July 6, 2017 at 10:37 am #219995
I have been riding Bontrager XR3 for about two years now. They have been a really good tire and still have plenty of tread. But…. the rubber between the tread is starting to crack, like it has dry wrought. Not fatigue on the sidewalls, just between the tread. I typically run my tires between 30-35 psi. I have put about 1000 miles on these tires and it is strictly a trail bike. It has also been garage kept. I had Kenda’s Small Block 8’s prior to these and enjoyed those tires. They just wore down after roughly 1000+ miles as well. So it appears I am in the market for new tires as I don’t want the ones I am currently riding to let go on me while riding.
What are some suggestions? I live in East Tennessee, so not much sand.. most packed clay trails with some occasional loose dirt and gravel along with rock gardens sprinkled in. I ride a hard tail pretty aggressive but not extreme.
Thanks for any suggestions.
July 7, 2017 at 4:18 pm #220220
It appears that cost is the biggest factor for you. There are plenty of lower cost tires (you did not mention a wheel size) that can be very durable in exchange for higher weight and less grip. I ride in the same region and go through many more tires per year (my tires, especially the rear would be toast long before a 1000 miles!) and thus you are likely running tires way past the point of good grip and also where safety is compromised. To each their own. I’d first go to your local bike shop and see what they have, what’s on sale and what they recommend. If you don’t find something there you like then look online.
July 8, 2017 at 11:25 pm #220256
My bike came with bontraeger tires. Those lasted about 5 runs before I swapped them out. I run Panaracer FirePro’s on both my hardtail and my full suspension. I love ’em. I ride in NorCal, so a mix of rock, roots, sandstone, and a bit of mud. These tires have great sidewall grip and they throw the mud.
July 10, 2017 at 2:36 am #220263
Not sure how you guys riding to go thru so many tires but my Small Block 8’s are at about 1500 miles with mostly trail and some pavement miles and still look good to me.
Maxxis Crossmark is pretty long lasting tire and it grips well.
July 10, 2017 at 7:59 am #220266
Traction is priority one for the tires I choose. Front tires may be as aggressive as they can (and should) be as they do not affect rolling resistance. Rear tires generally have ramped knobs going forward and again the side knobs like on the front are very aggressive. I am occasionally tempted to go to a semi-slick in the rear, but cleaning a slick rooty blown out climb quickly disabuses me of such thoughts. I go through at least 2-3 rear tires a year and 1-2 up front.
How do I go through this number of tires? I’m 210-15 with gear, I ride aggressively with a style similar to an angry bear (bears are more graceful, though) and I generally run a Maxxis DHF/DHR combo. These Maxxis tires have mad grip and are very predictable as to when they will break traction. When they begin to wear out the traction drops off precipitously. I really enjoy seeing just how far over I can lean my bikes through turns and switchbacks at high speed. Recently moving to a 29er has this angle even more acute than I am even used to. I am envious of others that can run tires over several dogs lifetimes, but I am not willing to compromise traction for that.
July 10, 2017 at 11:51 am #220323
@dr Sweets, front tire DOES affect rolling resistance as long as it’s rolling. And that’s where semi-slicks are shining. After installing Maxxis Minnion SS on front, I’ve gained in speed without sacrificing traction in corners. Now the same tire installed on the rear and with correct tire pressure it climbs over roots and wet muddy rocks like a champ.
I do understand your approach to tire replacement, similar to what rally drivers do. They also riding on a fresh set every race. I am, being an average rider, keep that rubber a little longer and now understand how some folks use so many tires thru the season.
July 10, 2017 at 9:03 am #220276
Hey ZD, could you post a close up photo of your tire tread in their current condition? That might clarify the issue that some have raised about the number of miles you have ridden on these tires. It would seem to me that at 1000+ miles your tread would be pretty much finished in terms of traction. Also, I was a bit surprised to hear you ride at 30-35 psi. Are you running with tubes or tubeless? Are you a bigger rider?
July 10, 2017 at 11:39 am #220317
I will take a look into the Maxxis.. What I have done with my last two sets of tire is run the same size 2.2 w/ matching tires and rotate them at 500ish miles. I am possibly looking at running a mixed set with a dedicated front and rear tire. I like the idea of riding the same size and style tire on the front and rear so I can rotate them and extend the life of the tire.
I don’t do much dedicated downhill but get after the XC trails pretty hard.
I have looked at the Minion DHF and DHR online. Those are a good looking tire, pretty aggressive.
I have also read good reviews of the Crossmark.
I have read good things about the Continental X king and Race King. Running a 2.4 X King up front with a 2.2 Race King in the back.
After crunching numbers and looking at my riding log I am probably between 900 and 1000 miles on the Bontragers. They came highly recommended from my LBS.
I will post pictures later of the tires. Most of the time I run them at 30 psi. I way 155 pounds and they are tubeless.
July 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm #220374
Stumpy….I don’t know anyone that would even think of running the SS as a front tire on dirt. I talked to the Maxxis reps and they said it was designed to be a rear tire due to its lower rolling resistance. That being said, neither I or a friend who tried them liked them even as a rear tire.
July 11, 2017 at 8:06 am #220398
@mtnryder, If so many bikes come equipped from the shelf with Ikon, Small Block 8 or other fast rolling tires, why can’t you run SS up front? It has the same fast rolling ability on straights plus massive grip of High Roller in corners (where you actually need it most). The only drawback of SS up front is it picks up a lot of rocks and then shoots it right into your shins.
