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Rohloff
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I just got back from Outerbike where I got to test ride a lot of bikes. I've long been a big knobbie kind of guy. Lots of little knobs just don't make since to me. I'm sure there is terrain where it might work better. I just didn't think it would work well for me in Central Texas of in the similar terrain at Moab ... loose over hardpack. For what it's worth, a number of people ride little knobbie tires in Central Texas and like them.

At Outerbike, there were a lot of test bikes with Small Block 8 and similar tires. I was kind of happy. I'd always wanted to try them, but didn't want to buy them. Getting to try them out was great. Even better, just by chance, there were two medium Intense Spiders at Outerbike. One with Rampages or Nevegals or something similar and one with Small Block 8s. I didn't set this up on purpose, but ended up realizing that I had two different tire types on the same bike on the same trail. Pretty cool.

My verdict: Lots of little small knobbies don't work as well. I pushed both bikes hard into the corners and cranked them up the hills sitting and standing. The SB8 had noticably less traction. I realize this is a bit subjective and others will disagree. Different terrain may benefit from small knobs. I just didn't find it worked well on dry loose over hardpack or slickrock.
 

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responsible zombie owner
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I've run my 69er with SB8s and now with Panaracers (Rampage 29er front, XC Fire Pro rear). My experience was the same as yours. The small knobs are very fast on hardpack but once the surface gets loose, or you need grip up a steep, rocky climb, forget it - big knobs all the way.

The Panas are nowhere near as fast on 'good' surfaces but I don't go MTBing to ride on good surfaces.
 

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I just got back from Outerbike where I got to test ride a lot of bikes. I've long been a big knobbie kind of guy. Lots of little knobs just don't make since to me. I'm sure there is terrain where it might work better. I just didn't think it would work well for me in Central Texas of in the similar terrain at Moab ... loose over hardpack. For what it's worth, a number of people ride little knobbie tires in Central Texas and like them.

At Outerbike, there were a lot of test bikes with Small Block 8 and similar tires. I was kind of happy. I'd always wanted to try them, but didn't want to buy them. Getting to try them out was great. Even better, just by chance, there were two medium Intense Spiders at Outerbike. One with Rampages or Nevegals or something similar and one with Small Block 8s. I didn't set this up on purpose, but ended up realizing that I had two different tire types on the same bike on the same trail. Pretty cool.

My verdict: Lots of little small knobbies don't work as well. I pushed both bikes hard into the corners and cranked them up the hills sitting and standing. The SB8 had noticably less traction. I realize this is a bit subjective and others will disagree. Different terrain may benefit from small knobs. I just didn't find it worked well on dry loose over hardpack or slickrock.
It is not so much the size of the knob but the space between the knobs. The tread "captures" the soil to get grip. If the soil/sand/rock particles are bigger than the spaces between the tread blocks the tire will just skate over the ground.
 

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This was an interesting read. I'd love to hear someone from the Sacramento area to chime in. My Nevegals just needed to be replaced. I ended up buying the Kenda Slant 6. It's a little bigger than the SB8's but by no means close to the Nevegals. I have been considering these smaller patterns for my area. I've seen a lot of people running them but just as you mentioned wasn't really in a place where I financially wanted to go out on a limb to try them. After talking to the the guy at the LBS, I was convinced to give them a shot. I am really nervous to see how they handle when I push them on turns if it gets a little loose.
 

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I dig trails!
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Small Block 8s deliver way more traction than their looks... in the right terrain. Parts of Moab would be great for the SB8, other parts of Moab the loose chunk would be too big to be optimum for that tire. What we remember is not when the tire is doing great, but when it slips out on us and gives us a scare.

@mtbg33k I ran a SB8 in sac on the front for a few years it was amazing at Granite Bay, and I would imagine the Slant 6 should be nice for most Valley riding, until it gets sloppy in March or April. Going higher up in the mountains the tire will get overwhelmed and require more finesse.

