Geax tires. Geax Goma looks to be good, I have 26 x 2.4 TNT GOMA but have not tried yet as I am running half bald GATO in Downieville with no problems.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    Haha, do a search - there's volumes on this stuff in this forum section (many similar posts by me on the exact same experience). Could have saved you the trouble!

    G MAN
    There's also lots and lots of positive reviews on this tire and all sorts of fan boys. Can't knock em till you try 'em.

  9. #9
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    too much transfer knob, not enough side knob for my likes. Not into that style of tire. I can't help but think its a tire for people who like the bike to lean for them (altho I know some good riders who like it)
    friends don't let friends Fred

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    too much transfer knob, not enough side knob for my likes. Not into that style of tire. I can't help but think its a tire for people who like the bike to lean for them (altho I know some good riders who like it)
    THIS^

    I think it's the perfect tire for novice to intermediate weekend warriors that haven't mastered the art of really laying the bike over aggressively in corners. The multitude of transition knobs give the user a firm grip even at slight lean angles which is confidence inspiring. I will say this though, the huge volume and round profile works very well in slower tight rocky technical sections to protect the rim while providing good grip.

    Jwind, you have to be able to read between the lines when reading the "positive" reviews (look for reviews from riders of similar abilities and in similar riding conditions).

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  11. #11
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    Yody, what are you running for tires these days, what have you tried last few years?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwind View Post
    The cliff notes: I really dislike this tire in almost every way.
    LOL! You're not going to make friends with the fan boys with that attitude.

    Here's my mini rant about that dung donut here back on 3-30-2013:

    Quote Originally Posted by steiny View Post
    I just got done putting about 250 miles on the Hans Dampf Trailstar as a front tire and hated it from the first ride. The tire is getting so much hype. It actually looks like a great tire on paper and the aggressive tread and decent volume really appealed to me. But the thing just washes out in every challenging turn - especially if the turn is loose over hard. Way worse than the Ardent. The HD outside knobs are too tall and not properly supported so they tend to bend is part of the problem. Also, the tire has lots of chunks missing from the intermediate knobs and the outside knobs were already starting to get undercut after just 250 miles - which is less than 2 weeks for me! Um hello, I need a tire that lasts longer than 4-6 weeks, please. And at those ridiculous prices, what a joke. Maybe if you only ride 10-20 miles a week and live in a wet climate they might last half a season, but it they are a no go for SW desert type riding.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    I will say this though, the huge volume and round profile works very well in slower tight rocky technical sections to protect the rim while providing good grip.
    It is pretty big and round for it's weight. Just went back to a Conti Mountain King 2.4 in the front. Far bigger. Far grippier. Far sturdier. I hit my rim more than expected with the HD in places I most certainly did not with the MK.

  14. #14
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    I also HATED this tire (and the nobby nic I bought with it for the rear). Mine were 29x2.35's, trailstar front, pacestar rear I think. PNW conditions.

    The first thing I noticed was how slow rolling they are for their weight. To the comments here about too much transition/not enough side support, maybe that would be excusable if they rolled fast... not no. Beyond rolling slow, they also prone to packing up with mud/loam in wet conditions. They are slow, corner poorly (maybe they "steer" great if that's your style) and wear out way too fast.

    For 29'er tires, I think the specialized grid butcher/purgatory combo is really hard to beat. SImilar weight, rolls faster, clears mud better, and corners way better if you lean the bike over (which is really the only way to get a long AM 29'er to turn, lol)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    For 29'er tires, I think the specialized grid butcher/purgatory combo is really hard to beat. SImilar weight, rolls faster, clears mud better, and corners way better if you lean the bike over (which is really the only way to get a long AM 29'er to turn, lol)
    This is the combo I use on my Enduro 29er now, except its the control version not the grid.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    Yody, what are you running for tires these days, what have you tried last few years?
    Ran Minion exo 2.5 up front for quite some time, with a variety of rear tires for diff conditions. I'm now on Specialized Butcher 2.3 control front and pugatory grid 2.3 rear and love it. Nice n light, but sturdy, good tread, casing size etc.... Not quite up to par for nasty terrain/shuttle runs. I'd like to get a set of WTB vigilante team edition for that, but I dont' wanna shell out the money. I also have a butcher 2.5 sx casing for the front for shuttles.
    friends don't let friends Fred

  17. #17
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    I rode Downieville yesterday on the HR2 and was not impressed.

