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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You know the drill: rocks, roots, mud, etc. The Karmas have a slight (~30 grams/tire) edge in weight, and I assume both have similar volume. That leaves rolling resistance as the foremost criteria, with grip (cornering, climbing, over slick obstacles) and mud shedding ability important as well.

FWIW I'm 175 lbs, racing a Turner Flux (so I want to be able to take advantage of the travel in the rough stuff), and running Stan's Olympic rims. Thanks!
 

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Just Grin and HUCK it...
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While the rolling resistance is real good and the weight is super light, the karmas don't do well in mud at all. No grip, they just spin (on the rear) and slip (on the front). The blue grooves are much better in mud, but rolling resistence is the sacrifice.

On dry conditions, the karma stick-e hooks up on everything. Roots and rocks are no problem. They're excellent for xc riding, but again, in dry conditions.

I have BGs f/r right now (2.35 f/ 2.1 r) on my 5 spot and they're working well for current So Cal conditions. I'll be going back to my karma on the rear real soon as long as it stays dry outside, but I'm going to stay with the BG 2.35 on the front.
 

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Mud? No. Neither is a good choice.
The BG Light is better in mud than the Karma but that is like saying a Corvette has a better chance of winning the Indy 500 than a Miata. Neither is the right tool for the job. The BGL does not pack up. That does not mean much as it also has no traction in mud. (Both same weight BTW)

In the dry both tires kick butt. I prefer the BG Light, corners better and feels faster (SilverSpot, the BG Light tread is MUCH lower profile than the bigger BGs).

Schwalbe Racing Ralphs are a little better in mud (maybe).
Skinny Jimmys or Jimmys would work pretty well.

Best choice may be Hutchinson Spider Air Light 1.85. The Spiders roll much better than you would think.
 

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I only use the BG lite in the dry. I did hit patches of wet stuff with no problems with it, but the knobs are really short in the center. I would have very little confidence with it in the goopy stuff.

A couple of years ago I hated the Kenda Karma in the wet after slipping out on a mucky root at high speed. But now a days with Stan's notubes conversion, I run lower pressure and feel pretty good on the karmas in practically any condition.

Out of those two choices I would say the karma is your tire. I haven't tried it, but I was riding with a Kenda rider at a race yesterday and she was running the Nevegal lite. I would probably say the nevegal lite is a better choice for your muddy conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
GspotRider said:
A couple of years ago I hated the Kenda Karma in the wet after slipping out on a mucky root at high speed. But now a days with Stan's notubes conversion, I run lower pressure and feel pretty good on the karmas in practically any condition.
You're not the first rider I've heard that from, so I'm hoping that maybe the tubeless conversion/lower pressure really help the Karmas hold their own in the mud. I'm less worried about driving traction in deep mud (if it's that much of a mudfest I can also use my rigid 29"er) than I am about damp conditions that turn rocks and roots slippery as snot.

I love my (2.5") Nevegals for these conditions, but even the 2.0 Lites weigh nearly 600 grams, so they're out. BTW Shiggy my Karmas averaged 428 grams and the BGL's 458 grams, so there is a couple ounces at stake here between the two wheels. For that reason alone I may try the Karmas to see if I can live with them, and keep the Blue Grooves around in case I'm not happy with the Karmas. I'll be running them tubeless so I plan on keeping the same tires on for the season, rather than dealing with the hassle of changing them out depending on the course. Hopefully we don't have as much mud as we did a couple years ago anyway.
 

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Lazy People Suck
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I really like racing with the Blue Groove in the front and the Karma in the rear. I had my first race of the year this past weekend. It had rained all week and I had my wheels all set up with Jimmy Lights to race and on Saturday morning the sun came out and the course drained really well and was only slightly wet and tacky.

I switched wheels 15 minutes before the race to the BG/Karma Combo and it just railed. The course was almost entirely hard pack very twisty wooded singletrack with lots of small roots spiderwebbing their way across all of the corners. I was very happy with the cornering and traction.
 
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