Lets talk…TIRES!

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Lets talk…TIRES!

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    • #269132

      So I’m getting new tires for my Rockhopper and looking for some thoughts. I ride trail in Fort Worth which means pretty varied weather from very dry to sort of muddy, mainly flowy with some technical but looking for something grippier than stock tires. My two thoughts after research are:


      front: Maxxis DHR II 2.4

      back: Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 (or another Maxxis?)




      front: WTB Vigilante 2.5

      back: WTB Trail Boss 2.4



    • #269153

      There is such thing as too aggressive and you need to consider mud clearance. I ordered tires offline and the pictures didn’t do them justice. They are way more than I need. I like them but they are not without downside.

      They are heavy and slow rolling. They are harder to pedal with.

      They scoop up and fling mud. My last trail ride was 90%+ dry with occasional mud holes. My entire bike was treated with a thick layer of mud. It was so muddy that rather than try to rinse it, I waited until it dried and brushed the caked mud off. Otherwise it would have taken hours to clean.

      Rear clearance. I went with 2.4″ front and rear. I should have stuck to 2.25″ rear. There is not that much clearance. Frame flex is enough to get contact with the chain stays (hard cornering or using body English to pedal hard). But when you add mud to the mix you have more problems. Mud stuck to the tires can make contact with the chain leading to dropped chain or chain suck.

      Based on a recent GMBN Tech video. You may be better off going with a trail tire but in a softer compound than your bike came with.

      Last year I had a trip planned to Jakes Rocks in Warren, PA but I taco’d my front rim and broke my rear axle before hand. I didn’t have time to actually fix my bike before the trip. I was trying to figure out if I was in shape enough to ride my rigid single speed (I wasn’t) or Frankenstein my bike with other wheels. I ended up taking the front wheel from my single speed with a trail tire and the rear wheel from my wife’s bike with a decidedly XC (or less) tire. The biggest issue was pedal strikes because I was using two 27.5″ tires on a 29er but otherwise the front tire had enough traction and the rear was easy to pedal.

      I will say the biggest benefit from my aggressive tires that I ride on now, when they find the bottom of the mud they really hook up. I know I would have spun out/slid out with the XCish tires that the bike came with. Otherwise, I have yet to trust them enough to find the limits of traction that they might offer.

    • #269157

      Because Enduro has been the big thing for the last few years, there hasn’t been much development of Trail tires.  Enduro tires have large widely spaced knobs and thick durable casings and while they are bombproof, they can be heavy and slow rolling.  For your bike, an aggressive but to not too heavy Trail tire would be preferred.  In addition, for trail riding, I think you should always put the widest tires on your bike that will reasonably fit.  For your bike,  a 2.3-2.4 tires should fit in the rear and a 2.4- 2.6 tire should fit in the front.  Here’s my picks for your bike.

      Front and Rear  864gm 29×2.4 Maxxis Ardent EXO-TR (avoid 2.25 Ardents)

      Front 950gm 29×2.6 Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C-EXO-TR and Rear 825gm 29×2.3 Maxxis Minion DHR II 3C-EXO-TR

      Front 980gm 29×2.5 Maxxis Aggressor EXO-TR and Rear 900gm 29×2.3 Maxxis Aggressor EXO-TR

      The Ardents are one of the best Trail tires made in the 2.4 width.  However, the 2.25 Ardents are not that good.   2.4 Ardents are lighter and would roll faster than the Minions or the Aggressors. The Minion DHRs and the Aggressors are Enduro tires but with EXO casings, they are reasonably light.  The Aggressor look they would roll faster than the Minion DHRs so I would pick them over over the DHRs.  However, I think any of these tires would be a good choice but here’s my preference.

      First choice—Aggressor

      Second choice—Ardent

      Third choice—Minion

      WTB tires are heavier, so I wouldn’t choose them.

    • #269158

      Interesting topic and still feeling out tires and learning more. I tend to agree with the widest your bike can fit. Although there was a forum not too long ago on here and a rider was advocating considering going down on tire width. After coming up to 2.4 from 2.25 on my 29er I don’t think I could ever go back down below 2.4. I also ride a 2.8 on my other bike and find pros and cons to the wider tire. If you can fit 2.4 ride that.

      I can’t comment much on compound. I would ask around your LBS(s). Most of these guys ride multiple bikes on your local trails. Get their thoughts and make a decision.

