Best aggressive front/semi-slick rear set-up???- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best aggressive front/semi-slick rear set-up???

    Hereís a little background...
    I ride a 2016 Santa Cruz 5010CC. I was mostly riding on Long Island (ie, fast flowy hard pack, sand/loose over hard with little to no rocks and roots). With a BMX and DH background Iíve been searching out more aggressive trails in Upstate NY, NJ and CT. Iíve also taken trips to VT, UT and CO. Now Iím finally able to ride some real trails with rocks, roots and fun downhills. But, most of that really needs to be earned here in NY.

    I was on the Maxxis Ardent 2.4 and Ikon 2.35 (or Ardent Race 2.35) combo for a while and felt like I could use more on the front end. Wanting to have a do-it-all tire combo that wouldnít be sluggish or weight a ton I went with the Specialized Butcher/Slaughter Control combo. It has been great, but I noticed a big difference on my very first ride which was a surprise because it was a difference I did not even think of. That difference was tire volume. I immediately felt like the Specialized tires were bouncing off of everything. To get the same feel as the Maxxis combo I had to lower my psi a couple pounds. I then felt myself hitting my rear rim on gnarly sections here and there much more often than the Maxxis set-up. I donít really love doing that on Enve M60HV carbon rims at all.

    So, how do the following combos compare???
    Maxxis DHF/SS EXO (same volume as Ardent/Ikon?)
    Schwalbe Magic Mary/Rock Razor Snakeskin
    WTB TrailBosd/Riddler
    Vittoria Morsa front & rear

    Any other recommendations???

    I would really like to keep rolling resistance down, but still retain grip (donít we all?). I also do not want to add a ton of weight and keep these under 800g each or just slightly over.

  2. #2
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    No idea what's best, but I used a Minion SS / DHF 2.5 combo last summer and liked it a lot. The SS was a little squared off, but still cornered very well. I'm thinking of a Rock Razor for next summer.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrakillerta View Post
    Wanting to have a do-it-all tire combo that wouldnít be sluggish or weight a ton I went with the Specialized Butcher/Slaughter Control combo. It has been great, but I noticed a big difference on my very first ride which was a surprise because it was a difference I did not even think of. That difference was tire volume. I immediately felt like the Specialized tires were bouncing off of everything. To get the same feel as the Maxxis combo I had to lower my psi a couple pounds. I then felt myself hitting my rear rim on gnarly sections here and there much more often than the Maxxis set-up. I donít really love doing that on Enve M60HV carbon rims at all..
    Sounds like you would have been happier with the Grid casings on the Specialized tires.

  4. #4
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    minion dhr2 front with an ardent race in the rear is what I would go with. Barzo rear with a morsa front is another combination that fits your bill. Both of these combinations are fast enough for xc use but burly enough for some pretty tough trail days. Think of them as trail race bike tires. The barzo and morsa is like a beefier ikon and ardent combination.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    No idea what's best, but I used a Minion SS / DHF 2.5 combo last summer and liked it a lot. The SS was a little squared off, but still cornered very well. I'm thinking of a Rock Razor for next summer.
    A DHF 2.5 is a BULKY heavy tire, most likely more than I need on this bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by ac1000 View Post
    Sounds like you would have been happier with the Grid casings on the Specialized tires.
    At 50-100g heavier per tire and no added volume Iím not sure how that would help?


    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    minion dhr2 front with an ardent race in the rear is what I would go with. Barzo rear with a morsa front is another combination that fits your bill. Both of these combinations are fast enough for xc use but burly enough for some pretty tough trail days. Think of them as trail race bike tires. The barzo and morsa is like a beefier ikon and ardent combination.
    Thanks, Iíll take a look further in to those combos

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrakillerta View Post
    At 50-100g heavier per tire and no added volume Iím not sure how that would help?
    Your complaint was that at the PSI that felt good you are bottoming out the tire.
    The grid tires have more substantial sidewalls so you don't have to run too high PSI in order to get the performance you desire.

  7. #7
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    Cush Core would protect your beads some at the lower pressure your tires feel good at.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrakillerta View Post
    A DHF 2.5 is a BULKY heavy tire, most likely more than I need on this bike.



    At 50-100g heavier per tire and no added volume Iím not sure how that would help?




    Thanks, Iíll take a look further in to those combos
    The intent of beefier casings like Grid is to run lower pressures without pinch flatting/dinging the rim.

    Another suggestion - Michelin Wild AM front, Force AM rear.

  9. #9
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    My own opinion after running a number of those: DHF (2.5, 2.6, 2.8... pick one) and Rock Razor rear. DHF is a surprisingly fast front tire, much faster than the Magic Mary, and the rock razor is my favorite of the bunch of semi-slicks (side lugs are spaced wide enough to accommodate wider rims).