P
 

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.... would imagine the Slant 6 should be nice for most Valley riding, until it gets sloppy in March or April.
P
I asked the LBS guy that same thing. When it gets wet, I still ride. Some guys don't. So I'm a little unsure whether or not I'll be buying another set to switch between depending on the time of year and or where I'm going. I really hope that's not the case.

I also am just nervous about these two things:

1. Coming into a corner that is a little loose and it washing out.
2. It loosing traction when it gets loose on the climbs.
 

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I dig trails!
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I asked the LBS guy that same thing. When it gets wet, I still ride. Some guys don't. So I'm a little unsure whether or not I'll be buying another set to switch between depending on the time of year and or where I'm going. I really hope that's not the case.

I also am just nervous about these two things:

1. Coming into a corner that is a little loose and it washing out.
2. It loosing traction when it gets loose on the climbs.
Auburn will get greasy puddles in the apex of the turns in deep winter. That comes from a lot of riders riding a trail that is too saturate for riding without damaging the trail. :skep:

Granite Bay get grippier in the winter, but after the racing starts on those trails - during the rain :madman: - it turns into grease pits. Around March or April.

The key; give Auburn a few days to drain off after a storm and your Slant Six's will do fine.

P
 

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Advanced Slacker
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I just got back from Outerbike where I got to test ride a lot of bikes. I've long been a big knobbie kind of guy. Lots of little knobs just don't make since to me. I'm sure there is terrain where it might work better. I just didn't think it would work well for me in Central Texas of in the similar terrain at Moab ... loose over hardpack. For what it's worth, a number of people ride little knobbie tires in Central Texas and like them.

At Outerbike, there were a lot of test bikes with Small Block 8 and similar tires. I was kind of happy. I'd always wanted to try them, but didn't want to buy them. Getting to try them out was great. Even better, just by chance, there were two medium Intense Spiders at Outerbike. One with Rampages or Nevegals or something similar and one with Small Block 8s. I didn't set this up on purpose, but ended up realizing that I had two different tire types on the same bike on the same trail. Pretty cool.

My verdict: Lots of little small knobbies don't work as well. I pushed both bikes hard into the corners and cranked them up the hills sitting and standing. The SB8 had noticably less traction. I realize this is a bit subjective and others will disagree. Different terrain may benefit from small knobs. I just didn't find it worked well on dry loose over hardpack or slickrock.
For me:
Smaller and closer spaced knobs in the back, bigger and wider spaced in the front is my go-to for general mixed conditions.
 

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responsible zombie owner
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I also am just nervous about these two things:

1. Coming into a corner that is a little loose and it washing out.
2. It loosing traction when it gets loose on the climbs.
#1 and #2 definitely applied to my SB8s. As a front tyre they don't have the grip I wanted for cornering confidence on loose terrain, and the 26" rear wore down very fast from spinning out on stony climbs (partly a factor of the 69er set up, but the Panaracer Fire XCs don't have that problem - they just bite and up we go).

SB8s are absolutely superb for their intended purpose, which is racing on hardpack and riding on slick rock. They do not like loose conditions IME.
 

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I ride in the SF Peninsula with a Nevegal on the front and a slant 6 on the back. I don't ride in the rain or sloppy conditions (trail damage), but I get pretty solid traction in the back with the slant 6. The first ride or two I could definitely tell that I had less resistance when pedaling.

I haven't ridden up in sacramento, but as they say 'your mileage may vary'.
 

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I rode them in Rockville (Fairfield, CA) last night and on the technical rocky sections they definitely hooked up good. There were a few times that the rear broke loose on some quick braking. However I'm not entirely convinced considering the circumstance that the other tires would have done any different. Overall I was impressed with how much faster they rolled. I seriously could tell a big difference. However, I did notice that I was being a little cautious with them, so it seems like I need to trust them more until I push them like my last set. I'm planning on riding up in Auburn, Ca early next week. That place is more of my stomping grounds so I will get a better feel for what they are made of there.
 
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