Need recommendations for 29" aggressive XC/trail; all-mountain (light enduro?) tires.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Need recommendations for 29" aggressive XC/trail; all-mountain (light enduro?) tires.

    Howdy,

    I'm getting a base-model Kona Honzo pretty soon, and plan to keep it for a long time and upgrade it as I go. It is replacing my Giant XTC 29er and I intend to use it for the same purposes, i.e. -- everything.

    I'm excited to be on a hardtail with modern geometry for a change, though I must admit I had a lot of fun on my Giant. I currently run Vittoria Barzo 2.25s and have been pretty happy with them. They are quite light and roll very fast, though there are a lot of situations where they are not quite enough tire for what I'm doing, plus they're on skinny old-school rims. I have a feeling the Honzo is going to see me riding even faster and harder than I should. -- so what I'm after is something with a little more volume and a little more aggression in the corners, but not quite a Maxxis Minion, if that makes any sense.

    The Honzo comes with 29mm wide (inner dimension) rims, so already a 2.25" tire is going to spread out a lot more than they do on my Giant. It comes with WTB Trail Boss Comps, which are 2.25" -- and probably fine, but they are wire-bead/tube-only and likely a lot heavier than they need to be. I want to run tubeless right away.

    I ride lots of actual XC, but some of it has extensive root and rock gardens and occasionally I'll be on trails that resemble a WC DH course. Dirt conditions are usually "hero dirt" in my neck of the woods, but things do get greasy when wet.

    My go-to tires for my big bike are 2.5" Minions and I don't see that changing. I know what they do, and I'd love them on the Honzo except for the weight and rolling resistance penalty. I don't think I need or want that much tire, especially in the rear. I do think that 2.3" is kind of at the upper end of what I need. I like to go fast on flatter sections, not just fall-line/DH style trails; and I regularly do 35 mile+ rides where heavy/overly grippy tires get old real fast.

    TL/DR: It seems that what I'm after is kind of in between XC and enduro, and I really don't know where to start. Can you help me out?
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  2. #2
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    Dhr2 front and Minion SS rear. I run the Specialized version of this combo (Butcher f and Slaughter r) and it rolls significantly faster than my other bike thatís running double Butchers.
    I like bikes

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    Between XC, and enduro riding you say? Isnít that basically the definition of normal ďtrailĒ riding/tires?

    Iíd still try to use something more aggressive on the front, since there isnít much (as much) rolling resistance penalty. You may try your minion in the front and see how you like it.

    For the back something easier to pedal seems most popular.

    Schwalbe Hans dampf , maxxiss aggressor/dissector, WTB trail boss (in 2.4, or 2.6in rear), Michelin wild enduro rear/wild enduro all mountain, etc.

  4. #4
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    2.4 DHR front/2.4 Dissector rear or Bonty xr4's

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    F - Assegai R - Dissector

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  6. #6
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    For general trail riding I really like the 2.3 dhf and a 2.3 minion ss.

    The onza porcupine is also proving good as a front/rear combo in 2.4.


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  7. #7
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    As you are currently on Barzo then Agarro is the natural progression followed by the Mazza(dhf likeness) sometime this year.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Need recommendations for 29" aggressive XC/trail; all-mountain (light enduro?) tires.-6797006f-d950-416e-ae76-b106e8520bab.jpg  


  8. #8
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    I'm running a 2.4" DHR2 front and Rekon rear on my hardtail. This is my favorite set up so far. I also like semislicks for fast rolling rear tires for aggressive riding but my hardtail is my wet weather bike so I run more of an all arounder.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Howdy,

    I'm getting a base-model Kona Honzo pretty soon, and plan to keep it for a long time and upgrade it as I go. It is replacing my Giant XTC 29er and I intend to use it for the same purposes, i.e. -- everything.

    I'm excited to be on a hardtail with modern geometry for a change, though I must admit I had a lot of fun on my Giant. I currently run Vittoria Barzo 2.25s and have been pretty happy with them. They are quite light and roll very fast, though there are a lot of situations where they are not quite enough tire for what I'm doing, plus they're on skinny old-school rims. I have a feeling the Honzo is going to see me riding even faster and harder than I should. -- so what I'm after is something with a little more volume and a little more aggression in the corners, but not quite a Maxxis Minion, if that makes any sense.