    I'm tearing knobs off after only 3 rides, one of which was a 10 mile TAME xc ride for me to burn off the glaze from the manufacturing process. My Hans Dampf lasted 2x as long before tearing knobs and that's saying something!

  18. #18
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    is it a Max Terro HR2?
    friends don't let friends Fred

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    is it a Max Terro HR2?
    29x2.3 3C model, Maxx Terra.

    The rear is a dual compound model and looks brand new even after getting dragged through sharp rocks... kinda shocked to see visible wear on the front and even tearing knobs when the rear looks so new.

  20. #20
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    Funny, Minion. I am loving almost exact same tire, geax Neuron 2.5 TNT. About 1100 grams but bomber for sure. Hard to get away from it, I just pedal harder. These two tires have almost identical tread.

  21. #21
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    Max Terra is 42a compound, super soft, its a race tire. They will always do that.
    friends don't let friends Fred

  22. #22
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    Isn't there a max grip and super tacky version (26 only maybe?) that are softer rubber? I thought 42a was their softest and not what's on the 3C. I could be wrong though but thought 3c was middle of the road for softness with 1-2 options harder and softer on either side

  23. #23
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    Here's my review of the HD as a front, plus bonus read of XR4 rear.

    In my quest of quicker rolling and better rear traction, I recently installed a Hans Dampf TS (2.35") to the front and a Bontrager XR4 Team issue (2.35") to the rear. Rode today on fast single track ranging from a paved climb, to semi-dry, rock garden, roots, to mud towards the end. I must say this combo rolls very fast on the downs and I found myself scrubbing speed ALOT more than before.

    My opinion of the Hans Dampf TS compound (as a front): I think it has it's place on dry only, mostly hard pack to medium soil conditions. It did well on hard-soft-semi loose soil, but it was terrible on off-camber roots and rocks. I adjusted pressures anywhere from 25-19 and back to the best feel at 23.5 psi. It was crazy worse below 21psi and deathly at 19psi. One thing I noticed significantly different with the Hans was the tires "rebound" characteristics. It seemed to "pop" off every baby head, root, rock regardless of pressures. It lacked very much the "absorption" characteristics of the HR2 and even the previous Ardent. It does have a noticeably stiffer sidewall which I'm sure has nearly all or most to do with this.

    My opinion of the Bontrager XR4 team issue (as a rear): Set it at 26psi and never looked back or felt the need to mess with it. It was a substantial improvement over the previous Ardent. Most noticeably was the amazing braking capabilities, it offered WAY better braking control and did not skid nearly as easily as the Ardent. It refused to drift out easily under braking while cornering like the Ardent. It will drift for you but you need to tell it to. If you want an easy drifter, get the Ardent for sure. The Bonty's cornering was SUPERB and never once got a feeling it wanted to completely let go and never even once scared by a partial wash. It performed fairly well on off-camber roots and rocks but did slide off but sustained its grip better than the Hans (obviously for a rear tire it is hard to gauge as it just follows and has a tendency to slide of this stuff anyway). It climbs VERY well both on the road and trail. Did not break traction once on soil but did once on a wet slick rooty section, however, I know I could have cleared it by adjusting technique but wanted to see what the tire was capable of.

    Overall, I will save the HD for maybe dry but most likely NO trails with minimal technical "rocky" sections. The HR2 will definitely go back on for the PNW trails that seem to have slime even in the summer. The XR4, now this is a *****in tire. I found a new rear tire that rolls better than the Ardent and brakes and corners significantly better.

    Set up tubeless on WTB i25 wheels.

  24. #24
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    My two bits on the 29 Evo HD:
    Schwalbe, cracks, and warranties

    Schwalbe makes a nice cruiser tire.

  25. #25
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    XR4 - x2... Light, huge volume, tough, fast, meaty and nicely supported side knobs.

    In fact, I just bought a 650b XR4 TLR Team Issue to have sitting on the shelf when my HD 2.35 Trailstar kicks the bucket. (This HD is not going to make it a full season... even on the front).

