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  1. #1
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    Paralysis by Analysis re: new tires.

    I've been researching new tires for weeks and now I'm stuck. Please help.

    Background: I live on the Front Range in CO and I would describe my riding style as aggressive XC. I tend to do longer trail rides, lower tech. Occasionally I'll seek out some real technical features and test my skills. I also fairly regularly do 30+ mile gravel rides. My current and only bike is a 2014 Spec Crave expert with stock 26mm rims. I'm a 220 lb (and descending) rider. I do not currently race.

    My bike has the stock 2.1 ground control up front and a completely worn out 2.0 fast trak on the rear. I've hated the fast track from day one. When I started this search I was set on 2.35 ardent race front and rear. I've researched basically everything by Maxxis, the Bont XR2/3/4, and WTB.

    I was preparing to pull the trigger on the ardent race set up but decided to swing by the LBS to see what they had. While there, they tried to sell me on Spec Butcher or Purgatory up front and a Slaughter rear. I thought this was a pretty aggressive set up although the Slaughter looked cool. It did get me thinking that I should go more aggressive up front. So now I'm thinking 2.4 Ardent and a 2.35 Ardent Race rear. But I've heard bad things about the Ardent as a front tire. I'm stumped. What do you think? I need a good do it all set up.
    Get out and go ride.

  2. #2
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    I ran Ardent's in the front range. They do ok for their weight and have pretty good rolling resistance but are not the best for the loose corners that we have out here. I found you also have to run them a bit higher pressure to avoid folding over while cornering. I switched to Forekaster 2.4's and the grip increase was great, especially in the front. Rolling resistance is probably a bit more. The Butchers are about 100 grams more and the Purgatories are about the same. The have higher rolling resistance but are going to be a bit better on the downhills. Its up to you where you want the tradeoff.

  3. #3
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    I have always preferred running a slightly bigger tire up front like a 2.35 on the Front and maybe a 2.2 on the rear "bmx style" as they say.

    I agree with Porkchop that the Forekaster is a great tire. They run small I have 2.35 both front and rear 120 TPI. For your area maybe 60TPI rear and 120 front? Not familiar with Specialized tires but I see a lot of people running them.

    Reviews on the Ardent are all over the place. I run a Rocket Ron Front and Ikon Rear on my singlespeed. Love Maxxis tires as they last longer than Schwalbe and never leak sealant.

    I think Maxxis is on the verge of making a 2.6 Forekaster that I will try when it comes out in 29er. Forekaster just does everything well.

  4. #4
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    My aggressive XC/light trail setup is Vittoria Morsa G+ 2.3 up front and Vittoria Mezcal G+ 2.35 in the rear. Both measure out about the same 2.35, combo rolls super fast (probably just as fast as running dual Ikons), Morsa up front provides great cornering grip (better than Ardent 2.4) and the Mezcal in rear has about same grip/cornering as a Ikon but rolls a bit faster. They also wear very well, just replace the Mezcal in the rear and got 800 miles out of it, about 200 more than Ikons I use to run.

  5. #5
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    I would run a Ardent race 2.35 front and a 2.2 in the rear or if I wanted a bit more aggressive I would go forcaster front and AR rear. The specialized tires are more aggressive and do quite well. I never got along with the control casing it is paper thin. Yet to really try out the new grid but I picked up one of the new butchers in control when they first came out and ripped it in about 3 rides.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    I've been researching new tires for weeks and now I'm stuck. Please help.

    Background: I live on the Front Range in CO and I would describe my riding style as aggressive XC. I tend to do longer trail rides, lower tech. Occasionally I'll seek out some real technical features and test my skills. I also fairly regularly do 30+ mile gravel rides. My current and only bike is a 2014 Spec Crave expert with stock 26mm rims. I'm a 220 lb (and descending) rider. I do not currently race.

    My bike has the stock 2.1 ground control up front and a completely worn out 2.0 fast trak on the rear. I've hated the fast track from day one. When I started this search I was set on 2.35 ardent race front and rear. I've researched basically everything by Maxxis, the Bont XR2/3/4, and WTB.

