Different sized tires?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Different sized tires?

    Hi, I'm kind of a noob, so wasn't sure how to search this topic.

    What's the logic behind having different tire widths on front and rear? I'm gonna upgrade my stumpy with 2.6 Maxxis minions, but I'd like to hear why some people put wider tires on front wheels. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Front tire needs more traction, it does most of the steering and most of the braking. I have an Ardent Race 27.5x2.6 front and a Vitoria Barzo 27.5x2.25 rear on my hardtail and in loose sand and gravel it's nice to have the wider tire to float over the junk without washing out.

    Honestly the aggressive 2.35" tires (Minions, Magic Mary, other enduro and downhill style tires) have plenty of traction in most cases. The 2.35 Magic Mary on my full suspension is almost impossible to wash out in my local trail conditions.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody special View Post
    Front tire needs more traction, it does most of the steering and most of the braking. I have an Ardent Race 27.5x2.6 front and a Vitoria Barzo 27.5x2.25 rear on my hardtail and in loose sand and gravel it's nice to have the wider tire to float over the junk without washing out.

    Honestly the aggressive 2.35" tires (Minions, Magic Mary, other enduro and downhill style tires) have plenty of traction in most cases. The 2.35 Magic Mary on my full suspension is almost impossible to wash out in my local trail conditions.
    True. You could have a 2.6" Ikon on the rear and a 2.3" DHF on the front and the front would have more steering traction. It would bug me, cosmetically, but it would work.

  4. #4
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    There's also the mullet, actual different rim sizes, smaller in rear, larger in front. This is an attempt to get the 29er rollover, while maintaining some of the liveliness of the 27.5. Apparently, there's something to the tracking in corners too, where the different sizes give a different turning radius for each wheel, but I'm exactly not sure how that works out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    True. You could have a 2.6" Ikon on the rear and a 2.3" DHF on the front and the front would have more steering traction. It would bug me, cosmetically, but it would work.
    It would also reduce the head tube angle. That's another reason people put big tires in the front.

    One major reason smaller tires end up in the back is that they often can't fit a bigger tire. Forks generally have more clearance than frames. Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason. If you can fit the same size tire in the rear, go for it.

    Another is that grip is more important in the front, and in some cases a skinnier tire in the rear may give lower rolling resistance. However, extra squish can decrease rolling resistance on most real-world trails, so that's not a thing for most trail riding. For XC racing with dirt road or pavement sections, it's a consideration.

    A lower-pressure tire tends to deform and release more gradually, while a harder tire will break and skid, but also provide a more positive platform to push on while it's still hooking up. In general, a forgiving front and a firm rear makes for a nice bike. We usually run more pressure in the rear for flat prevention and handling anyway, but you can take this a step further with a smaller rear tire, which will need a couple extra PSI.

    As mentioned, mullet bikes can be nice. A 29er front wheel with a 2.35 or 2.4 DHF provides awesome rollover and grip, without being too heavy. Then a 27.5x2.6 in the rear, maybe a Rekon, will roll fast and keep the back end super tight and flickable. This will also slacken the bike.

  6. #6
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    Roll over, for me, is at least as important on the rear as it is on the front. Spend an hour or so in Moab, climbing off camber ledges! Or out East where they get roots and then more roots (or so I hear). You have to get both tires up and over them.

    On my 27.5, my climb times were consistently faster on 2.6 NoNi's front and back than on 2.35 NoNi's front and back, but that's somewhat trail dependent. Let's just say that narrower tires at higher pressures aren't necessarily faster.

    On my 29er, I can feel the rollover difference on the back between a 2.6 Rekon and a 2.4 Rekon - in favor of the 2.6 - which is also consistently faster and easier on my butt. But again, that's trail dependent. The 2.4 is pretty darn fast on smooth single track.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    ...out East where they get roots and then more roots (or so I hear).
    LOL True, plus, there's an occasional root in between!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    There's also the mullet, actual different rim sizes, smaller in rear, larger in front. This is an attempt to get the 29er rollover, while maintaining some of the liveliness of the 27.5. Apparently, there's something to the tracking in corners too, where the different sizes give a different turning radius for each wheel, but I'm exactly not sure how that works out.

    I'm trying to collect personal data on this. Not enough yet to really say whether a shorter or taller tire corners better, but I'm convinced that a shorter plus tire (2.60 inches wide at the knobs) does switchbacks better for sure. That may seem counterintuitive that you'd go downhill with a shorter tire in front, but on switchbacks you can dive down better and turn faster than with a taller tire.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody special View Post
    I have an Ardent Race 27.5x2.6 front

    Have you or MSU Alum tried the Rekon 2.6 up front, and if so, how does it compare to the Ardent Race? I have not tried the Ardent Race yet, but this is my impression: Ardent Race in general is slightly lighter than Rekon, tread looks a bit more faster rolling and a bit less grip. However, the lightest Rekon 27.5 x 2.6 is 730 grams and the lightest Ardent Race 27.5 x 2.6 is 760 grams. So while something like 2.35/2.40 is in general lighter for the Ardent Race, the 2.6 is not lighter than the Rekon so I think the Rekon might just be the best grip for the weight out there. Right now my Rekon is EXO+ so it's actually 805 grams, and that's fine but for my next XC/light-duty trail tire up front I'm looking around, and I swear the 730 gram version Rekon is just too good on paper to pass up.

