Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    6

    fast rolling xc tires... comparison/evaluation (ikon vs rara)

    What: Mid-pack mtb "racer", going through mid-life crisis, setting myself up for a 100 mile ride/race. I invested a lot of time, money and energy prepping for the race and started thinking about rolling resistance and wanted the fastest tire possible for the terrain. Bike came with Maxxis Ikon 3c/exo/maxxspeed tires (2.2") setup tubeless and then i ran across bicyclerollingresistance.com

    Looking at the figures, they appeared to indicate (at a set pressure, on a drum) that the rolling resistance on the racing ralph was 7.5w (per tire) lower than the ikon. Would this advantage translate into the real world? I set myself up to find out and purchased some NOS snakeskin TLE Pacestar rara's in 2.35".

    Why: I've been fighting all year to boost my 6hr power up a handful of watts and reducing rolling resistance by "15 watts" for the cost of a few dollars was an extremely entertaining idea... I am only averaging 150 watts over this duration so this savings could be a significant factor.

    Where: I tested this the best way that I know how. I picked out a loop at the base of a ski hill that was around 1.2 miles with a mix of climbing and descending that included smooth hardpack, some rock/rooty sections and moderately twisty singletrack where hard braking and accelerating from a fairly slow speed were required. There were no features (wheels on the ground at all times) or very technical sections.

    How: I picked a half dozen points where I would make effort out of the saddle, otherwise the riding was done from a seated position. Bike setup was the same except for the tires. Both tires had 4.5oz of sealant added. Both were run at 21psi f/r measured by a digital gauge.

    My average power differed by 3 watts, my NP differed by 1 watt. Both tests lasted approx 26 minutes (+/1 30sec) and were done at a 1.05 IF.

    The biggest outlier/difference between the two events was I had a higher% of power falloff for the ikon laps (started faster, faded) vs the rara (more consistent). Still, if you dig into very comparable individual laps (+/- <1% diff) the rara manages the same difference in average speed compared to the ikon when compared to the overall. That said, I am sure that there are other factors such as temperature, motivation, rider consistency, etc. that impacted the results so try not to judge me too harshly.

    Results:

    The average speed on the racing ralph was .4 mph faster than the ikon in comparable sections of the test as well as overall. I don't know that I can attribute 100% of the improvement in speed to lower rolling resistance, thought. I definitely prefer the handling characteristics of the rara much more- i feel like i can carry more speed into corners and as a result require much less braking and effort to accelerate coming out of them. That said, I made a couple errors with the ralph (rider error) that probably slowed it down ever so slightly from it's already faster average speed (over braked a few corners a couple of times).

    Do I think this tire is going to improve my overall time an appreciable amount over 100 miles? I'm not certain and we'll never know because I am not going to conduct that test... I definitely feel like it'll have a positive impact. For giggles, factoring based on % improvement, I believe it has potential to save me almost a half an hour of ride time... but my speed will be much slower (65% of capacity vs 105%) and I am not certain that the savings I illustrate scale that way.

    If I were racing xc competitively, I probably wouldn't consider advancing the purchase unless I was losing 1.5 hr xc races by under 3 minutes consistently. After wearing out the Maxxis, then probably, yes, for the handling characteristics alone.

    Still glad I made the purchase... mostly for the fact that I'd definitely be thinking about/regretting not doing it on course...

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: chomxxo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,420
    Quote Originally Posted by inglysh View Post
    What: Mid-pack mtb "racer", going through mid-life crisis, setting myself up for a 100 mile ride/race. I invested a lot of time, money and energy prepping for the race and started thinking about rolling resistance and wanted the fastest tire possible for the terrain. Bike came with Maxxis Ikon 3c/exo/maxxspeed tires (2.2") setup tubeless and then i ran across bicyclerollingresistance.com

    Looking at the figures, they appeared to indicate (at a set pressure, on a drum) that the rolling resistance on the racing ralph was 7.5w (per tire) lower than the ikon. Would this advantage translate into the real world? I set myself up to find out and purchased some NOS snakeskin TLE Pacestar rara's in 2.35".

    Why: I've been fighting all year to boost my 6hr power up a handful of watts and reducing rolling resistance by "15 watts" for the cost of a few dollars was an extremely entertaining idea... I am only averaging 150 watts over this duration so this savings could be a significant factor.

    Where: I tested this the best way that I know how. I picked out a loop at the base of a ski hill that was around 1.2 miles with a mix of climbing and descending that included smooth hardpack, some rock/rooty sections and moderately twisty singletrack where hard braking and accelerating from a fairly slow speed were required. There were no features (wheels on the ground at all times) or very technical sections.

    How: I picked a half dozen points where I would make effort out of the saddle, otherwise the riding was done from a seated position. Bike setup was the same except for the tires. Both tires had 4.5oz of sealant added. Both were run at 21psi f/r measured by a digital gauge.

    My average power differed by 3 watts, my NP differed by 1 watt. Both tests lasted approx 26 minutes (+/1 30sec) and were done at a 1.05 IF.

    The biggest outlier/difference between the two events was I had a higher% of power falloff for the ikon laps (started faster, faded) vs the rara (more consistent). Still, if you dig into very comparable individual laps (+/- <1% diff) the rara manages the same difference in average speed compared to the ikon when compared to the overall. That said, I am sure that there are other factors such as temperature, motivation, rider consistency, etc. that impacted the results so try not to judge me too harshly.

    Results:

    The average speed on the racing ralph was .4 mph faster than the ikon in comparable sections of the test as well as overall. I don't know that I can attribute 100% of the improvement in speed to lower rolling resistance, thought. I definitely prefer the handling characteristics of the rara much more- i feel like i can carry more speed into corners and as a result require much less braking and effort to accelerate coming out of them. That said, I made a couple errors with the ralph (rider error) that probably slowed it down ever so slightly from it's already faster average speed (over braked a few corners a couple of times).

