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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see a lot of people using a different tyre on the front and on the rear.
I have always had the same tyre front and back, except for the first week after getting my new Enduro 29 which came with Butcher up front and Purgatory on the rear. I quickly swapped both tyres for Continental MK II Protection/Black Chilli as the the Purgatory was terrible.

So I'm wondering what the benefits are, or if I'm missing out on better performance, by having a different tyre for the front and rear?
 

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Front and rear tires, or tyres, have different functions. Braking Vs climbing traction for example. Different designs might work better.
 

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Typically you need more traction in the front than the rear, so usually I run something beefier in the front and something that rolls better and is lighter in the rear. For example on my xc bike I run Maxxis ikon 2.35 front/2.2 rear and on my trail bike I run Maxxis ardent 2.4 front/ ikon 2.35 rear.
 

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Agree with MSU Alum, and would add running a wider front than rear has advantages as well. I run a 2.35 or 2.4 up front and 2.25 or 2.3 in the back. Wider front gives better grip in turns and tracks better thru the rough areas. While the back doesn't need to be as big and prefer tires with better rolling resistance for climbing sake.
Of course your riding style should dictate the set-up.
 

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As others stated, running a beefier/fatter/more aggressive tyre on the front helps with the lesser weight the front gets, I pretty much always run a less aggressive tyre in the rear because it has more weight and in general needs less than the front. Curious what you didn't like about the combo that came on your bike, and what trail conditions you are riding in? How is the size comparing the MK2 to the Butcher and is it better? Subjective I know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Both my MK II's are 2.4, so it seems from what you all are saying that I'm probably over doing it having this tyre on the back and would benefit from easier rolling with a lighter narrower rear tyre.

The trails I ride are a mix of stone, hard pack with loose gravel on top and Forrest sections with some roots.
Regarding the Butcher and the Purgatory combo, can't say I had a problem with the Butcher on the front really. It didn't break loose the way the Purgatory did, I had the two MK's so just put both on together but it was defiantly the Purgatory that made me want to change, that thing would just let go on nearly every hard fast corner with loose small stones and gravel and when breaking hard on the straights.

The MK's are way way better on the back and just knowing the level of grip I have now is giving me more confidence with the MK on the front as well. I carried too much speed into a corner yesterday and really had to lean in to keep on the trail, the MK on the back let go but bit right back in instantly and I know if it had been the Purgatory I would have slid the rear end straight into the strategically placed tree on that particular corner. But like I said the Butcher on the front wasn't really the problem, in fact I might try it on the back to see what it's like there. I think the Butcher was 2.3. Although I love the soft black chilli for grip over stone and roots.
 

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Cactus Cuddler
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I've already taken the view that the front tire needs to have enough tread blocks and footprint to control what direction and most of the pace downhill, while the rear can benefit from being better rolling, and sometimes it's beneficial if the rear can run a bigger slip angle, or be tossed easier.

This can be done with not just the tire design, but with tire width, and tread softness (rubber chemistry - see something like the Conti Trail-Stars up front with Pace-Star rears).

I was seriously looking at running Purgatory front on my bike for a while with Ground Controls on the rear, but the first half of that idea just wasn't something I wanted to work around, since I ride almost exclusively loose over hardpack, that lack of transition knobs made me too nervous to run the Purgs, at this point I'm now looking at running Ardent 2.4's on the front, and either the GC 2.3's in the rear (which run a bit small) or Conti X-King 2.2's on the back.
 

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The MK's are way way better on the back and just knowing the level of grip I have now is giving me more confidence with the MK on the front as well.
What people are saying about a faster rolling tire in the rear is true, but if two beefy tires make you happy and suit your style the best, I'd say that's a pretty good combo for you! I also run two 2.4's on my hardtail. While I would like to entertain the idea of a smaller faster tire out back, I certainly don't mind the extra cushion and grip of the big rubber out back.
 

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What people are saying about a faster rolling tire in the rear is true, but if two beefy tires make you happy and suit your style the best, I'd say that's a pretty good combo for you! I also run two 2.4's on my hardtail. While I would like to entertain the idea of a smaller faster tire out back, I certainly don't mind the extra cushion and grip of the big rubber out back.
You should check out the ikon 2.35, it has big volume for the cushion you're looking for, yet it's fairly light and rolls great
 

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What people are saying about a faster rolling tire in the rear is true, but if two beefy tires make you happy and suit your style the best, I'd say that's a pretty good combo for you! I also run two 2.4's on my hardtail. While I would like to entertain the idea of a smaller faster tire out back, I certainly don't mind the extra cushion and grip of the big rubber out back.
So much of this is preference, make up of your trails, and riding style. I run MK II's 2.4 front a rear. I think a faster rolling tire has benefits like drifts easier if you're into that kind of thing and rolls better. The downsides are it doesn't brake as well and drifts when you want it planted. The front tire is the most important as everyone else has stated. Some of us need to weight the front tire more in cornering. If you look at this post on Pinkbike you'll see a variety of tire combos depending on the pro. Some guys use two different tires and many use the same as well. There's really no right answer except what you like best.

