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  1. #1
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    All Mountain Hardtail TIRE philosophy

    Greetings -- I suppose this could apply to full suspension bikes, but as the owner of a modern 29" hardtail, I'm hoping to specifically get feedback from owners of such. However, if you consider yourself an "all mountain" rider, feel free to weigh-in.

    It seems to me that there's kind of three ways to setup an all-mountain hardtail, regarding tires:

    1. As light as possible, narrowish, with a goal of less rolling resistance and better efficiency. Build it to go FAST on smoother terrain and long rides.

    2. Weight be damned, BIG tires with aggressive knobs and flat protection. (This spec really sucks on long rides).

    3. Big, but pretty light tires such as the Maxxis Rekon 2.6, that have decent rolling resistance. (This is kind of new territory for me).

    Currently, I'm running a 2.6" Rekon in the front, and a 2.35" Ardent Race in the back. I put a hole in the sidewall of the Ardent Race on my first ride in Moab earlier this spring, and I can't repair the hole, so that tire is now tube-only (which sucks being on the rear especially -- I've already begun to get pinch flats.) I like the tire alright as a rear tire -- it's really fast and efficient, and corners decently. However, I'm over the pinch flats. I could move it to the front, but I'm not sure it would be adequate up there for the way I corner. I hate to just scrap it, because it was expensive and still has a lot of tread life left.

    My thought was to maybe move the 2.6 Rekon to the back, and get a new one in the front, or possibly something even more aggressive (not necessarily a 2.6.")

    I do enjoy really long rides with huge vertical gain, but a lot of those rides around here have pretty gnarly descents. Obviously a more XC-oriented tire is going to help with the distances, but will they hold up when charging nasty roots and rocks?

    I have 2.5" Minions on my enduro bike. They're amazing when it's steep. They suck, big time, on long rides.

    How do you decide how to balance this? Should I get another "middle ground" tire for the front (Rekon, or maybe even a Maxxis Dissector)? I don't want it to suck for long distances, but I don't want to worry about flats either.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  2. #2
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    The downs in my area benefit from a pretty aggressive knob pattern, so I am using a pretty meaty knob up front (WTB Vigilante 2.6) with a less aggressive, faster tire in the back (Specialized Purgatory 2.6). I don't have lots of miles on the Purgatory yet, but I'm liking it a lot so far. Rolls nice, consistent when I lean into turns, just enough grip. The Vigilante has been amazing for grip.

    I like a little extra volume on a hardtail since it does take a little bit of the edge off. I'm using a Huck Norris insert in the back and it's definitely made a difference with preventing rim damage. Haven't felt I needed more protection, but there are a couple levels of inserts above what I'm using now if I ever get there.

    I had good results from patching a pretty big hole in a fatbike tire of mine a few years ago with a kit from Rema Tip-Top.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info, Harold. Do you find your setup is still pretty fast/non-fatiguing on longer rides (20 miles and up)? I think the biggest struggle I have with my Honzo is that my terrain is so varied. A lot of what I use it for is pretty much XC, but our XC trails can include pretty technical terrain and some steep descents. Some of the trails I do are VERY rocky/nasty, but none of the descents on them are steep enough/extended enough to warrant my enduro bike. I can't make up my mind how to set it up, lol. I don't want to change tires back and forth -- I prefer to run a set until they're toast, then change 'em both out. I don't have time to keep monkeying with tires, lol.

    I'm intrigued by the Huck Norris inserts. I looked them up and it looks like there's one that weighs only 80 grams. That doesn't sound like a very big deal. I think I could get by without one in the front, but that added cush and protection in the back might be nice. It might allow me to stay with something pretty light and fast in the rear.

    As for the hole in my Ardent Race, it's right next to the bead, and is about 3/16" across. I tried plugging it, but that didn't hold. Then I tried a patch on the inside of the tire, and that failed too. I think the location of the hole is the issue. Perhaps I could try patching it one more time, and really clean the tire well with rubbing alcohol first (it could be the Stan's residue prevented the patch from sticking well).
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  4. #4
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    Tough question, a lot to unpack here.

    I love my hardtails, and there's always a trade-off, hence why I have 3 and another in the process of being built up.

    My local terrain is very varied North East tech, rocky, rooty, wet, dry, loose over hard, sandy, muddy, we got it all. I don't have big mountains though and the biggest climb/descent locally is only 200-250ft, short punchy climbs and descents is the most accurate description. If you drive 1 hour or so it opens up much more elevation and some awesome trails too, but doesn't really change my tire choice.

    Me: I'm 6'3" 210lbs, ride a lot, love climbing, love tech and good singletrack. I'm not gentle on anything and break a lot of stuff but while I have a solid history of wrecking rear hubs and many many tires, I'm not too hard on rims historically. So I pedal hard and ride hard but I'm not a hack and just plow through stuff that damages rims. (context, not bragging?)

    Bike setups:
    SS 29er- 2.6 Nobby Nic front / 2.35 Maxxis Forekaster rear (primary bike, gets raced as-is for anything under 2 hours)
    SS Surly Krampus- 3.0" DHF/DHR tires (fun as hell, will never see a race course)
    Kona Hei Hei CR/DL- 2.6" Forekaster/2.35 Forekaster (endurance race bike)
    Kona Process 134 29er- Two wheelsets- 2.3 Minion DHF f/r, 2.6 Forekaster/2.4 Rekon (Out of town adventure bike for bigger terrain/features)

    I value efficiency and rolling resistance, but I also need durability. I've learned that many times the hard way. I'm super impressed with the Forekaster. I've run it front and back and it performs everywhere and I haven't killed one yet. Impressive for a tire that weighs that little.

    My riding style is fun first and foremost. I'm heavier than most and I favor grip over rolling resistance in almost every scenario. But I haven't found the need for super beefy tires or tire inserts in most scenarios.

