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I know the tire questions have been asked a thousand times... but, I just gotta ask anyway!
I'm racing a full season but mostly for fun. Problem is I have gotten all twisted up in trying to find low rolling resistance grippy tires. Since this is a racing forum I see the usual responses are geared towards suggesting the lightest lowest resistance tires. While I love to fly on these tires I just want to find something that has more traction booth front and rear. I'm not overly concerned with weight and hoping to find something that just grips it all. I have tried the Hutchinson pythons just to see what the low resistance thing was all about - and yes they are very fast. But, they are way scary on fast descents over loose stuff. I'm in this for fun and I prefer to have a front tire that can hold it's own on the loose and a rear tire that claws thru the technical gnarly stuff and grips on the slippery climbs. I live in the Northeast and prefer to stay on my bike thru the nasty wet technical while the other riders who have no knobs have to dismount and join the congo line up the technical wet climbs. I am more than willing to not finish first just as long as I my tires hang on. My favorite front tire has been the Panaracer fire xc pro and while it's not the fastest, I am confident over the loose, wet, and gnarly. Anyway, I haven't found a rear other than my Kenda Komodo stick-E, that just keeps climbing forward. Lighteer is great but, I'm not shaving grams here.......Anyone?
 

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wants a taco
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My mountain kings have worked awesome in dry and still really good in wet nastiness. Last race i was able to ride this slick rocky and wet climb that was so slick you could hardly walk up it. the supersonic version is only like 450 grams which is nice too.
 

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I've really been impressed with my Bontrager ACX, running tubeless I can drop the pressure super low and they grip on everything. They worked incredibly well for a 24 hour race where it rained the whole time. I've been using them as my everyday tire and they hook up well in all conditions
 

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I agree about the Bontrager tires, they came out with some great stuff this year. I've used the ACX, XR, XR team, and Mud X this year at various times and have loved them all.

my favorites for racing are the XR team and the Mud X when conditions are real sloppy (both tubeless). my everyday wheels have XR's with tubes.
 

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New MTB XC Racer
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Newbie here, first race season.

I am running Kenda Karma with stick-e (425 g tire, tubes 95g ish). I find these tires to be pretty grippy when dry everywhere. Riding is Camp Fortune, Canadian shield, rough rocks and roots.

Last night we had 10 mins of rain before we staged for the race. Just enough to make it damp. I was slipping a fair bit on roots(think this tires weakest spot) and a bit on the damp rocks. I also noticed that a lot of other people where having the same problem.

I am 5'4" 150ish lbs. I noticed that the Karmas grip REALLY well in dry conditions with about 20-25 psi on practice days and group rides. They are not the largest volume tire and after getting a DNF on my first race from two front flats I have upped pressure. I am finding that 40+ sacrifices too much grip on roots and loose stuff, ok on rocks. Ran 35 psi F/R last night and was happy with front grip but slipped a little too much for my liking in the rear. I will try 35F/30R next race and see what happens.

I managed to ride every part of the course at one point during the 3 laps so the tire is probably better than the rider. I'd say experience counts for a fair bit when trying to ride that fast, light tire and still clear tough sections. From my group rides with the gang I see guys with SB8's clearing all kinds of stuff while some other guys are having trouble with XC Pro's and Nevagals, etc. I started riding better later in the race even though I was fatigued because I was concentrating on keeping my weight more over the rear tire, keeping it in a slightly larger gear and trying to pick the line better with more momentum where I knew it was needed.

I rode the Summer Solstice and the night lap it rained and was super slippy but I managed to ride pretty much everything. I remember getting to the finish line just behind this guy that I kept passing on the technical stuff and he blew by me n the up hills. At the line we were chatting and he had just put on a new tire that was supposed to be great in the mud but I witnessed that it is hard to get any grip with any tire :) and my Karmas really surprised me in the mud in a good way ! ! !

SO for me I think you need a whole season of racing on one or two tires experimenting with tire pressure just to have an idea of how well it works, at least as a newbie. More experienced rides probably have a fav tire for grip that they can compare diff racing tires too. You gotta find that sweet spot between pressure/flats and grip.

I'm liking my Karmas :)

Cheers,
 

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SSolo, on your left!
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How are the stock tires on the Specialized Rock Hopper Disc for the wet stuff....so far only had the opportunity to ride dry and they are pretty good there...imo.

This is the stock tires I'm referring too:

Specialized Fast Trak LK Sport, 26x2.0", 60TPI, wire bead
http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqProduct.jsp?spid=35740

EDIT: Looked around and obviously these tires are not made for mud, but wondering if anybody has any first-hand experience with them in the wet.
 

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SSolo, on your left!
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Bought a pair of Kenda Nevegal's 2.35" folding bead in the Stick-E compound and they are great just about everywhere, but do take a little more pedalling effort. Haven't had any wet yet to try them, but they are working great! Highly recommended.
 

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ups and downs
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Continental Race King 2.2 Supersonic with Black Chili compound. Works well on wet roots and rocks, and in non-goopy mud, good grip on loose over hardpack and pea gravel, roll very fast on hardpack and pavement. They have a fairly narrow sweetspot for optimum pressure between too hard and too soft, but once you dial them in they have amazing grip. They are very large volume tire and only weigh 488gms. You can run them at lower pressure because of the large volume carcass and they really hang on to uneven surfaces.

They were Irina Kalentieva's secret weapon in the World Cup series last year.
 

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Look at the Nonny Nic. They are lightweight and roll faster than you would dream a tire with that many nobs could. I run a 2.25 front and 2.1 rear on my XC race hardtail most of the time. Sometimes I swap to a 2.1 on the front and a racing Ralph on the rear if it's a really fast course.
 

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rockyuphill said:
Continental Race King 2.2 Supersonic with Black Chili compound. Works well on wet roots and rocks, and in non-goopy mud, good grip on loose over hardpack and pea gravel, roll very fast on hardpack and pavement. They have a fairly narrow sweetspot for optimum pressure between too hard and too soft, but once you dial them in they have amazing grip. They are very large volume tire and only weigh 488gms. You can run them at lower pressure because of the large volume carcass and they really hang on to uneven surfaces.

They were Irina Kalentieva's secret weapon in the World Cup series last year.
Does anyone know why the larger 2.2 tire weighs less than the 2.0???
 

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jacob99 said:
kenda nevagals is what i run, really grippy but seem to have alot of rolling resistance.
ill prob be getting some faster tires

i also have some of these :D when it gets really slick
Or maybe just riding down the snowbanks
 

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SSolo, on your left!
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briscoelab said:
Look at the Nonny Nic. They are lightweight and roll faster than you would dream a tire with that many nobs could. I run a 2.25 front and 2.1 rear on my XC race hardtail most of the time. Sometimes I swap to a 2.1 on the front and a racing Ralph on the rear if it's a really fast course.
Nobby Nic.
 

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No. Just No.
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The original question was concerning rocky AND rooty. You are encouraging people to use studded tires on roots??? That is idiotic, quite frankly. If riders were using studded tires on rooty trails around here, I'd recommend we ban ourselves from the trails.

Come to think of it, I don't even think I'd want riders using studs on exposed rock any more than necessary. Save the studs for snow and ice, not exposed permanent trail features and surfaces.
 
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