    I've heard great things about the Morsa as well. I believe a german bike magazine did a rolling resistance test and that one was up there. That might be a good option for the front as well if you think the DHF is too much.

  10. #10
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    On my longer travel bike, I run Vittoria tires; 2.4 Goma on the front, 2.35 Barzo on the rear. Both have amazing traction, the Goma is aggressive and very high volume for a 2.4. the Barzo is closer to a XC tire, but not super skinny. I love it because I get the bite I want on gnarly stuff out of the Goma, and the Barzo hooks up really well but also climbs like a XC skinny tire.

  11. #11
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    I'm running a Hans Dampf up front and picked up a Rock Razor for the rear. Currently using a Nobby Nic.

    I ride in So Cal...where our dirt here is pretty hard. I'll see if the lower profile knobs on the RR makes any difference. I haven't weighed the RR...but for sure its heavier than the NoNi.

  12. #12
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    2.5 DHF rolls fine on the front, and I realize that you probably won't believe it.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for ďI suck at brake control.Ē Hereís a free tip: get better."

  13. #13
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    I like the DHF front rock razor rear idea. Ive been running Nics front and rear 2.35/2.25. that worked pretty well. I'm trying out a 2.6 nic front/2.6 Ron rear this wknd (smooth, Sandy trails).

  14. #14
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    Hans Dampf front & Rock Razor rear are a stellar combo.

    Although, I wouldn't want to run the RR on rocks for too long o_0

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
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  15. #15
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    Because I dislike how narrow the Minion SS is I won't vote for the DHF/SS combo. Rather I'll throw in a vote for Butcher/Slaughter combo for aggressive riding but still rolls well. I would have offered the Schwalbe combo but I'm not getting along with the Nobby Nic 2.6 as a rear tire and have never like it in any size as a front tire. Sometimes you need to accept a drop in rolling resistance to gain predictable durable grip.

  16. #16
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    It's hard to keep tyre discussions brief, but I'll do my best.

    Tall knobs with bigger gaps (i.e. Magic Mary) rule in proper loose conditions. They roll slow and feel vague on hardpack, particularly the softer compound variety. A Magic Mary 2.35 is actually over 2.4" and only 835g.

    A Nobby Nic has shorter knobs, and the side knobs are not very substantial. It doesn't like to be leaned over as much as a result. However with 27.5x2.6 coming in at around 800g for non-Apex, it's light and it rolls quite well. If going on the rear I'd suggest an Apex version.

    A DHF has knobs with a bigger surface area, but has a more pronounced transition zone. It rolls quicker than a Magic Mary, but for the grip you need to commit more IMO - lean the front in and weight it. It's worth mentioning that the 27.5x2.6 3c is lighter than the 2.5WT varieties, despite being bigger.

    The Butcher is pretty much a DHF copy in design - the only version I've briefly ridden is a 2.3 control, and I can't speak too much about it.

    If you want faster than those then you need to start looking at tyres with closer knob spacing - Rekon, Rocket Ron, etc.

    Don't underestimate the difference that rubber compound can make, and watch the TPI count too. For example many Maxxis tyres come in 3c 120TPI or DC 60TPI - the DC tyres are therefore a bit tougher, heavier, but roll faster - often a good choice if conditions are dry. Pick your poison.

    I've steered clear of the semi-slick tyres thus far. My local descending trails have loose stuff over rocks, so strong rear braking is key.

  17. #17
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    I weighed the Super Gravity Rock Razor and it weighed 970 grams. That's a heavy ass tire. About 200gr heavier than the 2.35 Snake Skin Nobby Nics that are on there now.

  18. #18
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    Dhrii front and if you liked rear 2.4 ardent, try michelin wild grip'r
    video=youtube;][/video]...

  19. #19
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    First, steer well clear of the Trail Boss as a front, it's just dangerous. It's a great alternative to a semi-slick rear though, because it's almost drag free but can still brake and climb.

    I've ridden the Riddler and it's a fun option on groomed flow trails, but on steep inclines and loose conditions it's very limiting.

    Magic Mary and DHF are my favorite front tyres, MM is noticeably slower though.

    I'm currently on MM front, Trail Boss rear and it's a happy compromise. I often ride 6-12km to get to the nearest trails and another 6-12 to get back home. We have lots of steep, loose uphill and downhills locally so I need my tyre combo to perform everywhere. The MM is great in loose conditions and the TB offers decent climbing and braking while being fast enough on the road to the trails.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrakillerta View Post
    Hereís a little background...
    I ride a 2016 Santa Cruz 5010CC. I was mostly riding on Long Island (ie, fast flowy hard pack, sand/loose over hard with little to no rocks and roots). With a BMX and DH background Iíve been searching out more aggressive trails in Upstate NY, NJ and CT. Iíve also taken trips to VT, UT and CO. Now Iím finally able to ride some real trails with rocks, roots and fun downhills. But, most of that really needs to be earned here in NY.