    Here's the thing, I just did my biggest ride so far this year and it was on the SS Krampus. 8+ hours of moving time (10 hours total), 72 miles, 6k ft of climbing (there were two long flat sections), and I had a blast. Those 3" Minion tires are the slowest rolling things on earth (aside from fatbike tires of equal aggressiveness) but it didn't hinder my experience in any way, frankly I love the big tires and wouldn't trade them for anything.

    I knew I was going to do a big ride that day and I could have chosen any bike but I wanted to ride that Krampus. Granted, yes, I have the fitness to manage that kind of ride on whatever I want but it just proves to me that I don't need to pick the fancy carbon wonder-bike with fast tires for big rides.

    Sorry, that was a long story but there's some context stuff in there, I'm sure of it. It's mostly personal preference and there's always a tradeoff. Modern tires and rims are pretty great though.

    As hard as I am on bike parts I haven't found a need to run heavy casing tires locally. I have been fortunate to explore some excellent out of town locations in the last couple years though and I admit if I lived in some of those spots I could easily justify a beefier tire setup. (Squamish BC, Pisgah NC, Adirondacks NY, Vermont, Rothrock PA for example).

    But even though I run super overkill 3" Minions locally it doesn't diminish my experience, I freakin love it.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  5. #5
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    Just realized I typed all that and left out maybe the most relevant part about AM hardtails. I'm in the process of building up my Kona Honzo ST. Build kit: 140mm MRP Ribbon fork, -1 CC Angleset, Box One Prime 9 drivetrain, Shimano cranks, Oneup handlebars and 210mm dropper post, Magura 4 pot brakes.

    I'll use my take off wheels from the Process 134 to start with DHF 2.3 tires f/r, but I'm a wheel fanatic and build custom wheels for all my bikes. Not certain yet but maybe Spank rims on I9 or Onyx rear hub. We'll see.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Just realized I typed all that and left out maybe the most relevant part about AM hardtails. I'm in the process of building up my Kona Honzo ST. Build kit: 140mm MRP Ribbon fork, -1 CC Angleset, Box One Prime 9 drivetrain, Shimano cranks, Oneup handlebars and 210mm dropper post, Magura 4 pot brakes.

    I'll use my take off wheels from the Process 134 to start with DHF 2.3 tires f/r, but I'm a wheel fanatic and build custom wheels for all my bikes. Not certain yet but maybe Spank rims on I9 or Onyx rear hub. We'll see.
    Good info, thanks! So youíre XC racing with a 2.6 Nobby Nic/2.35 Forekaster rear? Is that competitive? I should have mentioned I am pretty competitive on both climbs and descents.

    Ultimately I think Iím gonna have to get two different wheel sets, haha.

    I do love what I can get away with running Minions. I just wish the 2.3 version actually saved a significant amount of weight over the 2.5s.

    I do have a heavy enduro bike that I can still ride for anything fast and gnarly. My Honzo is quickly becoming my main bike though. It can handle anything. The tricky part is keeping it light enough to ride fast on long rides, yet still be able to get rowdy without destroying the tires and rims. Itís a conundrum.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Good info, thanks! So youíre XC racing with a 2.6 Nobby Nic/2.35 Forekaster rear? Is that competitive? I should have mentioned I am pretty competitive on both climbs and descents.
    Yeah, those are both pretty light weight tires (for a guy who's 210lbs) but they have a good amount of grip at the same time. Hasn't kept me off the podium.

    I'm a firm believer that race results are based on the rider, not the bike. I choose to ride a steel SS because it's fun. Could I build a light weight race bike with a carbon frame and stupid light parts? Yes, but that sounds like it sucks. I'd rather race a fun bike occasionally instead of ride a race bike every day. I've also proven to myself that I'm often faster on a SS than I am on a geared hardtail of equal speed/build.

    Again, I guess the tires should match the intended purpose of the bike/rider/terrain/riding style/etc. Lighter/faster tires are more fragile, tougher tires are heavier and roll slower. It's all just personal preference.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  8. #8
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    ^^^Thatís good to hear. I agree, it is the rider, not the bike. Iím around 188 pounds at the peak of the season, which is not ideal for XC racing, but Iím strong enough to put the hurt on all those little 140 pound guys, haha.

    Iíve definitely been on bikes that were too light. While they climbed great, they descended horribly and werenít fun to ride.

    Iím willing to work harder in order to be able to charge the downs with more confidence. But within reason.

  9. #9
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    Maybe look at the Bonti XR series. I run xr4 as a front as itís fairly light with decent knobs. Xr5 is similar to minion but Iíve not ridden it yet. Guys run Xr4 in back too but just looking at it, it doesnít scream fast to me. ymmv. Might ask about the xr4 as a rear in the wheels/tires forum to see what ppl think of it running in back.

    In rear I run the Ardent Exo 2.4 with the DC as itís sturdier than 3c. We lack sharp rocks so sidewalk tears are rare here but I think itís a good compromise between weight and speed.

    I recently put a cushcore on the back. It doesnít add a sh!t ton of weight but itís close to the diff between a reasonable weight tire and a heavier casing tire. Still, you can get similar protection as running an additional 5 psi without the harshness. I wouldnít run one in front.

  10. #10
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    My AM hardtail tire strategy?

    Rims and tires slightly wider than on my full squish
    A little toothier rear tire (on hardtail) than what I run on the F/S (idea being that the F/S will track the ground, where the hardtail will skip/bounce and could use more traction)

    But, I generally try to ride my hardtail about the same pace downhill as my F/S (or as a way to keep fresh/challenged on local trails)... so not an XC bike
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  11. #11
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    Too bad wheels are so expensive. Nobody can experiment.
    Used to be 21mm maybe 19mm wide rims and everyone talked tire choice. Pressure had to be high to avoid sidewall foldover.

