I have recently purchased a 2017 Specialized pitch sport with 650b x 2.10 tires. I do not care for the stock tires that came on it. What would you guys recommend for a bike that I ride on easy trails with nothing more than roots and rocks and occasionally some mud? And also any body who has had this bike, what else would you upgrade or did you upgrade?
I have bikes with both knobby tires (Kenda Honey Badgers) and fast rolling tires. I will say the knobby tires are way easier to clean and more confidence inspiring on the trail.
The downside is I do not like the feeling when riding on pavement (hums and vibrates). One of the local trails has a road that you have to ride down to get back to the parking area with no off road option. I end up braking the whole way down because it doesn’t feel right on those tires. Whereas, I have no problem going that fast in the woods with the knobbys or on pavement with the faster tires.
For starters, you’re going to feel a lot more confident on anything wider than 2.1″. From there, like vapidoscar562 said, it’s going to come down to the tradeoffs you’re willing to make. For me, the knobbier, beefier tire, the better, but the tradeoff is it takes more effort to push heavy tires around, especially on smooth trails/pavement.
Based on your statement, “roots and rocks and occasionally some mud”, I would look for something with decent, but not outrageous, knobs. I ride a lot of roots and rocks including steep climbs and descents. My go to tires are Kenda Nevegals. I’ve tried a lot of stuff (and still do from time to time) looking for that holy grail tire, and always come back to the Nevegals. They do OK with cleaning mud. Corning transition feels confident and they don’t display a lot of cornering flex. They really shine on climbs and breaking for me. There are a few different version of them, like “Pro” and “X Pro”. I prefer the X Pro as they have a slightly different transition knob design that make that corning transition feel better. They come in varying rubber compounds as well. I use the dual compound (DTC) rubber. I feel the DTC versions do pretty good addressing rooty/rocky climbs when they get wet. One word of caution… Kenda’s tend to run a little wider than other brands of same sizes. So by ’em from someone that’ll except returns if they don’t fit (Amazon Prime, Jenson, etc.). Also, look for deals. They have a ridiculous MSRP, but are easily found for $40-60. Last week I found some for $25 at Performance Bike (brick and mortar store)! For reference, I run 2.35 on the front, and 2.10 on the rear and they feel like bikes I’ve ridden with 2.5’s.
I have a set of hans dampf 2.35s and they are great tires, though the casings on mine are susceptible to gashes. I recently ordered a 2.5 maxxis aggressor dd for the rear as my sidewalls just couldn’t take it anymore. I bought that tire based on reviews, particularly of the stout casing. I’ll review it after a race next month. Ozark trail should be a good test!
Tires in mountain biking area pretty big topic, from widths, to tread patters, to compounds. You didn’t give a lot of background on why you didn’t like your previous tire, but here are some tips/things to thinking about:
-You can go wider without necessarily getting a lower rolling resistance. Nowadays, you can by a 2.2in or even wider with a fast, xc-style tread. A tire like this will roll fast, but will be able to provide increased compliance and grip. On easy trails, something like this would be sufficient, and wouldn’t slow you down too much on hardpack or paved surfaces. Of course, if you don’t mind resistance, feel free to get a more aggressive tread pattern (e.g. bigger lugs).
-Think about different front and rear tires. On a budget setup, having a slightly beefier, more aggressive front tire, for braking and turning, and a slicker, fast rear tire can make a ton of difference. I ran a (for me at the time) beefy conti trail king up front with a narrowish/slick nine line from WTB on a cheapish hardtail, and was really happy with it. Party in the front and business in the back.
-Think about the compound/puncture protection, etc. A slight upgrade to a folding tire, as compared to a wire bead, will be lighter and generally ride nicer, with no downsides (besides a few bucks). Also, a softer compound up front can be gripper, and you can run a harder compound in the rear for more wear resistance. Also, unless you racing, getting a version of a tire with a solid puncture protection is definitely worth it. They often won’t be any more expensive, just a bit heavier than the race version
As for specific tires, I’d suggest just picking manufacturer that you like and has a wide range, and getting the appropriate tire in that series. I personally like Maxxis or the German brands (Schwalbe and Continental), as well as WTB. This way, you can focus in on what you really need, instead of having to compare across different product lines and get confused.