    I, too, live on the FR and ride a bike very similar to your Bronson. I, too, am disappointed with the soft, unsupported side knobs. I cam off an XR4 for the HD and am happy to go back to the XR4 for the front.
    '15 Ibis HD3
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokiebrett View Post
    XR4 - x2... Light, huge volume, tough, fast, meaty and nicely supported side knobs.

    In fact, I just bought a 650b XR4 TLR Team Issue to have sitting on the shelf when my HD 2.35 Trailstar kicks the bucket. (This HD is not going to make it a full season... even on the front).

    I, too, live on the FR and ride a bike very similar to your Bronson. I, too, am disappointed with the soft, unsupported side knobs. I cam off an XR4 for the HD and am happy to go back to the XR4 for the front.
    That's good to hear. I feels its an awesome rear but not sure I'd like it up front?? Hmmm....may be worth considering.

    As an update, I did put the HR2 back on front in place of the HD and it performs better in all categories except weight and rolling resistance. The HR2 not far off on the rolling but is noticeably slower than the HD and about 120g heavier than the HD (2.4HR2 3C max terra vs. 2.35 Trailstar HD).

    Thinking about trying the Butcher Control up front to shed a little weight but keep the cornering confidence of the HR2, any thoughts?

  27. #27
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    I gave up on my HR2 up front.

    I think its the terrain here (hardpack and loose over hardpack)... Just nothing to dig into. Although my HD worked well.

  28. #28
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    Hans Damf Review. Clear cut. Least favorite tire.

    I still think that you should buy a pair of Chunky Monkeys. The DHF is a great tire, but if you are liked the transition knobs of the HDs, you may not like the DHF.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I still think that you should buy a pair of Chunky Monkeys. The DHF is a great tire, but if you are liked the transition knobs of the HDs, you may not like the DHF.
    I have a DHF still in the packaging. I hope I like it. Haven't been totally happy with any tire I've tried up front.

    Purgatory, butcher, hr2, Hans dampf

    only didnt like the HD because of durability

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagtech360 View Post
    That's good to hear. I feels its an awesome rear but not sure I'd like it up front?? Hmmm....may be worth considering.

    As an update, I did put the HR2 back on front in place of the HD and it performs better in all categories except weight and rolling resistance. The HR2 not far off on the rolling but is noticeably slower than the HD and about 120g heavier than the HD (2.4HR2 3C max terra vs. 2.35 Trailstar HD).

    Thinking about trying the Butcher Control up front to shed a little weight but keep the cornering confidence of the HR2, any thoughts?
    This. Went from HD performance (super sticky, heavy and showing wear after 3 rides) to Ardent (lighter, fast as hell, lack of transition knobs and cornering ability aren't cutting it for me).... to Butcher control on order right now. I'm hoping its a great compromise.
    2014 Devinci Troy Carbon XP

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuch View Post
    This. Went from HD performance (super sticky, heavy and showing wear after 3 rides) to Ardent (lighter, fast as hell, lack of transition knobs and cornering ability aren't cutting it for me).... to Butcher control on order right now. I'm hoping its a great compromise.
    Let us know! I'm thinking of ordering the GRID version, extra protection for only 50 more grams (780g)

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagtech360 View Post
    That's good to hear. I feels its an awesome rear but not sure I'd like it up front?? Hmmm....may be worth considering.
    If you're a "drift to grip" type of rider, you may not like the XR4 as it has transition knobs, like the HD. But the side knobs are better supported and the center knobs are ramped for a little better roll.

    I was very impressed with my XR4 in all of the various conditions CO has to offer (Front Range, Fruita/GJ, Crested Butte and Monarch Crest).
    '15 Ibis HD3
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jagtech360 View Post
    Let us know! I'm thinking of ordering the GRID version, extra protection for only 50 more grams (780g)
    But then you miss the dual compound. I went thru the same decision and ended up going control front. Hasn't let me down yeeeeet
    friends don't let friends Fred

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yody View Post
    But then you miss the dual compound. I went thru the same decision and ended up going control front. Hasn't let me down yeeeeet
    So the "control" is dual compound and the "GRID" single? Doesn't specify on the website. In fact the only differences look like the GRID is more of a UST and the control TR.

