2.6/2.4 Combo for East Coast Trails- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2.6/2.4 Combo for East Coast Trails

    Hi all,

    It's about time for me to get some fresh rubber, and with all the tire options out there I was wondering if I could get some recommendations to narrow down my search. I've currently been running the classic 2.3 DHF/DHR2 combo. The grip is great and I haven't had any durability problems with the standard casing, but I definitely wouldn't mind going to a slightly lighter and faster rolling setup.

    I'm normally riding on slightly to very wet trails littered with lots of smaller to mid sized roots and some rocks. I'm thinking to try something around 2.5-2.6 in the front and 2.4-2.5 in the back to help take the edge off the smaller impacts.

    I've been looking at possibly trying a XR4/XR3, a DHF/Rekon, Magic Mary/Han Damph, or maybe something from Continental (though their tires seem a bit heavier than most). Pirelli's new MTB tires also look interesting, though real world feedback is nonexistent at the moment. I would appreciate hearing about any experiences with these or other similar tires.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    DHF 2.5 front, aggressor 2.4 rear works for my MA rocks and roots. I run a recon 2.6 in the back of my Karate monkey, no experience running it as a front.

  3. #3
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    I'm running an XR4/Rekon combo (both 29x2.6). This works really well in TN. In the winter I might swap the Rekon to a Forekaster in the rear. I wouldn't run this at a DH park obviously but overall it's a good setup for aggressive trail riding but still fast rolling. I'm also running Rimpact inserts btw

  4. #4
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    I have not yet been disappointed in the Rekon/Rekon combo Iím running. 2.6 on both ends.

  5. #5
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    I don't live out east, but I'll chime in.
    I also have a pair of "alphabet" 29x2.6 Rekons front and back. I've ridden them in damp sandy conditions in Moab and was impressed with the climbing and braking grip.
    I also went to a 2.6 WT DHF front and a 2.5 WT Aggressor rear, both of which are a little smaller and was surprised at how well the combo rolled. Also, the grip was fantastic and they were a better combo if off camber ledgy climbs are common there. Oddly, I thought that combo rolled better than the 2.3 DHF/DHRII and I'm weight conscious!

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    I'm running 2.35 Magic Mary front and Hans Dampf rear in Western NC. Rolls well and has tons of grip. I've been running this combo for about 2 months now and I'm really liking it. You mentioned that you're riding wet trails pretty often, so I'd shy away from anything fast rolling as they tend to not clear mud very well. The Magic Mary is great in this regard. HD has been pretty good as well although I don't ride if it's super muddy. DHF/Aggressor is another great setup (very similar to the Schwalbe's).

    You didn't mention what bike you're riding. Maybe some suspension tuning will get you the ride you're looking for rather than larger volume tires?

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the recommendations, it sounds like a DHF/Aggressor or MM/HD would be best. Has anyone had experience with both the Aggressor and the Rekon? I'm drawn to the Rekon's lower weight, but if it means sacrificing a good bit of grip than I would stick with the Aggressor. As far as Schwalable and Maxxis, are there any large differences between the two brands' rubber, or should my decision mostly be based on who's tires are cheaper?

    I'm also looking to do a bit more suspension tuning to help with chattery roots. I'm running a canfield riot with a DVO topaz/diamond combo. I feel that my rebound is slightly off, causing some of the harshness I'm feeling.

    Thanks for the help.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    Thanks for all the recommendations, it sounds like a DHF/Aggressor or MM/HD would be best. Has anyone had experience with both the Aggressor and the Rekon? I'm drawn to the Rekon's lower weight, but if it means sacrificing a good bit of grip than I would stick with the Aggressor. As far as Schwalable and Maxxis, are there any large differences between the two brands' rubber, or should my decision mostly be based on who's tires are cheaper?

    I'm also looking to do a bit more suspension tuning to help with chattery roots. I'm running a canfield riot with a DVO topaz/diamond combo. I feel that my rebound is slightly off, causing some of the harshness I'm feeling.

    Thanks for the help.
    I have used the Rekon 2.6, DHF 2.6, Aggressor 2.5 and Nobby Nics in a 2.35, all in Utah conditions.