    I was on the Maxxis Ardent 2.4 and Ikon 2.35 (or Ardent Race 2.35) combo for a while and felt like I could use more on the front end. Wanting to have a do-it-all tire combo that wouldnít be sluggish or weight a ton I went with the Specialized Butcher/Slaughter Control combo. It has been great, but I noticed a big difference on my very first ride which was a surprise because it was a difference I did not even think of. That difference was tire volume. I immediately felt like the Specialized tires were bouncing off of everything. To get the same feel as the Maxxis combo I had to lower my psi a couple pounds. I then felt myself hitting my rear rim on gnarly sections here and there much more often than the Maxxis set-up. I donít really love doing that on Enve M60HV carbon rims at all.

    So, how do the following combos compare???
    Maxxis DHF/SS EXO (same volume as Ardent/Ikon?)
    Schwalbe Magic Mary/Rock Razor Snakeskin
    WTB TrailBosd/Riddler
    Vittoria Morsa front & rear

    Any other recommendations???

    I would really like to keep rolling resistance down, but still retain grip (donít we all?). I also do not want to add a ton of weight and keep these under 800g each or just slightly over.
    Best rear tire of the bunch is Rock Razor. Snakeskin if there arenít many rocks, Super Gravity if there are many rocks. Rolls well corners exceptionally. (Same cornering knobs as Magic Mary. As a semi slick doesnít play well with mud.

    Dry loose all around tire 2.3 DHF 3C EXO Maxx Terra rolls well, predictable cornering, great over hard pack and loose. Better flat protection than Magic Mary Snake skin. I run 2.5 DHF Double Down Casing with Maxx Grip on one of my bikes and is much slower.

    Magic Mary 2.35 Snakeskin has better damping and is much better when conditions are wet. Great over roots and when it has something to dig into. Not as good over hardpack as DHF, Hans Dampf is more for hard pack. Super Gravity is much slower but bullet proof for flats. Magic Mary has Excellent Braking and high speed cornering. I run DHF on my Yeti, And Magic Mary on my Jekyll.

    E13 trsr similar to the Magic Mary Snakeskin, slower rolling better over wet roots, not as predictable in corners. Very good flat protection. Hard to get these days, always back ordered.

    WTB trail boss rear tire only. WTB Vigilante is a better Front , but I prefer DHF or Mary much better.


    My bikes run
    2.3 DHF 3C EXO Maxx Terra/2.3 DHR2 EXO 3C Maxx Terra
    2.5 DHF DD Maxx Grip/e13 trs+
    2.35 Magic Mary Snakeskin/2.35 Rock Razor Snakeskin
    2.25 Racing Ralph/2.25 Racing Ralph

    Good luck.
    Yeti SB150
    Yeti SB6c
    Pivot 4SL
    Litespeed Ultimate Gravel
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Cannondale Synapse
    Cannondale SuperX

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by justwan naride View Post
    I'm currently on MM front, Trail Boss rear and it's a happy compromise. I often ride 6-12km to get to the nearest trails and another 6-12 to get back home. We have lots of steep, loose uphill and downhills locally so I need my tyre combo to perform everywhere. The MM is great in loose conditions and the TB offers decent climbing and braking while being fast enough on the road to the trails.
    MM 2.35 Evo SS Tsc & TB 2.4 Light High Grip is my current combo & it's great for the semi dry trails at the moment.

    When things get wet, or Enduro race-y I'll chuck my 2.35 Michelin Wild AM out back. Thing sticks like glue, but is a drag on fire road climbs.

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  22. #22
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    Has anyone tried the Rock Razor 2.6 ? I loved my 2.35 but now I have 30mmID rims and want to try the 2.6. Looking for actual widths on a 30mm rim too.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyFlow View Post
    Has anyone tried the Rock Razor 2.6 ? I loved my 2.35 but now I have 30mmID rims and want to try the 2.6. Looking for actual widths on a 30mm rim too.
    Yes I used one last summer, on 30mm rim, and actual width was 2.6".
    Keep in mind, I had two NN 2.6, one measured 2.5" (Snakeskin TS), one measured 2.7" (Snakeskin Apex Pacestar), so there might be variation in size even in the same tire model.

  24. #24
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    If I wanted speed I'd do Morsa G+ 2.4 rear with a Bontrager XR5 2.6 front. The Barzo/Goma combo DualRollers suggested is also good.

  25. #25
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    Nobby Nic 2.6 front rock razor 2.35 rear are fast and a good foot print on grip. Put a morsa on the front and it was super fast but sketchy.

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