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  1. #1
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    Tire with strong sidewalls: Ikon, Captain, Ground Control or Ardent

    Looking for opinions here on a 26" rear tire. As a little background, I ride rocky east coast trails and have a tendency to slash sidewalls. However, I really don't like slow rolling tires so I tend to find myself leaning towards tires that don't really have the durability that would be ideal for me. I'm trying to find something that has a good combination of the following (ranked in order of priority):

    1) Strong sidewall (highest priority
    2) Low rolling resistance
    3) Good grip
    4) High Volume (lowest priority)

    I need to be able to mount the tire tubeless to a Stan's Arch rim (although I'm fine with tires that are not necessarily advertised as tubeless ready). From poking around, the options I've seen that look promising are Maxxis Ikon EXO (2.2), Specialized Captain Armadillo Elite (2.2), Specialized Ground Control Armadillo Elite (2.1) or Maxxis Ardent EXO (2.25). I'm intentionally staying away from Schwalbe tires and I am coming off of a WTB Wolverine that I wasn't particularly happy with. The trails that I ride tend to be rocky/hardpack with occasionally loamy sections - generally not much loose over hardpack or mud. It's been a long time since I retired a tire due to the tread wearing out - I'd be ecstatic if I could get a tire last long enough to do this. The front tire on my bike is a Maxxis Ardent 2.25" which I've been pleasantly happy with - I'm just not sure looking at it that it would be the best rear tire.

    Any thoughts or recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Re: Tire with strong sidewalls: Ikon, Captain, Ground Control or Ardent

    If your options are still open, try looking into the Continental trail k8ng/rubber queen 2.2 protection and in black chili compound. Those tires in my experience have good sidewalls, grip well and takes a long time to wear.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikkosan View Post
    If your options are still open, try looking into the Continental trail k8ng/rubber queen 2.2 protection and in black chili compound. Those tires in my experience have good sidewalls, grip well and takes a long time to wear.
    Interesting - I hadn't really thought about Continental. Couple questions: my experience with Conti is that there tires are horrendously undersized - would I have to get a 2.4 to get something that actually measures at 2.2"? Also, how is the rolling resistance on these? Would it be worthwhile considering a Mountain King II? I get a little nervous about the "All Mountain" designation of the trail kings. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Conti's sizing is all over the map. If we are talking about the 26" versions, the Trail King Rubber Queens size up pretty well. Great grip, but I would not call them fast rollers.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  5. #5
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    Out of that list, I would recommend the Ground Control because it has more grip than the ikon if the conditions get loose or damp.

    Dunno about the armadillo version, but the Control version 2.3 measures at 2.15, and the 2.1 measures at 2.05, or something.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
    Out of that list, I would recommend the Ground Control because it has more grip than the ikon if the conditions get loose or damp.

    Dunno about the armadillo version, but the Control version 2.3 measures at 2.15, and the 2.1 measures at 2.05, or something.
    I had a Ground Control 29x2.1 and it was a little undersized. But I did like the tire - until the sidewall tore on the fourth or fifth ride. I wish they offered the 2.3 in the Armadillo (ridiciulous marketing...) - I'd go with that without thinking twice.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Conti's sizing is all over the map. If we are talking about the 26" versions, the Trail King Rubber Queens size up pretty well. Great grip, but I would not call them fast rollers.
    How does the Trail King stack up against the Mountain King? I ran the X king as a front tire for a couple months last year and generally liked it as a compromise of grip and weight. However I really don't think even in the Protection version that it will survive as a rear tire.

  8. #8
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    I have not used the newer style of Mountain King, only the older one.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  9. #9
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    I have the latest version (I think) of the Mountain King 2.2 Protection, it's smaller than the Trail King 2.2 Protection and doesn't grip as well especially on steep downhills that are soft & loose. I rarely ride rocky trails these days so I don't know how either tire will hold up when ridden on rocks all day every day.

  10. #10
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    I'm pairing an Ardent 2.25 up front with an Ikon 2.2 EXO out back. It is a good combo for summer (dry, dusty) but once there is mud around, the Ikon gums up badly, whereas the Ardent sheds mud just fine. I also slashed the sidewall of a non-EXO Ikon so went with the EXO version after that. But even the EXO version has pretty thin sidewalls and I'd question its ability to withstand sharp rocks when run tubeless.

    These days there are so many tubeless ready models on the market that I would really think twice about running a standard tire tubeless (with sealant).

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