    Rim width and tire air pressure have an impact on tire performance and choice.
    Match the most width with what the tread profile has been designed for without going square gets you the best footprint at the lowest pressure. Low pressure means you get a bigger footprint and can try for lower smaller knobs with lighter more flexible sidewalls for a faster rolling tire. If your terrain doesn't cut up those sidewalls. CushCore, Norris, etc. inserts help get lower pressure.
    Different manufacturers design their tires with rounder tread profiles and higher volume to make use of wider rims.
    XRs are one series that are aimed from the start at wide rims. Frank Stacy designed basically looking for a predictable slide for cornering and least amount of cornering sidewall roll under high loads. Dirt bike racing background.
    30mm inner is a minimum, ime. But who can afford to experiment with wider. 50mm on the Stache for 3".

    High speeds cornering or jumping on the downs affects rim width. Faster means a little less rim width and or heavier tire sidewalls are needed. Inserts.

  12. #12
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    For about the past year, I ran a Rekon 2.6 front and rear on my Trance 29. I recently took the 2.6 off the rear and threw it away - Even being EXO it simply wasn't a tough enough tire to be on the back of my bike. There's more weight on it, it takes more hits as I manual through things and let it touch to help pull it over something - and after two consecutive rides ending with a flat tire - the second one resulting in a long walk, after having a fresh load of sealant sprayed all over myself and the bike - I was done. The 2.6 is still on the front, as I haven't really had problems with it. I put a 2.5 Aggressor on the rear, and we'll see what happens. I'm not sure if I expect it to feel slower or what, but I know it's a little heavier. From what I can tell the center tread is a little like the Minion but it's closer together and shorter, meaning it should roll better, but it looks like the side knobs might be about the same as the minion. I should mention, I have studiously avoided the Minion because it IS (to me) a slow rolling tire.

    My basic philosophy for tires is this - I want it to roll fast, but still grip well and I'm willing to carry some extra weight on a fast, grippy tire so that it's tough enough that I don't have to walk out of the woods. I had good luck with Ardent EXO tires for a long time, but decided to try some different stuff. So we'll see.

  13. #13
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    I like a beefy tire up front (Minion DHF 2.5 for me) and a faster in the rear (Rekon 2.4). I may end up either running a Cushcore or something or going to a tougher casing at some point in the rear as I have ripped a couple rear EXO tires.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), 91 Schwinn High Plain (single speed "gravel" bike), Nashbar CXSS (on trainer)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    For about the past year, I ran a Rekon 2.6 front and rear on my Trance 29. I recently took the 2.6 off the rear and threw it away - Even being EXO it simply wasn't a tough enough tire to be on the back of my bike. There's more weight on it, it takes more hits as I manual through things and let it touch to help pull it over something - and after two consecutive rides ending with a flat tire - the second one resulting in a long walk, after having a fresh load of sealant sprayed all over myself and the bike - I was done. The 2.6 is still on the front, as I haven't really had problems with it. I put a 2.5 Aggressor on the rear, and we'll see what happens. I'm not sure if I expect it to feel slower or what, but I know it's a little heavier. From what I can tell the center tread is a little like the Minion but it's closer together and shorter, meaning it should roll better, but it looks like the side knobs might be about the same as the minion. I should mention, I have studiously avoided the Minion because it IS (to me) a slow rolling tire.

    My basic philosophy for tires is this - I want it to roll fast, but still grip well and I'm willing to carry some extra weight on a fast, grippy tire so that it's tough enough that I don't have to walk out of the woods. I had good luck with Ardent EXO tires for a long time, but decided to try some different stuff. So we'll see.
    I hear ya on the "walking out of the woods" comment. That's actually what happened to me last week, after pinch flatting my rear Ardent Race 2.35. I always carry a tube, but when I pulled my spare out and put it in, lo and behold, it had a hole in it too. It was at that point I remembered that I had used up my last patch.:/

    It was a LONG walk to the car.

    Regardless, running tubeless with Stan's hasn't been without its problems either. As I saw in Moab, the Ardent Race wasn't up to the task, even with high pressure and 4 oz of Stan's. What would have been a pinch flat with a tube, instead punctured the tire next to the bead and another hole in the tread, which wouldn't seal up with the Stan's alone.

    I think I must just be expecting too much out of too little tire. Gonna have to run an insert in the back and/or a heavier casing tire. While I do ride fast, I've always been more of a finesse rider and generally take the smoothest line available rather than plowing over the straight but gnarly line and hoping for the best. But occasionally, you can't avoid those harsh rocks or roots.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Thanks for the info, Harold. Do you find your setup is still pretty fast/non-fatiguing on longer rides (20 miles and up)? I think the biggest struggle I have with my Honzo is that my terrain is so varied. A lot of what I use it for is pretty much XC, but our XC trails can include pretty technical terrain and some steep descents. Some of the trails I do are VERY rocky/nasty, but none of the descents on them are steep enough/extended enough to warrant my enduro bike. I can't make up my mind how to set it up, lol. I don't want to change tires back and forth -- I prefer to run a set until they're toast, then change 'em both out. I don't have time to keep monkeying with tires, lol.

    I'm intrigued by the Huck Norris inserts. I looked them up and it looks like there's one that weighs only 80 grams. That doesn't sound like a very big deal. I think I could get by without one in the front, but that added cush and protection in the back might be nice. It might allow me to stay with something pretty light and fast in the rear.