    I was preparing to pull the trigger on the ardent race set up but decided to swing by the LBS to see what they had. While there, they tried to sell me on Spec Butcher or Purgatory up front and a Slaughter rear. I thought this was a pretty aggressive set up although the Slaughter looked cool. It did get me thinking that I should go more aggressive up front. So now I'm thinking 2.4 Ardent and a 2.35 Ardent Race rear. But I've heard bad things about the Ardent as a front tire. I'm stumped. What do you think? I need a good do it all set up.
    Iím in AZ, and very similar to you in terms of riding style, though 190 lbs geared up. I ride hard and long, but not the super techy stuff, and do 12/24 hour solo SS events. I have been through the same thought process as you, and for a non-plus setup, I am running Ikon 2.35ís front and back, on i29mm Flow MK3ís. They actually measure to about 2.4 on those rims, and hook up great. I have run Ikonís for a number of years now, with thousands and thousands of miles on them. I just tried an Ardent 2.4 on the front, but pulled it because it looks and measures thinner than the Ikon, and doesnít hook up as well...oh, and it rolls slower. And I havenít tried it, but I have seen reports that itís even slower in back. Donít bother. And certainly F those Spesh tires the LBS tried to sell you...donít even compare.

    Again, Ikon 2.35ís both ways, and you are good to go. Done.


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  7. #7
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    I mostly ride fat and plus now, but my old skinny bike, I was happy with spec Captain front, ground control rear.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the responses. I'm checking out a couple of your suggestions. The Forcaster looks pretty cool for a front tire.

    What is the reasoning for running a narrower tire in the rear? eg 2.35 front and 2.25 rear.
    Get out and go ride.

  9. #9
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    I've only ridden in the front range once (buffalo creek), but my rental had 2.4 ardent front and 2.35 ikon rear. It was perfect. I felt 100% secure. Since I returned home from that trip I started running a 2.35 ikon on the rear of my bike and haven't used anything else since. The ikon as a rear tire is magical with the 3c compound. Doesn't look like it will grip anything but it sticks to everything.
    Up front I prefer the hans dampf or nobby nic. I have also used ground control front, ikon rear and wtb trail boss front, ikon rear.

    The shop wanted to sell you what they had on hand. I think their idea is silly. That combo would be better for loamy dirt.

  10. #10
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    I happen to think the forekaster drifts too easily in loose over hardpack surfaces. I hated it as a front tire. But I'm in the minority obviously.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Iím in AZ, and very similar to you in terms of riding style, though 190 lbs geared up. I ride hard and long, but not the super techy stuff, and do 12/24 hour solo SS events. I have been through the same thought process as you, and for a non-plus setup, I am running Ikon 2.35ís front and back, on i29mm Flow MK3ís. They actually measure to about 2.4 on those rims, and hook up great. I have run Ikonís for a number of years now, with thousands and thousands of miles on them. I just tried an Ardent 2.4 on the front, but pulled it because it looks and measures thinner than the Ikon, and doesnít hook up as well...oh, and it rolls slower. And I havenít tried it, but I have seen reports that itís even slower in back. Donít bother. And certainly F those Spesh tires the LBS tried to sell you...donít even compare.

    Again, Ikon 2.35ís both ways, and you are good to go. Done.


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    What's the deal with the Ikon? I've looked at those tires multiple times in store. They look like they'd be great until you hit the corners. Everyone seems to love them but I can't see how they corner very well. They just don't look like they have any bite.
    Get out and go ride.

  12. #12
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    Generally speaking the front tire is the first thing to hit an obstacle so it's nice to have a little more contact patch in the front. Also a tire with a bit more grip up front helps as you never want to lose the front tire in a wash out.

    Out back your body weight is on top of the tire so generally speaking you can get away with a thinner profile and something that rolls a bit faster as your pressing it into the ground.

    I have normally run my tires this way but currently enjoying the Forkeaster 2.35 F and Rear. The forekaster rear tire sticks like velcro compared to the IKON.

    You may also want to check out Bontrager tires - they make a lot of different sizes for example XR3 comes in 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4.

    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    Thanks for the responses. I'm checking out a couple of your suggestions. The Forcaster looks pretty cool for a front tire.

