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  1. #1
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    What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    What tire combo will you be racing on and why? Please specify wheel and tire size... and typical trial type and perhaps XC or endurance type races. I am certainly interested in weight vs. durability vs. traction vs. rolling resistance... pros and cons... what's most important to you! It's a loaded question but should make for a valuable thread for 2014.

    Me... undecided... but from past experience I would lean towards a faster rolling but durable mid weight... and take the weight penalty for reliability.... but which tire, Hmmmm?
    "Racing cyclocross exposes the truth, it's the biggest reason many people do not race it"

  2. #2
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    Re: What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by strat819 View Post
    What tire combo will you be racing on and why? Please specify wheel and tire size... and typical trial type and perhaps XC or endurance type races. I am certainly interested in weight vs. durability vs. traction vs. rolling resistance... pros and cons... what's most important to you! It's a loaded question but should make for a valuable thread for 2014.

    Me... undecided... but from past experience I would lean towards a faster rolling but durable mid weight... and take the weight penalty for reliability.... but which tire, Hmmmm?
    It is so dry that I am starting with specialized renegade 29-2.2 front and specialized fastrack 29-1.95 rear ( flipped around for forward bite) both S-works tubeless

    sent remotely

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by squareback View Post
    It is so dry that I am starting with specialized renegade 29-2.2 front and specialized fastrack 29-1.95 rear ( flipped around for forward bite) both S-works tubeless

    sent remotely
    Might be using the same tires but the Reneagade in rear. The Renegade is a freaking great tire. Two other combos i might try. R:Maxxlite F:Ikon R:Thunder Burt F:RoRo For endurance I probably end up with Renegade on both wheels.

  4. #4
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    Rocket Ron 29x2.25 front and Renegade 29x2.3 rear.

  5. #5
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    I'll be on the bontrager Xr2 29x2.2 F/R. Bontrager: XR2 Team Issue (Model #11866)

    Trails here are standard east coast style. Decision was made based off weight (mine weighed in at 610 each with packaging -- under claimed weight), availability, durability (ran a bonty TLR end of last year and they were very tough) and tread pattern (previously I've run the 29-1 but even though I loved that tire I was able to drop 80g per tire going with a beefier tread patter).

    I agree with running a little tougher tire at a weight penalty. I killed two non TLR bonty tires quickly last season and one forced me to run to the finish in a race. Looking at some 100k's this year and several XC races. Bike is an alloy hardtail with stan's archs.

  6. #6
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    Same as the last few years. Maxxis Ikon 29x2.2. I bought a bunch of both the EXC and the Exo before they made them "Tubeless ready" and heavier Always worked great tubeless for me.

    Sometimes I'll use a Fast Trak in the rear.

  7. #7
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    Anyone riding Schwalbe next year? What do you think about Smart Sam in front?

  8. #8
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    I usually run Maxxis Ignitor front/Crossmark rear here in Texas. Thinking of switching over to Ikons to try out this year though. Depends on if I can get them switched over and get some ride time in on them before race season starts in a month.

  9. #9
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    I will be on conti 2.2 X-king or Mountain Kings in the front and a 2.2 race king in the rear.

    Front tires give me greate traction and control through the turns. Race king rolls well and is very supple, providing better grip over rocks, etc..

    In early spring or generally wetter conditions, I will swap out the race king with an x-king.

    This has worked pretty well for me in the northeast and I don't see a reason to change it up.

    I have also run maxxis tires and had pretty good luck with them, but for some reason they seem to hold mud way more than the conti's.
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  10. #10
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    Race King 2.2 Racesport front & rear

  11. #11
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    Rocket ron 29x2.25 evo snakeskin front 27psi
    racing ralph 29x2.1 evo 29psi rear
    weigh 205 kitted
    racing in wisconsin, lots of rocks hence the snakeskin up front, want somehting with alot of bite up front and somehting fast rolling in the rear.

  12. #12
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    29" Crossmark Rear, Ikon or Ardent Race front (going to test out the Ardent Race soon and determine if that much grip is needed). Generally dry and dusty loose over hard. Mainly XCO racing, a little bit of XCM and shorter XCE (4 hours).

  13. #13
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    I've been running a 2.2 ignitor exo rear, and a geax saguaro front.
    Thinking about going crossmark front. Maybe a renegade. I do all xc. Most all of the stuff around here is hardpack. There are a couple places that get very rocky and rooty. The ignitor has worked very well, rolls well, but it's a little heavy.