    The Honzo comes with 29mm wide (inner dimension) rims, so already a 2.25" tire is going to spread out a lot more than they do on my Giant. It comes with WTB Trail Boss Comps, which are 2.25" -- and probably fine, but they are wire-bead/tube-only and likely a lot heavier than they need to be. I want to run tubeless right away.

    I ride lots of actual XC, but some of it has extensive root and rock gardens and occasionally I'll be on trails that resemble a WC DH course. Dirt conditions are usually "hero dirt" in my neck of the woods, but things do get greasy when wet.

    My go-to tires for my big bike are 2.5" Minions and I don't see that changing. I know what they do, and I'd love them on the Honzo except for the weight and rolling resistance penalty. I don't think I need or want that much tire, especially in the rear. I do think that 2.3" is kind of at the upper end of what I need. I like to go fast on flatter sections, not just fall-line/DH style trails; and I regularly do 35 mile+ rides where heavy/overly grippy tires get old real fast.

    TL/DR: It seems that what I'm after is kind of in between XC and enduro, and I really don't know where to start. Can you help me out?
    If you're happy with Vittoria, stick with what you know. Like maybe a Morsa for the back and Goma up front?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47
    If you're happy with Vittoria, stick with what you know. Like maybe a Morsa for the back and Goma up front?
    Goma is gone, Mazza is likely the replacement...

  11. #11
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    Bontrager xr3's in 2.4 are pretty freakin good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimphatty View Post
    Bontrager xr3's in 2.4 are pretty freakin good.
    Yeah, have generally been a maxxis rider but got sick of killing rear tires, XR2 and XR3 worn out with no severe punctures or cuts. Carcass feels better too I felt.

    Funny, I have a Honzo that I'm looking for similar setup (same usage, big rides but mild to wild). I've been on very XC tires for speed and am over it. My thinking is trying either 2.4 Rekon or 2.4 XR4 up front, XR3 or ikon rear.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJ40runr View Post
    Yeah, have generally been a maxxis rider but got sick of killing rear tires, XR2 and XR3 worn out with no severe punctures or cuts. Carcass feels better too I felt.

    Funny, I have a Honzo that I'm looking for similar setup (same usage, big rides but mild to wild). I've been on very XC tires for speed and am over it. My thinking is trying either 2.4 Rekon or 2.4 XR4 up front, XR3 or ikon rear.
    The Rekon looks promising; and the Ikon on the rear seems like a good combo. Care to elaborate on that comment "very XC tires for speed and am over it?"

    I definitely care about speed, as I am hoping to do at least one endurance XC race this year and can't afford to really have multiple tires to choose from and also don't want to fuss with changing tubeless tires back and forth. I also have some Strava sections that are more "all-mountain" for lack of a better term, that I'd like to grab KOM on this year -- and it will not be possible with full-on gravity tires. I do have an aggressive full-suspension bike that I split the time with, so at least last year, I was able to get by on one set of tires on my hardtail.

    I'm leery of even most of the 2.4" offerings from Maxxis -- I know they'll mostly be amazing when it's steep and gnarly, but at what tradeoff on the flatter sections and pedaling out of corners? I'd run a 2.3" Minion up front, but from what I've gathered they really aren't any lighter than the 2.5" version that I'm used to, so I'm not sure there's much of an advantage to running a smaller one, other than maybe rolling resistance.

    It's a bit of a conundrum, because I do want grip, but I want lightweight and fast rolling too.
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  14. #14
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    IME, 2.5 29er minions are too much tire and make the bike sluggish for handling. Some people love big heavy tires, but at that point they held me back more than they let me go fast (DH and enduro racing). On smaller sized wheels, the difference isn't so dramatic, but the 2.5 minions went over the tipping point for me.
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  15. #15
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    The XR4 rolls a bit faster than the DHR2 and is totally adequate for trail riding. My only quibble is the tire is pretty round and the side knobs don't bite and have feedback like Minions do.

  16. #16
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    Maxxis Ardent Race. Much less rolling resistance and weight than Minions.

