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  1. #1
    MK_
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    Help with UST tire choice: NBX, Big Jim, BG, Gravity, Vertical, others?

    I am desperately trying to find a rear tire I can trust. My most recent attempt was with a Michelin All Mountain UST. It looked great on paper and the traction was fine, but it proved to have a very poor durability.

    My riding conditions are mainly dry and range from hardpack to loose over hardpack. In the winter the trails become moist as well as in the early spring and late fall. There are lots of rocks involved, small, sharp, medium, and bigger. The biggest ones are not a concern as I simply ride over them or avoid them. The small and medium are the ones that hurt my tires the most.

    I did a bit of searching around and came up with the following tires as my contenders:

    Schwalbe Big Jim. 2.25 UST tire 780g. My Fat Albert that I run up front is my favorite tire to date in that function and thus far has proved to be extremely tough and reliable. It is very heavy though at 930g and the Albert, which I would consider, doesn't come in UST.

    Schwalbe Black Jack. 2.25 UST. 795g. Looks like a good choice for low rolling resistance while maintaining good grip.

    Nokian NBX 2.3 UST. I've heard great things about the traction of these, but the 990g advertised weight is a concern. I ran Fat Albert in the rear before and I felt like I had to work much harder on the climbs so I am very reserved with this tire.

    Kenda Blue Groove 2.1 UST. This one looks very good, but 2.1 seems a bit on a small side for my taste. I really wish they made these bigger. I've heard, however, that these come a bit oversized, so maybe it is a contender.

    Continental Gravity 2.3 UST. These look very good on paper. 800g and good grip. I've heard lots of reports on poor durability of Continental tires, though, so I am strongly reserved.

    Continental Vertical 2.3 UST. At 680g these are silly light for a UST tire of this size. It is touted as a freeride tire, but again, I am reserved due to poor durability reports.

    I would love to hear some opinions as I am currently running my Michelin All Mountain with a few tears and a tube inside, which is a recepie for more flats. I would also like to hear additional suggestions for tires, if you have any. Something for Geax, maybe, or any other tire. I've looked at Maxxis UST offering and haven't found anything that caught my interest, though.

    _MK
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  2. #2
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    Big Jim UST - Currently running that in the back. It's my favorite so far. Very durable good all around tire. Not the best traction but very passible in all conditions. These take some pretty good freeride abuse.

    Conti Vert 2.3 UST - Very small for a 2.3. It's more like a 2.1. Very thin sidewalls. I loved the traction but it had terrible durability. I returned them after a week because I flatted so many times.

    I haven't tried the others. I too wish Kenda would give us some bigger UST tires. I've very interested in their stuff.

    Geax Sturdy 2.25 UST - This is a very big durable tire. Not for wet conditions though. I run one of these in the front now. It was too slick to run in the rear. Kind of heavy too.

    The tire makers really need to step up to the plate with their UST options. The options are really pretty limited if you're looking for a 2.25 to 2.35 UST all mountain/freeride tire.

  3. #3
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    You will find the Blue Groove/Nevegal 2.10 are the same or higher volume as the NBX 2.3 and Vertical.

    My picks would be the BG/Neve, NBX 2.3 or Specialized Enduro 2.40 (if you have the clearance for it. May not be as tough as the Kendas or Nokian).

    The Nokian may be the most durable casing.

    The Black Jack is not a great drive traction tire.
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  4. #4
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    I vote for the Big Jim UST front and rear. I have been riding them for a while now. For me they hook up on everyhing. I run them down in the mid to low 30s. The 2.25 size is just right, and their weight is not out of line like some of the other large USTs out there.

    I had some issues with lug durability, but Schwalbe is taking care of that for me. I hope I just got a bad tire.

  5. #5
    MK_
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    Thanks for the replies, guys. I called up Larry from Mtn High and he didn't have the Big Jim UST in stock. He did, however have Albert UST which is 860g. I picked up the Albert for now and ordered the Big Jim when they'll come in. Hopefully this will solve my current headache.

