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  1. #1
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    Best Inexpensive XC Tires for MS/HS riders

    I coach a NICA MS/HS race team in central TX, and build up bikes for the athletes a lot. Parents have a hard time shelling out a lot of cash for bikes, and tires are important We ride in mostly dry hardpack, rocks and loose over hard conditions. Of course we do race in the rain, and that seems to happen 1 in 4 races. Tubless is a must, IMO. I love the top of the line tires like RaRa Snakeskin PaceStar, Ikon 3C EXO etc., but these kids are usually on bikes worth 500-800, so $150-200 in tires is too much. Any feedback on how well these tires work, especially tubeless? I have a fair amount of experience with tubelss, just not with these tires. Any other tires you would suggest?

    https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...s.php?id=69857

    https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...s.php?id=38139
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
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  2. #2
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    I wouldn't call either of those tires inexpensive - $40+ per tire is way more than I spent in high school. That's how much I spent on a car tire, ha. When I was in high school I worked minimum wage and was counting quarters out to buy bike stuff so I'm well versed in cheapest-but-acceptable.

    I was able to grab Kenda folding bead tires at local races for about $26 at the Kenda booth when they were closing down. Might be worth looking into as they support lots of grass roots events.

    When I worked in a shop, the cheap tire of choice was always the venerable Panaracer Fire XC Pro but it looks like prices have climbed since then.

    I went through a couple of these cheapies over the years - the Performance Forte Pisgah. Not the best tire in the world, but it's a tubeless folder for twenty five bucks. Subtract $3 for the non-tubeless version. Can't beat that.

    Forté Pisgah 2 Tubeless-Ready Mountain Tire

  3. #3
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    Why not contact the companies direct (or at least a rep/distributor) and see if they will help? You might get some free product for a worthy cause, at worst you will probably get a "pro" deal on tires.

    Panaracer helps out some local teams, they make some great tires and even their full MSRP is generally more reasonable than other manufacturers. They don't have as robust a line-up... but their tire quality is some of the very best. Schwalbe is on the other end of the spectrum, some of the worst quality construction and yet at the top of the price spectrum.

    Kenda seems to be at a lot of races and willing to help teams too.

    Not sure about the 'flavor' you have linked to, but Ikons are great tires... fast and durable. As for the Racing Ralph in your link... not tubeless compatible. I doubt you'll find a tubeless Schwalbe tire for under $50.
    TTUB - Ventura County California

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Eh, I've purchased 3x Nobby Nic, delivered, for $105. Current gen, tubeless, SS.

    Plenty of Euro shops that sell tires for half of MSRP in the States.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Eh, I've purchased 3x Nobby Nic, delivered, for $105. Current gen, tubeless, SS.

    Plenty of Euro shops that sell tires for half of MSRP in the States.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    A link would be useful

  7. #7
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    Jenson use has 29x2.25 Racing ralph wire beads for 11.99.
    Clearly a blowout sale..

    Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29", Wire Bead > Components > Tires > Dirt Tires | Jenson USA

    does not say tubeless, but I bet they will still work.. and at $12... that is dirt cheap.

    Continental has X-king in wire bead. Kind of heavy at 800g, but priced well in 27.5. $25 ot $30.

    Continental X-King Sport 27.5" Tire | Jenson USA


    Overall looking at prices you might be able to get in the sub $40 range with folding tires if you catch a sale. If you go with wire bead it will be easier. Seems like most of the XC type tires have cheaper options. Most do add weight, but a little weight is better than no tire at all.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Yes, nice prices here. THX!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Eh, I've purchased 3x Nobby Nic, delivered, for $105. Current gen, tubeless, SS.

    Plenty of Euro shops that sell tires for half of MSRP in the States.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Excellent prices at bike-discount.de, any other Euro shops?
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
    There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Jenson use has 29x2.25 Racing ralph wire beads for 11.99.
    Clearly a blowout sale..

    Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29", Wire Bead > Components > Tires > Dirt Tires | Jenson USA

    does not say tubeless, but I bet they will still work.. and at $12... that is dirt cheap.

    Continental has X-king in wire bead. Kind of heavy at 800g, but priced well in 27.5. $25 ot $30.