    I already compared them, but I'll elaborate. The DHF will definitely corner better than the Rekon in this (or any) size. Though the DHF probably has more rolling resistance than the Rekon, being on the front reduces the impact of that. On the back, the Rekon has decent grip climbing and braking, but if you are climbing up off camber ledges, the Aggressor will be a significant improvement with little loss of rolling speed.

    My normal tire for northern Utah XC/trail is the 2.35 Nobby Nic front and back, and I would say they roll better than the Aggressor or DHRII on the back. I haven't had a chance to compare that combo with the Rekons I have in the same conditions yet, so I can't compare other than to say that in my conditions, the NoNi's grip better than the Rekons. The Magic Mary is probably the best of the bunch for loamy or wet conditions as a front tire.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    I have used the Rekon 2.6, DHF 2.6, Aggressor 2.5 and Nobby Nics in a 2.35, all in Utah conditions.

    I already compared them, but I'll elaborate. The DHF will definitely corner better than the Rekon in this (or any) size. Though the DHF probably has more rolling resistance than the Rekon, being on the front reduces the impact of that. On the back, the Rekon has decent grip climbing and braking, but if you are climbing up off camber ledges, the Aggressor will be a significant improvement with little loss of rolling speed.

    My normal tire for northern Utah XC/trail is the 2.35 Nobby Nic front and back, and I would say they roll better than the Aggressor or DHRII on the back. I haven't had a chance to compare that combo with the Rekons I have in the same conditions yet, so I can't compare other than to say that in my conditions, the NoNi's grip better than the Rekons. The Magic Mary is probably the best of the bunch for loamy or wet conditions as a front tire.
    I've had the opposite experience with cornering, because the DHF style tires don't have intermediate lugs. Perhaps all of you are a more aggressive "cornerers" than I am, but I have not found that tires with only main and side lugs have more traction anywhere. Perhaps in mud it'd be different, I don't know because we don't have mud in the desert.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    As far as Schwalable and Maxxis, are there any large differences between the two brands' rubber, or should my decision mostly be based on who's tires are cheaper?


    Thanks for the help.
    Iíve never owned a schwalbe tire I felt like I got my money worth out of. They tend to more expensive and less durable than other options. Lots of people love them though. Thatís just my experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    I have used the Rekon 2.6, DHF 2.6, Aggressor 2.5 and Nobby Nics in a 2.35, all in Utah conditions.

    I already compared them, but I'll elaborate. The DHF will definitely corner better than the Rekon in this (or any) size. Though the DHF probably has more rolling resistance than the Rekon, being on the front reduces the impact of that. On the back, the Rekon has decent grip climbing and braking, but if you are climbing up off camber ledges, the Aggressor will be a significant improvement with little loss of rolling speed.

    My normal tire for northern Utah XC/trail is the 2.35 Nobby Nic front and back, and I would say they roll better than the Aggressor or DHRII on the back. I haven't had a chance to compare that combo with the Rekons I have in the same conditions yet, so I can't compare other than to say that in my conditions, the NoNi's grip better than the Rekons. The Magic Mary is probably the best of the bunch for loamy or wet conditions as a front tire.
    I appreciate the additional comparison, it sounds like a DHF/Aggressor combo would be the best option out of Maxxis. I climb a decent amount of off-camber root ledges and regularly encounter loose and leafy climbs, so the additional traction in exchange for rolling resistance should be worth it. The Magic Mary/Hans Dampf combo sounds to be great for wet weather riding, it's definitely my top competitor to Maxxis right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Iíve never owned a schwalbe tire I felt like I got my money worth out of. They tend to more expensive and less durable than other options. Lots of people love them though. Thatís just my experience.
    Thanks for the info, it lines up with what I've heard about Schwalbe's tires - expensive and fast wearing. I've heard reports that their new compound fixes the wear problems, but I'm definitely not 100% on that.

