Northern Utah XC Tire Recommendations- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Northern Utah XC Tire Recommendations

    Just moved from a frankenbike 26íer hardtail I built for the Crusher, to a new Ď17 BMC FourStroke 29íer. What a jumpóitís been over a decade since my last new MTB, and has tech ever advanced!

    Of course, just about the first thing to happen was that I tore the sidewall on my OEM racekings (which are set up as tubeless). Iíve been asking around for advice on a good XC tire combo for northern Utah with tough sidewalls. Someone recommended I post here (I didnít realize there were regional forums).

    I have been an Armadillo fan in the past, but their line up for XC leaves one wanting. The Maxxis EXO sidewalls have a good rep, and Iíve been looking at the Ikon rear with an Ardent front (several recommendations, including Bountiful Bike, where I bought my Fourstroke). Some have indicated the Ikon is low on traction, and others say the Ardent is a challenge to corner with.

    Anyone here in Utah riding this combination who could weigh in? I ride the BST just about daily, with Antelope, Corner Canyon, and Yellow Fork as favorites. We make a lot of trips to STG (friends own a second home and let us use it), so Iíve got several rides planned there. I am doing Wasatch Crest this summer, too. Iím not too technical (itís just not fun for me), I corner pretty slowly, and mostly enjoy a good ride but by no means limit myself to smooth hardpack trails only.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Maxxis something. :-D I have been through the wringer with Schwalbe and Continental. Continental X-kings are ok, but don't like to be rallied through rock gardens or on hard corners. Mountain Kings and Trail Kings are a step up. You will likely not have problems with an EXO Maxxis TR (Tubeless Ready).

  3. #3
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    Specialized tire line is often overlooked and underrated and they are often one of the more affordable options as well.
    For best sidewall protection go for Grid sidewalls, but some I know do just fine with control casing in No UT.
    Ground Control tire isn't a bad compromise between good rolling, grip and protection, but there are others on both sides of that model in the line that also might qualify.
    2016 Stumpy 29er

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by billj121 View Post
    Specialized tire line is often overlooked and underrated and they are often one of the more affordable options as well.
    Yup, that's why I was interested in them. They only offer one Armadillo tire in the 29" size, though.

    BB's got the Ikon and Ardent in stock. Since I'm dead in the water right now, I'll at least pick up the Ikon today (unless I get a strong recommendation for another rear tire). Not sure if I'll swing for the Ardent yet or not--tradeoff between shelling out yet more cash and taking yet more risk of an

  5. #5
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    PS: Continental Mountain Kings and Trail Kings are not XC tires though. X-kings are probably the burliest XC style tire Continental makes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    PS: Continental Mountain Kings and Trail Kings are not XC tires though. X-kings are probably the burliest XC style tire Continental makes.
    Funny you should say that about X-Kings. I've never had a pair that made it more than about 20 miles. Even my wife destroys the Snakeskin version.

  7. #7
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    I ran X-kings for around 3-4mos before I realized they weren't going to cut it. X-king would typically last me 4-500mi. My DHF/DHR's run 1400+. A little burlier than XC riding though.

    I agree, tires should last longer than that, which is why I ditched their use and moved to Maxxis.

  8. #8
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    I never realized how important tire choice was until I switched from Ardents to much more aggressive tires. I have ridden Ardents front and rear for several years and really love how smooth and fast they were, then I rode a friends bike on a cold, damp day up Sardine Peak, his bike had a Schwalbe Hans Dampf (F) Nobby Nic (R) combination. I could not believe the difference in grip and stability, I was easily able to clear lines that I had issues with on the Ardents and I soon realized why some riders love railing corners and bombing the downhills.

    I still like a good XC combination of Maxxis Rekon or Ardent (F) and Ikon (R) for the tame stuff, I do prefer the Rekon in the wet and slippery stuff over the Ardent.

    I've also had good luck with the Schwalbe Rocket Ron (F) and Racing Ralph (R), but they don't last me as long as the Maxxis tires.

  9. #9
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    Although I ditched the X-Kings, there are very few tires that roll as fast, in my experience.

    Because I ride with my (38 years younger than me) son a lot, I get gear, and tires especially that result in faster timed climbs. I don't race, but I'd like to keep riding with him without boring him.

    In that vein, here in the Park City area, the fastest combo that I have experienced is 27.5x2.6" Rocket Ron Addix tires at relatively low pressure. They are blisteringly fast on the climbs, verified by the almighty watch, but if you want to corner well on the descents, you'd need something beefier, like a Nobby Nic on the front. The size, combined with the pressure seems to result in a better wearing version of a Schwalbe also, but don't expect to get 1000 miles on them!

    If you are crazy on the downhills, of course, that is a terrible combo and going to Maxxis really is the best option, I think.

    It just depends on your priorities and style of riding (and $$).

  10. #10
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    Ikon front (2.35) rear (2.2) in the exo casing.