    _MK
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_
    Thanks for the replies, guys. I called up Larry from Mtn High and he didn't have the Big Jim UST in stock. He did, however have Albert UST which is 860g. I picked up the Albert for now and ordered the Big Jim when they'll come in. Hopefully this will solve my current headache.

    _MK
    A bit of local info/opinion on those tires for you....

    I have been running a Big Jim up front for around a year now. Up front it works great for most trails up and down the FR. I ran Jimmys (2.1 version) on the rear as well. I found the Jimmy to spin up the loose stuff which is all too abundant these days. However, you might find the slightly bigger Big Jim to be just the ticket.

    Both the Jimmy and the Big Jim roll extremely well and the wear is pretty good IMO. The Big Jim on the front has worn extremely well, but the Jimmies on the rear I was getting about 3 months out of which isn't much more than the Nevegal StickEs I've been running.

    The Nevegal grips on the rear better (for my setup and style anyway) than both the Jimmy and the Albert, but it is heavier and rolls slow. And for comparison sake, the Jimmy 2.25 is just slightly more narrow than the Nevegal 2.1.

    The Big Jim, Albert and Nevegal/BG are all good tires IMO with each having an advantage over the others in different areas.

  7. #7
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jdub
    The Big Jim, Albert and Nevegal/BG are all good tires IMO with each having an advantage over the others in different areas.
    I agree that all this is a compromise. I also hear that UST Schwalbes are bigger than standard ones in the same size. I am hoping that's the case as my standard Big Jim was not any bigger than a 2.1 tire. I have yet to verify this, but in the review section of this site, it appears to be so, they also are touted to be tougher (another thing I am hoping for). The Fat Albert UST is bigger than standard Weirwolf 2.5, offers much better grip and the knobs seem very tough as does the rest of the tire, so far at least, knock on wood.

    I have an additional reservation against Kendas after friend's Nevegal came off a rim after a mild drop, resulting in a nasty crash. I also know that they roll pretty slow, and since this goes on the rear, I don't want to compromise any more than I already have (I still miss my 2.25 Racing Ralph, but the tire is a bit too gingerly). I envy the grip they offer, but the rolling resistance is a major compromise for me.

    Thanks for the opinion.

    _MK
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  8. #8
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    Blue Groove

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    You will find the Blue Groove/Nevegal 2.10 are the same or higher volume as the NBX 2.3 and Vertical.

    My picks would be the BG/Neve, NBX 2.3 or Specialized Enduro 2.40 (if you have the clearance for it. May not be as tough as the Kendas or Nokian).
    Shig,

    Many people say the Neve is slow rolling, but the MBA article claims good rolling resistance. Which is it?

    Also, if the Neve is slow, then would a BG UST front and back be a good alternative?

  9. #9
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by dulyebr
    Shig,

    Many people say the Neve is slow rolling, but the MBA article claims good rolling resistance. Which is it?

    Also, if the Neve is slow, then would a BG UST front and back be a good alternative?
    There are MANY versions of the BG and Neve.

    The tires (BG & Neve) with the slow-rolling rep have all Stick-E tread rubber (2.10, 2.35, 2.50 plus the DH versions).

    The MBA rating was for the Nevegal Lite-DTC 1.95. Nearly a different tire than the bigger versions. Smaller tread, the Dual Tread Compound (DTC) with the fast rolling L3R Pro rubber in the center and Stick-E on the edges (same go for the Blue Groove Lite-DTC 2.00).

    There are also DTC versions of the BG/Neve in 2.10 & 2.35.

    The tubeless versions of these tires are 2.10 only and use the "standard" tread rubber. It is neither the Stick-E nor the L3R Pro rubber.