    At this point I'm down to:

    1) Maxxis DHF (f)/Aggressor (r)
    2) Schwalbe MM/HD
    3) Bonti XR4/XR3

    At this point unless something else comes up I think it's mainly down to price. If the Schwalbe stuff isn't too much more I might give it a shot due to its wet weather performance, otherwise Maxxis seems to hold the price lead for now.

  12. #12
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    Wet trails with occasional roots/rocks...

    Sounds like my neck of the woods.

    I ride my AM HT 29er (mainly) during the wetter months.

    This year I've gone the 2.6 Specialized Butcher, Gripton, Grid - up front & the 2.4 WT Maxxis Minion DHRII, Exo, 3C Maxxterra - out back.

    Little draggy on the ups...

    But, amazing grip & mud shedding on the downs.

    'Born to ride!'
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  13. #13
    The White Jeff W
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    I used to ride Nobby Nic rear/Hans Dampf front but with the new tread pattern on the NN I've been using them front and rear and have been very happy with then in Western PA

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    No moss...

  14. #14
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    Im in Western MD. I ran DHR2 front and rear the past 2 years. Id switch to the Aggressor when i traveled to WNC since we couldn't ride as much and my condition wasn't great due to the rain, but I fell it gives up too much grip and packs easy if the soil is damp. And dont like it on wet roots. the 2.3 DHF and a Forkaster rear makes a good "xc" combo.
    The XR4 is good when dry, lacks the side knobs to make it a contender with Minnions. This year Ill have 2 set ups. Assguy/DHR2 for wet (love this combo but its going backwards from what you want) and Spec eliminator and XR4 for when its dry.

  15. #15
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    Hold on....

    If you are running 2.3 Minions, going to 2.5 WT Minions will not roll faster. However, 2.6 Minions are a completely different tire. They are "puffy" with thin, compliant sidewalls and they roll very well, grip well, but get very imprecise and "floaty/bouncy" when you push them hard and fast in the chunk - they are not a heavy duty tire.

    I've been on just about all these tires, in almost all incarnations over the years in the NE, for many miles.

    Biggest thing about the NE is conditions vary a lot. Riding homestate PA Appalachians, even when wet, the turf is rarely slick. Drains well and rocks are grippy. Riding now home Adirondacks, I'm in super slick, slime covered rocks and roots all day. So it depends.

    I've got 3 setups between 2 bikes (a 275 and a 29) based on what I'm riding.

    2.6 DHF, 2.6 Forkaster rear on a 275 for lower speed, slick, wet, rock crawling.

    2.5 WT DHF, 2.4 WT DHRII 275 for aggressive fast AM.

    2.6 WT Forkaster, 2.4 WT Rekon 29 for xc/trail less slick trail riding.

    The Aggressor WT in a 2.5 rolled OK buy gave up a lot of rear cornering grip to the DHRII so I felt is was not worth it.

    I was real tempted to put on a pair of Bonti XR/SE4s (29) but returned them at the last second in favor of the tried and true Maxxis tires - I was most concerned about bead interface/setup. Maxxis tires snap on rims with ease, and heard otherwise about Bonti tires (unless you have Bonti rims).

    Maxxis tires are nice with their 3C compound with a 120tpi for the front and a dual compound in a 60tpi out back. Makes for a great match.

  16. #16
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    I live in NH and the trails I ride are typically wet with lots of rock and roots with tight twisty off camber turns. One thing to keep in mind is that the front tire should really match your trails and your ability. People love to recommend a DHF but if you are a middling rider like myself who just doesn't rail corners on a regular basis then its not a great fit.

    I find the DHF to be a poor choice for my trails. The oft praised lack of transition knobs with the big outer lugs are borderline useless on my trails. There are very few turns that would ever let me (personally at my skill level) lean enough to engage the outer lugs. I swapped to a 29.2.6 XR4 this year and it has been pretty good so far but I think any well lugged front tire with transition knobs would be a good match for me. The compound is not as good as the Maxxis 3C though.

    I will throw my DHF back on for Kingdom Trails days though. They have some great trails with hero dirt that let me actually use the DHF properly.