    What is the reasoning for running a narrower tire in the rear? eg 2.35 front and 2.25 rear.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    What's the deal with the Ikon? I've looked at those tires multiple times in store. They look like they'd be great until you hit the corners. Everyone seems to love them but I can't see how they corner very well. They just don't look like they have any bite.
    Exactly, I thought the same thing at first, because they donít like theyíd hook up at all, just like he says here:

    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Since I returned home from that trip I started running a 2.35 ikon on the rear of my bike and haven't used anything else since. The ikon as a rear tire is magical with the 3c compound. Doesn't look like it will grip anything but it sticks to everything.
    I had started with an Ikon 2.20 rear, and someone mentioned the 2.35 in front was really good. I was dubious, but gave it shot, and it is 100% accurate. Again, Iím not just spouting off; I have thousands of miles with an Ikon 2.35, and it rails. No shit.



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  14. #14
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    A 2.35 ikon with a minion dhr2 up front is a little heavy but it rolls fast and grips well. That would be my go to if doing epic trail rides and want to go maxxis. Some people don't like the ardent because you have to lean it for traction but it doesn't offer enough traction in some instances.

  15. #15
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    Forekaster front, AR rear is a decent combo in all but muddy or greasy conditions. I ran 2.35FK and 2.2AR on my 27.5 Stumpjumper for a year, apart from winter.
    Less isn't MOAR

  16. #16
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    The new Vittoria Graphene tires are amazing, others have mentioned the Mezcal which I also love.
    Having said that, if you want a little more grip, check out the Barzo, it rolls almost as well as the mezcal with more grip.
    Need a little more grip follow in2falling advice on the Morsa up front.
    I just installed a set of Barzos on a new wheelset with no sealant, I let the tires sit for 3 days before adding sealant with no noticeable loss of air, try that with ANY other tubeless ready tire.
    Probikekit was blowing out some of the mentioned tires, worth a look.

  17. #17
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    I'm really liking schwalbe's addix compound tires. Currently running a 2.6 nobby nic up front and 2.6 rocket Ron in the back, both speed grip compounds. Seems to roll fast and grip well though I just mounted them and only have two rides on them so far (and neither ride was in the front range).

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  18. #18
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    When you're talking up to 2.6 tires you have to add in the rim width and pressure.
    What inner rim does the OP have?
    A Bonty XR2 2.35 Team on a 35mm inner rim is high volume and has a very rounded profile to not get squared off on a wide rim at lower pressure. You get a bigger footprint with good sidewall support for no foldover problems just more grip when you make a fast line change in a corner or hit a rut with your front tire. When you lose traction its slow and controllable with recovery possible.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    When you're talking up to 2.6 tires you have to add in the rim width and pressure.
    What inner rim does the OP have?
    A Bonty XR2 2.35 Team on a 35mm inner rim is high volume and has a very rounded profile to not get squared off on a wide rim at lower pressure. You get a bigger footprint with good sidewall support for no foldover problems just more grip when you make a fast line change in a corner or hit a rut with your front tire. When you lose traction its slow and controllable with recovery possible.
    The rims are 26mm. I've been wondering if the rims are too narrow to go up to 2.35?
    Get out and go ride.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    The rims are 26mm. I've been wondering if the rims are too narrow to go up to 2.35?
    Oh, hell no. Maybe for 2.6, but certainly not 2.35. Most of the miles I referenced earlier were an Ikon 2.35 on an i26mm rim. Perfect.


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    The rims are 26mm. I've been wondering if the rims are too narrow to go up to 2.35?
    No. I have 25mm internal rims. Just don't run stupid low pressure

  22. #22
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    Can anyone with a 2.35 barzo and a 2.3 morsa measure them to see how they compare. I have a morsa and it is the absolute biggest tire I can put in my frame without rubbing. I also know it runs big for a 2.3 tire though.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    The rims are 26mm. I've been wondering if the rims are too narrow to go up to 2.35?
    I think all 2.35 tires aren't the same. And a 25mm inner rim should be ok for heavier sidewall tires you would choose for fast downs and terrain with stuff that slices up sidewalls. And you'd run higher pressure. I'm thinking most Maxxis tires.
    But a lighter weight thinner sidewall 2.35 like a Bonty XR2 2.35 Team is higher volume with a more rounded profile. Put the on a 35mm inner rim and run it at 15 psi front or less on hardpack with loose and without shale to slice it up. Then you'll have the maximum footprint and traction out of that tire. Its fast rolling and lasts at $55.