  17. #17
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    The tire you want probably doesn't exist, the closest one I know of is the Michelin Wild AM but I don't think it'll be as fast as you want it to be on a 29mm wide rim. 23-25mm is the sweet spot for the tire and it'll do everything you want it to, go wider than that and it flattens out the profile too much and starts slowing down and handling a bit wonky. The Vittoria Goma or Morsa will work well on your setup as long as it's dry or hero dirt, if it gets wet & greasy there's a high chance of a hospital trip.

    The Bonty XR4 gets a lot of love but I'm not a fan of it, as a rear tire it's fine but on the front it doesn't lock in and give me the feedback I'm used to. I generally ride tires with a large open channel between the centre and side knobs and there's a secure feel they all have that the XR4 doesn't. The XR5 will likely fix that but I haven't had a chance to test one out yet. If it works like a mini G5 (which I have ridden), the XR4/XR5 combo will likely be your best bet.

    Also ridden the Maxxis Rekon and Forekaster and wasn't impressed, they were about the same rolling speed as the Michelin Wild AM but the Michelins locked in & cornered better and they were also the better tires for wet greasy mud.

  18. #18
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    What size rear tire can the Honzo fit? I did a quick search, and found a thread saying that the max rear tire size is 2.3in wide.

    You can see some photos of the clearance in the thread below.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/kona/2019-ko...e-1096465.html

    If you're looking for more volume/compliance in the tire, it doesn't look like you have many options for anything larger than what it comes with stock. Which will also keep you more on the XC/Trail side of things in terms of tire offerings.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    The Rekon looks promising; and the Ikon on the rear seems like a good combo. Care to elaborate on that comment "very XC tires for speed and am over it?"
    Yeah, so I used to run 2.5 DHF up front with a 2.3 aggressor rear. Put Ikons on and it brought the bike to life and made me much faster overall (I'm in AZ where there is often an abundance of traction FYI). Have slowly peeled grip away, finding like an Ikon or Aspen front and Aspen or Rekon race rear is fastest overall. Problem is when you're doing gnar up and gnar down, the time saved on the up outweighs the time lost down, so overall 'KOM' performance favors light sketchy tires.

    I've recently decided to look for something that is less of a compromise on the downs (despite insisting on being fast up), would like to get back to attacking the downs more vs managing grip and flimsy sidewalls.

    DHF I feel is probably further than I want to go, but a 2.3 + minion SS rear is somewhat tempting. Also dissector (haven't looked into much but specs look good) might be interesting as a front.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    What size rear tire can the Honzo fit? I did a quick search, and found a thread saying that the max rear tire size is 2.3in wide.

    You can see some photos of the clearance in the thread below.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/kona/2019-ko...e-1096465.html

    If you're looking for more volume/compliance in the tire, it doesn't look like you have many options for anything larger than what it comes with stock. Which will also keep you more on the XC/Trail side of things in terms of tire offerings.
    Thanks for sharing that thread -- good info there. Yeah, I'm probably somewhat limited in the rear, but to me 2.3" width is good enough. I have plans eventually to get a 27.5"+ wheelset for winter riding, and then I'll have a lot more room for big tires. For summer riding though, I intend to keep the narrower (but not ridiculously narrow at 29mm) rims and keep it efficient for trail riding. A true 2.3" tire on a 29mm wide rim would already provide quite a noticeable increase in volume and compliance compared to what I'm used to.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post
    Maxxis Ardent Race. Much less rolling resistance and weight than Minions.
    How does the Ardent Race compare to the regular Ardent? I've heard horror stories about the Ardent, but have never actually tried them.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJ40runr View Post
    Yeah, so I used to run 2.5 DHF up front with a 2.3 aggressor rear. Put Ikons on and it brought the bike to life and made me much faster overall (I'm in AZ where there is often an abundance of traction FYI). Have slowly peeled grip away, finding like an Ikon or Aspen front and Aspen or Rekon race rear is fastest overall. Problem is when you're doing gnar up and gnar down, the time saved on the up outweighs the time lost down, so overall 'KOM' performance favors light sketchy tires.

    I've recently decided to look for something that is less of a compromise on the downs (despite insisting on being fast up), would like to get back to attacking the downs more vs managing grip and flimsy sidewalls.