    I still haven't found the ideal rear tire. I mostly run a Rekon 29x2.6 3C but it packs up when its wet. It does a decent job on rocks and roots due to the softer compound and the large tire patch. But I still find I prefer it to the absolute dog that is the High Roller 2, which can crank up everything but is soul sucking. I had an Addix NN early this season and it slower than the Rekon but didn't have enough grip to make up the difference.

  17. #17
    AOK
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    -- I have been running XR4 front & rear lately and feel that it is a good combo of grip while still being reasonably fast rolling.
    -- If you are riding in the wet a lot, I am not sure the XR3 is a great choice. I don't have any personal experience on the tire, but the knobs are pretty small so it doesn't seem like the best wet weather tire.
    -- I tried a Maxxis Agressor last year and wasn't a fan. It felt heavy and slow rolling IMO.

    Take this with a grain of salt since you said you often ride wet trails. It is pretty dry in my area so I rarely ride anything more than slightly damp trails.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkymonks View Post

    I still haven't found the ideal rear tire. I mostly run a Rekon 29x2.6 3C but it packs up when its wet.
    Try a Forekaster in 60 tpi. It's a wet and mud XC tire and works well as an all arounder too.

  19. #19
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    Well, looks like I have a lot more thinking to do before buying. Thanks for all the opinions/info, lots of good stuff here. A bit more info about my trails - For those who know the area, I'm in central Maryland, very close to DC. I ride quite often at Fairland and Rockburn/Patapsco. The trails are littered with roots that become slick when wet, and the soil is predominately clay. While corners usually are not large enough to allow for really heavy leaning, there are some trails that have larger corners and benefit from larger side knobs.

    Here's what I got so far:

    Aggressor (r)- Faster rolling than a DHR2, though some find it gives up too much grip (especially in the wet).
    DHF (f)- Almost universally recommended tire, though some dislike the lack of transition knobs. Seems to pair well with just about anything.
    Forkaster (r)- lighter trail/xc tire, seems to be good for mud/wet riding. Grip is on the lower side, though I haven't heard too many complaints.
    Rekon (r)- seems to be similar to the Forkaster, though I've heard more complaints about a lack of wet weather grip.

    XR4 (f/r)- seems to be a good all-rounder, though the lack of side knobs and their associated cornering grip is rather troubling. Maybe better as a rear tire with an XR5 up front?
    XR3 (r)- haven't heard too much about this one, but it seems like it lacks the traction for wet weather riding.
    XR5 (f)- I'm thinking about running this up front with a XR4 in the back. I'll have to look to see if the side knob problem also affects the XR5.
    Magic Mary (f)- great wet weather tire. Rather expensive and possibly fast wearing, though.
    Has Dampf (r) good wet weather rear tire. Heard middling reports on wear life and flat resistance. Expensive.
    Nobby Nic (r)- similar to a rekon, possibly slightly more rolling resistance and grip? New tread supposedly has better grip and wear life.

    For tire size, I understand that going to a 2.6/2.4 will increase rolling resistance, but I feel the grip increase is worth it, especially if I can get away with a lighter tire.

    All the tires on this list seem to be good options. I've still got more thinking to do, so feel free to jump in with more thoughs/suggestions. Thanks.

  20. #20
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    You'll have to give up grip to get something that rolls faster. Most top tier mtb tires tend to give up grip in proportion to their rolling resistance assuming you're using them in the appropriate conditions (dry, wet, loose, hardpack, etc).

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    Well, looks like I have a lot more thinking to do before buying. Thanks for all the opinions/info, lots of good stuff here. A bit more info about my trails - For those who know the area, I'm in central Maryland, very close to DC. I ride quite often at Fairland and Rockburn/Patapsco. The trails are littered with roots that become slick when wet, and the soil is predominately clay. While corners usually are not large enough to allow for really heavy leaning, there are some trails that have larger corners and benefit from larger side knobs.

    Here's what I got so far:

    Aggressor (r)- Faster rolling than a DHR2, though some find it gives up too much grip (especially in the wet).
    DHF (f)- Almost universally recommended tire, though some dislike the lack of transition knobs. Seems to pair well with just about anything.
    Forkaster (r)- lighter trail/xc tire, seems to be good for mud/wet riding. Grip is on the lower side, though I haven't heard too many complaints.
    Rekon (r)- seems to be similar to the Forkaster, though I've heard more complaints about a lack of wet weather grip.

