December 11, 2018 at 3:34 pm #252806
Hello to all. I have been riding on WTB WeirWolf 26×2.1 tires the entire time I’ve had my 26″ Bianchi Denali hardtail. I mostly ride singletrack in the woods in eastern NC, but also ride in the Smoky Mountains (Tsali, etc.). The terrain is mostly hard ground with roots and some pinestraw and leaves depending upon the time of year. I love these tires, but they aren’t going to last forever. As this was my first mtn. bike, I have no experience with any other tire. I would greatly apprectiate suggestions for tires that will be as good as or preferrably better traction-wise as the WeirWolf I am now riding on. Cost is not an issue, nor is tire life. Traction — especially while leaning and turning — is my number one priority. Also, can I/should I go with a wider tire than the 2.1, say 2.3? Thank you.
December 11, 2018 at 5:55 pm #252815
I suggest trying out some of WTB’s new tires. They came out with a few new models this summer, and they’re available in 26-inch.
I ran the Trail Boss for most of the summer. Great rolling speed, traction, and cornering and zero issues with punctures. Go with a 2.25 inch, or even 2.4 front and back for a lot of traction 🙂
December 12, 2018 at 10:19 am #252839
I only have experience with a couple types of Schwalbe tires (Rocket Rons and Nobby Nics) and a couple of types of Maxxis (Ardent and Minion). Of those I have used I prefer the Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR set up. But their minimum width is 2.3in, if you have the room they are very good tires.
December 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm #252846
I think you’ll find that any modern tire designed for all around trail use will have more traction then what you’re riding. I’ve run the weirwolf and I do like them for being fast rolling, but all-out traction they do not have. There are a ton of options, I’d go with whatever is the best deal.
December 12, 2018 at 12:55 pm #252863
If you want to stick with WTB’s, the Vigilante (front) / Trail Boss (rear) combo is great and worth considering. I ride ’em on hard pack, rocks, roots, a little sand, tacky, rock gardens, fast and slow technical climbs and descends, etc. They’re happy doing anything I’ve put them through. As for your priority, leaning traction, the Vigilante stays on course, and the Trail Boss follows through as expected. I never lose confidence. They may not (maybe they do and I just don’t know it) roll as easily as a dedicated XC tire, but I honestly feel I get through sweeping turns harder and faster on these tires than anything else I’ve used, especially when the ground is softer/looser. Not bad for trail tires.
Both of these tires come in four rubber casing/compound options, including tough or light ‘fast rolling’, and tough or light ‘high grip’. I currently have light/high grip on the front Vigilante, and light/fast rolling on the rear Trail Boss. I have 27.5’s, but they do come in 26″, although they have limited widths available. I had been a regular Kenda (my favorite for years) and Maxxis user. But this new combo from WTB is now my go to tire setup.
December 13, 2018 at 3:42 am #252904
I live in upstate SC and have a riding environment similar to yours. I totally trust the WTB Velociraptors for this kind of terrain. They are not real good for street riding and rolling resistance is a bit high but, their traction in the southeast clay is outstanding in wet or dry conditions.
December 13, 2018 at 8:29 am #252911
Ah, VelociRapter’s, I remember when they were “the” tire to go with in the 90’s. We used to refer to them as the tractor tire for bikes. Yeah, not the fastest, and hummed like a truck on mud tires on pavement. 🙂 But they sure do grip on dirt. They’d probably still be up there if WTB would make them in 27.5 and 29, and tubeless, as well as add the various rubber compounds they have for their other tires. Modern rubber would probably address to some extent their rolling resistance. The front specific tire is uber cornering, the the rear specific tire climbed like it had claws.
December 13, 2018 at 1:26 pm #252959
Thank you for all of the great advice. I didn’t mean to imply that I would only be interested in WTB tires, just that those are the only ones I have any experience with. One more question: it seems as if the tires where you have more choices in traction (etc.) are the tubeless tires. Can I run them with tubes? Don’t I need special tubeless rims? If so, don’t want to spend $ for that. From what I’ve read, I can do this but they are more difficult to mount.
December 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm #252960
You don’t need anything special. All can be run with tubes. Tubeless means tubeless ready, not tubeless required.
December 13, 2018 at 3:40 pm #252962
Adding modern tires to your classic hardtail is sure to make your rides more fun. There are a lot of great tires available so it won’t be hard to make a good choice – or – it will be hard to make a bad choice.
1. I highly recommend going tubeless when you get new tires. Lower air pressure will increase traction and give you a smoother ride. Your bike will be a little lighter – where it counts most – and quality tires should mount fine on your current rims.
2. A wider tire will also improve your traction and ride. A 2.2 or 2.3 should fit your frame and work well with your rims. A 2.4 would be nice but make sure it is not too big for your frame or too wide for your rims.
3. Running a wider tire, that is set up tubeless, should allow you to run a less aggressive (faster) tread pattern. A quality cross-country tire should work really well in eastern NC and on occasional trips to the Smokeys. Get a tire that works best in the conditions you ride the most.
4. Consider using different front and rear tires. A more aggressive and/or wider tire in the front is better for traction while a faster rolling tire in the rear is better for speed.
A good local mountain bike shop is a great place to get recommendations. If there isn’t a shop close by, I would consider the following tires if I was riding in your area.
-Continental has recently updated their line and the Cross King looks promising.
-Maxxis tires are always a safe bet. An Ardent front and Icon rear would probably be a good combo for your area.
-I personally think Specialized tires provide the best bang for the buck. When I was riding a hardtail in southeast GA my favorite combination was a Ground Control front and Fast Trak rear.
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