    As for the hole in my Ardent Race, it's right next to the bead, and is about 3/16" across. I tried plugging it, but that didn't hold. Then I tried a patch on the inside of the tire, and that failed too. I think the location of the hole is the issue. Perhaps I could try patching it one more time, and really clean the tire well with rubbing alcohol first (it could be the Stan's residue prevented the patch from sticking well).
    The Huck Norris has been great for me. I do notice it doing its job. I get the odd rim strike when charging through rough stuff (Pisgah riding, so there's some here) and the sensation is a damped thump rather than a sharp, painful ding. My rims (DT Swiss XM481) are unmarred from any of those rim strikes. For as light as they are, the Huck Norris inserts do a smashing job. The only tire damage I've had was on the rear, with a previous 2.6 WTB Trail Boss, which I wasn't happy with on hardpack dry trails (side knobs too tall/flexy/unsupported). And those side knobs are the reason I ditched the tire. Charged through a rock garden, and one of those knobs grabbed the edge of a rock and ripped the casing out. I plugged it and rode out, but didn't trust the tire anymore. Pitched it for the Purgatory, which is everything I've wanted so far.

    I suppose that location is probably the worst to try to repair. My first run with tubeless on UST tires (had been riding them for a bit by then), I went too low on pressure and got a similar hole right above the bead from pinch flatting the tire.

    I don't feel like my tire selection gives me problems in most mellower sections. The only time I've really had issues with my tire selection was when I was riding some VERY hardpack clay bike parky sorts of trails. And it wasn't from tire drag. It was in cornering, from the super soft rubber being a bit too soft and getting vague as it mooshed around on the hardpack berms.

    Also, being in WNC, my long rides are 15-20mi or so. It's been awhile since I've gone above that. When I did, it was in Indiana, and my biggest mtb ride was a 50 miler, in the vicinity of 5k ft of climbing that came in LOTS of short little spurts. I was riding xc tires then because that's what the terrain warranted.

    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    I hear ya on the "walking out of the woods" comment. That's actually what happened to me last week, after pinch flatting my rear Ardent Race 2.35. I always carry a tube, but when I pulled my spare out and put it in, lo and behold, it had a hole in it too. It was at that point I remembered that I had used up my last patch.:/

    It was a LONG walk to the car.

    Regardless, running tubeless with Stan's hasn't been without its problems either. As I saw in Moab, the Ardent Race wasn't up to the task, even with high pressure and 4 oz of Stan's. What would have been a pinch flat with a tube, instead punctured the tire next to the bead and another hole in the tread, which wouldn't seal up with the Stan's alone.

    I think I must just be expecting too much out of too little tire. Gonna have to run an insert in the back and/or a heavier casing tire. While I do ride fast, I've always been more of a finesse rider and generally take the smoothest line available rather than plowing over the straight but gnarly line and hoping for the best. But occasionally, you can't avoid those harsh rocks or roots.
    My wife is running an Ardent Race on the rear of her bike (with a DHF up front). I keep asking her if she's still happy with it, because it's a SUPER lightweight tire. She's still fine with it. But she's definitely a lighter and less aggressive rider than I am, so I'm sure she's not putting a test on it like I would on those same trails.

    I've seen you comment on being "competitive" in some other posts. I want to point out that I'm never really all that competitive. I'm maybe a top 1/3-1/4 rider on most downs, and maybe a right-in-the-middle rider on climbs on Strava. Which means when riding with most people who are skilled and passionate riders, I'm the slow one. In a race, I'm at or near the back. That's the way it is regardless of the tires I'm using. When I look for tires, I'm looking for two main things. Traction and reliability. I don't want tire failures or unexpected washouts or any of that. I'm not going to ride xc tires unless I'm spending a good amount of time on xc trails. Even if my trails are "mostly" xc, if there are spots that start to test those lightweight tires, I'm going to opt for increased traction and/or durability so I can stay upright (prevent loss of traction) and avoid tire failures as much as I can.

  16. #16
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    I'm 225lbs and ride sloppy, so don't copy me.

    Rear- some sort of 2 ply. ~1000g, ~2.4. I like the rockrazor, minion SS, spec slaughter tread for most conditions unless it's loam enough to use a larger knob like a dhr2 or butcher. Front i like big square knobs and a square-ish profile. DHF, vigilante, assegai, etc. Also probably ~1000g.

    Since i tend toward moderate volume tires, heavier casings, an higher pressures, i haven't seen a need for inserts. I blew up tires all the time before i went to sturdier ones. I could definitely run lighter tires with inserts, but i haven't tried it cuz historically light tires feel too bouncy.




    The good advice- slime tube patches are AMAZING at fixing sidewall punctures. Clean off the residue inside and you're good to go. Stick one on either side if it's horrific. In my experience this is a pretty good permanent fix. They are different from the other glueless patches; they're the only ones that i've had luck with.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    The good advice- slime tube patches are AMAZING at fixing sidewall punctures. Clean off the residue inside and you're good to go. Stick one on either side if it's horrific. In my experience this is a pretty good permanent fix. They are different from the other glueless patches; they're the only ones that i've had luck with.
    I'll have to take a look at those. I've always kept Park glueless patches around for really bad days with lots of punctures as a last resort, but haven't used them for so long that my old ones are probably not in very good shape anymore.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I'll have to take a look at those. I've always kept Park glueless patches around for really bad days with lots of punctures as a last resort, but haven't used them for so long that my old ones are probably not in very good shape anymore.
    Iím sure Iím not the first one to think of this, but I patched the hole in the sidewall of the Ardent Race I mentioned at the beginning of the thread with a chunk out of an old tire.

    I cut about a 1/2Ē square with a knob in the middle of it. I then carved away some of the knob to fit into the hole from the inside. I then superglued it in place. Next time Iíll use rubber cement because I think that will actually stick and seal better. But so far itís working.

    Ultimately, I think Iím gonna replace the Ardent Race with the 2.6 Rekon I have + an insert. And Iím going to get a Dissector for the front.

    No more flimsy tires for me. Iíll just pedal harder.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post

    Ultimately, I think Iím gonna replace the Ardent Race with the 2.6 Rekon I have + an insert. And Iím going to get a Dissector for the front.