    Confused yet?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_
    I agree that all this is a compromise. I also hear that UST Schwalbes are bigger than standard ones in the same size. I am hoping that's the case as my standard Big Jim was not any bigger than a 2.1 tire. I have yet to verify this, but in the review section of this site, it appears to be so, they also are touted to be tougher (another thing I am hoping for). The Fat Albert UST is bigger than standard Weirwolf 2.5, offers much better grip and the knobs seem very tough as does the rest of the tire, so far at least, knock on wood.

    I have an additional reservation against Kendas after friend's Nevegal came off a rim after a mild drop, resulting in a nasty crash. I also know that they roll pretty slow, and since this goes on the rear, I don't want to compromise any more than I already have (I still miss my 2.25 Racing Ralph, but the tire is a bit too gingerly). I envy the grip they offer, but the rolling resistance is a major compromise for me.

    Thanks for the opinion.

    _MK
    I think you will like the size of the Big Jim UST. It is bigger than any 2.1 I have seen. The 2.25 UST Racing Ralph is really impressive. It is the largest volume tire I have ever ridden. It only has about .25"-.375" clearance between it and the arch of my Reba, and that is a short lugged tire. The casing is just huge.

  11. #11
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Rider
    I think you will like the size of the Big Jim UST. It is bigger than any 2.1 I have seen. The 2.25 UST Racing Ralph is really impressive. It is the largest volume tire I have ever ridden. It only has about .25"-.375" clearance between it and the arch of my Reba, and that is a short lugged tire. The casing is just huge.
    Yeah, that's another tire I am looking at. I LOVED my 2.25 RR. I ran a standard one with Stan's until the sealant ate through enough rubber that the tire disintegrated on a trail ride. I love the grip that the RR has in the dry hardpack. It is an enormous air volume 2.25 tire. Thanks for getting me thinking about it again.

    _MK
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_
    Yeah, that's another tire I am looking at. I LOVED my 2.25 RR. I ran a standard one with Stan's until the sealant ate through enough rubber that the tire disintegrated on a trail ride. I love the grip that the RR has in the dry hardpack. It is an enormous air volume 2.25 tire. Thanks for getting me thinking about it again.

    _MK
    One of my friends had some bad luck with the 2.25 RR running a Stan's setup. His sidewall ruptured during a ride. He did not notice it untill we got home though, it kept holding air through the ride. I just ordered two sets of UST 2.25 RRs from Larry @MHC. Still waiting on the second set for him. I took the first set.

    Why do yos say the Stans was eating the rubber? I wonder if it had some effect on my friends tires. I have never really like the stuff myself, but I finally broke down and started running it in my UST tires as a sort of insurance. I don't like the idea of patching a UST tire trailside and then re mounting it with a micro pump. If there is even a chance it could mess with the rubber I will be cleaning it out of my 100 dollar tire set tonight.

  13. #13
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    this is a great thread and deserves to be a sticky so it can grow and be used more.

    regarding Stan's...Kenda no longer warranties tire failures if Stan was used. They tried redesigning to be more stan's-compatible (in terms of sidewall delamination as the latex penetrates), but weren't successful. when i raised that on another forum, someone associated w/ stan's chimed in to say it's a problem with ALL sealants, not just stan's. FWIW.

    however, Slime has made a tubeless-specific goo for some time now, and it's cheap and easy to buy at any motocross shop. i'm running it now with my specialized enduro pro D2 UST 2.4 inch tires (which have a nice big casing)...i don't put much in, since it's not needed for bead sealing obviously on my 823 rims. I think specialized is making the best UST tires right now in terms of reasonable weight for a given volume BUT with decent sidewall durability. I have 'em on my 7 inch travel FR/DH bike, and they rock.

    Unfortunately, specialized doesn't yet have a good trailriding UST tire in the 700 - 800 gram range that most of us are looking for. Like other brands, they do have some decent narrow UST tires but nothing in between XC and DH.

    So for trailriders with the mavic 819 rims or similar, the choice of fat footprint/reasonably durable/sub-800 g tires is very poor still. I'm puzzled that the tire companies are so clueless about what the market is asking for.

