Are you riding "too much" tire?

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    • #267320

      Not that long ago an 800gm 29×2.4 Trail tire was considered wide and heavy.  Then Plus and Enduro happened.  Tires got wider, casings got thicker, and knobs got larger and more aggressive.  Now, even short-travel trail bikes can come with some pretty mondo rubber.  1100gm Enduro tires are becoming the norm.

      I’ve always felt that an important part of the bike builders art was to reduce rolling resistance and outer wheel weight.  If you’re a heavy person who rides agressively at high speeds on rocky rooty trails, then you probably need a heavy Enduro tire.  However, if you’re a lighter person who rides conservatively, you might be happier with a faster-rolling lighter-cased Trail tire.

      Are your tires too wide?  Compare a Maxxis Minion DHF’s. 995gm in 29×2.6.  1110gm in 29×3.0.  Switching to 2.6’s saves 115gm.  Not only are wider tires heavier but they can also roll more slowly.  I’m a big fan of Plus tires and I ride 29×2.8 tires.   However, I think 2.8 or 2.6 are Plus enough.  I wouldn’t use tires wider than 2.8.  How wide do your tires need to be?

      Are your casings too heavy?  Compare the heaviest 29×2.5 Maxxis Minion DHF’s at 1335gm to the lightest at 1005gm.  Switching to the lightest saves 330gm.  How much casing do you need?

      Are your knobs too big?  This is more of an issue of rolling resistance than weight.  Bigger and more widely spaced knobs roll slower.  While the big knobs of Enduro tires are great for descending, they roll slow everywhere else.  If you’re a heavier person, many smaller-knobbed faster-rolling Trail tires now come in durable casing versions. How big do your knobs need to be.?

      Let me share my own experience.  My Trek Full Stache came with 1250gm 29×3.0 Enduro tires (very heavy and slow rolling).  I switched to 1000gm 29×2.8 Trail tires (lighter and faster rolling) and my bike came to life.  I am now thinking about switching to the 840gm 29×2.6 Maxxis Forekaster Trail tires just to see what 2.6 tires are like.  I’m not that that heavy and I’m not a super aggressive descender.  In 30 years of riding, I’ve only sliced a casing once and that was on a lightly cased XC tire.

      Just because your bike came with a certain tires (now days, usually an Enduro tire) doesn’t mean it’s the right tire for you!  Consider your weight, your local trail conditions, and how aggressively you descend.   Switch to lighter, faster-rolling Trail tires and put the “zip” back into your ride.  Are you riding “too much” tire?


    • #267328

      My XC bike has 2.1 inch wide tires and my trail bike has 2.4 inch. I have found that anything wider for me feels to sluggish on acceleration. My top speeds are approximately the same on hard pack. My 2.1 tires accelerate quicker and my 2.4 tires are better on aggressive corners. I favor knobby tires so the rolling resistance is on the high side on both bikes.

    • #267330

      Great info, and well-presented.

      I swap out tires depending on where I’m riding on my trail/enduro bikes. My XC bike has 29 x 2.2 tires, low tight knobs for speed.

    • #267370

      I made the switch from riding 2.1s to plus size tires 2 years ago and it has been a great switch.  The stability provided by wide rims and tires has made a huge impact on my confidence and ride quality.

      I started out on WTB ranger 3.0s.  It’s a fairly low profile tire, light and it rolled well even for a 3.0.  Unfortunately the tread wore very fast and I agree 3.0 is wider than needed.

      Next I went for the Maxxis Rekon 2.8.  I think it’s a good tweaner, knobs aren’t crazy but have some bite.  I bought the silk shield version which I think is overkill.  The things are bomb proof but add about 100 gs and I never blow sidewalls either.  I’m interested in going back to a lower profile knob like the Ikon but worry how it will hold up in super loose conditions like front range Colorado.  Going to try normal Rekon+ first.

      Tires are the toughest part of the bike to pick but have a huge impact.  You are always balancing grip, weight, and durability.  Luckily we have endless options to choose from these days.

    • #267376

      I ride two hard tails. One is a 29er with 2.4 and the other a 27.5 with 2.8. I would also consider myself a bigger rider 6’1″ at 215 lbs. I honestly have no issues with the bigger tires.

      My 29er originally had 2.25 on it. I didn’t notice any difference in speed except maybe to get faster overall. I can rely on the grip and the tire to withstand more.

      On my 27.5 with 2.8 tires I don’t feel as fast but I appreciate the extra suspension or dampening effect. Plus the traction and confidence boost I get.

