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  1. #1
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    What Tires Should I Be Running?

    I ride a full-suspension Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 26er and on a typical day of general trail riding I might encounter mud, hardpack, roots, rocks, slickrock, water crossings and graveled fire roads. I realize that no tire is perfect for all conditions but I am wondering if anyone out there has come up with what they consider (based on experience) the perfect compromise for the type of riding that I do. And please be specific on brand of tire and width(s).

    I am presently runnning a 2.10 Kenda Nevegal on the rear and an entry-level 2.10 tire from Specialized called Pro Resolution (which came on the bike) up front. That combination seems to be working okay but I don't have enough experience with different tires to know for certain,. I have been told that at the very least I need to be running a wider tire at the front than at the rear.

    Suggestions and opinions from all you tire experts out there will be appreciated.
    .
    Last edited by stumpbumper; 01-01-2011 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
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    By no means am I suggesting that this is a perfect combo but the guys wrenching at my LBS who tend to be very solid in their recommendations suggested an old-school 2.4 Conti MK upfront and a 2.35 Maxxis Ignitor out back to replace my 2.35 Kenda Nevegals that came stock on my ride and which I didn't care for. One of them currently uses this combo. I ride a 26" FS gt Sanction 1.0.

    My riding conditions in Pennsylvania are practically identical to yours and here's what I noticed over the last 2.5 months riding them:

    Pros on the MK in front: punches through leaves well, grips excellent under most circumstances, does NOT pack mud very much, great in snow, generally a big, burly tire that takes the hits well. Cons on the MK in front: doesn't corner that great at speed on fast, flowy singletrack due to sideknobs gripping a little too much.

    Pros on Ignitor in back: very fast, reasonable grip, some leaf punch ability. Cons on Ignitor in back: packs a little more mud under certain circumstances.

    Overall conclusion: I'll be sticking with the combo for now - only way I'd change 'em out is if I go to a bigger tire . . .

  3. #3
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    My thanks to you for the response and the information. It sounds like you have come up with a great combination for the type of riding that we do.

    Happy Trails.

  4. #4
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    I'd keep what you have on the rear. For front, I'd use the Continental Gravity 2.3 or the Mountain King. I'm currently using a Conti Diesel 2.5 up front. It has the same tread pattern as the Gravity. It's my favorite front tire. It grips like mad and rolls faster as many 2.2 tires. Only problem is that they no longer make a Kevlar version, which is 220 grams lighter. You could probably still find them,though. Remember, the rolling resistance of a tire is much more important than the weight. A 1000 gram tire can be easier to pedal than a 600 gram tire.

    I ride mainly technical trails in PA, MD and NJ.

  5. #5
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    The trails I ride most in SC and NC range from intermediate to quite technical (for me anyhow). I had always assumed that anything bigger than about 2.25 up front would feel like one of the wheels on Fred Flintstone's car but you obviously know differently.

    I friend of mine has a spare Maxxis Ardent 2.4 with only a few miles on it and you have given me the idea of trying it just to see how a wide tire feels up front. According to the Maxxis website it weighs 815 grams and I am told that it ranks pretty good in rolling resistance. Have you tried that one? I am also told that it is a bit better in mud than the Ignitor.

    Several LBSs in my area have Contis so I'll take a serious look at the MK and the Diesel.

    Thanks much.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, give the Ardent 2.4 a try.
    Also, I have a MK 2.4, and it's nowhere near as big volume as the Ardent or Advantage 2.4", but it's a decent front trail tire.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpbumper

    I friend of mine has a spare Maxxis Ardent 2.4 with only a few miles on it and you have given me the idea of trying it just to see how a wide tire feels up front. According to the Maxxis website it weighs 815 grams and I am told that it ranks pretty good in rolling resistance. Have you tried that one? I am also told that it is a bit better in mud than the Ignitor.

    Several LBSs in my area have Contis so I'll take a serious look at the MK and the Diesel.

    Thanks much.
    I haven't tried the Ardent but I would go for it since you can try it for free. When you get the pressure right, you'll blow through uphill and downhill technical sections like a pro - well almost. You'll laugh at stuff that used to stop you. You also need to keep it on the bike for at least a dozen rides at different locations and different pressures for a proper evaluation.

    The fastest rolling and best grip wide front tires I've used for technical riding are:

    Specialized Adrenaline 2.2 " Kevlar (It measures 2.5") They changed the name to" Resolution " Don't know if they changed the rubber compound.