    To summarize, here's what I've learned or heard, from a trailriding UST perspective:

    maxxis - too narrow. the largish 2.3 versions come only w/ the super tacky, fast wearing rubber.

    conti vertical 2.3 -- okay overall. but narrow footprint.

    conti gravity 2.3 -- 800 g, some good reviews.

    hutchinson tires -- several UST choices, but each has its own set of complaints

    geax -- see other threads here; not ideal

    kenda -- some decent SMALL UST tires, nothing yet in the size that matters.

    IRC - mythos is too small. however i've heard pretty good things about the 2.25 trailbear. Mibro has soft center tread, which kinda sucks if you use pavement on access roads..

    schwalbe -- the fat albert UST and 2.25 racing ralph are looking promising...anyone know a cheap source? I'd like to try 'em.

    michelin -- the all mountain UST is not durable. other mich tires are too small for TR. their DH tires, on the other hand, have been used by many riders on UST rims and work well in that application.

    am i overlooking anything??

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider
    schwalbe -- the fat albert UST and 2.25 racing ralph are looking promising...anyone know a cheap source? I'd like to try 'em.
    Talk to Larry at http://www.mtnhighcyclery.com ... that's where most of us get our Schwalbes.

  15. #15
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Rider
    Why do yos say the Stans was eating the rubber?
    This is the problem with all latex based sealants, not just Stan's. Amonia which keeps latex liquid interacts with the rubber. Main problem is if you're a weekend warrior and your bike stays put during the week. The liquid collects in one spot and slowly eats the rubber away. Some companies, like Kenda, specify that use of any type of sealant voids the warranty of the tire. I've switched to True Goo, as it is not latex based and is safe for tires. Works equally good as Stan's in sealing and lasts longer inside of the tire.

    _MK
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  16. #16
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider
    am i overlooking anything??
    Nokian is the only one I can think of. I pretty much agree with your point of view, being all mountain type of rider on 819s. Definatelly give Larry a call at mtnhighcyclery, great prices and even better customer service.

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  17. #17
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    Cool, thanx for the link. I'll probably try a 2.25 big jim UST up front, and the 2.1 Jimmy UST rear. 780 g / 680 grams respectively. If the 2.1 is too small even for a rear tire, i'll get another 2.25 big jim.

    the fat albert UST weighs 930 g...the same as the 'honest' 2.4 inch specialized enduro d2 tubeless. So i'll skip that one for my TR bike.

    mtbr reviews on the big jim/jjimmy do mention wear issues and knobs coming off. guess i'll find out. i do ride in very rocky socal terrain.

  18. #18
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    okay, so now i'm hearing more complaints about knobs ripping off from the schwalbe jimmy and big jim. urgh.

    the nokian 2.3 tubeless is sorta narrow for a socalled 2.3, and is heavy-ish. i.e. at that weight there are fatter, better tires around.

    going to the OTHER end of the spectrum, there are the bontrager ACX tubeless, very light at 650 g for a 2.2 but i've 'heard' the sidewall is not beefy enough for a good tubeless ride i.e. too squirmy. can anyone confirm that? i'm also worried about the casing durability...it's so light.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider
    Cool, thanx for the link. I'll probably try a 2.25 big jim UST up front, and the 2.1 Jimmy UST rear. 780 g / 680 grams respectively. If the 2.1 is too small even for a rear tire, i'll get another 2.25 big jim.

    the fat albert UST weighs 930 g...the same as the 'honest' 2.4 inch specialized enduro d2 tubeless. So i'll skip that one for my TR bike.

    mtbr reviews on the big jim/jjimmy do mention wear issues and knobs coming off. guess i'll find out. i do ride in very rocky socal terrain.
    I have never been to CA, so I don't know what you trails look like, but here in TN there are a lot of rocks and roots. Suprisingly the Racing Ralph may turn out to be a good "trail tire". Getting traction on rocks and roots seems to have more to do with how much actual rubber you can get on the ground rather than the how aggresive tread pattern.