      I also don’t shift a lot and get all I can out of my different gears. I tend to find a sweet spot on each ride and stay there. (I have considered maybe I should be converting at least one bike to a single speed and seeing how well that works for me) I do this on both bikes and don’t find bigger tires hindering me. I probably could be faster and a more efficient rider but at this point my skills don’t support the need for more speed.

      When I get going my 27.5 seems to get going just as fast with little extra effort. My 29er does seems to want to get up an go but I am not sure if that is the narrower tire or the bigger wheel. I also feel the 29er climbs better.

      I like the wider tires and heavier knobs to keep me going. One of my biggest peeves is a ride be cut short or not happening because of a tire issue. I have limited time as a father of four. I am willing to give up some to make sure I have tank tracks on my bikes. I am actually considering a fat bike for the fun of it diversity and to what it has to offer.

      I may feel different about it all if were racing and would probably want to try and find that fine balance of protection and speed. I think most people with limited time and budget want a tire that will last (tough as nails) and is reliable in the terrain and protects more expensive components like rims. At least that is where I am and most of the guys that ride with me.

    • #267541

      I ride a 29er XC hardtail, and recently switched the front from a 2.3 Bontrager XR4 Team Issue, to a 2.2 Vittoria Saguaro TNT. I didn’t like the handling of the XR4 — I found it vague and imprecise.  With the Saguaro the handling is much improved, which I feel is due to the narrower and rounder profile, thicker sidewalls, and the tighter tread pattern.  FWIW, the wheel rim width is 28mm outside, 23mm inside.  The 2.3 XR4 was pretty fat on the rim, and the thin sidewalls of the Team Issue version didn’t help the handling I think.

      I still have a 2.3 XR3 Team on the rear, but I am looking at swapping that out for a 2.1 or 2.2 Vittoria TNT AKA, Mezcal, or similar….something with a bit stiffer casing.  I get the sense that I am losing climbing power from the thin casing of the XR3 Team (I may be just imagining that, but I won’t know until I swap tires).  I may get a slightly harsher ride with a narrower, stiffer rear tire, but I’ll have to see if that’s something I can live with.

      So to answer the OP’s question:  Yes, I was riding too much tire (on the front at least).

    • #267574

      I don’t think I would ever go with a true fat tire, except for snow, and I haven’t yet gone to a plus tire.  I can’t wait to do so.  I have my eye on the Ibis Mojo HD4 with a 2.6 tire and the wide rims or the Ripmo.  So I’m thinking more of a mini-plus tire.  I mostly ride the Front Range of CO, so a wider tire/rim combo should help a ton in the loose scree.  But with the big climbs in CO and not having a lot leg strength, I don’t think the larger plus tire are for me.

      • #267613

        @ Mongwolf

        I consider the 29er Ripley and Ripmo to be the Gold Standard by which I judge other Trailbikes.  These bike have “spot-on” geometry,  rim and tire width,  and travel which makes them almost perfect Trailbikes.   The Mojo hasn’t been updated in a few years and I don’t think it is quite as good.  Mostly, I think 27.5 has been eclipsed by the recently new or updated 29ers.  When you’re test riding the Mojo, I encourage you to also test ride the “Rips”. However,  I don’t think you can go wrong with any Ibis Mountainbike.

        If you’re like me and not as thin or fit or young as I’d like to be, consider changing the stock chainring for a smaller one.  I live in the Rockies and I ride 29×2.8 tires.  I use a 26 tooth chainring with a 10-50 Eagle cassette.   This gives me a super-low climbing gear but still leaves me with plenty of high end.  (Taller tires need smaller chainrings.)  For 27.5×2.6 tires, a 28T chainring would be good.

        To my way of thinking, a 2.8 tire on an inner width i33-35mm rim or a 2.6 tire on an i28-30 rim (in 27.5 or 29) are the best Mountainbike wheels that a person can get.  Yes to mini-Plus!

      • #290539

        @ Bike Nerd … It looks like the HD5 gets upgraded with a lot of the advances of the Ripmo.  I’ll have to test ride a couple of other brands just to make sure, but I’m guessing my decision will come down to the 2020 HD5 and the Ripmo. I’ll test ride a couple of Yeti’s, but I am NOT a fan of press fit bb, so that will likely keep me away from Yeti.  Too bad.  And I definitely need to give a couple of Evils a ride or two.