    Conti Diesel 2.5 Kevlar - It's a tie between this one and the Adrenaline

    Bontrager Big Earl 2.5 Kevlar - A little slower rolling but good on grip

    WTB Weirwolf 2.5 Kevlar - Fast rolling, not enough grip

    Specialized Enduro 2.2 or 2.3 (it's wide as a 2.5) - it feels like it will roll off the rim when you corner fast. Raising the air pressure doesn't help either. I think it's because of squirmy tread. They may work for a rider that weighs less than 160 lbs. I'm 180 lbs and my buddy is 215 lbs. We both tried this tire and came to the same conclusion; It's just plain scary. If you don't ride hard,it will probably be ok. On long rides it will suck the life out of you.

    Over the past 10 years I've tried 35 different tires and the only ones I considered worthless are the Enduros and a couple of Maxis ultralight tires (330 & 390 grams). Boy, those Maxis tires turn your bike into a rocket! Too bad they'll only last 1 or 2 rides in rugged terrain. Not to mention the face plants that go along with the skinny tread less front tires. Yeah, there's a trade off for everything.

    Edit: I haven't tested any tires in the past 3 years so there may be newer models that work even better than the ones that I like - or not. I've only tested 35 tires and that's only a drop in the bucket compared to what's available.

    My criteria for a "good" tire is it's performance on the front. The back,well, let's just say I can live with almost anything back there. As long as it's not slow rolling.
    Last edited by bigbeck; 01-09-2011 at 10:45 AM.

  8. #8
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    Ask people who ride the same trails on a full squish what they have and how they like it.

    The problem I see is that you have a front tire that works well for flowy XC trails and you have a rear tire that's more for slow technical trails and rock crawling.

    Decide which tire works best for what you are doing and then buy a similar tire to match up with it in the other position. If you like the reso buy a fast rolling trail tire to replace the neveroll. If you like the neve then buy a big grippy tractor tread to replace the reso.

  9. #9
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    I want to thank everyone for taking the time to offer the advice.

    This past Saturday I tried my buddy's 2.4 Ardent up front and found it to be a noticeable improvement over the 2.0 Resolution Pro. It corners better, is better on wet roots and in mud and just glides over rock gardens. So decision made---it is what I will go with.

    I really don't have any complaints with the 2.1 Nevegal out back but the Ardent is working so well at the front I'm thinking I will try a 2.25 Ardent at the back once the Nevegal is worn out. Judging by how fast it is wearing, that probably won't be long.

    By the way, here is a pic of sidewall wear on the Resolution at about the 1000-mile point. I have always run it on the front. Its rear mate was retired at about 600 miles with a punctured sidewall.


  10. #10
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    Don't forget to experiment with the pressure on that new tire. As little as a 5 pound difference can make a big difference in handling and grip. It normally takes me several rides to get my pressure right on a new tire.

  11. #11
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    The MK2.4 is 1 of the worst tires I've ever ever used, many others say the same.

    Money no object for the front, Rubber Queen / Trail King 2.2 don't worry it's 2.4 sized similar to a Ardent 2.4, super sticky compound but 40, so $60 area I'd guess.

    Rear I can ride anything, as long as it doesn't drag or slip out to easily on wet rocks and mud. X King 2.4 Protection currently is doing great.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd
    Money no object for the front, Rubber Queen / Trail King 2.2 don't worry it's 2.4 sized similar to a Ardent 2.4
    Not exactly true. I had an Ardent 2.25, and its casing was of the same size, if not bigger, than the RQ 2.2's. I'd expect the 2.4 versions of RQ and Ardent to be of a similar size as well.
    I'd also not call the black-chilly compound a 'super-sticky'. It's relatively soft, but definitely harder than super-sticky (super soft, etc) rubber found on DH tires.
    Can be found cheaper than $60 on Ebay btw. I found my Trail King 2.2 (non-UST) on Ebay for like $45 plus $15 international shipping from a US seller.

  13. #13
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    I've got a Ardent 2.4 and a Advantage 2.4 and the RQ2.4 leaves it for dead, more on about Volume than Width the RQ/TK 2.2 is pretty big also not just me saying that.

    May not be as soft as full on DH tires, but the BC compound makes up for it, it roles really fast on the front and is barely wearing at all, which is good at the price.

    And $45 + $15 to ship still comes to $60 could of bought it from a shop with no shipping fee for very similar.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbeck
    Don't forget to experiment with the pressure on that new tire. As little as a 5 pound difference can make a big difference in handling and grip. It normally takes me several rides to get my pressure right on a new tire.
    Will do. I weigh 200 pounds and ran about 36 pounds in the tire on Saturday. If all this snow ever melts I'll hit the trails again and experiment with psi until I get it dialed in to suit my riding style.

    My thanks again to everyone for your comments and advice.

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