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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.
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  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.

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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.
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  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.
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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.
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  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.
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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.
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  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.
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  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.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartoregon View Post
    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.
    I have a 2.3 renegade, great tire just too big for my liking...MSG me if you want it...thx

  52. #52
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    Conti 2.2 Race King - Black Chili / ProTection / Tubeless Ready both F & R. I have a pair of Schwalbe Thunder Burts and a pair of Furious Freds sitting in my basement right now that I will experiment with as soon as the weather gets a bit nicer and things dry out. Depending on the durability I may give them a whirl in a race. If I use the Schwalbes would most likely go with the Thunder Burts given that I purchased that set of tires with their RaceGuard protection.

  53. #53
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    I started out with a Nobby Nic / Racing Ralph combo but I'd like to get an Aspen or Ikon back on the front when it dries up.

    Also thinking about trying a Stan's Raven on the rear. I skimmed the thread and didn't see it mentioned but does anyone have thoughts on running this tire tubed? I'm a little concerned about running it with a tube. I have Crests so I guess I could switch it over to tubeless but I haven't tried the tubeless Kool Aid yet so I'd rather it just work tubed.

    Also might try a python on the rear for a couple races. Nothing wrong with the Ralph I have just trying new things.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7daysaweek View Post
    Also thinking about trying a Stan's Raven on the rear. I skimmed the thread and didn't see it mentioned but does anyone have thoughts on running this tire tubed? I'm a little concerned about running it with a tube. I have Crests so I guess I could switch it over to tubeless but I haven't tried the tubeless Kool Aid yet so I'd rather it just work tubed.
    Whats a tube?

    I used stans ravens tubeless in the past with good results, in the midwest. I did flat the rear tire one time though. Only tubeless flat I've gotten. These were the 26" variety. I just bought a set of 700x35 ravens for my cx bike. I wont know how those are until gravel season starts in late March. Those will be setup tubeless also.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7daysaweek View Post
    I have Crests so I guess I could switch it over to tubeless but I haven't tried the tubeless Kool Aid yet so I'd rather it just work tubed.
    People still use tubes? Why?

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by skibum1321 View Post
    People still use tubes? Why?
    At the risk of jinxing myself on my next few rides.... no need to. I run my tubed tires around 22-25 psi and I've flatted once in the past couple of years. I just don't have issues with it so as they say: "if it ain't broke".

    I do have tubeless tires on my road bike (cause it came that way) and other than having one hell of a time getting it to reseat when it went flat I haven't had any other issues with it.

  57. #57
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    Ikon f/r 2.2
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  58. #58
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    Has anyone raced on any of the Panaracer tires set up tubeless?
    I have been running contis front and back but might have a Panaracer hookup so looking into some feedback on what to try out.

    Thanks!

  59. #59
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    Ikon 29x2.35 front and 2.2 ikon rear

  60. #60
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    Re: What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by t-ruh View Post
    Ikon 29x2.35 front and 2.2 ikon rear
    I'll also be trying this combo out this year. Have you tried them out yet?

  61. #61
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    Ardent Race 27.5x2.2 front and Ikon 2.2 rear.

  62. #62
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    Same as last season.
    Ikon 2.2 3C Max speed F&R or Ignitors if it's a bit wet. Or Ignitor F and Ikon R if the conditions warrant.
    I like the lightness of the Ikons. When you're spoiled wiht 520g tire it's hard to go back to anything else.

  63. #63
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    Rocket Ron 2.25 non-snakeskin front, 520g
    Ikon 2.20 EXO rear, 595g

    Was never a big fan of running the ikon year round, but after a first full season on a 9'er, it sticks with the extra contact.

  64. #64
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    Racing Ralph SS 29x2.25 Front and Rear.

    They are not cheap, but I like them.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by drifter248 View Post
    Ardent Race 27.5x2.2 front and Ikon 2.2 rear.
    I way just about to write in recommending the Ardent Race. Good tire in the dry and loose, actually a spectacularly good XC tire in the dry and loose. In the wet, well there is better choices.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  66. #66
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    I'm going to start in a few marathons in Central Poland. The terrain is rather flat but sandy, loamy with roots and stones. I will use set of Schwalbe 26x2.1': Rocket Ron on front and Racing Ralph on tail wheel.