    Continental X-King Sport 27.5" Tire | Jenson USA


    Overall looking at prices you might be able to get in the sub $40 range with folding tires if you catch a sale. If you go with wire bead it will be easier. Seems like most of the XC type tires have cheaper options. Most do add weight, but a little weight is better than no tire at all.
    Yeah, was looking at the $12 RaRa's. Same question as per the Performance version and the dual comp Maxxis, how well do they work tubeless.

    I know there are cheap tires that will work, but I'm trying to find the best compromise between light, fast rolling, traction and work tubeless. I tried a pair of Forte tires once, but they got chewed up by TX so quickly they weren't worth the low price. I hate to see kids walking back at a race, and I hate to see our sub 100 lb girls on 35 lb hardtails. I picked up some great deals when PricePoint went out of business, so just looking for some experiences with budget but race worthy tires. Most threads are all about ulitimate perfromance with cost being a minor consideration, my objectives are a bit flipped, cost is a higher consideration, but hopefully without sacrificing the other items too. Bike-discount.de is a score, I had forgotten to look there.
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
    There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Jenson use has 29x2.25 Racing ralph wire beads for 11.99.
    Clearly a blowout sale..

    Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29", Wire Bead > Components > Tires > Dirt Tires | Jenson USA

    does not say tubeless, but I bet they will still work.. and at $12... that is dirt cheap.

    Continental has X-king in wire bead. Kind of heavy at 800g, but priced well in 27.5. $25 ot $30.

    Continental X-King Sport 27.5" Tire | Jenson USA


    Overall looking at prices you might be able to get in the sub $40 range with folding tires if you catch a sale. If you go with wire bead it will be easier. Seems like most of the XC type tires have cheaper options. Most do add weight, but a little weight is better than no tire at all.
    This will be my second year as the head coach, so just working on trying to find sponsors and race discounts etc. Thanks, will look into that more. I don't think the Maxxis I linked are tubless either, but I have had luck with some tires that are not officially tubeless doing just fine, was hoping someone had experience with these.

    At $12 bucks that seems like a great deal, but tubeless is a must. I might grab two and give it a go. (Actually reading the Q&A it looks like these do not work well tubeless. I have never tried a wire bead tire tubeless, perhaps that is a problem.)
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
    There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing...

  12. #12
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    Score the auction sites as well. Just keep an eye on there and you can nob great deals.

  13. #13
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    For around $35 I would recommend Continental X-king 2.4 if it's real dusty or sandy or Race King for more hard pack. Personally here in so cal I run x-king 2.4 race sport. Get protection if you have lots of sharp rocks. Here we have river rock type rock which is smooth and couldn't cut a stick of butter, so I run Race Sport for the better compliance and lower weight.

    The folding bead black chili tires roll great and LAST. You can for sure get 1000 miles off road out of them. Without too much wear--still totally ride-able. The X-King has a pretty open tread design, so they handle mud fine. I did SoNoMas this year--its a marathon race in Nor Cal. It's been a very wet winter and spring and there were several creek crossings and muddy parts and had no problem. Obviously anything can get boggy enough to be unride-able but the x-kings are a great all conditions, all terrain tire.

    They are about $35.

    https://r2-bike.com/CONTINENTAL-Tire...hili-RaceSport

    Take out the 19% VAT (vat doesn't apply to sales outside the EU). Get a few guys together and order like 4+ tires to bundle and save on shipping.

    Basically as good (cornering grip and rolling resistance) as your favorite tires you mentioned but more durable and half the price or less.

    I wouldn't go with one of the value tires, they are just worse and not worth the $5-10 savings over the online deals you can get on top end tires.
    Last edited by litany; 08-24-2017 at 07:49 PM.

  14. #14
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    Honestly tires are tough deal. I am pretty cheap for the most part, but tires are and area I will spend money. Good tires that have a mix of grip, durability, toughness, and minimal weight are not easy to find and throw in a good price? Even harder.

    I have resorted to runing $75 Bontrager XR3 team Issue on the back of my bike - Even on 26er HT from 2002 just to get a tire that had the right mix of what I wanted. I cringe at the price, but they work and that last. You can tires cheaper, but they will be lacking somewhere. Now one way to mitigate costs is understand durablity.