      I would also recommend not overthinking it too much. I think you will get a better feel for what you are looking for the more you ride.

    • #269159

      If you’re after flat-out grip, the Vigilante 2.5 is a great choice. I’ve been running them on my hardtail the past year and they’re some of the grippiest tires I’ve ever ridden, particularly in loose corners. They tend to squirm a bit on very hard ground. The downside to all that grip is that they roll extremely slowly. I ignored it for a while, since my hardtail was also on bikepark duty, but now I’ve switched to a Trail Boss 2.4 up front. It’s faster rolling and still pretty grippy in loose dirt. I imagine it will make an excellent rear tire as well. I haven’t ridden a dhr ii before, but I imagine it will roll faster than the Vigilante. For your bike specifically I might suggest trying a WTB Trail Boss 2.6 up front and a 2.4 out back. Some other front options could be a Maxxis high roller ii or an e*thirteen trs. I like the high roller front and back, although you really need to ride aggressively to get the most out of it in the corners. I like the old versions of the e*thirteen tires, and I hear the new rounder one rolls even faster. The old ones are on sale here. Plus compound is faster rolling and race is stickier. There’s also the new Maxxis Dissector to consider, which looks like a promising aggressive trail bike tire front and rear.

    • #269169

      ChainReactionCycles.com has 955gm 29×2.4 Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO-TR’s on sale for $40.95 each.  Put this tire on front and rear.  $82.00 for a complete set of tires is a great deal.  I’ve been shopping for aggressive but not heavy 29×2.6 Trail tires for my bike.  So, your question was timely.

    • #269173

      Mud tires sure do look sexy, but there is a good reason old guys rarely have them on their pickup trucks.

      What tires came on your Rockhopper?  The Minion/Aggressor is a great trail combo that will look awesome on your bike – and help build the muscles in your legs.  For the trails around Ft. Worth you should be fine on good cross country tires like the Ikon, Ardent Race, and/or Ardent.

      Also, don’t put too much stock in online tire recommendations unless you know the rider’s skill level and where they normally ride.  Without that, there is no context for their opinion.  I average 120 miles a month on intermediate and advanced trails in Colorado.  For what it’s worth, I would run a Specialized Fast Trak (maybe Grid casing) rear and a Ground Control front on a 29″ hardtail in Ft. Worth.





      • #269194

        Thanks! Feeling pretty lost on this lol the bike came with Specialized Fast Trak and ground controls but I don’t feel confident on them especially in slightly loose terrain. I know its mainly just me sucking at MTB but I figured I could improve a little faster if I felt more confident with something slightly better?

    • #269213

      I’m a big fan of the Rekon 2.4’s.

      Rolls fast, reasonable weight and great traction in a variety of terrain.

      Im currently running them on the front and rear on my bike.

      The minion is also nice, but it’s heavy and I don’t like them on anything hard packed or loose over hard. The knobs need something to dig into.  During the spring or if I’m going to be riding a lot of trails with soft soil, I sometimes put a Minion DHF 2.5 up front and keep a Rekon 2.4 out back.

      I also really like the 3C “Maxx Terra” compound from Maxxis.

    • #269218

      I’ve been really, really loving my Maxxis Forekasters 2.2″.  I have them on the front and rear on my hard tail.  18 psi front 22 psi rear.  I don’t use a faster-rolling tire on the back because a lot of the climbing in my area is technical and without squish in the rear I need the extra mechanical ‘hook’ in the back to step-up over square-edged rocks.  Anyway I’ve found them to really improve my riding (over the Maxxis Ikon 2.4″).  They grip better on both mud and rocks, but not better on hard pack (but anything grips well on hard pack so…)  I ride terrain that’s got muddy stream crossings / wet roots all year and these tires have pretty much stopped me from spinning out / improved my riding a ton.  I recently podiumed in semi-wet conditions on this setup, on this course with a lot of steep climbing.  They are still fast rolling and efficient despite being grippy, I’ve recently done 40 and 50 mile days on them.  They are slightly slower on pavement on the way to the trail but who cares.  Note that slightly narrower tires can grip better in the soft stuff – sounds counter-intuitive but you want your tire to sink in and bite.

      My local trails are a teenage drinking hangout, and they smash all their beer bottles on the trails.  I’m constantly rolling through glass but I’ve not had a single puncture on glass or on the rock gardens in my area.  I use orange seal endurance sealant and bontrager rims.  I top them off before each ride but they only seem to lose 1-2 psi over the work week so its solid.