    No more flimsy tires for me. Iíll just pedal harder.
    You might want to rethink this. As I stated earlier in the thread ( I think....was it this thread?..there are so many...) I've given up on my rear 2.6 Rekon (EXO, TR, 3C, MaxTerra, ETC) because seems to be constantly getting cut. The front one is ok, but I don't think it likes getting hammered on the rear. If you look at the claimed weight vs the 2.4 Rekon EXO, etc - it will be obvious why. It's a very thin tire.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Iím sure Iím not the first one to think of this, but I patched the hole in the sidewall of the Ardent Race I mentioned at the beginning of the thread with a chunk out of an old tire.

    I cut about a 1/2Ē square with a knob in the middle of it. I then carved away some of the knob to fit into the hole from the inside. I then superglued it in place. Next time Iíll use rubber cement because I think that will actually stick and seal better. But so far itís working.
    I made a thread about it a long time ago, but finding the writeup on my own website is a lot easier. Anyway, this is what I did to patch up a big hole in a tire.

    https://www.thegpsgeek.com/2018/11/m...s-damaged.html

  21. #21
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    A lot depends on local terrain. That said it depends on what gives you a thrill on the bike. I like cleaning very techy sections, both up and down and that means the tires need traction. I like cornering as hard and fast as I can. That means the tires need tractions. I like epic rides that are "out there" on natural, non-buffed terrain. That means durability and traction. Local terrain is wet, slick, rooty, rocky, and at times muddy.

    So for my AM rig (not a HT, but even if it were it wouldn't change my tire choice) I Minions front and rear. EXO + casing. With the + casing I'm able to get away with the 2.6" tires that before the + casing addition were too flimsy. DHRII out back. DHF up front but plan on going with the DHRII up front too. I'll only need to keep one spare tire for both ends. I'm not a big fan of the DHF out back. Compared to the big paddle-like knobs on the DHR the DHF looses out on straight line braking and climbing grip.

    Rolling resistance. That's a funny thing. On dry, buffed trails something like a Rekon would roll way faster than a Minion. But on rugged, non-buffed trails more aggressive tires don't seem to roll much more slowly. And they hook up far better on the corners, climbs and downs.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    My thought was to maybe move the 2.6 Rekon to the back, and get a new one in the front, or possibly something even more aggressive (not necessarily a 2.6.")
    I've got dual 29 x 2.6" Rekons on my AM hardtail and have been really impressed with them. I rode a lot of BC/PNWet techy trails up and down with them. No flats and no other issues. I honestly thought they'd be garbage once things got wet. I was wrong. They worked better than even my wildest expectations.

    I have been doing big loops riding from home 40-60kms+ with shreddy tech in the middle and easy riding to/from the dirt. The Rekons have been great for this mix.

    I do have a 29 x 2.6" DHF sitting on my desk waiting to go on. I assumed it would be essential all winter, but I never bothered with it. Now that things have dried out again the Rekons are enough for what I am riding typically.

    I have been keen to try a set of the 29 x 2.8" Rekons on my hardtail, but up here in Cannuckistan they have been hard to get.

    FWIW - I don't run inserts on my HT, but I do use a accurate gauge to get the pressure correct to +/- 0.5 psi.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    You might want to rethink this. As I stated earlier in the thread ( I think....was it this thread?..there are so many...) I've given up on my rear 2.6 Rekon (EXO, TR, 3C, MaxTerra, ETC) because seems to be constantly getting cut. The front one is ok, but I don't think it likes getting hammered on the rear. If you look at the claimed weight vs the 2.4 Rekon EXO, etc - it will be obvious why. It's a very thin tire.
    Thanks for that input. So far, the Rekon 2.6 I have up front is holding up pretty well -- but that's as a front tire; so that's to be expected to a certain extent.

    I've been riding a trail system about 45 minutes from home a lot lately, as we are still waiting for a lot of the snow to melt up high. This trail system could be described as XC, but with very gnarly downs and some legit, but shorter DH runs. There are no roots, but lots of sharp square-edged rocks and some loose marbley rocks/kitty litter over hardpack in a lot of places. The Ardent Race I've got in the rear is not fairing too well with that, but the Rekon is still looking to be in pretty good shape.

    The thing is, as our local trails start opening up in the next few weeks, the conditions are very different there. They aren't as rocky, or at least jagged rocks. It's more loam and root gardens. I don't normally get too many gashes in my tires from local trails. Pinch flats, definitely, if running tubes.

    Minions and Highroller IIs have never failed me, but I wanted to avoid those if possible to keep this bike fast rolling and fun on really long rides. One of those @ 29" is a pretty heavy tire.

    That said, there is one loamy, steep downhill open near my house that I've been doing, and while the Rekon F/Ardent Race R combo does roll fast, there isn't quite the bite in hard cornering that bigger knobs would provide.

    At the moment I'm thinking of just moving the Rekon to the back, running a bit higher pressure and a lot of Stans, and just sucking up and putting a DHF on the front. #shrug. At almost $90 per tire, a wear item, Iím kinda done experimenting. :/

  24. #24
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    Not really sure what riding AM vs XC even means, other than in one you are being timed in the climbs.

    In any event, I want my HT tires to be bigger than on my FS bike. Thatís really the only difference I see between what I want on a HT vs FS. I used to run 2.4-2.5 on my 29er HT. These days I would be looking at 2.6 for sure and am 2.8 curious. The older my back gets, the more cushion I need.

    In terms of tread, it is the same for FS or HT: unless I am in an XC race I want something aggressive up front like a Butcher or DHF. The rolling resistance is a non-issue to me in the front. Probably makes a difference on the clock at the end of an XC race, but thats about it. Makes no difference to me on a long epic ride.

