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Cactus Cuddler
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1,818 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For southwest riding, I'm still trying to find a set of tires from the trail to AM side of the spectrum that will actually provide noticeably more grip than the borderline pointless set of Maxxis Aspen's I have right now (which are great on pavement, and I think they're only rideable off-road because it's a good rubber compound).

I've been looking at Maxxis Ardents (front), Specialized Purgatory (front) and Ground Control (rear), Schwalbe Hans Dampfs, and I've had some decent luck with the WTB Wolverines, and GEAX Saguaros from friend's bikes as far as how much traction they can get, but none of these really seem like an adequate value.

Where I ride is very much a cactus/sharp rock mess, with the most traction-critical areas being 1-3mm granite over absurdly hard packed underneath, so anything with a thin sidewall or low knobs probably won't cut it. I do want to run tubeless, and I'd prefer to have decent rolling resistance (at least on the rear), but the biggest issue for me is that I really dislike unpredictability of any kind when leaning over, so if the intermediate knobs are a bit lame then I really don't enjoy those tires (hence why a lot of other common suggestions I've already ruled out).

The Ardents and Hans Dampfs are both viable looking front tires, but I've seen a lot of reviews that these aren't that great in loose over hardpack specifically (and great on anything else). The Wolverine and Saguaros both seem to do decently well, but are a touch narrower that I'm after (2.3-2.4"), and the purgatory tires from big S have a bit of a gap in the intermediate knobs that concerns me with how I ride.

The last part is cost - it still strikes me as a bit crazy that MTB tires cost more than car tires apiece (and are hilariously simple by comparison), but if I can get something that will at least keep me out of medical bills it's money well spent.

Suggestions? What should I be looking at?
 

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I'm with stupid
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5,920 Posts
A pair of nobby nics work pretty good for those conditions. You could do hans front if you felt the grip was lacking. I always ran much " less" tire on my 29th then 26er. But pretty much anything bis going to be better on the trail then those aspens. I think the big S has the best bang for the buck tires right now at 50 each. In big S combo I would do purgatory front and either ground control or captain

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Desert Seeker
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241 Posts
An option to consider for a combination of traction/value is the Geax Gato TNT 2.3 tire. I have had a very positive experience running them for the last year or so and I recently found them for $38. I'm currently running the Geax on the rear and an Ardent 2.4 EXO on the front for the trails in Moab and like the balance of traction vs. rolling ability. Mounting them tubeless is the way to go.
 

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Registered
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A pair of nobby nics work pretty good for those conditions. You could do hans front if you felt the grip was lacking. I always ran much " less" tire on my 29th then 26er. But pretty much anything bis going to be better on the trail then those aspens. I think the big S has the best bang for the buck tires right now at 50 each. In big S combo I would do purgatory front and either ground control or captain

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+1 to Purg/GC.

I just switched to Butcher/Purg and after one ride I'm thinking about going back to Purg/GC or Butcher/GC if it doesn't get better after a few rides. Purg in the rear drags too much for not that big of a benefit. Braking felt better but that could be due to the Butcher and climbing traction felt WORSE!
 

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Administrator
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I use Specialized Purgatory up front and panaracer rampage on the rear. I find the rampage to be very strong at a reasonable weight and good to great grip on loose over hard southern AZ terrain though I found the purg on the rear to have too weak of a side wall, easily tearing it on my second or third ride. Economically the rampage can be found quite cheap, they roll nicely and last quite long.

I have used Geax tires and found the saguaro to be a good option but it wore quickly and was less grippy than the panaracer. I have never tried the maxxis or schwable tires as they are just too expensive to risk a the side wall slice that are all too common here.
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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I didn't care for the Nobby Nic in our loose over hardpack. The tall-ish side knobs squirmed when on hardpack terrain. Not fun at speed.

I like the 2.3" Purgatory (front) and 2.1" Ground Control (rear) combo a lot. I might try a 2.3" Ground Control next time for the rear tire.

I also like the 2.3" Bontrager 29-3 on both the front and rear.
 

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Cactus Cuddler
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1,818 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My original thought was to run the 2.3 Purgatory 2.3 GC (F/R) pairing, since those were the best value among tires at the local shop, I just got spooked with that small gap in the tread pattern on the transition area, since that's the part where my Ass-pen's feel so incredibly sketchy if I'm not on pavement.

I guess I'm now trying to decide between a pair of very well priced Geax Saguaros TNT's (2.2, $40 ea) or just save a touch more and pony up for the 2.3 Purg/2.3GC pairing.

Thanks again for all the input.
 

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I live in SoCal and ride all over the Southwest when I have the chance. I have the 2.3 Ground Control on my Tallboy and have ben VERY happy with it's consistency. It doesn't last as long as the Geax Saguaros though. I used to run the Saguaros exclusively for about (2) years but I tired of battling to get them on the rim on more than one occasion and switched to the Ground Control....I'm also using the Conti Trail King on my Mach 6 at the moment and it's been great as well. Since the rim itself is wider, the TK's run bigger than their claimed 2.25 profile.
 
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