  67. #67
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    Knard 3.0 front and rear

  68. #68
    Rod
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    Another Conti user. I'm running X king on the front and race king on the rear. I really like this combo since I can point the bike and it'll go in virtually any condition. I'll take the weight penalty over another cut lightweight tire.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  69. #69
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    Last year I ran either Ikon/Ikon or Ardent 2.25/Ikon. I think I'll stick with the Ardent up front. It's not the lightest or fastest, but for my cornering style, it rails.

  70. #70
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    Using 29 2.25 Ralph's front and rear. I've been thinking about a mud tire set up just in case- What are you guys thinking of Ron's for mud?

  71. #71
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    I'm liking them okay. Not as good as something chunkier but definitely a better all-conditions tire than a Ralph or an Ikon, IMO.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Litemike View Post
    Using 29 2.25 Ralph's front and rear. I've been thinking about a mud tire set up just in case- What are you guys thinking of Ron's for mud?
    The Rocket Ron is just about the best true racing tire for mud out there. It's based on the Nobby Nic which is more of a trail/AM tire. In my experience the Rocket Ron has much better cornering traction and climbing traction than the Racing Ralph or Ikon. I can't tell you if they're slower or not because they're pretty fast.

    The Rocket Ron 2.1 front/Thunder Burt Snakeskin rear is my combination of choice for endurance. If you want flypaper-like handling in fast races on dirt and roots, Rocket Ron front and rear is the way to go.

    It's got a wonderfully controllable slip characteristic that you don't find on other racing tires: with it's jagged forward-facing knobs, it slips and then recovers in time for you to correct, so you can pretty much lay out the bike hard and expect the tires to give you fair warning when they've had too much. Sorry if this sounds like a commercial for them but they've been great for me and other Cat 1 racers I know.

  73. #73
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    Thanks, here in Wisconsin it is always possible to get rained on, and man when it does you don't want to be on Ralph's - IMHO

  74. #74
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    Front and rear in Ralph I trust

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    If its really soggy I will run Continental Mountain Kings.

  75. #75
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    i ride a 26" Hardtail, and am planning on racing, but mainly on wooded dirt areas, what would be a good option, i live and ride in the uk so no real extreme weather here, but it does get muddy occainally. cheers guys, also, what do you think of a 'Trek Elite 8.8' its the bike i bought, i got it at staff discount due to working in the largest bike shop in the uk.

  76. #76
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    Problem: I desire the tread of Ro Ron, but the thing goes to dust so fast. What's similar, but doesn't wear horribly?
    (Also, it can be overkill, but I typically use a 2.35 No Nic up front; perfectly predictable.)

  77. #77
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    What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by Collins View Post
    Problem: I desire the tread of Ro Ron, but the thing goes to dust so fast. What's similar, but doesn't wear horribly?
    (Also, it can be overkill, but I typically use a 2.35 No Nic up front; perfectly predictable.)
    A Nobby Nic is pretty much a durable Rocket Ron, try the 2.25. Also try the Snakeskin Ron as it's got a lower TPI count and generally the tread will last longer.

  78. #78
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    I switched to Ikon's f/r last year on my fs 29er last year from Ralphs. I'm in WI too, I didn't like how much the front washed out on the Ralphs, the Ikon's have fixed that and my corner speeds seem better now and I'm able to be more aggressive.

  79. #79
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    What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    Racing Ralph 2.25 front and rear. Coming off of Maxxis Aspens which I loved.

  80. #80
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    Maxxis Ardent 2.25 Fr - Maxxis CrossMax 2.1 r. on a SC TBc. I like a bit more knob grip on my tires for stability at speeds.
    Keep pedaling no matter what

  81. #81
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    What about Racing Ralph 2.25 Front; 2.2 Ikon rear. The RR has a bit more volume and softer rubber for better grip; Ikon looks like faster tread and may wear better.

  82. #82
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    I started this thread a while ago... never submitted my combo. Decided on Conti Xking front, Raceking rear. Best darned combo Ive been on. Both 2.2, rocky mtn region. However, the raceking seems to be of slightly more volume than the Xking. hmm
    "Racing cyclocross exposes the truth, it's the biggest reason many people do not race it"

  83. #83
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    Thunder Burts F/R for the win on Sat.

    Pretty sure I'll be putting a Rocket Ron on the front for the next couple races.

