Ardent vs Mountain King My opinions-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Oct 2009

    Ardent vs Mountain King My opinions

    At the beginning of the year before a trip to Moab I switched from a Bontrager 29-3(matched set with smaller rear as per bonty spec) to the Maxxis Ardent 2.4 based on some suggestions specifically for the rocks in Moab.

    I rode the Ardent in Moab, Texas(Revielle Peak Ranch Super D and Singletrack), and on my usual trails in souther Wisconsin. The Kings have only spent time in the Midwest.

    Turner Sultan
    White Bros 135mm
    Wheels Spinergy Xyclone
    Stans Tubless/rimstrip

    Fairly Aggressive/no wheel crushing drops

    Maxxis Ardent 2.4

    Immediately I noticed the Ardent was a wide, thick tire... albeit slightly heavy. The knobs are bulky, and tightly located in the center with staggered side knobs. Out west this tire proved to be extremely confidence inspiring. The casing stiff and durable never made me question smacking sharp edges, or dropping onto the rough stuff. The Ardent proved to find a line, and stick too it on most any terrain. Through the steep and narrow, littered with rocks, and roots I noticed the Ardent allowed me to find a line without worry of grabbing or darting. Back at home in the Midwest away from the western terrain, and back to the hard packed dirt, roots, and small rocks, the tire had a new character. It turned slightly sluggish, its weight far more noticeable on the elevation challenged terrain. Confidence stayed, but on the often slippery dirt and roots I noticed a progressive slide. The bike seemed to turn slower, and not always for the worse. Coming from an auto racing background I would say the tire handled with a neutral, to slight understeer. Uphill tight switchbacks took a heavier front tire weighting to clean. Fast smooth descents on loose dirt felt great as the front found grip without hesitation.
    Summary: Durable, confident, but slightly slugish.

    Mountain King 2.4

    Although I had these tires qued up to use in Moab others persuaded me to mount the Ardents instead. It was not until I mounted the Kings in the Midwest did I realize just why others suggested the Ardents for out west. The tread on the kings seems sparse almost so much that when ridden on hard pavement it almost vibrates. The tire size although 2.4 has a smaller volume than the Ardent giving the impression that its more delicate, but casing construction feels strong, and required no more pressure to feel solid laterally. On the trail my bike immediately woke up. Although the King is specified as 5 grams heavier than the 795g Ardent, the bike seemed to roll easier, and I attest this to compound. On the Midwest dirt the King dug deep giving my bike a point and shoot feel I had not felt since I ran my shorter travel Reba which weighted the front end and changed head angle. I can compare it to the change you can sometimes feel when putting a longer stem on a bike, which although makes steering inputs marginally longer, does weight the front wheel more, especially when not seated. The uphill switchbacks often off camber, where the Ardents might meander off course, the Kings pointed strong. On rough narrow downhills I found the sparse knobs on the Kings to occasionally grab on obstacles which the Ardent would almost plow through. Tight carving corners without berms or bank showed the sharp sparse knobs on the King to be well... King. The twisties felt confident and fast, and I found myself at first adding more steering input than required. On the soft and loose I felt the rear slide until the sharp knobs grabbed. On roots where the Ardent would grab, the King almost slid, likely due to sharp knobs and compound durometer The tire felt linear in its slide out back, and I have not found the fronts limit on similar terrain.
    Summary: Fast and sharp, sometimes too darty.

    I ditched my previous Bontrager setup due to the low volume rear end feeling wobble when loaded, with a sidewall which was showing signs of failure too soon in its life for my liking(sidewall was flaking rubber and oozing stans). In the perfect world I would have three wheelsets one running Ardent 2.4's front and rear for trips out west, another running Kings 2.4 up front and 2.25 out back, and a third setup for super hard pack dry days when speed is preferred over knobs.
    Since the above scenario is silly I will chose to run the Ardents when I travel anywhere rocks dominate terrain, and run the Kings where the tire touches dirt as a majority. I may still search for a super light and fast tire for when the mid summer when trails are packed.

  2. #2
    Expert Crasher
    Reputation: GreenLightGo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Good summary.
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    great write-up / comparo! (im from lacrosse wi orig)

    I recently switched from Maxxis Aspen (2.1 r)/ Ignitor (2.1fr) to an Ardent (2.25 r) and Panaracer Rampage (2.35 f). For Colorado frt range it seems a perfect combo for the varying terrain, rocks, etc... Even tho I heavier combo - they roll nice and are very solid, predictable and durable!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Nice review. Check out the maxxis ikon as your super fast tire when you get the chance. Great tire too!

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