    XR4 (f/r)- seems to be a good all-rounder, though the lack of side knobs and their associated cornering grip is rather troubling. Maybe better as a rear tire with an XR5 up front?
    XR3 (r)- haven't heard too much about this one, but it seems like it lacks the traction for wet weather riding.
    XR5 (f)- I'm thinking about running this up front with a XR4 in the back. I'll have to look to see if the side knob problem also affects the XR5.
    Magic Mary (f)- great wet weather tire. Rather expensive and possibly fast wearing, though.
    Has Dampf (r) good wet weather rear tire. Heard middling reports on wear life and flat resistance. Expensive.
    Nobby Nic (r)- similar to a rekon, possibly slightly more rolling resistance and grip? New tread supposedly has better grip and wear life.

    For tire size, I understand that going to a 2.6/2.4 will increase rolling resistance, but I feel the grip increase is worth it, especially if I can get away with a lighter tire.

    All the tires on this list seem to be good options. I've still got more thinking to do, so feel free to jump in with more thoughs/suggestions. Thanks.
    I rode XR4s in patapsco before the rains last year. a little drift but fast rolling. They perform poorly on wet roots... but most tires do, even minions unless you get max grip or sticky Magic Mary.

    I'll be using Specialized Eliminatior (like an XR4 with better side knobs) and XR4 rear.

  22. #22
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    After some more looking around and Cerberus75's suggestion of the Spech Eliminator I think I've narrowed my search down a bit. I'm leaning towards ruling out the Forkasters and Rekons. I've heard lots of differing opinions on them, but two consistent complaints are their lack of grip on off camber ledges due to their smaller side knobs, and a difficulty biting through thicker coatings of debris on the trail. Since I've got tons of off camber roots and plenty of leaves on my trails I'm afraid they won't have enough grip.

    I've also leaning away for Schwalbe due to their pricing - it seems that their tires generally run between $90 to $100 each. While the Magic Marry looks to be a great wet weather tire, I was hoping to keep the tireset within $140, and definitely cannot do that with Schwalbe tires.

    I've heard good things about Continental's rubber, but unfortunately their tires seem to max out at a 2.4 for non DH tires. Maybe as a rear option?

    At this point, here's what I'm thinking of:

    Front: Specialized Eliminator or Maxxis DHF (both in 2.6). Both look to be good options. The Eliminator is about 100g lighter, but seems to run small. The DHF is heavier, but has the tried and true DHF history behind it.

    Rear: Maxxis Aggressor or Bonti XR4 (2.5/2.4). XR4 is a considerable 200g lighter, and seems to roll faster with less grip (not a bad thing). I've never managed to fully destroy a standard EXO during my riding, so I thinking the XR4's regular casing would be alright. Aggressor has more grip, but is slower and heavier.

    Thanks for all the help.

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    Cerberus75 also gave me the heads up on the Assegai in EXO casing. It sounds like it grips as well as a DHF, while providing better cornering traction when not leaning as much. Definitely a top pick if its 1000g or under. Hopefully they release it soon. At this point, the only major decision left is going with the heavier Aggressor or the lighter XR4 in the rear. Right now I'm leaning towards the XR4, since it would significantly cut down on weight while hopefully not sacrificing too much grip.

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    I believe the assegai is meant to be a downhill tire...not sure you will like it going up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manteufel View Post
    I believe the assegai is meant to be a downhill tire...not sure you will like it going up.
    its perfectly fine in DD the DH casing was a pig. It's a great tire for wet, slick roots and rocks. especially when you can't get a dedicated lean angle because of a rock or tree in the way. When the Exo comes out it's going to be a favorite of many.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by manteufel View Post
    I believe the assegai is meant to be a downhill tire...not sure you will like it going up.
    The main issue I have with the current Assegai is the DH or DD casing - they're just too heavy for mid-duty trail riding. However, I think the design of the tire is great. It won't roll as well as some of the options out there, but the grip should be great (and as a front tire that's what I prioritize). Once the EXO casing comes out and drops the tire to around 1000g it sounds like a great mixed/wet condition tire.

