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Different front and rear tires

1347 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Sideknob
WTB has the Velociraptor combo, Panaracer has the Dart and the Smoke combo, and who knows what other companies all have tire sets that have different recommended front and rear tires. I see the benefits, but due to the fact that I am a newbie, I don't quite have the knowledge or the eye for seeing a good combo outside of those which can be purchased as a pair. Anybody care to take a stab at what is a good combo outside of that which the manufacturers recommend? I could, and probably should, just purchase the WTB or Panaracers as I don't have a great deal of money to spend, but if anyone has a good combo recommendation I would be very appreciative. I ride XC, not because I want to, but because that is all that is available to me in south Texas. I would like to get up in the 2.1 to 2.4 range and I think I need something super knobby due to a lot of loose loam and sand over uphill hardpack at the local lake side trail. Thanks.
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Depends - the rear in the old style parings you mentioned is designed for drive traction with the paddle centre tread, the fronts for steering and cornering. That's a generalisation as not everyone will like a particular tyre profile and nor will they necessarily work in all sorts of terrains. So, a "pair" of tyres might not necessarily be for you.

For example, I like the rear Velociraptor but don't like the way the front one corners.

There are rounder profile tyres and tyre sets, and squarer or "edging" profile tyres. Tyres with directional treads for either end, tyres with non directional treads.

And of course there are different sized tyres - typically many riders use a wider tyre up front for more steering and braking control with a narrower tyre out the back that's easier to pedal.

Your LBS and other local riders will have some idea what works for your bike, terrain and style of riding - this can be a good place to start.

Or, tell us what bike you have, how you want to ride and we can take a stab at what might suit.
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I am currently riding a Raleigh hardtail, which limits my desired riding style to pretty much just riding the thing. I did upgrade the wheel set to Sun Rhinolytes, but the bike is entry level and as such not good for much of anything. In the near future I hope to have a full suspension, which would permit me to do some light downhill/freeride and small jumps/drops. Whichever tires I purchase, I would like to be able to transfer to the new bike should they be needed. Where I live (Victoria, TX) there is not much in the way of options. There is one decent lake trail with some good tree runs and a few good hills and a bmx track. All of which is hardpack with loose sand and loam. However, there are cities within 100 miles (Austin, San Antonio, etc) that have a multitude of trails for all styles and levels of riding. Austin trails are most likely very rocky whereas San Antonio is probably hard clay and rock. As far as the LBS goes, I will not go there nor will I ask their advise on anything. They burned that bridge. Other riders? Aside from my friend and I (both newbies), I haven't seen any :(.
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Panaracer Fire XC Pros. Run them front and rear, and one of the best tires I've ridden, especially in the conditions you describe.

Just watch out for the cheapo Taiwanese knock offs.
OK, not happy with the LBS, fair enough.

If it's a bit loose I'd suggest a larger tyre up front for more control and you lose nothing as far as ease of pedaling goes. It can also feel like you have more suspension if run soft.

I'd also go for an edging tyre like the 2.35 Maxxis High Roller, or Kenda Nevegal as IMO the hard, sharp edge bites through loose topcoat better rather than skating over it and washing out.

Pair it up with a faster tyre out the back like the Kenda Small Block 8, Maxxis Larsen TT, Monorail or similar for ease of pedaling.

A good combo would be the 2.1 or big 2.35 Nevegal up front with a 2.1 Small Block 8 out the back, or a 2.1 Nevegal both ends. The 2.2 IRC Mibro is also a great all around tyre and can be used either end and run on the back in either direction for easier rolling or more bite - and it can be had cheaply too.
I have liked both of the combos you mention, but they may be less than ideal for your home turf. Might be a good idea to ask on the TX board as your best answers should come from riders near you.
jeffj said:
I have liked both of the combos you mention, but they may be less than ideal for your home turf. Might be a good idea to ask on the TX board as your best answers should come from riders near you.
There's a TX board?
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