    Have you guys crashed with the Ardent Race or Icon up front due to losing grip (as in one of those long, slow-motion crashes), and if so can you give details, hopefully not too painful?

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    Thanks all...appreciate the info!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiThundrrr View Post
    There's also the mullet, actual different rim sizes, smaller in rear, larger in front. This is an attempt to get the 29er rollover, while maintaining some of the liveliness of the 27.5. Apparently, there's something to the tracking in corners too, where the different sizes give a different turning radius for each wheel, but I'm exactly not sure how that works out.
    I actually tried that for a week or so. The only difference I could tell, was that the 29 front wheel felt a bit more flexy axially than the 27.5 in rocky terrain. Rollover felt the same to me. So i went back to the 27.5, as I simply liked it better for feelDifferent sized tires?-bx01-hybrid.jpg

  12. #12
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    Go with a 26x4" in the rear and a 29x2" in the front and you be styling.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Have you or MSU Alum tried the Rekon 2.6 up front, and if so, how does it compare to the Ardent Race? I have not tried the Ardent Race yet, but this is my impression: Ardent Race in general is slightly lighter than Rekon, tread looks a bit more faster rolling and a bit less grip. However, the lightest Rekon 27.5 x 2.6 is 730 grams and the lightest Ardent Race 27.5 x 2.6 is 760 grams. So while something like 2.35/2.40 is in general lighter for the Ardent Race, the 2.6 is not lighter than the Rekon so I think the Rekon might just be the best grip for the weight out there. Right now my Rekon is EXO+ so it's actually 805 grams, and that's fine but for my next XC/light-duty trail tire up front I'm looking around, and I swear the 730 gram version Rekon is just too good on paper to pass up.

    Have you guys crashed with the Ardent Race or Icon up front due to losing grip (as in one of those long, slow-motion crashes), and if so can you give details, hopefully not too painful?
    I have run the 29x2.6 Rekon (alphabet - 3c, exo, etc.) up front. I have no confidence that it will track decently as a front tire, as I've had it wash out in dusty hardpack and in loose over hard. It will go out from under me with no warning. I feel like a Golden Retriever on a linoleum floor with that tire. I have a 29x2.4 Rekon I've used for the rear, but haven't tried it up front. I'm told it's better than the 2.6. but knob height is exactly the same between the two.

    I would not expect the Ikon to corner better than a Rekon, in general. On my wife's bike (when she was on a 26) I had her on the Ikon and the Schwalbe Racing Ralph. The Ikon wore better, but the RaRa was better at everything else. Better grip, rolled way faster and even cornered better.

    I haven't used the Ardent Race. The last time I used an Ardent was in a 26x2.4 TR EXO and cornering was poor as well, as a front tire.

    The Ardent originally was produced without the transition knobs. The reviews had the transition vague (much like the dead zone on the DHF) but I found the original Ardent cornered better because of the lack of transition knobs. That allowed the cornering knobs to dig in more forcefully. Years ago, the design added transition knobs which really just support the cornering knobs enough to prevent them from digging in deeply..

    The same transition knob design is incorporated into the Ikon/Rekon with the same result. It eliminates the dead zone you get if you don't lean the bike over, but removes the reward of cornering effectiveness if you do.

    Within some limitations, I've given up on low weight tires just for the sake of weight. Carcass material, design and construction make more of a difference IME. Knob design as well. On my 27.5 Yeti, my climb times were faster on a 27.5x2.6 NoNi front and back than with the same make/model in a 2.35 which obviously is lighter. But, that is dependent on trail conditions and riding style.

    There are trails where, on my 29er, my climb times are better with a 29x2.6 DHF, 29x2.5 Aggressor than on my NoNi's and the Maxxis combo is almost 600 grams heavier. Pure hardpack hero dirt is a different story. Then my 29x2.35 NoNi's are faster. I need something with at least that degree of cornering up front, though, or I have to slow down on the hard cornering. Though the NoNi's have what could be called transition knobs, the knobs are aggressive enough that they dig in well. The DHF is great, but you GOTTA get the bike leaned over!

    As a general observation, a heavier, higher drag tire will be less of a speed issue up front than it would be on the back, but everything is a trade off, huh?

  14. #14
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    I like the Rekon on the front - I've also run the 29x2.6 MaxxTerra EXO 120 TR. It's slidy, but in a predictable way, I think. Loose over hard is not it's forte; it's better suited to hard rocks and roots, wet or dry. I don't think it's any better than an Ardent Race in the dry, other than it's the same weight for a 2.6 vs. the 2.35 of the AR... for my rooty trails, that's a win.
    I don't like the NN on the front. It grips hard, but goes real quick.

  15. #15
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    Iím running a 2.6 Maxxis Dissector front and 2.4 Dissector rear. I initially bought a pair of 2.4s and then bought a pair of 2.6s when they became available. The 2.6 makes a big difference floating over loose sand & gravel out here in the desert.

  16. #16
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    Larger front tire for more traction/control and smaller rear for lighter weight/rotational mass. That was always the norm in the 26er days, not as normal now it seems.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

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