    I get around 600 miles at least from my rear XR3 and over 1000 on the $65 Maxxis Ikon in front. (I don't run a Bonty up front since they cost too much and the Ikon works. In the rear I cut too many Ikons) So for me that comes to 2 front tires a year and maybe 4 rear tires. So far I am at 2300 miles this year, but that is some road miles and miles on 2 other bikes.

    If your kids are doing 700 miles a year then a set of tires a year is not too bad. Mtn bike racing is not easy cheap. You can ride any get by, but if you want to race and have the kids have a chance tires are probably the best place to spend money. At least with actual bikes there is always a used market to get parts on cheap. That does not work well for consumables like tires.

    Good luck in your searches.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  15. #15
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    Continental tires are generally a good value, as stated above.

    It's best to keep an eye out for good prices. I scored some Nobby Nic 29x2.25 Liteskins on Jenson for $19.99 each. Not a super tough tire, but a great tire for all racing conditions from dry to wet. Rolls fast, and bites well into mud.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTUB View Post
    Why not contact the companies direct (or at least a rep/distributor) and see if they will help? You might get some free product for a worthy cause, at worst you will probably get a "pro" deal on tires.

    Panaracer helps out some local teams, they make some great tires and even their full MSRP is generally more reasonable than other manufacturers. They don't have as robust a line-up... but their tire quality is some of the very best. Schwalbe is on the other end of the spectrum, some of the worst quality construction and yet at the top of the price spectrum.

    Kenda seems to be at a lot of races and willing to help teams too.

    Not sure about the 'flavor' you have linked to, but Ikons are great tires... fast and durable. As for the Racing Ralph in your link... not tubeless compatible. I doubt you'll find a tubeless Schwalbe tire for under $50.
    This.

  17. #17
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  18. #18
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    Thanks ya'll. Appreciate the help.
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
    There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing...

  19. #19
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    If money is an issue, just put on whatever you can get your hands on. Put the aggressive tires up front, and wear the rear until they are bald (then put the front on the rear and put on a "new" front.

    I haven't bought a new tire in a couple of years. A couple friends of mine give me their old tires. Still plenty of tread left for me. Forget about the compounds and all that, it isn't going to make the difference between them getting a pro contract or not. Talk to some of your local bike shops and ask them to hold on to take offs for you, I am sure they would. I podiumed Cat1 on the stock, heavy 2.10 RaRa's, even though the rear was bald (does that make it a Thunder Burt?).

    I would gladly put a DHF or Magic Mary with a few miles on it up front on my XC bike for free over a new Ralph even at a discount. But I like wide, aggressive tires up front period (currently on a 2.35 Hans Dampf/2.25 RaRa that are take offs). Next tire will be a used Ardent Race 2.35.

  20. #20
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    I'll say from experience, for dry hardback mixed with some rocky stuff (I'm on the front range of Colorado) I just ran a pair of Performance "Tsali" tires in a 33 mile race and they worked flawlessly. I think I paid $24 each. I run them tubeless (even though they not "rated" for it), with zero issues. Terrain was mixed pavement, gravel, single track, rocky with climbing speeds and descent speeds into the 40's. They're made in same place as other high end tires and have a super similar XC block pattern. More technically, these were the 29 inch 2.2's, run at about 27psi rear, 24 front and I'm about 190lbs. You can run the front wheel as directionally noted and just mount up the rear "backwards" and it hooks up on the climbs quite nicely. And they're somewhere in the 550gram range if I remember correctly. Just for some qualification, I spent 12 years in the bike business and have some manufacturing and design experience. Don't get me wrong, there are LOT'S of really well designed tires out there, but a good deal of the price you pay is marketing and name recognition.
    The member formerly known as Redtires....

  21. #21
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    I'm a NICA rider in CO and at least here, the Vittoria tires are about $55 at my LBS. I bet those would be quite a bit better in terms of funds for parents.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tristanbikes379 View Post
    I'm a NICA rider in CO and at least here, the Vittoria tires are about $55 at my LBS. I bet those would be quite a bit better in terms of funds for parents.
    You can find Vittoria barzo on sale for $25 fairly easily. These are very similar to a nobby nic or black chili x-king.

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