    In the rear, something like a Purgatory or Aggressor is what I usually go for (moderate tread). Iíve tried super fast treads in the past (Speed King, Ground Control, Racing Ralph). They do seem faster, but I usually prefer the extra grip of a more moderate tread. Again, it is never going to make a real difference how far I ride or if Iím keeping up with the group.

    In terms of casing.... I seem to be super easy on sidewalls. As long as the front is not folding over, Iím good. I seldom tear a sidewall. I even had good luck with Specialized ďControlĒ casing which is tissue paper thin. I just donít like the lack of support in the front at lower pressures.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  25. #25
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    I run a 2.6 Dissector on front and 2.6 Rekon on back. This is the best combo I have run ever. I have a 27.5 Giant Fathom and it came with 2.6 Rekon race. I ride roads a bit so I replaced them with Vittorio Mezcal's and they were easy on the roads but I had real troubles with traction when I rode trails, and I am not a real aggressive rider. I have also tried others but none work as well as the Dissector on front and Rekon on rear...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Shirek View Post
    I run a 2.6 Dissector on front and 2.6 Rekon on back. This is the best combo I have run ever. I have a 27.5 Giant Fathom and it came with 2.6 Rekon race. I ride roads a bit so I replaced them with Vittorio Mezcal's and they were easy on the roads but I had real troubles with traction when I rode trails, and I am not a real aggressive rider. I have also tried others but none work as well as the Dissector on front and Rekon on rear...
    Thanks for sharing that. I've very interested in the Dissector. I haven't been able to look at one in person yet, unfortunately, because no stores seem to have them.:/

    It does seem to be sitting in a nice middle ground between the lighter casing, but high volume tires like the Rekon 2.6, and the heavier, enduro/DH oriented Minions and Highrollers, etc.

    My 2.6 Rekon is doing really well up front in chunk and smooth singletrack both, but lately, as I've been riding in the true mountains, I've noticed it doesn't have enough cornering bite in loamy conditions. Bigger, stiffer knobs would work better there.

    I think I will move it to the back and run either a Dissector or a tried and true DHF up front. I ride very aggressively into corners and I've found that I can count on a Minion up front, where the Rekon feels like I'm right on the edge of control in corners.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  27. #27
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    Alright, Iím still on the fence with what to do.

    Itís looking more and more like I need a DH/enduro casing on the rear. Which is something I really donít want to do.:/

    Yesterday I broke down and bought a good ole 2.5Ē DHF for the front. Iíve done two rides now and it doesnít seem to affect me that much on climbs. On the downs, I can pin it with very little regard for personal safety, lol. I got within 5 seconds of my PR on a longish DH trail this morning ó and my PR was done on my enduro bike. It is AMAZING how fast I can rail the Honzo, but I digress.

    Still running an Ardent Race on the back, with a tube. Actually, with a tube + a sleeve I made from another tube to help reduce pinch flats. Well, I still got a pinch flat at the very end of my ride. I actually rather like that tire ó itís super fast and surprisingly stays locked in on the corners. I just canít stand the pinch flats anymore. Canít run it tubeless due to the damage near the bead.

    If I get a new lighter tire like that, and set it up tubeless, am I still going to get pinch flats? Shit, Iím not even running super low pressuresó around 30 psi this morning. Just a relatively big guy riding at Mach chicken (190 pounds.)

    My 2.6 Rekon fits on the back, but barely. I tried that last night and it was scraping mud part of the time, and it very noticeably bigger than the 2.5Ē Minion on the front, which is kinda weird looking.

    So, hereís where Iím at:

    Rekon 2.4 in the back, run lots of Stans, and hope for the best. That would still be pretty fast on climbs and flats.

    Dissector 2.4? Probably a bit slower but much better flat protection. Better cornering.

    Highroller II 2.3? Iíve liked them in the past, but that was on a DH bike. Probably slow.

    Donít want a DHR because that would be like dragging a boat anchor on climbs. Awesome DH though.

    Really at some point I should start riding my full suspension bike again, lol.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Alright, Iím still on the fence with what to do.

    Itís looking more and more like I need a DH/enduro casing on the rear. Which is something I really donít want to do.:/

    Yesterday I broke down and bought a good ole 2.5Ē DHF for the front. Iíve done two rides now and it doesnít seem to affect me that much on climbs. On the downs, I can pin it with very little regard for personal safety, lol. I got within 5 seconds of my PR on a longish DH trail this morning ó and my PR was done on my enduro bike. It is AMAZING how fast I can rail the Honzo, but I digress.

    Still running an Ardent Race on the back, with a tube. Actually, with a tube + a sleeve I made from another tube to help reduce pinch flats. Well, I still got a pinch flat at the very end of my ride. I actually rather like that tire ó itís super fast and surprisingly stays locked in on the corners. I just canít stand the pinch flats anymore. Canít run it tubeless due to the damage near the bead.

    If I get a new lighter tire like that, and set it up tubeless, am I still going to get pinch flats? Shit, Iím not even running super low pressuresó around 30 psi this morning. Just a relatively big guy riding at Mach chicken (190 pounds.)

    My 2.6 Rekon fits on the back, but barely. I tried that last night and it was scraping mud part of the time, and it very noticeably bigger than the 2.5Ē Minion on the front, which is kinda weird looking.

    So, hereís where Iím at:

    Rekon 2.4 in the back, run lots of Stans, and hope for the best. That would still be pretty fast on climbs and flats.

    Dissector 2.4? Probably a bit slower but much better flat protection. Better cornering.

    Highroller II 2.3? Iíve liked them in the past, but that was on a DH bike. Probably slow.

    Donít want a DHR because that would be like dragging a boat anchor on climbs. Awesome DH though.

    Really at some point I should start riding my full suspension bike again, lol.
    Just put a 2.5 Aggressor on there and go ride.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by joecx View Post
    Just put a 2.5 Aggressor on there and go ride.
    Lol, probably a good idea.