    However, I've heard various rumors regarding the release date, ranging from "very soon" to a few months out. My current DHF/DHR2 combo still has a bit of life left in them, but I cannot hold out for over a month. The Specialized Eliminator seems to be a slightly slimmed down Assegai (both in grip and weight), and would be by next pick if the Assegai doesn't come out within a month or so. I'm sure both an Assegai/XR4 or Eliminator/XR4 combo would work great for my trails.

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    It's funny, the Minnions were/are downhill tires. but once they put them out in trail casings they are on more than half the bikes I see. The Assegai will just be another choice.

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    WTB Trailboss for rear? Vigilante front?

    I have liked the 27.5 2.25 Trailboss in light/high grip for wet rocks/roots in upstate NY recently. This was used with a Hans Dampf 2.3 Trailstar on the front (both on Flow MK3 29mm ID rims).

    I have a Vigilante 2.3, Trail boss 2.4 in the Light/fast rolling but haven't been able to try them out given who wet it is.

    On order is a Vig 2.3 and TB 2.4 in Light/High Grip.

  29. #29
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    EDIT - Saw that WTB actually has a separate page for the Vigilante 2.5/2.6 vs the 2.3. That seems like a pretty poor design, especially speaking that I didn't see it when searching google for WTB Vigilante. WTB's stuff sounds like it does great in the loose, but the weights are definitely on the high side - 1256g for the 2.6 Vigilante light and 917g for the Trail Boss 2.4. I'm afraid that's a bit farther than I'm willing to go. Thanks for the recommendation regardless.
    Last edited by Phoenix864; 05-06-2019 at 07:27 PM.

  30. #30
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    The Assegai is the real deal in terms of traction. A step up from the DHF. I run the Assegai on my DH rig where traction is hard to find and the mountain is almost chainless.

    They don't roll as well as the DHF.

    For even agressive trail riding I can't imagine needing more tire than a DHF unless you are using lifts or ride like an animal.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    The Assegai is the real deal in terms of traction. A step up from the DHF. I run the Assegai on my DH rig where traction is hard to find and the mountain is almost chainless.

    They don't roll as well as the DHF.

    For even agressive trail riding I can't imagine needing more tire than a DHF unless you are using lifts or ride like an animal.
    From what I've heard, I'm going for the better low lean cornering due to the intermediate knobs on the Assegai. I'm between the Assegai and the Eliminator for the font - the Eliminator is a bit lighter, currently available, and should roll a bit better, but the Assegai should grip better. For my needs the Eliminator is probably the better fit, but I'll be getting the last out of my current tires before making a purchase. Hopefully by then the EXO Assegai will have dropped and there will be some ride impressions.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    From what I've heard, I'm going for the better low lean cornering due to the intermediate knobs on the Assegai. I'm between the Assegai and the Eliminator for the font - the Eliminator is a bit lighter, currently available, and should roll a bit better, but the Assegai should grip better. For my needs the Eliminator is probably the better fit, but I'll be getting the last out of my current tires before making a purchase. Hopefully by then the EXO Assegai will have dropped and there will be some ride impressions.
    Also it depends on the weather. If this season is like last season where we are riding between rain storms. (We were almost a rain forest area with the rains caused by evaporation)the rubber on spec tires isn't soft enough for the slick and greasy stuff. Then come the leaves. I'm ready to ride like it was last year. but if its dryer I'll be on the eliminator myself.

  33. #33
    mtbr member
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    With regard to the WTB Vigilante, the 2.5/2.6 are new tire and considered different than the 2.3. The 2.5/2.6 were just released this year. That is why they are different entries in their web page.

    The 2.5/2.6 have new Tritec rubber compound that isn't available in the 2.3, and were 'optimized' for wider internal rim widths. Though i read/hear that the 2.3 does well on 30mm internal widths too.

    I hear you about the weight.

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