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  14. #14
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    I'll be running Specialized fast trak...2.2 front and 2.0 rear. I ride east coast rocks, so I always stick with the mid weight "control" casing. I tried the sworks and tore a sidewall a few miles into my first ride. There may be lighter tires, but like the OP said...I'll take the reliability over the weight savings

    I typically do shorter xc stuff, but will be taking on at least one 50 miler and one 100 miler this summer

  15. #15
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    Rocket Ron 29x2.25 front and back. I'm in the Pacific Northwest. I haven't settled on my whole season yet, but I'm hoping to do one in April and one in July. If I don't get track racing to click by mid-June, I'll probably also do a few endurance races. So to an extent, this is more about a tire combo to ride for fun. I'm hoping to get a little more consistent and wet weather tolerant behavior from a RoRo rear. My local trails are rooty and have a lot of vert, and there are several more manicured flow trails, which I'm working on riding faster.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Front: Racing Ralph 29x2.25 (coming off SnakeSkin front last year to save some weight, chance of front sidewall tears is minimal)
    Rear: Racing Ralph 29x2.25 SnakeSkin

    If I was racing longer races (4 hr+) I'd go WITHOUT SnakeSkin front and rear, a flat in a race that long (3 minutes to fix, max) will have very little affect on the outcome, but the energy savings that come along with the weight savings can be substantial in a race that long.

    A note on my experience with the rocket ron vs. Racing Ralph...I've found the Ralph to corner better on the front, and the Ron to brake better on the rear. So when I run a Ralph and a Ron, the Ron goes on back. The Ron also bites better on the back when standing out of the saddle.

  17. #17
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    TSEpic is my biggest event this year, I'll do a few xc races as well, but they are more for fun/getting race fit.

    I'm planning on an Ikon 29x2.2 exo tr rear with an Ardent race in 29.2.25 tr front. I like a micro knob tire in the back and something a bit beefier up front. If for whatever reason I don't like this combo, I'll go back to a ralph/nic combo or a fast trak/ground control combo.

  18. #18
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    Here in the south east and southern Appalachia it all depends on the weather and the course. If it is a dry, non-techie coarse I run a 2.0 S Works Fast Track F/1.95 Renegade Control R. Dry but a little more technical, 2.0 SW Fast Track or SW Captain/2.0 Fast Track Control. Really technical or muddy Captains front and rear.

    As a disclaimer, I work for a Specialized shop and take full advantage of their selection. My wife on the other hand runs 2.2 Racing Ralphs SS front and rear for just about everything and loves them.
    "Don't take life too serious. You'll never get out alive."

  19. #19
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    @bikeuphill9, You say you work for a Specialized shop. I was wondering if you had any experience using the S-Works Ground Control 2.3 as a front tire? If so please share the pros and cons of that tire.

  20. #20
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    Three set ups I have planned for this year. Tufo XC4 tubulars front and rear for courses with sharp rocks, Dugast Fast Bird 52mm tubulars for courses with smoother rocks, and Ground Control/Ground Control for wet courses.

    Yes, I am extremely fortunate.
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  21. #21
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    On my 26er, I'll be running ikons front and rear again. 29er will be racing ralphs and renegades, or a combination of the two. On the cx bike, stans ravens, racing ralphs, and mud 2's. Probably different combinations of those also.

  22. #22
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    Going to try renegade 1.95 f and r as I got them whith a wheel set I bought.

    If I dont have the skills for 1.95 on the front I may go 2.3 or fastrak for the front.

    For the rocky courses i have RaRa snake skins that I have had really good luck with

    Still planning an some wet weather tires. Mabye a purgatory for the front and ground control rear. I get a deal on spec tires and I love how easy they set up tubless

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stonerider View Post
    @bikeuphill9, You say you work for a Specialized shop. I was wondering if you had any experience using the S-Works Ground Control 2.3 as a front tire? If so please share the pros and cons of that tire.
    I run a Ground Control 2.3 up front. I usually run a Fastrak 2.2 rear or a Ground Control if it's muddy. I really like the Ground Control as a front. Obviously not the fastest rolling option but the stability makes up for it for me.

  24. #24
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    I will second what skibum1321 posted. It is a good tire that hooks up well in corners, but suffers from higher rolling resistance because of the larger center knobs. I find that I get plenty of traction for XC riding and racing with the Captain, but certainly for more agressive stuff the Ground Control works well.
    "Don't take life too serious. You'll never get out alive."

  25. #25
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    29" Maxxis ikon 2.35 front/2.2 rear for me. Both exo

  26. #26
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    Schwalbe Rocket Ron 29x2.1 front, Thunder Burt 2.1 Snakeskin rear (NUE Series). So pumped.