  84. #84
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    Have you raced this combo yet? Is the 2.35 too much tire? I am thinking of this combo as I like the added confidence of the 2.35 but don't know about the weight penalty

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by strat819 View Post
    I started this thread a while ago... never submitted my combo. Decided on Conti Xking front, Raceking rear. Best darned combo Ive been on. Both 2.2, rocky mtn region. However, the raceking seems to be of slightly more volume than the Xking. hmm
    I run the same set-up, I found out that the 2.2 raceking actually uses the same casing as their 2.4's in the other tires. it's a 2.2 because of the lack of tall side knobs I guess. Conti is kind of all over the place with tire sizes. I agree though, great tires for dry conditions.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
    -michaelscott

  86. #86
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    Currently running a Bontrager team issue 29.3 up front and a geax aka in the rear. Not sure I'm sold on the Bontrager up front as I don't seem to have the confidence to really lay the bike in corners/berms etc. I'm liking the Geax and the rear, but maybe I just need to really push the front tire to get more out of it instead of being hesitant.

  87. #87
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    Been on renegade 1.95s front and rear. I'm a little timid on the front but I am getting used to it. One thing I will say is how incredibly durable they have been. I was scared from what every one has said, but I have put them through rocky hell so far and they are great. (sworks casing)

  88. #88
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    On my hard tail I've been running a Specialized Ground Control 2.3 in the front, S-Works Fast Trak 2.0 in the rear. Fast Traks wash out on the front too often for me, so GC it was for a confidence factor. Been working out quite well, but I'm thinking I might start running a Renegade in the rear once I wear out the current tire. I live in southeastern WY, so lots of cactus, rocky/technical, but mostly dry.

    On my full suspension I switched to Ground Controls with the grid UST casings for Nationals out in PA last year from Fast Traks front and rear. Heavy as hell, but I didn't want to risk ripping a side wall or puncturing (I ran tubes at the time). I'm thinking the grid casings are a bit much, so I will switch to just the Ground Control "Controls" for Nationals with a tubeless set up this year. I will probably also run my hard tail like that (bringing both bikes as a just in case, and also I am thinking I just might be crazy enough to run a hard tail at Bear Creek...). Then I'll probably switch the full suspension back to a Fast Trak in the rear.

    I swear I spend more on tires for my bikes than my damn cars...

  89. #89
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    How do you like Xking? I was for many years on Schwalbe, first Racing Ralph back and front, once Rocket Ron came out, I put Rocket Ron front keeping Racing Ralph on back, but last year I decided to try Conti, same combo as you... Xking front, Raceking rear. While I really loved Raceking, which felt faster then Racing Ralph, I couldn't start to like Xking, as it was (at least for me) rolling slower then Rocket Ron, and it had much much less grip then Rocket Ron, especially on gravel... not to mention it's some good 100g heavier.
    This year I'm back on Schwalbe with Rocket Ron front, and Thunder Burt rear. I'm not sure about Thunder Burt though. It's great tire, ultra light, and really fast rolling, but very fragile (I guess you can't expect something else with sub 400g tire), so it might be, I will actually switch rear tire to Conti Raceking.
    Primoz

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by primoz View Post
    How do you like Xking? I was for many years on Schwalbe, first Racing Ralph back and front, once Rocket Ron came out, I put Rocket Ron front keeping Racing Ralph on back, but last year I decided to try Conti, same combo as you... Xking front, Raceking rear. While I really loved Raceking, which felt faster then Racing Ralph, I couldn't start to like Xking, as it was (at least for me) rolling slower then Rocket Ron, and it had much much less grip then Rocket Ron, especially on gravel... not to mention it's some good 100g heavier.
    This year I'm back on Schwalbe with Rocket Ron front, and Thunder Burt rear. I'm not sure about Thunder Burt though. It's great tire, ultra light, and really fast rolling, but very fragile (I guess you can't expect something else with sub 400g tire), so it might be, I will actually switch rear tire to Conti Raceking.
    I hated the X-Kings that came on my El Mar. Seemed squirmy in corners, and never really cared for cornering on them in any condition. Swapped them out after 3 weeks and immediately felt more balanced.

  91. #91
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    What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    Sworks fast track front, fast track control rear. Both 29x2. Nice and fast with fairly good grip for what I ride


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  92. #92
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    I race primarily in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado - lots of rocks, mostly dry, some river crossings and sometimes wet/soft/muddy where streams trickle down the middle of the trail for short distances. I'm racing the Expert class.

    I've been racing Crossmarks in the rear and Bontrager Team Issue XR2 in the front. Light and fast rolling.

    My fitness is high and I do very well on the climbs. But I get passed on the downhills. I used to race the Pro class in motocross, so I have 2 wheeled off-road skills, but it isn't translating to rapid descents in the Rocky Mountains on a mountain bike.