    I had written off the Aggressor due to hearing it is a bit draggy, but after reading a bunch of reviews, it was pretty consistently reported that it is much better rolling than a DHR II, but corners almost as well. That sounds pretty good to me.

    Also looking at the Bontrager XR 4 Team Issue, since it's even a bit lighter than the Aggressor, but looks to be a decent all around tire for the rear.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  30. #30
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    Have you looked at the Michelin Wild Enduro rear, or wild AM?

    The Wild Enduro Rear is only available in one casing and compound. The casing is pretty similar to DD, and the tread pattern is kind of Hans Dampf ish, but with bigger/stiffer shoulder lugs. Iíd expect it pedal somewhat like a DHR. Itís only available in a 2.4in width, but it does measure true to size.

    The Wild Am is similar, but with shorter center knobs for easier pedaling. The casing on it is a bit lighter though, and itís only a 2.35in, which may be a problem for you. The big enduro-mtb tire test says itís kind of like EXO+.

    Anyway, just hadnít seen them mentioned here yet. They may be worth consideration now that youíre thinking more of a trail/enduro style tire, vs the more XC/trail stuff you were starting out looking for.

    Good luck on the search.

  31. #31
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    I bought an Aggressor yesterday, with the double down casing. Wow, it is a MUCH burlier tire than the Ardent Race. I opted for the 2.3 version, and so far it seems pretty close to the 2.35 width of my AR, but obviously the knobs are way more aggressive.

    I think this might be the ticket. I rode some flattish XC today on the way to a DH trail and it was fast and efficient. Awesome on the DH trail too. I ran it at around 27psi but I think I could come down a fair amount. Really liking it so far.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  32. #32
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    ^ wow, that is a BIG change. Glad you dig it so far.

    So remind me, what was your mentality going with a DD casing? Did you opt for that instead of running an insert?

    (My rowdy hardtail build is less than 2 weeks away! Thinking about which wheelset/tire combo I want to use on it.)
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
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    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  33. #33
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    My thinking on the DD casing? It was all the store had, and I had a gift card there.: D. I have spent close to $300 on tires this season and have spent way more time than Iíd like fixing flats and being elbows deep in Stanís. I donít think I will need to run an insert with this tire. It was actually kind of difficult to install, due to the extra thickness and stiffness.

    If I do get flats with this setup (Minion DHF/Aggressor DD rear), then I chose the wrong bike for the job.

    FWIW, I rode my enduro (in truth, itís a lightish DH bike) the other day and had a blast. It will still get brought out for the ultra steep and nasty root-infested trails we have, but no more 30 mile rides on that thing.

    The nice thing about my Honzo, as currently set up, is that I can do the epic rides on it and itíll handle anything ó without being too much bike for the job.

  34. #34
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    Glad you're diggin the Aggressor,it is my go-to summer tire. Running a 2.5 on the rear of the hardtail and a 2.3 on my Smuggler, both with cushcore and EXO casing. I'm 150 # and use 18-20 psi.

    When the leaves fall and it gets a bit wet best get something a bit toothier as those close packed knobs fill up quickly.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by joecx View Post
    Glad you're diggin the Aggressor,it is my go-to summer tire. Running a 2.5 on the rear of the hardtail and a 2.3 on my Smuggler, both with cushcore and EXO casing. I'm 150 # and use 18-20 psi.

    When the leaves fall and it gets a bit wet best get something a bit toothier as those close packed knobs fill up quickly.
    Yeah, considering how well the Agg rolls, I'm wondering now if I should've just gotten the 2.5 over the 2.3. Still really digging it though. And actually, right now it's about as wet as it gets locally; it is monsoon season. Truth be told, the dirt we have right now is certified hero dirt; I can't imagine traction being any better -- and wouldn't really need such aggressive tires to find grip. Wet roots are another matter though.

    I wonder if I'd like an EXO casing + cushcore compared to no cushcore and the DD casing? I've found with tires anymore there are just too many options and I get option paralysis, haha.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  36. #36
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    I own a '17 Nukeproof Scout 290.

    At the moment it's set up for pending Wintery slop (Murphy's Law, it's dry as a dingo's d1ck at the moment).

    2.5 Assegai up front and 2.6 Butcher out back.

    A little hefty, but not too bad rolling resistance wise.

    My other seasons setup is a 2.6 XR5 pointing the way w/ a 2.5 Aggressor on the rear.

    I find the latter offers more than enough grip (when things are dry) and meets my personal cush factor.

    I like volumous rubber on an aggressive HT.

    I have contemplated moving the 2.6 XR5 to rear duties and finding a 2.8 to lead the way.

    Sent from my HD1900 using Tapatalk
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Greetings -- I suppose this could apply to full suspension bikes, but as the owner of a modern 29" hardtail, I'm hoping to specifically get feedback from owners of such. However, if you consider yourself an "all mountain" rider, feel free to weigh-in.

    It seems to me that there's kind of three ways to setup an all-mountain hardtail, regarding tires:

    1. As light as possible, narrowish, with a goal of less rolling resistance and better efficiency. Build it to go FAST on smoother terrain and long rides.

    2. Weight be damned, BIG tires with aggressive knobs and flat protection. (This spec really sucks on long rides).

    3. Big, but pretty light tires such as the Maxxis Rekon 2.6, that have decent rolling resistance. (This is kind of new territory for me).

    Currently, I'm running a 2.6" Rekon in the front, and a 2.35" Ardent Race in the back. I put a hole in the sidewall of the Ardent Race on my first ride in Moab earlier this spring, and I can't repair the hole, so that tire is now tube-only (which sucks being on the rear especially -- I've already begun to get pinch flats.) I like the tire alright as a rear tire -- it's really fast and efficient, and corners decently. However, I'm over the pinch flats. I could move it to the front, but I'm not sure it would be adequate up there for the way I corner. I hate to just scrap it, because it was expensive and still has a lot of tread life left.