  27. #27
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    I have really been liking the Conti X-King 2.4 Ft and 2.2 Rr. Both n the protection casing. Seems bombproof inthe rocks.
    BICYCLES ARE FUN!!!!

  28. #28
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    Hey guys, long time lurker!


    I just moved from an ignitor front / Crossmark rear both 29 x 2.1 to Racing Ralph 2.35 x29 Evo Front and a Racing Ralph 2.25 SS rear. I really like the confidence and plushness that a 2.35 front tire gives me. My only gripe is that the Ralphs don't last nearly as long as my old Maxxis setup. Another thing I've found out is that the Ralphs are a rounder tire which allow me to get a greater lean angle. As the Maxxis tires seems to be flatter if you know what I mean.

    Anyhow, I see a few guys with a Thunder Burt on the rear, being I race in South Florida I might check them out. What do you guys think?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Licked View Post
    Hey guys, long time lurker!


    I just moved from an ignitor front / Crossmark rear both 29 x 2.1 to Racing Ralph 2.35 x29 Evo Front and a Racing Ralph 2.25 SS rear. I really like the confidence and plushness that a 2.35 front tire gives me. My only gripe is that the Ralphs don't last nearly as long as my old Maxxis setup. Another thing I've found out is that the Ralphs are a rounder tire which allow me to get a greater lean angle. As the Maxxis tires seems to be flatter if you know what I mean.

    Anyhow, I see a few guys with a Thunder Burt on the rear, being I race in South Florida I might check them out. What do you guys think?
    Is there a Racing Ralph 29x2.35? I wasn't aware of that. I like 2.2s on my hardtail and 2.1s on the full suspension.

    The Thunder Burt has an excellent weight and casing options but it only comes in 2.1" width. Schwalbe is offering it in both Raceguard and Snakeskin which is especially appealing for such a light tire; it can actually be ridden in rocky terrain. It's a racer boy tire so if you buy into the weight and rolling resistance arguments then I'd suggest pairing it with something like a Rocket Ron, Ignitor, or Racing Ralph 2.1 in the front. I myself prefer a balance between front and rear, I don't like too much difference between the two.

  30. #30
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    Re: What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    Hutchison Python tubeless ready 26" last year on the Blur XC. Any muddy climbs are short and sharp and there's not much time lost by shouldering the bike so it's going to be Michelin Wild Race'R Advanced Ultimate's (380g each) front and rear on the new/old Stumpjumper hard tail on Roval Control SL alloy 26" wheels (1350g the pair).

    If the Wild Race'R rear is too loose, then a Python will be put back on.
    I'd try other tyres, Crossmark is on my list the try, but these ones are in the shed unused already.

    Tracks are grit over hard pack, pine needles, small rocks and the occasional section of mud.

  31. #31
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    Been wondering about the wild racer. Post your thoughts once you have a race on them.

  32. #32
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    Double IKONs 2 x 2.2
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  33. #33
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    Ron and Burt
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  34. #34
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    Specialized 29x2.0 S-Works Fast Trak front, Specialized 29x1.95 Renegade rear. This would be for dry-conditions; for wet (like now), I run a Specialized 29x2.0 Ground Control front/rear (S-Works casing in the front). This is riding east coast singletrack, not rocky.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  35. #35
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    For dry and sometimes loose Utah dirt, I'll be riding the Conti Race King 2.2 ProTection rear and X-king 2.2 or 2.4 ProTection front. Used to run some Ikons/Ignitors, but got too many tread punctures even with EXO. The Schwalbes I've ridden don't seem to have much tread life.

  36. #36
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    Yeah actually I think they are the old 2.4's though. I like a beefier tire up front but a few guys here run the 2.35/2.25 setup and really like it so I decided to check it out. Definitely a good combo. Although they are quite beefy for the xc racing down here a lot of the faster guys ride the big volume tires down here for some reason.

    I'll have to check out the Burt, I am like you though and like both tires to be sort of similar so I know when they'll give in corners. Thanks for the info!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by machine4321 View Post
    Been wondering about the wild racer. Post your thoughts once you have a race on them.
    I have used the 26x2.25 ultimate for almost a year now and really like them. Nice big volume tire. Real wheel traction is fine at 1.6 bar. I did get some two wheel slide on wet leaves when i pushed them a bit so if you want to corner 'hard' in wet conditions you may want another tire. Great tire for hardpack, and i didn't puncture yet. I don't race though (but plan to) so maybe it's all irrelevent for you guys.