    So yes it is too skinny to get the most out of a lightweight more XC oriented tire riding trails with lots of rocks and roots or desert with granite dust. Depends on your terrain.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    Can anyone with a 2.35 barzo and a 2.3 morsa measure them to see how they compare. I have a morsa and it is the absolute biggest tire I can put in my frame without rubbing. I also know it runs big for a 2.3 tire though.
    Don't have a Morsa, just mounted a Barzo 2.35 on a 29mm inner rim.
    At first measure it was a sliver under 2.3, after a few days it has swelled to 2.33

  25. #25
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    Maxxis aggressor
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  26. #26
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    The venerable Chunky Monkey is still a good choice for Maxxis fans looking for a tire somewhere between the Minion and Ardent. Random Bike Parts still has them for $25 a pop shipped.
    Mine have weighed in the mid 800 gram range and corner much closer to a Minion than Ardent.


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  27. #27
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    More of a wet conditions tire and they are listed at 920 grams which is a lot if you climb a ton.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porkchop_Power View Post
    More of a wet conditions tire and they are listed at 920 grams which is a lot if you climb a ton.
    Monkeys work great on loose over firm and roll just fine on hardpack wet or dry. The side lugs are have much better support than Ardents and mine have all weighed from 850-880 grams. Here is a review from Guitar Ted.
    Before the 29X2.5" Minion FBR came out this was the grippiest tire I could find and lugs don't tear off like the old Hans Dampf.

    Shiggy and others give their two cents on this thread from five years back.
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  29. #29
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    Thanks for all the input everyone. I can't believe how much of a rabbit hole this tire search turned into. I pulled the trigger this morning on a 2.35 Forkaster and a 2.35 Ardent Race. I wanted to go as aggressive as I could and still stay in the XC tire category. I'm curious to see how all the extra grip and tire width is going to make my bike handle. I think I'm also going to pick up a couple of Ikons in a month or so and test several different combinations of tires to see what I like and what works best.

    I'm also very curious about trying some of the Vittoria and Schwalbe tires in the future.

    I'll report back once I've gotten a few rides in with the Forkaster/Ardent Race combo.
    Get out and go ride.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    Thanks for all the input everyone. I can't believe how much of a rabbit hole this tire search turned into. I pulled the trigger this morning on a 2.35 Forkaster and a 2.35 Ardent Race. I wanted to go as aggressive as I could and still stay in the XC tire category. I'm curious to see how all the extra grip and tire width is going to make my bike handle. I think I'm also going to pick up a couple of Ikons in a month or so and test several different combinations of tires to see what I like and what works best.

    I'm also very curious about trying some of the Vittoria and Schwalbe tires in the future.

    I'll report back once I've gotten a few rides in with the Forkaster/Ardent Race combo.
    Which way around are you running them?

    I've owned both those tires in the past...

    The Ardent Race is a nice wide, good volume tire. Where as the Forekaster has a more aggressive tread pattern, it's narrow as buggery o_0

    AR 2.35/2.2 is a solid trail/xc combo.

    A Michelin Wild AM 2.35 & Forekaster 2.35 seems a better balance ;-)

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Which way around are you running them?

    I've owned both those tires in the past...

    The Ardent Race is a nice wide, good volume tire. Where as the Forekaster has a more aggressive tread pattern, it's narrow as buggery o_0

    AR 2.35/2.2 is a solid trail/xc combo.

    A Michelin Wild AM 2.35 & Forekaster 2.35 seems a better balance ;-)

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
    I planned on running the forkaster in the front. I assumed they were the same size.
    Get out and go ride.

  32. #32
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    Paralysis by Analysis re: new tires.

    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    Thanks for all the input everyone. I can't believe how much of a rabbit hole this tire search turned into. I pulled the trigger this morning on a 2.35 Forkaster and a 2.35 Ardent Race. I wanted to go as aggressive as I could and still stay in the XC tire category. I'm curious to see how all the extra grip and tire width is going to make my bike handle. I think I'm also going to pick up a couple of Ikons in a month or so and test several different combinations of tires to see what I like and what works best.

    I'm also very curious about trying some of the Vittoria and Schwalbe tires in the future.

    I'll report back once I've gotten a few rides in with the Forkaster/Ardent Race combo.
    Running this on my Sonís hardtail, but 2.35 front and 2.2 tear, and have borrowed it a few times. Great wide range conditions combo.