    DHF I feel is probably further than I want to go, but a 2.3 + minion SS rear is somewhat tempting. Also dissector (haven't looked into much but specs look good) might be interesting as a front.
    I can see where you're coming from. I've ridden South Mountain in Phoenix quite a bit, as well as Black Canyon and Hawes, and some riding in Tuscon as well. South Mountain was my favorite, because it was the most chunky. I was on all-mountain/trail bikes which were pretty fast because it's not very steep in most places, just chunky. I remember thinking bigger tires would be nice for rim protection and comfort, more than anything.

    It's not that chunky (on average) where I live -- but it can approach that with the roots in some places, and my trails feature much steeper descents. Dirt is more loamy which is a different kind of grip.

    Currently, I'm on a Strava kick and really enjoy chasing KOMs. If I didn't care about shaving seconds I'd probably go with full enduro tires and be done with it -- yet even then, too much tire starts to suck on long, epic rides.

    I do have a bike that excels in the gnar, so at a certain point, I don't need this Honzo to be as capable for that -- I'll just ride the other bike.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    IME, 2.5 29er minions are too much tire and make the bike sluggish for handling. Some people love big heavy tires, but at that point they held me back more than they let me go fast (DH and enduro racing). On smaller sized wheels, the difference isn't so dramatic, but the 2.5 minions went over the tipping point for me.
    Exactly what I'm thinking. I can't stand the feel of overly-heavy tires. Going way back in time, I used to run Intense 2.7" DH tires in my DH racing days. They were something like 3 POUNDS per tire. Yes, they provided another inch of travel and were flat-proof, but once Maxxis and Michelen started to produce much lighter 2.5" tires, my times improved drastically.

    An epiphany for me this past season was how close I could actually get to matching my times on downhill trails aboard the enduro bike --on my hardtail. Only on the steepest and most nasty descents am I faster on the enduro bike.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    The Rekon looks promising; and the Ikon on the rear seems like a good combo. Care to elaborate on that comment "very XC tires for speed and am over it?"

    I definitely care about speed, as I am hoping to do at least one endurance XC race this year and can't afford to really have multiple tires to choose from and also don't want to fuss with changing tubeless tires back and forth. I also have some Strava sections that are more "all-mountain" for lack of a better term, that I'd like to grab KOM on this year -- and it will not be possible with full-on gravity tires. I do have an aggressive full-suspension bike that I split the time with, so at least last year, I was able to get by on one set of tires on my hardtail.

    I'm leery of even most of the 2.4" offerings from Maxxis -- I know they'll mostly be amazing when it's steep and gnarly, but at what tradeoff on the flatter sections and pedaling out of corners? I'd run a 2.3" Minion up front, but from what I've gathered they really aren't any lighter than the 2.5" version that I'm used to, so I'm not sure there's much of an advantage to running a smaller one, other than maybe rolling resistance.

    It's a bit of a conundrum, because I do want grip, but I want lightweight and fast rolling too.
    I'm using 2.4 Rekons front and rear and I really like them. While the stuff we are riding is definitely rocky, these have been more than sufficient for my purposes. My bike came with Minion DHF/DHRII combo and the rolling resistance sucked. We just don't have enough downhill to justify that type of rubber.

    I do have the Ikons on my XC bike - they are a good compromise between fast rolling and grip, but they are less durable - I used to slash sidewalls on them somewhat frequently.

  25. #25
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    XR4 2.4 rear, XR5 2.3 front.

  26. #26
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    Thanks for all the recommendations guys! I think I may end up trying some Maxxis Rekons, maybe a Rekon Race in the back and a more aggressive/bigger one up front.

    I don't even have the bike yet, lol. But it comes with WTB wire-bead Trail Boss 2.25s, and after checking the weight on those, they come in at around 1000 grams and tubeless isn't an option. Maybe I'll run them early season just to help get back into shape, but there's a lot of weight savings to be had from there, once the season is in full swing.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  27. #27
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    Btw, the tread on the 2.4 Rekon is a bit more aggressive than the 2.6. I think the 2.4 has slightly better cornering and braking traction.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Btw, the tread on the 2.4 Rekon is a bit more aggressive than the 2.6. I think the 2.4 has slightly better cornering and braking traction.
    I wish the 2.4 WT tread could be put on an Ikon 2.35 casing.

    The 2.4 WT is pretty damn heavy for what it is, and I donít run super wide rims (28mm internal).




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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I wish the 2.4 WT tread could be put on an Ikon 2.35 casing.