    I have been runing the Big Jims, they never fail in the traction department. I have just switched to 2.25 RRs and they seem to hook up great also, and they roll FAST.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider
    ...Unfortunately, specialized doesn't yet have a good trailriding UST tire in the 700 - 800 gram range that most of us are looking for. Like other brands, they do have some decent narrow UST tires but nothing in between XC and DH.

    So for trailriders with the mavic 819 rims or similar, the choice of fat footprint/reasonably durable/sub-800 g tires is very poor still. I'm puzzled that the tire companies are so clueless about what the market is asking for...

    am i overlooking anything??
    Yes you are.

    The Specialized Adrenaline Pro 2Bliss 2.00

    Best Specialized tire I have ridden since the original Ground Control (1985).

    Under 800g
    Casing as big or bigger as many 2.3 tires
    Dual compound rubber
    AWSOME cornering and braking grip (OK drive traction)
    Same casing construction as the Enduro Pro 2Bliss 2.40

    Check the specs on my Tire Site
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Yes you are.

    The Specialized Adrenaline Pro 2Bliss 2.00

    Best Specialized tire I have ridden since the original Ground Control (1985).

    Under 800g
    Casing as big or bigger as many 2.3 tires
    Dual compound rubber
    AWSOME cornering and braking grip (OK drive traction)
    Same casing construction as the Enduro Pro 2Bliss 2.40

    Check the specs on my Tire Site
    VERY interesting, yet shocking I was so happy w/ my enduro pro 2.4's, I asked the shop if they 2.00 adrenaline 2bliss was much wider than 2.0. he said no. btw I'm running the 2.2 'regular' adrenaline D2 on my XC bike and really like it. It is bigger than most any 2.2 and I wish it came in a tubeless version. Okay, so I'll try the 2.0 adrenaline tubeless...at least one of them. thanks.

  22. #22
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    I live in Socal and am running Big Jim UST front / Jimmy Light 2.0 rear. I am blown away with how they lose virtually zero psi after rides and/or letting them sit around for days. I have yet to have any burps. As somebody else noted, the only potential consideration is that the Jimmy has traction issues. If I were to do it again I would go Big Jim 2.25 front and back for this reason.

    I just bought the next tire set to try and am excited. I expect it to do well in SoCal conditions. It is the Spider 2.3 front / Spider 2.1 rear. Both of these will be big, especially the 2.3.

  23. #23
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    How well do the adrenaline 2bliss roll and how tough is the casing? Where I ride I have an interesting mix of incredibly rocky trails and smooth fireroads and I'm having trouble finding a good tire that doesn't give up too much in either condition. I was running RRs and thought I had found the ideal tire, but the rocks made short work of the sidewalls so it is back to the drawing board.

  24. #24
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    Spider 2.3

    Also check out the Hutchinson Spider 2.3 UST. It has decent drive traction, volume, weight, and can sometimes be found on sale for under $30 at Performance or Superho...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider
    okay, so now i'm hearing more complaints about knobs ripping off from the schwalbe jimmy and big jim. urgh.

    the nokian 2.3 tubeless is sorta narrow for a socalled 2.3, and is heavy-ish. i.e. at that weight there are fatter, better tires around.

    going to the OTHER end of the spectrum, there are the bontrager ACX tubeless, very light at 650 g for a 2.2 but i've 'heard' the sidewall is not beefy enough for a good tubeless ride i.e. too squirmy. can anyone confirm that? i'm also worried about the casing durability...it's so light.
    Yeah I ripped off multiple knobs off both my Jimmy Double Defense tires. I just consider it normal when you ride in the super rocky stuff. I ripped one knob off so badly I could see the belting in the tire, but it never really leaked and I rode it for another 100 miles or so before finally retiring it.

    On the plus side haven't lost a single knob on the Big Jim up front.

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