I enjoyed meeting several of you at the work party, hopefully I will get to ride with you soon as well.
It is about time to get some new tires for my bike. I ride a stumpjumper hard tail with tubeless ready rims. I am currently on continental mountain kings with tubes and have had no complaints. I plan on going tubeless with stans and look forward to running lower pressures. I would rate durability above weight at my skill level. I like tires that roll quickly, a front that hooks up well in the turns and I rear that grips on the climbs. The mountain kings were an improvement in all three.
Tire designs seem to be changing so fast right now, I would like to know what some of you are riding. Especially what you are happy/unhappy with. Thanks
Just spent full weekend on new Kenda "Slant Six" (DTC, 2.1) (`07 Blur LT). Today (Santos = hardpack, rock, clay); yesterday local trail ( + roots +, hard sand, loose sand, semi-hardpack covered with pine straw). Just my old-age opinion, probably best tires ever (my style). Advertised as blend "Small Block 8's" and Nevagal). Tires climbed red trails / rocks without slip, and higher speed blue trails (similar to HK) - no side drift. Noticed considerable less rolling resistance. Tire would not be an improvement over the Small Block 8 - but very noticeable over the Nevagals. Keeping the Nev's for warranted conditions, Slant Six will stay on for now......
(I don't work for any bike / bike shop / tire company. Just considered similar conditions (CSRA) - option you may want to try.....)
Any suggestions for tires for a new rider that isn't worried about rolling resistance but more concerned about traction at this point?
I'm mostly a "light, fast, low rolling resistance" tire guy, but in the winter and fall I usually put some beefier rubber on to better handle the mud and leaves. I like the Specialized Ground Control, Specialized Captain, and have been riding a Michelin Wild Grip'R lately and it's good.
As summer gets here, big knobby tires wont really help you much. On really hard packed dirt a tire with lots of short, small, tightly packed knobs works well. Tall knobs squirm when cornering since they can't penetrate into the ground when it's hard packed, lots lots of short knobs are more stable and provide a lot of edges to bite in. So consider trying something like that, in a bigger size set up tubeless with low air pressure they'll grip like crazy. I like the Kenda Small Block 8 (there's a 2.3" 26" version, but only a 2.1" 29er) and Specialized Renegade, but my next tire will likely be the Maxxis Ikon, lotsa locals riding the Ikon and really like it. The Ikon is bigger than the Renegade. The Renegade doesn't pack with mud like the Small Block 8 does, the Small Block is kind of a pain to get set up tubeless. The Renegade is really light, 510g for a 29x1.9".
The Specialized Fast Trak is a good rear tire too. Not as fast as the Renegade, but more grip.
I used to use a BIG super knobby Kenda on the front of my bike (a 2.6" something, barely fit in the fork) but then when I switched to something faster and realized just how much speed and energy I was wasting with the supper knobby tire, I've been sticking to tires on the "fast" side of the spectrum ever since.