Before these semi-slicks were designed and produced, pro racing bike mechanics were manually cutting down center tread on downhill tires to reduce rolling resistance, basically making semi-slicks.
I wasn’t sure about this setup until I tried it. And it works perfect for me, for my riding style and trails I ride.
July 10, 2017 at 5:16 pm #220383
@stumpyfsr: “@dr Sweets, front tire DOES affect rolling resistance as long as it’s rolling. And that’s where semi-slicks are shining. After installing Maxxis Minnion SS on front, I’ve gained in speed without sacrificing traction in corners. Now the same tire installed on the rear and with correct tire pressure it climbs over roots and wet muddy rocks like a champ.”
Rolling resistance on front tires is mostly a matter of weight as more than 2/3 of your weight is over your rear tire. Rolling resistance and/or gains therein will also be perceived predominately with changes to your rear tire. I’d be willing to bet that if I put an equally sized DHF and an SS on the front of your bike blocking your vision you could not tell them apart when pedaling.Finally, I’m with @mtnryder and the reps from Maxxis in that an Minion SS up front just seems kinda pointless.
@ZedsDead: “Most of the time I run them at 30 psi. I way 155 pounds and they are tubeless.”
Wow. That is very high pressure considering your weight (wayt?). I realize that lower volume tires run at higher pressures, but yikes those would be like a riding on ice for me. That said, if it’s working for you, right on. I run a 2.5 tire up front/2.35 rear tubeless at 24/28 PSI respectively and have 65 lbs on you.
July 11, 2017 at 8:28 am #220399
“Rolling resistance on front tires is mostly a matter of weight as more than 2/3 of your weight is over your rear tire. ”
2/3 of your weight could be right when you pedal on straight or uphill. When rider points his bike downhill, weight distribution changes to neutral or even slightly towards front for better cornering and braking. And that’s where rolling resistance matters.
I’m not saying that SS or similar tire is the best. I might try something better later and like it even more. All I know is with this tire up front I ride same trail faster then I did with lightweight Specialized Purgatory S-Works.
July 10, 2017 at 8:56 pm #220386
Why do you want to switch away from the XR3s? Are they team issue or experts?
July 11, 2017 at 8:54 am #220406
@stumpyfsr: “2/3 of your weight could be right when you pedal on straight or uphill.”
This^^^ is where you will notice rolling resistance changes; mostly on the rear tire and a negligible amount up front.
@stumpyfsr: “When rider points his bike downhill, weight distribution changes to neutral or even slightly towards front for better cornering and braking. And that’s where rolling resistance matters.”
Rolling resistance on a descent takes a seat way in the back behind cornering/braking traction regarding importance. I will be impressed if you can find a single pro DH rider that has anything even remotely resembling a semi-slick for their front tire. Every one of them runs burly ass high traction front tires. The “cutting” of tires that is often seen in the pits is to generally increase traction up front (more sipping cuts) and decrease rolling resistance (more ramping) on rear tires as well as customize the tires for the conditions on race day (a combo of the above).
At the end of day, run whatever turns you on.
July 11, 2017 at 9:37 am #220416
I have tried posting the pics three times. Twice they momentarily showed up only for the whole post to disappear.
I have ran them at 30 because that was the lowest recommended pressure on the tire. They are currently at 28.. they have a slow bleed. I usually bump them up to 30 before I ride and they are usually a little under when I finish.
They are XR3 Team Issue… They have hooked up well for how I ride. They have offered plenty of traction and been a good climbing tire. Where my Small Block 8’s before would break traction on roots and rocks these will hold their grip more times than not. They also shed mud and debris better. My only concern is the cracking of the rubber between the tread. There is some life left in the tread but not much. They are a soft rubber compound tire, at least that is what the LBS told me when I bought them.
I guess I am looking to change again to see what else is out there, and if I like something else better.
July 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm #220507
I ride in the Northeast & my “go to” tire is Nevegal for a good all around conditions tire….great traction & grip
July 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm #220542
Vittoria mezcal g+ TNT
July 11, 2017 at 6:32 pm #220545
The Mezcal TNT G+ is a good tire. The only issue with it is it tends to run narrow but that might not matter to the OP. Otherwise, I’d stick with the XR3 Team issues. They are great tires too – fast rolling, grippy, durable, though not cheap.
July 29, 2018 at 6:51 pm #244283
You can see my review on some awesome tires that will last you forever and shred like a beast! https://dropyoursaddle.com/five-money-saving-bike-upgrades-under-70/
July 31, 2018 at 1:30 am #244338
Finding a tire that works depends on several things. What kind of riding you do, all mountain, cross country, bike park? What general conditions do you ride? And what size and width did you want? I live in New Mexico and most of the trails I ride are dry and full of sharp granite. My brother has the new Kenda Hellkat 2.4 front and Nevegal 2 rear on his 2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude. He absolutely loves them. He hated the Maxxis DHF front and DHRII because they had so much resistance. Almost like hitting the brakes every time he stopped pedaling. I personally like the Specialized Purgatory in the dry. If you don’t need something that aggressive try the Ground Control. Also look at what WTB offers. The Vigilante for super grip, or Trailboss for faster rolling. Terrene is a new company based here in the US with some great options too. I like to support the little guys when I have the opportunity. There are a ton out there, just read the reviews and zero in on what you need.
July 31, 2018 at 1:34 am #244339
“Zed’s dead baby, Zed’s dead.”
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