    My thought was to maybe move the 2.6 Rekon to the back, and get a new one in the front, or possibly something even more aggressive (not necessarily a 2.6.")

    I do enjoy really long rides with huge vertical gain, but a lot of those rides around here have pretty gnarly descents. Obviously a more XC-oriented tire is going to help with the distances, but will they hold up when charging nasty roots and rocks?

    I have 2.5" Minions on my enduro bike. They're amazing when it's steep. They suck, big time, on long rides.

    How do you decide how to balance this? Should I get another "middle ground" tire for the front (Rekon, or maybe even a Maxxis Dissector)? I don't want it to suck for long distances, but I don't want to worry about flats either.


    Really good question cookiemonster!

    All I can tell you is what I've experienced so far, but the number one thing lately I've found is that you don't need a heavy-duty tire in the rear as long as you are not doing hardcore DH. And I avoid that anyway. In other words you can put whatever tire in the front you think you need for grip, doesn't really matter what weight or width, and then you put a faster-rolling tire in back. Some replies in this thread have said they got the lighter tire in back sliced up more, I guess you just have to see if that happens. Below is a chart I recently have been putting together from segment times, you will see what I mean about the front vs. rear:



    Difficulty MPH Max Speed Grade Rank # Trails Bike (majority) Front Tire (majority) Rear Tire (majority)
    Black 12.0 19.5 10% 37% 3 AM 30 lbs DHF 27.5x2.8 DHRII 27.5x2.4
    Blue 13.6 19.0 9% 35% 1* AM 29 lbs* DHF 26x2.8* DHRII 27.5x2.4*
    Blueish / BL 12.3 20.6 8% 35% 3 AM 30 lbs DHF 27.5x2.8 3-way tie DHF / Rekon / DHRII
    Blue / Black 11.1 19.7 7% 38% 5 AM 30 lbs DHF 27.5x2.8 Rekon 27.5x2.4 / DHRII 27.5x2.4
    Blueish / BL 12.2 20.4 6% 35% 3 XC 32 lbs DHF 26x2.8 3-way tie DHF / Rekon / CST
    Blue 13.7 23.7 5% 28% 5 XC 25 lbs / AM 30 lbs DHF 27.5x2.8 Rekon 27.5x2.4
    Blue / Green 14.7 21.1 4% 19% 2 XC 32/25 lbs Rekon 27.5x2.6 / DHF 26x2.8 DHF 27.5x2.5 / Rekon 27.5x2.4
    Blue 12.3 17.5 3% 6% 2 AM 30 lbs / XC 25 lbs DHF 26x2.8 / Rekon 27.5x2.6 Rekon 27.5x2.4
    Blue 14.8 21.7 2% 19% 1* XC 24 lbs* Rekon 27.5x2.6* Rekon 27.5x2.4



    So basically what I've done is rank by downhill grade and then see what combinations of hardtail bike (AM vs. XCs) and front/rear tires are fastest. You can see I don't do real DH because no segment is over a 10% average downhill grade.

    Several things stand out. First, my mph and top speed doesn't really vary much between a 1-10% grade. It's how I rank compared with the (mostly full-suspension) riders out there logging the Strava segments that shows exactly where the sweet spot is for a hardtail: a 2-5% grade. 6-10% grade and I'm 'stuck' in the 35-38% range on time. Those grades seem to be better for full-suspension bikes, they can handle the steeper chunkier looser downhill sections better. But you can really see a hardtail's numbers come into their own below a 6% grade.

    Now let's look at bikes. AM bike has 160mm fork, both XC bikes have 120mm forks. For the most part, the AM bike does better at the 7-10% downhill grades, no surprise there. Sometimes it does well on lesser grades, it really depends on if there are switchbacks and how technical the terrain is.

    Front tires: DHF absolutely dominates all the way down to a 5% grade. They roll fast downhill, period. I don't know the exact percentage of gravity vs. pedaling for each % grade of course, but if it's roughly a 50/50 mix of gravity coasting and pedaling (or more), the DHF or equivalent is the best, doesn't matter how heavy or wide the tire is in front. Doesn't matter what bike you put it on, I put a plus DHF on the front of an XC bike, and yes it's awkward and looks weird but it works and works well.

    Rear tires: a lighter, relatively narrow, faster-rolling tire like the 2.4 Rekon is perfectly fine for most downhill grades. The only drawback is that this type of tire locks up a lot earlier under heavy braking compared with a Minion. Other than that, it's great. I'm looking at doing something even lighter later: Kenda Saber Pro 27.5 x 2.4 under 600 grams. As long as I don't crash or the tire doesn't blow out, the lighter and faster-rolling the better, right? That's in sharp contrast to the front tire --- gobs of grip as an insurance policy, and the rolling resistance on the front is not nearly as much of a factor as on the rear.

  38. #38
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    ^^^Agreed that there is no real downside to running a Minion up front. For this time of year, I'm climbing at pretty close to my PR levels from last year, and that was on a lighter hardtail with definitely far more "XCish" rubber installed. With the Minion up front I can just corner as hard as I want, brake later, etc. There's a reason I've been using them for 10 years or more on all my suspension bikes.

    As for the rear, yeah, I don't demand near as much traction back there, so a faster rolling tire works well. I definitely ride legit DH trails on this bike though, so I need a heavier casing. For me it all comes down to the rocks. As soon as you get into square-edged rocks those lighter "trail" class tires like the Rekon and Ardent just can't hold up to it without running a stupidly high pressure. And even then, they're going to get punctures.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  39. #39
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    Maxxis Aggressor, good tough, fast rear tire and not the most expensive either.

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