  38. #38
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    Out here on the Front Range. I'll be running Ikon 29x2.2 or 29x2.35 EXO, unless the Ardent Race comes out soon. Then I will use those. I've run the Ikon's before and I suspect they will be better out here than back on the East Coast. I typically like a tire with a bit wider knob spacing, and it looks like the Ardent Race is just that.

    Racing a mix of XC and mid-distance endurance races... planning on attending XC nats, and I'm not sure what tires I'll bring there. Maybe regular Ardents, or just stick with Ikons.
    Brought to you by rocks.

  39. #39
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    Ground Controls 2.3 F x 2.1 R - know they aren't the fastest thing around, but they grip and I've never had an issue of rips and only burped twice due to me running them waay too low on technical trail.

  40. #40
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    I ran maxxis ikon exos last season
    I'm moving onto continental x king protections for this season
    I absolutely loved the Ikons both front and rear but want something with a bit more bite
    Specialized sucks

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by shamrok View Post
    Ground Controls 2.3 F x 2.1 R - know they aren't the fastest thing around, but they grip and I've never had an issue of rips and only burped twice due to me running them waay too low on technical trail.
    Great combo! Ran them for a long time until Specialized yanked its stuff from my LBS (they like to do that to non-Concept store LBSs). I felt super secure yet fast on that combo.

  42. #42
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    Tubeless Bontrager XRT Team 29-3 (2.3) on the front and a XRT Team 29-1 (2.0) on the rear. The 29-3 feels super secure yet rolls easy. The 29-1 is a fast climber yet I have trouble sliding it out on purpose in turns even though it's low knobbed.

    I've always run a wider tire up front for cornering security. The 29-3 seemed to be a good combo of grip, rolling ease and weight.

  43. #43
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    Pretty dry out here in the Rock Mountains and I keep it simple:

    Either the Maxxis ICON EXO 2.2 front and back (spring and fall) or the Conti Race King Protections 2.2 front and back (Summer).

  44. #44
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    Ran 2.1 Ground Controls all last season and they gripped really well. Like it has been noted before though, they are slow rolling. So this year I plan on experimenting with the 2.3 renegades F+R or in some conditions just in the rear and running a 2.3 GC up front.

  45. #45
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    Like a few others in this thread, Maxxis Ikon 2.2 EXO front and rear set up tubeless. The sidewall protection and range of condition compatibility make them the best thing around, in my opinion. No more swapping tires before race day… Just leave these things on and go.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    Michelin Wild Race'R Advanced Ultimate's front and rear on the new/old Stumpjumper hard tail on Roval Control SL alloy 26" wheels (1350g the pair).

    Tracks are grit over hard pack, pine needles, small rocks and the occasional section of mud.
    Have to use with tubes at the moment. They're dropping 10psi each end over a 45min ride tubeless.
    I'd get new rim strips and sealant but the race is in 3 days...

    Been climbing well in training, they just feel a bit dead with the tubes after the liveliness of tubeless. The rear is a bit easy to break loose under brakes going down tough.

  47. #47
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    I'm going from 29" Conti X-King ProTection 2.4 front and rear to a Conti X-King 2.2 ProTection front and Race King ProTection 2.2 rear. Racing mostly typical PA single track, aka sharp rocks everywhere. I need something that has some serious business sidewalls, rolls pretty fast, but isn't too burly in the weight department and these fit the bill. I'm focusing on endurance XC and ultra-endurance racing, 50 miles and up.

    edit: running tubeless.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
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  48. #48
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    Finding it interesting that after all these responses....there are zero mentions of WTB tires. I live in Northern California and they are pretty popular around here. i.e. Lot's of Nanoraptors in our smoother races, and Wolverine front, Nano rear combos. Surprised to be deep into the 2nd page of this discussion with no mention of them.

  49. #49
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    I don't like that they don't, or didn't, give thread counts on their web site.

    I also don't like that I don't have a hookup on them.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  50. #50
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    Well, the race is done and dusted.
    Michelin Wild Race'R Advanced Ultimate's are officially OK.
    Not great, but not bad enough to go to the effort/expense of replacing them until they're bald.

    The race conditions were great. No mud, just grit over hardpack, compact soil, tree roots and the occasional rock.

    A bit easy to break the back end loose under braking, but made brakesliding around the tight corners easy. Climbed well.
    The front was a little washy, but looking at the corners, others had the same issues.

    Someone with any sort of descending skills would have pushed the front past it's limits in those conditions, but they'd also have the skills to handle it when it did go.
    I don't.

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