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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to get off my a$$ and back into riding, and on a budget. I just picked up a 2001 Specialized Rockhopper A1 Comp FS. It is in pristine condition, still sporting the original tires, which are dry rotted. I need some help with tire selection, most everything seems to be geared towards 27+".

I live in the mountains, off of dirt roads. I will use this bike for cruising around the hood' and a little bit of single track. It will not see much, if any, pavement. Looking for recommendations for tires. FWIW, it is wearing 26x1.95's now.
 

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most everything seems to be geared towards 27+".
it's not. far from it. probably the widest selections for mtb tires are in the 27.5 or 29 in about 2.4-ish width.

Since you have a 26er, you're going to be more limited in your selection. A few brands make some different 26er tires, though. Maxxis is one.

Do you have rim brakes or disc? That may affect how easily you can cram bigger tires into your frame, but you may be limited to a 2.2 or 2.3 in width. If you're looking for 26x1.95's, you won't find much at all. Some really cheap tires is about it. I doubt you'll find much in a quality tire that's smaller than a 2.2 these days.

Beyond that, your tires should be matched to the surface conditions of what you'll be riding. Sounds like you won't need really aggressive knobbies (unless the stuff you'll be riding is particularly difficult traction-wise), so smaller to intermediate knobs should be fine.
 

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It probably would be nice to get something advertised at about 2.1" or so, to ensure that it would fit. Measure the actual width of your tire on the rear and estimate how extra much space you think you'll have. A folding (kevlar bead) tire will be easier to work with as far as installation is concerned.
I Googled, "26" folding mountain tires" and selected shop and came up with a bunch of tires in the 26x2.1 range under $30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I will take a look at the suggestions. The bike has rim brakes, I do not need to stay with the 26x1.95.

What makes a folding tire preferable? Same size and tread type front and rear?
 

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Thanks for the feedback. I will take a look at the suggestions. The bike has rim brakes, I do not need to stay with the 26x1.95.

What makes a folding tire preferable? Same size and tread type front and rear?
Folding bead tyres are lighter, and they usually have a grippier rubber compound.

You don't need matching size or tread front to rear.

The Panaracer Fire Pro is outdated. It's a no.

The Maxxis Ikon and Ardent Race are tyres loved by many. If you don't want to spend $65 each then go with the Continentals,
F = Trail King or Cross King
R = Cross King or Race King
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Folding bead tyres are lighter, and they usually have a grippier rubber compound.

You don't need matching size or tread front to rear.

The Panaracer Fire Pro is outdated. It's a no.

The Maxxis Ikon and Ardent Race are tyres loved by many. If you don't want to spend $65 each then go with the Continentals,
F = Trail King or Cross King
R = Cross King or Race King
Thanks for the info. I will take a look at the tires you suggested.

Can you help me out with the reasoning behind specific tires selection for F/R? Sorry, I am an information junkie and like to understand the "why" of what I am doing.
 

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Generally, a lot of people like a more aggressive and wider tire up front. Because there is less weight on the front, it is more likely to lose traction than the rear in turns. This tendency can be compensated by a grippier tire (by tread or width or both). Also aids braking.

Same theory underlies moving a somewhat worn front tire to the rear (to replace a worn out one) and keeping a new, unworn (relatively speaking) tire up front.

Also, the dimensions of a fork often will permit a larger tire than all the things going on in the rear of the frame.
 

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Thanks for the info. I will take a look at the tires you suggested.

Can you help me out with the reasoning behind specific tires selection for F/R? Sorry, I am an information junkie and like to understand the "why" of what I am doing.
Also Re; folding tires. Because they have a kevlar bead, and not a wire bead, getting them onto the rim can be considerably easier.
Front and rear tires have different purposes. The rear tire propels you, the front tire steers you. Having a front tire that grips better in turns than the rear is nice, as it allows for oversteer. Having the rear tire break free prior to the front in the turn is safer.
 

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I quite like folding Conti Trail Kings and Mountain Kings -- they come in 2.2 and 2.4 (if that would fit between your chainstays?)

I think Conti might be changing the tire a bit this season, so you can pick up the "old" ones pretty cheap online.
 

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Kenda still makes several 26" tires. I use Kenda Nevegal Pro's on the 26" bikes we still have in the garage. Great tire.

Kenda's 26" tires...

Small Block 8 comes in 26x1.9
Nevegal and Excavator in 1.95
Kozmik and Karma come in 26x2.
Karma also in 2.2

If you can fit bigger than 2.2, Nevegal Pro's, Nexcavator Pro and Excavator Pro.

WTB also makes 26" versions of their Trail Boss (2.25), Vigilante (2.3), Velociraptor (2.1) and Warden (2.3). The Vigilante and Trail Boss are a great front/rear (respectively) combo.

Just gotta determine what tread will work best for you.
 

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Folding bead tyres are lighter, and they usually have a grippier rubber compound.

You don't need matching size or tread front to rear.

The Panaracer Fire Pro is outdated. It's a no.

The Maxxis Ikon and Ardent Race are tyres loved by many. If you don't want to spend $65 each then go with the Continentals,
F = Trail King or Cross King
R = Cross King or Race King
Nothing wrong with the Panaracers, i used to run tyem and theyre decent. My go to is Schwable Hans Dampfs, great all around pretty aggressive tire, but 2.35 width might not fit.
I just picked up a pair of Specialized Ground Controls (the originals S� used to be my fave back in the days) for my �monstercross� setup as theyre available 2.1. They work pretty well, smaller shallower knobs roll faster. They�re available in 26�.
 
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