    After a few seasons of frustrating finishes due to not-enough-downhill speed, I'm planning to go with more aggressive tires to see if that increases my confidence, especially on the fast fireroad (loose-over-hardpack) descents were I seem to lose a lot of time.

    I purchased a Ground Control for the front but haven't been able to put it on yet. It looks so burly -- does not look like an XC race tire. Specialized calls it a trail tire. But my LBS convinced me to buy it. Now I need to decide if I"m going to use it.

    They also have me pretty convinced to put a Fast Track on the rear. I've liked the Crossmark, though it breaks loose under heavy braking. It provides decent forward traction and is fast rolling. I don't recall any issues with it sliding out at speed. But I'm still looking at the Fast Track.

    I tried Ikons last year and quickly decided they lacked the kind of braking and cornering traction that I desire in the conditions I race. Used to run a Captain up front, but became convinced it was slow rolling due to the deep knobs.

    My LBS says Specialized has really optimized rolling resistance for the new versions of their tires, even on the Ground Control, so even though it looks gnarly, the 2014 version rolls fast. Hopefully that's not just sales talk.

    I'm pretty much settled on a Ground Control for the front and Fast Track for the rear, just trying to decide on sizes. I'm leaning towards going with the wider front and skinny rear to optimize traction, confidence, weight, and rolling resistance. That is about the same weight as my current set-up and the skinnier rear will have less rolling resistance than the fatter rear tire.

    Option A: skinny front and rear: Fast Track 2.0 rear (520g), Ground Control 2.1 front (605g): 1125g
    Option B: fat front and rear: Fast Track 2.2 rear (570g), Ground Control 2.3 front (650g): 1220g total
    Option C: fat front and skinny rear: Fast Track 2.0 rear (520g), Ground Control 2.3 front (650g): 1170 total
    NOTE: current Crossmark rear: 550g, Bontrager front: 630g; total 1180g

    We're not talking about a LOT of weight no matter which option I choose. 100g more for the fat/fat option is slightly less than 1/4 pounds. But it is also important to note that Colorado courses have 3500-6000 feet of climbing, so every gram takes energy to transport up the climbs.

    BOTTOM LINE: I've been in MANY races where the podium was decided by a handful of seconds after 2-3 hours of racing. I've been mostly on the losing end of the bargain. Most of the races I participate in have long-ish descents to the finish line (kind of the nature of racing in the Rockies -- we go up, up, up, and then down, down, down). I stomp up the ascents and pass people, only to have them pass me back on the descents.

    I'm not able to gap the competition enough on the uphills to make up for the speed difference on the downhills. I don't want to compromise my ascending too much, but need more confidence to go faster downhill.

    Feedback welcome!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  93. #93
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    I'm alright with my Bontrager team issue 29.3 up front, but I fear it'll be worn by my 50-mile race in a few weeks. Debating between the Continental x-king, trail king, maxxis ardent, or the specialized s works fast trak, butcher (all-mountain but looks real nice and grippy).

    Leaning towards the x-king or trail king, but definitely would love to hear opinions.
    Race: some techy xc climbing, pavement climbing, bombing fire roads/jeep roads etc.

  94. #94
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    Race King rear, X-King front if it's not going to be wet.

  95. #95
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    I have a Geax aka tnt on the rear that I wasn't sold on, but lowered the pressure and am now loving it. However, the race king is what I want when it wears out eventually.

    It won't be wet - mostly dry, loose rock, roots, maybe some sand, nice single track in the race and the rest of my races.
    Thanks NordieBoy

  96. #96
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    Ritchey WCS Shield 2.1s front and rear. Super fast and grippy for dry conditions out here in socal. Better than the raras that came on the bike

  97. #97
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    Re: What tire combo will you be racing on 2014?

    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider View Post
    I race primarily in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado - lots of rocks, mostly dry, some river crossings and sometimes wet/soft/muddy where streams trickle down the middle of the trail for short distances. I'm racing the Expert class.

    I've been racing Crossmarks in the rear and Bontrager Team Issue XR2 in the front. Light and fast rolling.

    My fitness is high and I do very well on the climbs. But I get passed on the downhills. I used to race the Pro class in motocross, so I have 2 wheeled off-road skills, but it isn't translating to rapid descents in the Rocky Mountains on a mountain bike.

    After a few seasons of frustrating finishes due to not-enough-downhill speed, I'm planning to go with more aggressive tires to see if that increases my confidence, especially on the fast fireroad (loose-over-hardpack) descents were I seem to lose a lot of time.