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  11. #11
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    Been riding Continental X-kings rear and mountain kings front for quite a while. Both with ProTection. I've tried Schwalbe (such as a Nobby Nick), but they were certainly pricier, didn't improve traction, and the knobs undercut super fast. I've also used various Maxxis, and have had better luck with their 29+, but with regular 29, would get tread punctures, as the protection layer does not protect the tread, only the sidewalls. I can get 1000+ miles on a Conti front, and somewhat less out of the rear, but they definitely last longer than the Schwalbes. Tread life may not be as long as the Maxxis if you don't get punctures in the meantime.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ger View Post
    Been riding Continental X-kings rear and mountain kings front for quite a while. Both with ProTection. I've tried Schwalbe (such as a Nobby Nick), but they were certainly pricier, didn't improve traction, and the knobs undercut super fast. I've also used various Maxxis, and have had better luck with their 29+, but with regular 29, would get tread punctures, as the protection layer does not protect the tread, only the sidewalls. I can get 1000+ miles on a Conti front, and somewhat less out of the rear, but they definitely last longer than the Schwalbes. Tread life may not be as long as the Maxxis if you don't get punctures in the meantime.
    Once every 4 years or so, I get "tricked" into buying a pair of X-Kings. Even my 64 year old wife tears knobs off within the first 20 miles. Or, more accurately, at age 63 on a 26er. Dare I try yet again on a 27.5? I thought they were blazingly fast....maybe if they were in a 2.6".....

  13. #13
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    The Bontrager XR series are very good. XR3 would probably be considered the all-arounder, with the XR1 and 2 more of race/hardpack tires and the XR4 on the enduro end of the spectrum.

    -Walt

  14. #14
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    I second the Bontragers. For some reason the tubeless versions are always $15 - $20 cheaper than comparable tubeless tires of other brands. That is a bonus. I think Guthries sells them.

    Specialized tubeless bleed through the sidewalls. Maxxis tires are always narrower than the listed width and they wear out too fast. I've had good luck with Hutchinson. I just bought some WTB Bridger 3.0 that look real promising to replace my Specialized Purgatory and Grid. If you are using tubes the Specialized brand works good, I just don't like the bleeding sidewalls when tubeless.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Once every 4 years or so, I get "tricked" into buying a pair of X-Kings. Even my 64 year old wife tears knobs off within the first 20 miles. Or, more accurately, at age 63 on a 26er. Dare I try yet again on a 27.5? I thought they were blazingly fast....maybe if they were in a 2.6".....
    I find that the 2.4" X-kings retain their knobs a lot better than the 2.2" X-kings, as they have more gusseting on the outer row of knobs. That's about the only row I've lost them from.

  16. #16
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    I ran 2.4 X-kings, and didn't have the knob ripping issue.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant Warp View Post
    I second the Bontragers. For some reason the tubeless versions are always $15 - $20 cheaper than comparable tubeless tires of other brands. That is a bonus. I think Guthries sells them.

    Specialized tubeless bleed through the sidewalls. Maxxis tires are always narrower than the listed width and they wear out too fast. I've had good luck with Hutchinson. I just bought some WTB Bridger 3.0 that look real promising to replace my Specialized Purgatory and Grid. If you are using tubes the Specialized brand works good, I just don't like the bleeding sidewalls when tubeless.
    GW,
    I have no issues with sidewalls weeping with Grid casing. Control casing, Yes, but not Grid.
    2016 Stumpy 29er

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by billj121 View Post
    GW,
    I have no issues with sidewalls weeping with Grid casing. Control casing, Yes, but not Grid.
    Same here, Grid's have been excellent for me.

  19. #19
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    For me, I couldn't keep Schwalbe side knobs on the tire for more than 1/2 a ride! These were the pre-Addix versions of

    Magic Mary
    Hans Dampf
    Nobby Nic

    I have heard good things about the Addix tires, but they lost me to Maxxis already. Maxxis has to drop the ball now.
    Last edited by UtahJohn; 03-28-2018 at 06:11 PM.

  20. #20
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    27.5x2.6" Rocket Ron, SS, TLE, Pacestar. About 350 miles in Park City plus about 50 in Moab, mostly Navajo Rocks and Getaway.
    I have an Addix also, which seems to be wearing better and my wife has two Addixes (Aid-eye?) with about 200 miles that are like new in a 27.5x2.6. We had to warrantee 2 X-Kings Black Chili/Protection for her in a 26x2.4, 2 years ago for torn knobs on both front and back after two rides.

    Inexplicable!
    (It appears they don't make a 2.6 X-King)

    Northern Utah XC Tire Recommendations-roro.jpg
    Last edited by MSU Alum; 03-28-2018 at 05:09 PM.

  21. #21
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    Folks, wow... So many great reviews! I went with the Ikon rear and am recovering from sticker shock before I throw a front on. So far, a little slippery, but with the weather, it's not surprising. I'll be giving them a great workout down in SatG in a couple weeks, and then Wild Horse in early May, too.

    Thanks for all the input. I'm going to put these combos on my list to try successively.

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