24 Bikes of the Enduro World Series - Pinkbike
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I suppose like pretty much everything else in MTB it's a personal preference thing. I'm always pushing as fast as I can and hitting the corners with as much speed as the bike can hold so grip is top of my list in what I want from a tyre. I'm very happy with the MK II's front and rear, just thought I'd ask in case there was some benefit I was missing out on. Always looking for that extra edge to get more out of the bike :)
 

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I might be a bit weird (well I know I am, but maybe not for this), I run a fat sticky front, usually stickiest compound free ride tyre (High Roller Super Tacky /Schwalbe something Vert Star), and a xc rear tyre in a hard compound (currently a pacestar nobby nic, but have even used a racing ralph...but that was too fragile).

I'd much rather have a confident front end, the rear isn't so critical amd can move about a bit on the descents, and be better for pedalling with a lower rolling resistance every where else.

All very personal and depends on what terrain you ride.
 

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I seem to be in a minority too. I am running Conti's front and rear.. 2.4's both front and rear. Only because Conti seem to undersize their tyres. Up front I have an X King up front as I like the block pattern being quite closely spaced giving good grip on harder packed trails where speeds can be quite high.. It also seems to dig into sand (especially deeper sand) compared to the old Mountain King fitted into the front before. In the rear I am using a mountain king II which is more of an aggressive pattern but the wider bars work like paddles and do help find grip on climbs and less prone to slip grip or just spinning when traction gets marginal. I was told to swap them round but I have found them to be best in the combination I have them now.... For me and where I ride at least....

Photo 30-03-2014 12 45 37.jpg
 

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Running the same tire front & rear has never made sense to me. For a bike it may be ok (I have a moto background, and you'd never in a million years use the same for front and back, which is probably why I've never done it on my MTB).

Front: bigger, more aggressive for better cornering (currently Maxxis High Roller II, but I'm a big fan of the Mountain King II up front)
Rear: (1) aggressive, but slightly-more-so low-profile knobs (I want good traction braking)(currently Maxxis Ardent) or (2) low-profile knobs for lesser resistance (Maxxis Ikon or Continental X-King)
 

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I've already taken the view that the front tire needs to have enough tread blocks and footprint to control what direction and most of the pace downhill, while the rear can benefit from being better rolling, and sometimes it's beneficial if the rear can run a bigger slip angle, or be tossed easier.

This can be done with not just the tire design, but with tire width, and tread softness (rubber chemistry - see something like the Conti Trail-Stars up front with Pace-Star rears).

I was seriously looking at running Purgatory front on my bike for a while with Ground Controls on the rear, but the first half of that idea just wasn't something I wanted to work around, since I ride almost exclusively loose over hardpack, that lack of transition knobs made me too nervous to run the Purgs, at this point I'm now looking at running Ardent 2.4's on the front, and either the GC 2.3's in the rear (which run a bit small) or Conti X-King 2.2's on the back.
I'm kind of shocked you would shut down the Purg up front due to lack of transition knobs in favor of an Ardent. The Ardent is hands down the first tire that comes to mind when I think of "lack of transition knobs".
 

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I'm kind of shocked you would shut down the Purg up front due to lack of transition knobs in favor of an Ardent. The Ardent is hands down the first tire that comes to mind when I think of "lack of transition knobs".
I think of the Minion, the Lopes signature Kendas, and the original Weirwolf.

The Ardent has small, but reasonably effective transition blocks--for a Maxxis tread.
 

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Keep on Rockin...
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For fast, open xc-ish type riding, a faster rolling rear is nice. For all-round trail riding however, I prefer to not give up any grip on the back end. Also depends on the trail... here in the NE, when the trails are dry, traction is great. But at least half the time it is wet so traction is compromised.

Just got back from riding in the SW, around Vegas and Bootleg... the loose over hard pack can be pretty squirrelly at speed - I brought home the war wounds to testify. Those trails are super fast by NE standards, and when you break loose going fast, its like hydroplaning.

A Purg on both ends is becoming more standard for me. Tried it with a faster tire on the rear but missed the control in hard, fast corners.
 

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I'm kind of shocked you would shut down the Purg up front due to lack of transition knobs in favor of an Ardent. The Ardent is hands down the first tire that comes to mind when I think of "lack of transition knobs".
I'm pretty convinced that a lot of a tire's performance lies on the person, their traits and style. I agree - I was running a 2.4 Ardent in the front and just could never trust it - it was always unpredictable and pushed. I'm moved to a High Roller II for now, and put a 2.25 Ardent in the back.
 

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I'm pretty convinced that a lot of a tire's performance lies on the person, their traits and style. I agree - I was running a 2.4 Ardent in the front and just could never trust it - it was always unpredictable and pushed. I'm moved to a High Roller II for now, and put a 2.25 Ardent in the back.
Of course. Riding style, bike setup, personal preferences, terrain and conditions all affect how a tire performs.
 
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