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  33. #33
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    I was wanting to run 2.35s in front and back so I could rotate tires around and try different combinations but if that Ardent Race winds up being a bigger tire than the Forkaster, I'll have to return it for the 2.2 i guess.
    Get out and go ride.

  34. #34
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    Update.

    I got my first ride in yesterday with the new tires. Due to a shipping SNAFU, I still don't have the Ardent Race I ordered. I picked up a 2.2 Ikon 3C/EXO/TR that the LBS had in stock and mounted it up. I did 19 miles of XC riding with a lot of loose gravel/shale over hard pack.

    So far, this seems to be a great combo. I'm really impressed with the Forekaster. It rolls way easier than I anticipated considering the grip it has and it is great going hard into those loose corners. I almost had it wash out a couple times when I came in too hot. I felt it break loose, dig back in, bite, and keep tracking. Very nice! The only complaint I have so far is that it picks up and throws a lot of gravel and rocks. I had stuff dinging off my downtube all day which very rarely happened before but it wasn't a huge deal. I could definitely see picking up a second Forekaster for the rear for when I head up to the mountains and ride the soft dirt and scree.

    I'm pretty happy with Ikon as well. I honestly didn't think much about it yesterday. I was impressed with how well it gripped while powering up loose punchy climbs. It didn't slip much at all. It definitely rolls fast and seemed to do fine in those loose corners.

    I'll report back if/when the Ardent Race arrives and I've had a chance to put some miles on it.
    Get out and go ride.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    I almost had it wash out a couple times when I came in too hot. I felt it break loose, dig back in, bite, and keep tracking.
    Thats the "drifting" a few people have talked about. And why I'm done with Forekasters. It never resulted in a slam but there's enough other tires that don't do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Thats the "drifting" a few people have talked about. And why I'm done with Forekasters. It never resulted in a slam but there's enough other tires that don't do that.
    That tire feels like a million bucks compared to what I'm used to.
    Get out and go ride.

  37. #37
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    Guess it is a little late, but...

    If I'm not looking at a race tire, I always default to a more aggressive lug pattern and size, forgetting about weight and rolling resistance. If I'm talking about my race bike, that is totally different goals.

    My "trail" bike (the bike I do everything but race) has a 2.6/2.3 Butcher combo. I did a short exploration ride yesterday that was 18 miles and 4000' on that.

    My XC bike gets a 2.35/2.4 up front. Just a matter of how aggressive the lugs are depending on the course, mosstly due to weight. The loose stuff in our mountains has me choosing an aggressive tire because the energy lost in pushing the heavy tire is returned when I can go faster through corners and pedal less to get back up to speed, and descend faster.

  38. #38
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    The ardent race finally showed up and got it mounted up. First impression is the ardent race appears to be roughly the same size as the Forekaster. I'd have to take a micrometer to it to be sure but I also wouldn't be surprised if it was slightly bigger.

    I took a shot in the dark on the ardent as I wasn't able to find one in person but I'm surprised that it has only marginally more aggressive tread than the Ikon. The tread is slightly more spaced out so I guess that means it'll be better in the loose stuff or mud but it's minimal. Tread height is roughly the same. First glance has me questioning what, if any, advantage the ardent will have over the Ikon.

    I'm hoping to get a ride in this weekend and see how it feels with the ardent.
    Get out and go ride.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by felix1776 View Post
    First glance has me questioning what, if any, advantage the ardent will have over the Ikon.
    I can answer that: None


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    109
    I've got about 40 miles of trail riding in on the new tires so I figured I'd report back. So far, I'm loving the 2.35 Forekaster in the front with the 2.35 Ardent Race in the back. These tires seem to really fit my riding style and most often ridden trails really well. Having the extra grip has been great. I've absolutely noticed that I'm faster on downhills and going into corners. The extra grip has been very noticeable and appreciated when trying technical features. I've cleaned some sections with the new tires that I've never done before.

    For anyone considering the ardent race vs ikon for the rear, I do feel the AR has an advantage. The main one being braking traction in loose over hard. The AR also seems to grip a little better when trying to climb technical rocky sections. Overall it's pretty close though and you may not be giving up much of anything (depending on your local trails) by going with the Ikon. I will be running the AR in the front and Ikon on the rear when I decide to do pure XC or gravel rides.

    Thanks for the input everyone. With these tire combos, I'm completely covered.
    Get out and go ride.

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