    I purchased a Ground Control for the front but haven't been able to put it on yet. It looks so burly -- does not look like an XC race tire. Specialized calls it a trail tire. But my LBS convinced me to buy it. Now I need to decide if I"m going to use it.

    They also have me pretty convinced to put a Fast Track on the rear. I've liked the Crossmark, though it breaks loose under heavy braking. It provides decent forward traction and is fast rolling. I don't recall any issues with it sliding out at speed. But I'm still looking at the Fast Track.

    I tried Ikons last year and quickly decided they lacked the kind of braking and cornering traction that I desire in the conditions I race. Used to run a Captain up front, but became convinced it was slow rolling due to the deep knobs.

    My LBS says Specialized has really optimized rolling resistance for the new versions of their tires, even on the Ground Control, so even though it looks gnarly, the 2014 version rolls fast. Hopefully that's not just sales talk.

    I'm pretty much settled on a Ground Control for the front and Fast Track for the rear, just trying to decide on sizes. I'm leaning towards going with the wider front and skinny rear to optimize traction, confidence, weight, and rolling resistance. That is about the same weight as my current set-up and the skinnier rear will have less rolling resistance than the fatter rear tire.

    Option A: skinny front and rear: Fast Track 2.0 rear (520g), Ground Control 2.1 front (605g): 1125g
    Option B: fat front and rear: Fast Track 2.2 rear (570g), Ground Control 2.3 front (650g): 1220g total
    Option C: fat front and skinny rear: Fast Track 2.0 rear (520g), Ground Control 2.3 front (650g): 1170 total
    NOTE: current Crossmark rear: 550g, Bontrager front: 630g; total 1180g

    We're not talking about a LOT of weight no matter which option I choose. 100g more for the fat/fat option is slightly less than 1/4 pounds. But it is also important to note that Colorado courses have 3500-6000 feet of climbing, so every gram takes energy to transport up the climbs.

    BOTTOM LINE: I've been in MANY races where the podium was decided by a handful of seconds after 2-3 hours of racing. I've been mostly on the losing end of the bargain. Most of the races I participate in have long-ish descents to the finish line (kind of the nature of racing in the Rockies -- we go up, up, up, and then down, down, down). I stomp up the ascents and pass people, only to have them pass me back on the descents.

    I'm not able to gap the competition enough on the uphills to make up for the speed difference on the downhills. I don't want to compromise my ascending too much, but need more confidence to go faster downhill.

    Feedback welcome!
    Are you on hardtail or fs? I would probably go fat/fat either way, but definitely if you're on a ht. Your weakness is descending, so you're gonna want to be slightly "over-tired" to get your confidence up

    Keep your options open! You should also look into the non-exo ikon 2.35 for the front tire, that's what I've been running this season and I love it. Totally different tire than the 2.2. I'm on the 2.2 on the rear and it's ok, I wish it had more braking traction. It seems to break loose under the slightest bit of braking

  98. #98
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    Train on those descents with a fully-rigid bike. Race a full-suspension? Or train on slick tires like Ravens and race with Rocket Rons.




    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider View Post
    I race primarily in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado - lots of rocks, mostly dry, some river crossings and sometimes wet/soft/muddy where streams trickle down the middle of the trail for short distances. I'm racing the Expert class.

    I've been racing Crossmarks in the rear and Bontrager Team Issue XR2 in the front. Light and fast rolling.

    My fitness is high and I do very well on the climbs. But I get passed on the downhills. I used to race the Pro class in motocross, so I have 2 wheeled off-road skills, but it isn't translating to rapid descents in the Rocky Mountains on a mountain bike.

    After a few seasons of frustrating finishes due to not-enough-downhill speed, I'm planning to go with more aggressive tires to see if that increases my confidence, especially on the fast fireroad (loose-over-hardpack) descents were I seem to lose a lot of time.

    I purchased a Ground Control for the front but haven't been able to put it on yet. It looks so burly -- does not look like an XC race tire. Specialized calls it a trail tire. But my LBS convinced me to buy it. Now I need to decide if I"m going to use it.

    They also have me pretty convinced to put a Fast Track on the rear. I've liked the Crossmark, though it breaks loose under heavy braking. It provides decent forward traction and is fast rolling. I don't recall any issues with it sliding out at speed. But I'm still looking at the Fast Track.

    I tried Ikons last year and quickly decided they lacked the kind of braking and cornering traction that I desire in the conditions I race. Used to run a Captain up front, but became convinced it was slow rolling due to the deep knobs.