      Team Setanta

    • #269224

      @Sean Gordon, Blue Mountain looks like classic NY riding!

      Reminds me a lot of Pittstown state Forest and Daniels Road trails in my area.

      Those are trails I opt to run my Minion DHF upfront. Better grip on roots, rough trails and softer soil.

      • #269820

        A lot of the folks I ride with run the DHFs in 27.5×2.3 or 2.8 and love them.  They go a little faster than me on the downhills since they have a lot more travel but it seems like a good tire for gnarly descents and for technical, rocky climbing.  None of those guys race though; I think the DHF’s are a little too much for XC (for my style of riding, which is to make time on climbs).  DHF’s are very crash/flat resistant and however slow they roll there’s nothing slower in a race than crashing.  Despite their durability I have seen 2-3 sidewall tears in my group on the DHFs at Blue Mountain and at Ringwood Park.  That’s not a tread pattern issue really and these guys push it pretty hard.

        One thing about the DHF’s is that although they have tall, durable knobs, they are relatively closely packed.  These can pack up with mud (in trail conditions that you should avoid anyway).

        Honestly the riding around the hudson valley is great.  The big granite boulders remind me of home.


    • #270407

      After reading through all of the responses here, which are really informative the way each rider lays out the rationale for why they choose the tires they choose, if I was lost and trying to figure out what tires to use, I think the best thing to do is talk to the guys at your LBS. They’re going to be riding the same trails in the same area and, combined with what you can tell them about how you ride and what you like to ride, they will be able to give the best relevant advice.

      FWIW, I ride New England rooty/rocky trails with a Maxxis Minion DHF Plus on front and a Maxxis Rekon Plus on the rear. I love them both, but the Rekon is getting ready to be replaced and I’d like to get an Aggressor, but they don’t make them in plus sizes as far as I know. On the other hand, I’ve also been toying with the idea of going back to 29″ wheels.

    • #270620

      Just bought Schwalbe  tires.  A “nobby nic” for the back, and a “magic mary” for the front of my bike, my God these tires are monsters.

      If you can get some on sale, it’s not so forkin’ pricey, but these babies are not cheap. they are also not fragile. with sidewalls like a tank, you will be able to go over anything in your path. super happy with the performance of these tires.

      UPDATE: OK i just bought a new bike, it came with MAXXIS Minion DHR(rear) and Minion DHF(front). I see these on a lot of bikes.

      They also are amazing tires.

      There ya go. Buy a set of either of these and start killin’ it.

    • #270861

      Tire preferences vary!  I think everyone has an opinion on what’s “Best”!  To be honest, I think it depends on how (aggressive or casual) you ride, where you ride, when (seasons) you ride, and what you ride (both the type of trails and the type of bike).

      Personally I LOVE my Panaracers.

      I originally had a set of Continentals on my 26” Hardtail.  They did fine.  When it came to replace them, I (by sure dumb luck) wound up putting on a set of Panaracer Fire Pro tires (front and back).  I loved the way my bike handled (no matter how hard I pushed it) and consistency (regardless of whether it was rocky, dry, or muddy out).

      When I upgraded my ride to a 29” Full Suspension, it came with a set of bontraeger tires.  It was late winter/early spring in NorCal (which means rain/mud).  These tires were TERRIBLE on my local trails.  They just didn’t throw off the mud enough (packed mud in a tire made them more like “slicks” – not good).  Even without the “mud pack”, they didn’t have the same “grip” as the Panaracers. I replaced them with a set of Panaracer Pros a week later.  Rode the same trail in similar conditions – night & day with those panaracers.

      Recently, I was riding in South Lake Tahoe and got a puncture.  I survived the ride and visited Over the Edge Bike shop in SLT for a replacement tire.  They replaced/fitted my rear tire with a Maxxis DHR II.  While riding in Tahoe area (trails and the Northstar Bike park), I can’t say I noticed any difference in my overall ride.

      When I returned back to the Bay Area and headed out to my local stomping grounds, the difference was noticeable – and not in a good way.  For the dry/dusty/rocky conditions in NorCal right now, I find that the Maxxis DHR doesn’t have the same “grip” as my Panaracer did.  As such, I have another set of Panaracers on order…..

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