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Discussion Starter #1
Need recommendations for 29" aggressive XC/trail; all-mountain (light enduro?) tires.

Howdy,

I'm getting a base-model Kona Honzo pretty soon, and plan to keep it for a long time and upgrade it as I go. It is replacing my Giant XTC 29er and I intend to use it for the same purposes, i.e. -- everything.

I'm excited to be on a hardtail with modern geometry for a change, though I must admit I had a lot of fun on my Giant. I currently run Vittoria Barzo 2.25s and have been pretty happy with them. They are quite light and roll very fast, though there are a lot of situations where they are not quite enough tire for what I'm doing, plus they're on skinny old-school rims. I have a feeling the Honzo is going to see me riding even faster and harder than I should.;) -- so what I'm after is something with a little more volume and a little more aggression in the corners, but not quite a Maxxis Minion, if that makes any sense.

The Honzo comes with 29mm wide (inner dimension) rims, so already a 2.25" tire is going to spread out a lot more than they do on my Giant. It comes with WTB Trail Boss Comps, which are 2.25" -- and probably fine, but they are wire-bead/tube-only and likely a lot heavier than they need to be. I want to run tubeless right away.

I ride lots of actual XC, but some of it has extensive root and rock gardens and occasionally I'll be on trails that resemble a WC DH course.:D Dirt conditions are usually "hero dirt" in my neck of the woods, but things do get greasy when wet.

My go-to tires for my big bike are 2.5" Minions and I don't see that changing. I know what they do, and I'd love them on the Honzo except for the weight and rolling resistance penalty. I don't think I need or want that much tire, especially in the rear. I do think that 2.3" is kind of at the upper end of what I need. I like to go fast on flatter sections, not just fall-line/DH style trails; and I regularly do 35 mile+ rides where heavy/overly grippy tires get old real fast.

TL/DR: It seems that what I'm after is kind of in between XC and enduro, and I really don't know where to start. Can you help me out?
 

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Dhr2 front and Minion SS rear. I run the Specialized version of this combo (Butcher f and Slaughter r) and it rolls significantly faster than my other bike that’s running double Butchers.
 

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Between XC, and enduro riding you say? Isn’t that basically the definition of normal “trail” riding/tires?

I’d still try to use something more aggressive on the front, since there isn’t much (as much) rolling resistance penalty. You may try your minion in the front and see how you like it.

For the back something easier to pedal seems most popular.

Schwalbe Hans dampf , maxxiss aggressor/dissector, WTB trail boss (in 2.4, or 2.6in rear), Michelin wild enduro rear/wild enduro all mountain, etc.
 

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For general trail riding I really like the 2.3 dhf and a 2.3 minion ss.

The onza porcupine is also proving good as a front/rear combo in 2.4.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I'm running a 2.4" DHR2 front and Rekon rear on my hardtail. This is my favorite set up so far. I also like semislicks for fast rolling rear tires for aggressive riding but my hardtail is my wet weather bike so I run more of an all arounder.
 

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NedwannaB
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Howdy,

I'm getting a base-model Kona Honzo pretty soon, and plan to keep it for a long time and upgrade it as I go. It is replacing my Giant XTC 29er and I intend to use it for the same purposes, i.e. -- everything.

I'm excited to be on a hardtail with modern geometry for a change, though I must admit I had a lot of fun on my Giant. I currently run Vittoria Barzo 2.25s and have been pretty happy with them. They are quite light and roll very fast, though there are a lot of situations where they are not quite enough tire for what I'm doing, plus they're on skinny old-school rims. I have a feeling the Honzo is going to see me riding even faster and harder than I should.;) -- so what I'm after is something with a little more volume and a little more aggression in the corners, but not quite a Maxxis Minion, if that makes any sense.

The Honzo comes with 29mm wide (inner dimension) rims, so already a 2.25" tire is going to spread out a lot more than they do on my Giant. It comes with WTB Trail Boss Comps, which are 2.25" -- and probably fine, but they are wire-bead/tube-only and likely a lot heavier than they need to be. I want to run tubeless right away.

I ride lots of actual XC, but some of it has extensive root and rock gardens and occasionally I'll be on trails that resemble a WC DH course.:D Dirt conditions are usually "hero dirt" in my neck of the woods, but things do get greasy when wet.

My go-to tires for my big bike are 2.5" Minions and I don't see that changing. I know what they do, and I'd love them on the Honzo except for the weight and rolling resistance penalty. I don't think I need or want that much tire, especially in the rear. I do think that 2.3" is kind of at the upper end of what I need. I like to go fast on flatter sections, not just fall-line/DH style trails; and I regularly do 35 mile+ rides where heavy/overly grippy tires get old real fast.

TL/DR: It seems that what I'm after is kind of in between XC and enduro, and I really don't know where to start. Can you help me out?
If you're happy with Vittoria, stick with what you know. Like maybe a Morsa for the back and Goma up front?
 

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Bontrager xr3's in 2.4 are pretty freakin good.
Yeah, have generally been a maxxis rider but got sick of killing rear tires, XR2 and XR3 worn out with no severe punctures or cuts. Carcass feels better too I felt.

Funny, I have a Honzo that I'm looking for similar setup (same usage, big rides but mild to wild). I've been on very XC tires for speed and am over it. My thinking is trying either 2.4 Rekon or 2.4 XR4 up front, XR3 or ikon rear.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, have generally been a maxxis rider but got sick of killing rear tires, XR2 and XR3 worn out with no severe punctures or cuts. Carcass feels better too I felt.