    From the website:
    Control Casing: 420/D1 for 15% improved cut resistance
    •Bead: foldable
    •Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
    •Compound: 50a
    •26" x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 730g
    •650b x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 755g
    •29" x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 810g

    GRID Casing: Additional sidewall protection for exceptional durability and sidewall stiffness for stability. 23% improved cut resistance over Control model
    •Bead: foldable
    •Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
    •Compound: 50a
    •26" x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 780g
    •29" x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 860g

  35. #35
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    What you guys are saying about transition knobs is spot on. I used a Bronson with Hans Damf in Seattle, in the rain for hours and hours. The owner had cut off all the transition knobs! All of them! I think that is why I liked that tire, on his bike, in the mud. Soft tacky tread (quick to wear out ), defined center knobs and side knobs. I would never waste the time to cut 200(?) Knobs, but that guy had that Hans Damf dialed for wet, icy conditions. Similar tackiness to my 2.4 nobby Nic in the adhesion department, but they wear too fast, get knobs ripped off. Really only great for wet or big spenders.

  36. #36
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    I guess it needs saying again. Don't get the Trailstar version of this tire - get the Pacestar.

    I think my HD Pacestar is over a year old and is still going strong. I ride quite a bit of rock. Longest lasting tire I've owned.

    Strangely, I destroyed a Nobby Nic Pacestar in 3 months.

  37. #37
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    Did you see it? Yeeeeeet. Like falling off a cliff. Funny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    I guess it needs saying again. Don't get the Trailstar version of this tire - get the Pacestar.
    Don't agree with you there. The softer Trailstar really helps on wet rocks + roots. Liked it a lot for slow, techy stuff where you can't lean the bike over.

    Would never use any Schwalbe Trailstar tire on the rear wheel though. Thats for sponsored racers who can replace their tires every week.

  39. #39
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    The Magic Mary 29 is out now. Anyone use this?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    The Magic Mary 29 is out now. Anyone use this?
    I've a Magic Mary on order.

    I've also suffered from knob tearing issues on a HD trailstar, I was happy with it otherwise. I'm an advanced intermediate rider, I lean the bike when I can, but there are a LOT of trees close the trail in some of the areas I ride...which makes it impossible to really lean the bike

    What do you guys think of the Continental Trail King for loose (decomposed granite / sand / small kitty litter) over hardpack?

    Thanks!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuddleDuck View Post

    What do you guys think of the Continental Trail King for loose (decomposed granite / sand / small kitty litter) over hardpack?

    Thanks!
    TK excels in those conditions. If the Magic is as good or better than the Muddy Mary, it should be wicked good too!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  42. #42
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    Can someone recommend a tire similar in size to 650b Racing Ralph 2.25?
    It needs to fit my SC TRc frame preferably without needing to limit the rear travel.
    I am looking for more Trail/AM tire.
    I have a Hans in the front for now.
    Riding in SoCal.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    TK excels in those conditions. If the Magic is as good or better than the Muddy Mary, it should be wicked good too!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Thanks G MAN. Much appreciated. I'm really looking forward to trying the Magic(!). I should have it next week...

    Have you tried the DHR II (2.3 MaxTerra) as a front tyre? From what I've read it has less knob squirm than the DHR when used on hard surfaces.

    Cheers.

  44. #44
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    To each is own !! CLEAR CUT one of my favorite tires , and have the Performance (ORC) version to boot !!
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuddleDuck View Post
    Have you tried the DHR II (2.3 MaxTerra) as a front tyre? From what I've read it has less knob squirm than the DHR when used on hard surfaces.

    Cheers.
    I have not tried a DHR2. I'm fairly certain it's not as good up front as a DHF because of the more horizontal nobs for gripping/uphill traction which is why it's more rear specific. I'm not really interested in trying it as a rear tire either because it has the same aggro side nobs at the DHF and I like to drift certain corners in tight/fast situations. The High Roller 2 is perfect for that - just enough grip when I need it with good braking control. A lot of riders have said the DHR2 rolls faster tho which I find hard to believe but I am running the single 60a compound HR2 which is a lot faster than the 3C compound so...

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

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