I'm running the chunky monkey front/smorgasboard rear which works great. both in dual compound rubber. Not the fastest combo, but traction and handling is amazing and the sidewalls are stout.
I had a Vigilant front recently. It works great in softer dirt but was too squirmy on baby heads and the hard rock we have on the CO front range. Purgatory was "ok", but nowhere near as good as the Chunky Monkey for me.
For where I ride(mixture of hardpack, rocks, loam) I REALLY like the Minion DHF 2.5 in the Fall through late Spring months...this thing is aggressive and holds a corner! During the dry summer months where we see a soft over hard pack I prefer the Purgatory. This year however I am sticking with the Minion DHF for the entire season.
Minion DHF for the front is tough to beat. The new 29er 2.3 is finally a Maxxis tire that is true to size. Tire comments are very terrain specific but the DHF seems to do well in a variety of conditions.
The Hans Dampf was a nice tire that had more volume for blasting through chunk, more predicitability in transition, but less absolute cornering grip than the Minion. However, it just wore out it's side knobs too fast.
I am less discerning about my rear tire and what I use changes from time to time.
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