    Do I think this tire is going to improve my overall time an appreciable amount over 100 miles? I'm not certain and we'll never know because I am not going to conduct that test... I definitely feel like it'll have a positive impact. For giggles, factoring based on % improvement, I believe it has potential to save me almost a half an hour of ride time... but my speed will be much slower (65% of capacity vs 105%) and I am not certain that the savings I illustrate scale that way.

    If I were racing xc competitively, I probably wouldn't consider advancing the purchase unless I was losing 1.5 hr xc races by under 3 minutes consistently. After wearing out the Maxxis, then probably, yes, for the handling characteristics alone.

    Still glad I made the purchase... mostly for the fact that I'd definitely be thinking about/regretting not doing it on course...
    TLDR; Neither of those tires are exceptionally fast. Try a Thunder Burt, Aspen, or Renegade, rear-only if they’re too slick for you on the front.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: One Pivot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    7,706
    While not exactly bulletproof, the ikon is stronger than a paper thin race tire. A lot of guys use it as a trail tire. Its fast for what it is.

    Race day tires with paper thin sidewalls and basically zero puncture protection can be significantly faster, as long as you dont destroy one 30 miles out in the middle of nowhere.

    The "durable" schwalbes hardly hold up for a lot of us. The race day tires are disposable. I wouldnt want to be on them for anything longer than a short loop race where I can walk back if necessary.
    WTB: Small aluminum hardtail 26 or 27.5 frame. Pm me!

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    12,198
    100 mile races are usually not all rocks. So I say go for it. Unless you're in PA.

  5. #5
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    29,744
    Last year in the 100 mile race I used racing ralphs and I punctured one about 25 miles in. Unless it's an abnormally smooth race, a little beefier tire and bike is very nice on a 100 mile race. The goal is to get into a good zone where you can continue at your pace, stay fueled and hydrated, and not cramp up, but you still get physically and mentally exhausted. You make mistakes. You weight the front end or parts of your bike that you shouldn't, looking for relief or just because you get lazy. You might be hanging your pedal down and hit a rock. This year, I ran Icons 2.35s. It was a much better decision. I don't believe in monster tires, but I believe 2.3-ish tires are "normal" for most stuff and riders. I run the 2.1-ish Racing Ralphs for shorter races and they work very well in that role, but a 100 mile race takes a pretty big toll on equipment and your body. IME, a little extra beef is helpful and not so contrary like you'd think. Can't afford a slashed sidewall 50 miles into a race. Much more important is keeping your body fueled, electrolytes, managing that and not hitting a "wall" at mile 80.

    The longer the race, the less I'm "weight weenie-ing".
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: davidream's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    43
    Hy!
    This last Post is pure wisdom!!

  7. #7
    Barely in control
    Reputation: Schulze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,714
    He used the TLE, which is the snakeskin casing. Not a paper thin tire.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MSU Alum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,232
    I've been keeping track of my climb times in the Wasatch for over 15 years.

    I was riding 2.1 RaRa rear Pacestar and 2.35 Nobby Nic Trailstar up front on light Reynolds wheels and had established PR's on local climbs of 40 minutes to 1.5 hours and 1000 to 3000 feet of climbing.

    I eventually ended up on 27.5x2.6" Nobby Nic, TL Addix Speedgrip, Snakeskin (initially for the cush and comfort of 2.6") on wider, heavier i9 wheels and have blown away at least a dozen of my climbing PR's....Also, on that tire combo I cleaned a couple of climbs in Moab I'd never cleaned before.

    The Addix wears much better and I suspect the larger size helps as well. This tire is on the rear, and has about 750 dirt miles with 150 or so in Moab and the rest in Park City, Utah.

    I'm not a fan of the RaRa in it's previous incarnation, but if it survives, it's fast. I thought a 2.1 RaRa was faster and grippier than the 2.2" Ikon. I haven't used the newest front/rear specific versions but I'd be more inclined to use the Rocket Rons if I had to go narrow.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fast rolling xc tires... comparison/evaluation (ikon vs rara)-resize-tire.jpg  

    Last edited by MSU Alum; 09-14-2018 at 11:59 AM.

  9. #9
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    29,744
    I'm a fan of the Racing Ralph for the shorter XC stuff, not the stupid-light 4-something gram casings, but the "normal" 600g 29er version. Oh yeah, there are tires that are lighter than 600g, but they make serious tradeoffs and sacrifices and that's too far IME for someone that rides hard in actual rough terrain and weighs a normal amount. I've been down that path in the past and came out on the other side realizing that you need a decent tire on your rim. That said, even the 600g versions I have (Evo, Addix) tend to wear out pretty fast, especially on rockier terrain. They are not my "go-to" for fun all-around XC riding. They are not what I want to be on at mile 80 on the downhill.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    12,198
    So you can see it's a gamble. You have to evaluate the race course terrain. If you want to chance it given the terrain for the benefits try it.

Similar Threads

  1. Ikon 2.35 vs. Nobby Nic 2.25 vs. RaRa 2.35
    By dirtdan in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 08-09-2014, 04:53 PM
  2. Ikon (2.2 & 2.35 EXO) alternate to RaRa/NoNi (2.1/2.25 EVO)
    By MSU Alum in forum Wheels and Tires
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-10-2014, 01:04 PM
  3. "rolling resistance". Maxxis Ardent vs Racing Ralph vs IKON
    By trhoppe in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 05-02-2014, 04:36 PM
  4. Replies: 20
    Last Post: 02-22-2014, 06:16 PM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-19-2011, 08:50 AM

Members who have read this thread: 130

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.