    The 2.4 WT is pretty damn heavy for what it is, and I donít run super wide rims (28mm internal).




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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The 2.4 WT is pretty damn heavy for what it is, and I donít run super wide rims (28mm internal).
    While the weight of the 2.4WT Rekon probably makes it less appealing for racing, it has been an impressively durable rear tire for me. I'd be sad if they changed it...

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel73 View Post
    While the weight of the 2.4WT Rekon probably makes it less appealing for racing, it has been an impressively durable rear tire for me. I'd be sad if they changed it...
    Same here. It feels solid and relatively well damped while still being fast rolling.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Thanks for all the recommendations guys! I think I may end up trying some Maxxis Rekons, maybe a Rekon Race in the back and a more aggressive/bigger one up front.

    I don't even have the bike yet, lol. But it comes with WTB wire-bead Trail Boss 2.25s, and after checking the weight on those, they come in at around 1000 grams and tubeless isn't an option. Maybe I'll run them early season just to help get back into shape, but there's a lot of weight savings to be had from there, once the season is in full swing.
    The tyres you are looking for are Schwalbe's Racing Ray and Racing Ralph, in 2.35.

    Edit: the NEW Racing Ralph. Both are usually sold together, Ray for the front wheel, Ralph at the rear.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by eduardodfj View Post
    The tyres you are looking for are Schwalbe's Racing Ray and Racing Ralph, in 2.35.

    Edit: the NEW Racing Ralph. Both are usually sold together, Ray for the front wheel, Ralph at the rear.
    It would take a lot of convincing and/or a huge discount to ever consider trying a Schwalbe tire again.

    The Magic Mary I had started losing its cornering lugs after one ride, and was a completely worthless tire by the end of two weeks. I could have flushed that $90 down the toilet and been just as satisfied.

  34. #34
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    My fried rolls Maxxis Forekaster front and Rekon rear
    I want more grip so I like DHF front and Forekaster rear
    Focusing on downhill speed this summer I was liking DHF x2!

    I want to try the Michellins some day, but these Maxxis tires last a long time!

  35. #35
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    I run a 2.3 DHF/DHR2 combo on my Druid.

    But on the Honzo?

    That bike was made for a 2.5 DHF/2.5 Aggressor combo. Trust me on that. 10/10.

    Need recommendations for 29" aggressive XC/trail; all-mountain (light enduro?) tires.-img_7989.jpg
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  36. #36
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    I know you've had a bad experience with Shwalbe but I'd I go a 2.35 hans/2.35 nic for aggressive trail, both in snakeskin. I don't have experience with the old compounds, but I've read the new addix compounds are meant to have solved a ton of durability issues. I've found them more durable than the specialised tyres they replaced.

    If I'm out for longer pedally rides I'll swap the nic for a thunderburt in the rear.

    Otherwise a 2.3 DHF/2.35 Forkaster is decent rolling. 2.4 XR3/2.2 XR2 is less aggro but faster if you can get the right sizes. Someone mentioned butcher/slaughter, I really like that combo in 2.6 (really a 2.4).

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    It seems that what I'm after is kind of in between XC and enduro, and I really don't know where to start. Can you help me out?
    Between XC & Enduro, aka Trail...

    Since you looking for a good rolling tires that can hold on the steeps when needed, i would go with Hans Dampf front\Rock Razor (maybe Nobby Nic instead) rear, both in 2.35.

    Other option, Racing Ray front\Racing Ralph rear, if you're looking for more XC\light trail setup.


    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    It would take a lot of convincing and/or a huge discount to ever consider trying a Schwalbe tire again.

    The Magic Mary I had started losing its cornering lugs after one ride, and was a completely worthless tire by the end of two weeks. I could have flushed that $90 down the toilet and been just as satisfied.
    Im guessing you had this issues with the old Schwalbe tire version... the new addix compounds is different story. On my old bike i used that setup (HD\RR) and loved it for trail riding. Last season i got new bike that came with DHF\DHR2, let say they're not my cup of tea but i gave them a try... once i had to replace them (destroyed the DHR2 after couple of DH rides), i moved to MagicMary SG Soft front & rear, and they are ways better for my needs, riding style and terrain.

    As for the price, at list here in Europe they cost less them Maxxis...

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