    My LBS says Specialized has really optimized rolling resistance for the new versions of their tires, even on the Ground Control, so even though it looks gnarly, the 2014 version rolls fast. Hopefully that's not just sales talk.

    I'm pretty much settled on a Ground Control for the front and Fast Track for the rear, just trying to decide on sizes. I'm leaning towards going with the wider front and skinny rear to optimize traction, confidence, weight, and rolling resistance. That is about the same weight as my current set-up and the skinnier rear will have less rolling resistance than the fatter rear tire.

    Option A: skinny front and rear: Fast Track 2.0 rear (520g), Ground Control 2.1 front (605g): 1125g
    Option B: fat front and rear: Fast Track 2.2 rear (570g), Ground Control 2.3 front (650g): 1220g total
    Option C: fat front and skinny rear: Fast Track 2.0 rear (520g), Ground Control 2.3 front (650g): 1170 total
    NOTE: current Crossmark rear: 550g, Bontrager front: 630g; total 1180g

    We're not talking about a LOT of weight no matter which option I choose. 100g more for the fat/fat option is slightly less than 1/4 pounds. But it is also important to note that Colorado courses have 3500-6000 feet of climbing, so every gram takes energy to transport up the climbs.

    BOTTOM LINE: I've been in MANY races where the podium was decided by a handful of seconds after 2-3 hours of racing. I've been mostly on the losing end of the bargain. Most of the races I participate in have long-ish descents to the finish line (kind of the nature of racing in the Rockies -- we go up, up, up, and then down, down, down). I stomp up the ascents and pass people, only to have them pass me back on the descents.

    I'm not able to gap the competition enough on the uphills to make up for the speed difference on the downhills. I don't want to compromise my ascending too much, but need more confidence to go faster downhill.

    Feedback welcome!

  99. #99
    Let's fly!
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    I ride/race a Spec Epic 29er dual suspension. I went with the Ground Control 2.3 in the S-Works casng for the front and a Fast Track 2.0 in the Control casing in the back (weighs the same as the FT 2.2 in S-Works casing, more abrasion resistant). Rode the new tires last night and they worked very well. I wish there was actual test data somewhere that measured rolling resistance and would rank tires based on it. It didn't really seem like the new tires were slower, but who knows? They are both much more aggressive than the tires they replaced, so it would seem they would have to be slower rolling, though Specialized touts their computer analysis for knob shape/placement to optimize CRR. The tires seemed to roll well, but perhaps I was pedaling harder because I was excited about having new tires. It's not possible to be sure.

    The Ground Control up front definitely inspired more confidence on the descent - great traction everywhere. But I got passed and gapped by 2 of my crew who I usually hang with. It was an unfamiliar trail and extremely rocky, so I was being a bit careful so as not to crash or rip up my brand new tires, but I wasn't being timid. It was close to race pace, particularly right after they passed me and I could set my pace based on theirs. But both of them gapped me on some really gnarly-rocky-drop sections where I decided caution was better than speed. I tried to catch back up, but it didn't happen. So either I was less fast than before or more conservative due to unfamiliar trail / new tires on gnarly rocks. I set a Strava PR, but the only other time I did that descent was over 2 years ago, got a flat and walked the last mile. So it took 55 minutes two years ago and 14 minutes last night. I wish I had gone to a more familiar trail with lots of Strava rides by me on it to see if I was faster.

    On a related note, I have been using a Lezyne road pump for the past few years. When I bought the new tires on Tuesday, I picked up a new Specialized AirTool mtb pump. After getting them set up tubeless with the Spec AirTool (very easy! seated and inflated immediately!), I pumped the tires up to 30psi with the Lezyne which is the pressure I've been racing with in the past. When I attached the Spec pump, it showed 22psi. WOW! That's a huge difference!

    I pumped the tires to 25psi according to the Spec and went riding. I quickly decided they were too hard and let some air out. Let more out later in the ride. They felt good at that point - absorbed rocks/roots reasonably well, didn't squish or roll on the descents and high speed turns. Back at the truck, the Spec pump says 22psi. Not sure what to make of that. I weigh 173 pounds and really doubt I'm running 22psi. The Lezyne reading of 30psi seems more likely.

    32 mile / 4-4.5 hour race tomorrow. It's a "B" race for me on trails I've only ridden a couple of times. Next "A" race is June 28. I'm hoping to go MUCH faster on June 28 than I have before.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  100. #100
    Armature speller
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    If they're absorbing rocks/roots, then they're closer to 22 than 30psi.

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