Basically you’re gonna need two tires: one for pavement and another for that stuff on your pics. 🙂
Continental X-King might be best from your list. What do you ride most, asphalt or gravel?
There’re many other tires that could be better – check semi-slick tread, like Maxxis Ardent, for example. These tires provide much better grip then it looks on the pictures. Or Maxxis Minion SS – these feels like glued to trail. Even Kenda Small Block 8 grips well on gravel and pedals good on blacktop.
Thanks for the answer 🙂 About 70% of my ride is on asphalt, but the 30% offroad part is the most fun 😀 . The Minion SS is way over my budget, but the Ardent is not too much over it. Do you think it’s way better than the X-King?
@cpper, I tried Trail King in Utah once and wasn’t disappointed. Never had an experience with X-King. My idea is since you spend 70% on pavement it’s better to choose a tire with less rolling resistance possible while still having traction on gravel. Ardent s should be good with this. Their side knobs are softer and grips really well. And being high volume tires, it’ll be a comply ride. Although I’d personally choose Small Block 8 for ability running higher pressure, up to 80 psi (if I’m not mistaken), which will help on pavement a lot. My advice is based only on tires I tried myself. I’m sure others might give you plenty other options.
Another to consider is the Maxxis Ikon. There are a shit ton of specs on that tire, so you could probably find one that fits your budget. If you can fit the 2.35″ width, you’ll get a nice, comfortable ride too.
I would recommend that over the Ardent. The Ikon will roll faster than the Ardent on pavement and while it doesn’t have quite the same cornering traction, it is way more predictable than the Ardent.
The Ardent can make a good rear tire when paired with something beefier up front like a Minion or High Roller, but that’s not the setup you’re after.