Funny, I have a Honzo that I'm looking for similar setup (same usage, big rides but mild to wild). I've been on very XC tires for speed and am over it. My thinking is trying either 2.4 Rekon or 2.4 XR4 up front, XR3 or ikon rear.
The Rekon looks promising; and the Ikon on the rear seems like a good combo. Care to elaborate on that comment "very XC tires for speed and am over it?"

I definitely care about speed, as I am hoping to do at least one endurance XC race this year and can't afford to really have multiple tires to choose from and also don't want to fuss with changing tubeless tires back and forth. I also have some Strava sections that are more "all-mountain" for lack of a better term, that I'd like to grab KOM on this year -- and it will not be possible with full-on gravity tires. I do have an aggressive full-suspension bike that I split the time with, so at least last year, I was able to get by on one set of tires on my hardtail.

I'm leery of even most of the 2.4" offerings from Maxxis -- I know they'll mostly be amazing when it's steep and gnarly, but at what tradeoff on the flatter sections and pedaling out of corners? I'd run a 2.3" Minion up front, but from what I've gathered they really aren't any lighter than the 2.5" version that I'm used to, so I'm not sure there's much of an advantage to running a smaller one, other than maybe rolling resistance.

It's a bit of a conundrum, because I do want grip, but I want lightweight and fast rolling too.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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IME, 2.5 29er minions are too much tire and make the bike sluggish for handling. Some people love big heavy tires, but at that point they held me back more than they let me go fast (DH and enduro racing). On smaller sized wheels, the difference isn't so dramatic, but the 2.5 minions went over the tipping point for me.
 

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The XR4 rolls a bit faster than the DHR2 and is totally adequate for trail riding. My only quibble is the tire is pretty round and the side knobs don't bite and have feedback like Minions do.
 

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The tire you want probably doesn't exist, the closest one I know of is the Michelin Wild AM but I don't think it'll be as fast as you want it to be on a 29mm wide rim. 23-25mm is the sweet spot for the tire and it'll do everything you want it to, go wider than that and it flattens out the profile too much and starts slowing down and handling a bit wonky. The Vittoria Goma or Morsa will work well on your setup as long as it's dry or hero dirt, if it gets wet & greasy there's a high chance of a hospital trip.

The Bonty XR4 gets a lot of love but I'm not a fan of it, as a rear tire it's fine but on the front it doesn't lock in and give me the feedback I'm used to. I generally ride tires with a large open channel between the centre and side knobs and there's a secure feel they all have that the XR4 doesn't. The XR5 will likely fix that but I haven't had a chance to test one out yet. If it works like a mini G5 (which I have ridden), the XR4/XR5 combo will likely be your best bet.

Also ridden the Maxxis Rekon and Forekaster and wasn't impressed, they were about the same rolling speed as the Michelin Wild AM but the Michelins locked in & cornered better and they were also the better tires for wet greasy mud.
 

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What size rear tire can the Honzo fit? I did a quick search, and found a thread saying that the max rear tire size is 2.3in wide.

You can see some photos of the clearance in the thread below.

https://forums.mtbr.com/kona/2019-kona-honzo-29er-base-tire-size-1096465.html

If you're looking for more volume/compliance in the tire, it doesn't look like you have many options for anything larger than what it comes with stock. Which will also keep you more on the XC/Trail side of things in terms of tire offerings.
 

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The Rekon looks promising; and the Ikon on the rear seems like a good combo. Care to elaborate on that comment "very XC tires for speed and am over it?"
Yeah, so I used to run 2.5 DHF up front with a 2.3 aggressor rear. Put Ikons on and it brought the bike to life and made me much faster overall (I'm in AZ where there is often an abundance of traction FYI). Have slowly peeled grip away, finding like an Ikon or Aspen front and Aspen or Rekon race rear is fastest overall. Problem is when you're doing gnar up and gnar down, the time saved on the up outweighs the time lost down, so overall 'KOM' performance favors light sketchy tires.

I've recently decided to look for something that is less of a compromise on the downs (despite insisting on being fast up), would like to get back to attacking the downs more vs managing grip and flimsy sidewalls.

DHF I feel is probably further than I want to go, but a 2.3 + minion SS rear is somewhat tempting. Also dissector (haven't looked into much but specs look good) might be interesting as a front.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
What size rear tire can the Honzo fit? I did a quick search, and found a thread saying that the max rear tire size is 2.3in wide.

You can see some photos of the clearance in the thread below.

https://forums.mtbr.com/kona/2019-kona-honzo-29er-base-tire-size-1096465.html

If you're looking for more volume/compliance in the tire, it doesn't look like you have many options for anything larger than what it comes with stock. Which will also keep you more on the XC/Trail side of things in terms of tire offerings.
Thanks for sharing that thread -- good info there. Yeah, I'm probably somewhat limited in the rear, but to me 2.3" width is good enough. I have plans eventually to get a 27.5"+ wheelset for winter riding, and then I'll have a lot more room for big tires. For summer riding though, I intend to keep the narrower (but not ridiculously narrow at 29mm) rims and keep it efficient for trail riding. A true 2.3" tire on a 29mm wide rim would already provide quite a noticeable increase in volume and compliance compared to what I'm used to.
 
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