Intense Tires has gone and done it again, improving an already stellar design with the MK2 (previously known as the Micro Knobby). The MK2 sports all the great virtues of the Micro Knobby tire and cranks things up a notch.
For starters, the new MK2 is designed to outlast the Micro Knobby thanks to changes to the very center of the tire tread. The new pattern is reversed which makes it more like a slick that decreases rolling resistance even further than the original. The upshot: the MK2 has up to 3X the life expectancy of the original.
Not only did ITS change up the tire profile but they also changed up the rubber compound, which reduces the weight by 18%. Aside from the ultra lightweight rubber compound (called LSG), the MK2 also features a lightweight folding aramid bead for additional weight reduction. The MK2 is offered in two sizes: 26″ x 2.10″ and 26″ x 2.25″. The 2.25″ officially weighs 580 grams but my set came in lighter at about 550 grams (woot!).
Just like the original Micro Knobby tires, these rubbers are meant for street and dirt jumps exclusively. Unlike the Kenda Small Block Eight or similar tires, these are not trail-ready tires.
Mounting these babies on my OPUS Crate was a piece of cake with virtually no need for tire irons. I did my usual, adding some talcum powder to help reduce friction between tube and tire. I inflated these puppies up to a good 40 psi and was off and rolling (rather quickly I might add) to Joyride 150 for some sessions on the indoor pump tracks and progressive jump track.
Yours truly at Joyride 150 hitting the pump track and some of the jumps on MK2s
It was fun testing these tires after doing an in-depth review of the MK1s last year because it gave me a chance to compare the new with the old. The Micro Knobby tires were fast but right away I could tell the MK2s are even faster! Control is improved as well and hitting the pump track and skinnies the MK2 tires hook up like no one else’s business. In the video I have on my full face helmet so you couldn’t see it but I had a huge smile as I was moving along at a crazy speed.
For DJ or skate park riding, the MK2 is, in my opinion, the top tire. There are other tires out there that are more slick or wider but I have to say these offer a great mix of features. I’m loving the tread profile which allows me to easily pitch the tire and bike horizontally on a berm and come back without a hint of wobble or slip. Even when going slow in a bank I noticed virtually zero slip (I wonder if there’s any super glue in the tire compound).
Accelerating and braking with this tire is much like a race car: super fast acceleration, no noise whatsoever (noise indicates loss of energy), and Spiderman-ish grip. Stopping power is great for the front tire while the rear tends to lock up just a touch once it gets unloaded.
Overall I would highly recommend these tires to anyone who is planning on doing some dirt jumps or urban riding. These tires are definitely Intense – can you handle it?
DJ / 4X / Urban
C3 XC Compound
LSG Compound (Low Specific Gravity)
Thanks to the folks at ITS (VSI) for providing these tires for review.