    • #267656

      Maxxis EXO casing works well for my Enduro/XC style with occasional full on DHing. I have found 2.4(ish) to be my sweet spot for about a decade (or more).


      I enjoyed a 2.6 in front with 2.5 in the rear (DHF & Aggressor) which I tried about 2 years ago. But my speeds climbing and descending definitely increased when I went back to a 2.35 high roller II and minion SS. Then went to 2.35 ardent races and they are even faster in most situations but they just don’t corner as well when shredding hard.


    • #290574

      Unless you are racing it is all a mote point, and the only thing that matters is how it feels to the rider. What size tires gives the ride the rider likes the best, give them the most confidence, and fun. Nothing else matters. For me the 2.25 to 2.4 range is where I find happiness (depending on which bike I am riding). Skinner tires don’t feel like they have enough traction in corners to me and bigger tires seem too cumbersome to track a line to me.

    • #290576

      I’ve experimented with 2.6, 2.8 and 3 “ since they came out in addition to my usual fat bike 4.6 and 4.8 sizes.

      Bucksaw fits a 29” x 2.6 knobby nick just fine in the rear.  Front I’ve had a few side wall tears in some light casing  2.8 so I’m trying a Maxxis DHF 3” which is heavier but way tougher and better cornering .

      I’m 6’2” at 200lbs plus gear

    • #292003

      I’m still on the rekon 2.8’s that came on bike new with 40 rims. Great ride but thinking of goin to 2.6 with some tough sidewall same as rekon reinforced. Also gonna run some sort of insert in rear for rim smacks.

    • #292004

      Since I bought into the plus arena with the addition of four RSD plussers, I have tried tires ranging from 2.6 to 3.25.

      Frankly, I have zero interest in 2.6 or less on these bikes. 27.5 x 3.0 is the go to. A plus tire that weighs in accordance with that of a 4.8 is game over.

      Tire swaps are too frequent for the tubeless career tire changes so Q-Tube SL 26 x 2.7 is stuffed in the 3.0’s and does just fine.

      Nobby Nic Performance 3.0

      Rocket Ron liteskin 3.0 for the fuel economy as well as fast flow trails

      Duro Crux 3.25 for the backcountry unimproved/deer trails that are loose and loamy.

      G-One 2.8’s for street sessions. (Cannot wait to get back on 3.0’s post session)


      Wildcat V1 full squish

      Sergeant V1 and V3

      MiddleChild Single speed trail demon!

      For a 2.4 tire ride, I break out the Koxx Red Sky and trialsin is in session!


    • #303645

      I think it largely depends on the terrain you have available and type of riding you like to do, but a lot of people are certainly over-biked, and are riding “too much” tire. Growing up in New England, I always had tons of fun on my xc bike. I still have it at my folks’ house, and when I first get on it, it’s scary (mostly the geo, but also the tires), but I can pretty much ride the rocky / rooty / not steep terrain we have around with few problems. A modern, fast-rolling trail or xc tire in a light casing would be more than sufficient, and also super fast. Currently, my rides are mostly in the alps, and we have tons of super steep, rocky, loose, exposed descents. Here you can definitely not have “too much tire”. True, the aggressive, grippy, heavy tires are a pain during the uphills or on less extreme rides, but they mean the downhills become survival mode.

    • #614059

      Anybody ever run a specialized ground control 3″ tires or 3″ tires in general they liked ? Have a set showing up for the plus bike hopefully to get out in the slop coming during the thawing ground. Bike came originally with 2.8 recons and what a great tire then ended up with 2.5 and looking to make it back to bigger tire. Bike has 40mm rims so really anything under 2.8 is shaping the tire differently it seems

      • #614101

        @ killer climb

        i40 rims are good for 2.6-3.0 tires but on any narrower tire not so good. The thing to keep in mind with 3.0 tires is that you don’t want get too heavy or end up with a tire that has a very slow rolling tread pattern. Heavy slow-rolling tires suck the joy out of mountain biking. Try to avoid tires that weigh more than 1000gm. And go with tires that roll pretty fast and have almost an XC tread, like the Rekons. A 1200gm 3.0 Enduro tire will be like riding through deep sand all the time. For myself personally, A 2.6-2.8 tire, like the Rekon, on an i30-35 rim is the ideal Plus wheel. Anything wider, rim or tire, is just overkill.

    • #614116

      I settled on 2.1 for my HT and 2.4 on my trail bike years ago. I generally prefer speed over traction or bump absorption.

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