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Discussion Starter #1
My Nokians finally arrived on Monday and I have had the opportunity to compare them to the RRs . I tested both sets on the Epic.
Weight:
RR-452,491g
Nokian-477,479g

First- the Nokians mount very easily. No tire levers required, just a little persuasion with the fingers. A plus if you need to change a tube in a race.

Rolling Resistance: TIE
Both tires roll very fast. It would be difficult for me to say one was quicker than the other, but both were noticeably faster than the Python Airlights. With both tires, easing off the brakes in certain sections gives you the sensation of accelerating. Both exceptional!

Cornering- NOKIAN NBX LITE
A week ago I would have bet that the RR was the best cornering tire available..not now. The Nokian doesn't seem to have a limit as to how hard you can carve into a turn. Even later into the ride I intentionally took some of the S-bends too fast with the intention of having this tire drift, plow, wash-out...this never happened. It is very confidence inspiring. In a few turns there was tiny bits of twigs and leaves and the Nokian tracked true through them all.

Wet sections- NOKIAN NBX LITE
Through the wet section of the course (maybe a couple hundred feet) the Nokian did a great job. The knobs shed the mud quickly. Through this section last week the RR packed up immediately. Right after the wet section is a 100yd long flat section with very small rock and pebbles, the RR picked up a ton of the rocks and made the tires feel like concrete, I had to unclip and use my shoe to clean the tire as I rolled along. The second lap packed on enough mud to slow the tire from having all the mud jammed in the chain stays and brakes.

Off camber and Ruts- SCWALBE RR
The Nokian really felt sketchy here. Ruts were the biggest problem. The Nokians don't really like to traverse the ruts at any angle but rather follow them. Same when on the off-camber stuff. Some parts of the trail make the "U"-shape with the banks on the side and the Nokian felt horrible. It did not feel like holding a spot on the bank. The Nokians felt slow and unresponsive (@ 1 point I checked to see if the front had punctured), which was very surprising given that the side treads did so well in the turns.

Right now the nod goes to the Nokian NBX LITE. Unfortunately, I can already tell that the Nokian is going to wear much faster. The compound is very soft.

I hope this helps, seeing that these seem to be the two WW racing tires at the moment.
XC
 

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thanks...

thanks for the detailed report.

i hardly remember the Fast Fred.it must be 2 or 3 years i last mounted one on my bike and only on the rear but what i do remember is that you could hardly ever touch the brakes or it would wash out.definitely a fast tire (i'd say fastest is Nokian,Fast Fred,Twister SS in that order although the difference among these tires is really only marginal).seeing the limited use of the Fast Fred (only dry hardpack,no loose stuff at all) i never ever gave it a try again.

for me the Nokian is still the best tire also grip-wise. sounds strange that you had problems in off-camber situations.I'd guess you had a bit too much pressure then which makes you ride on the soft edge knobs only.the rubber is real soft so those knobs might fold and give you that feeling you described.i'd say a tiny bit less pressure could help in that you would ride not only on the sideknobs but the tire would have a bit bigger footprint. so far i haven't had any problems gripwise. BUT i really have to run different pressures as with other tires.

for me (155 lbs) it works best with 37psi rear / 40 psi front. the more pressure the faster but grip and comfort start to suffer.

but the difference in speed of this tire is awesome.one has to experience this sensation to believe it. it's incredible at how much power tires actually eat away just with rolling resistance. if you switch from brand XY to the Nokians you will immediately feel how fast these tires roll.
 

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Trail rider and racer
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Great now I really do have to get another set of tyres!!

Thanks xctearor for that really solid report, its nice to read a review that is not all numbers and math :)

I feel like I am stuck back in the dark riding my Hutchinson Pythons, I really think they are the best, but it is very clear that there is something much better out their...

Can I ask, Did you use the tyres with tubes or latex/tubeless setup and also what were the pressures you were using.... Finally where did you get your tyres? Where is the cheapest source too (If you know of one!)

Cheers, and thanks for the good report
Trevor!
 

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chips & bier
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Slight addition

I haven't plucked up the courage to try the skinny Lites on gravel yet, so so far I've been running the NBX 2.1"(570-590 g) on my FS rig. This is the only tire I've come across that I've actually been able to lean through sharp turns, OVER WET ROOTS, without drifting. Absolutely amazing. I agree with the sketchiness a bitr, though.
 

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xctearor said:
My Nokians finally arrived on Monday and I have had the opportunity to compare them to the RRs . I tested both sets on the Epic.
Weight:
RR-452,491g
Nokian-477,479g
...

How much do you weigh?
 

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I love Pisgah
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Ok, that does it. I gotta try the NBXs now. The humanity(said the dude with waaay toomany tires already)

Thanks..um..I guess.. for a great comparison. Seriously tho, perfect context in all aspects.


Duck
 

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On your left.
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I'll take Racing Ralph

XCTearor, I bought my RRs because of your review a few weeks ago. You were the only rider of my weight to have tried them. I was going to create a thread detailing my experience with them but your format is so much better I'll just use it (hope you don't mind - saves time and I need to get back to work).


I tested an NBX lite on the rear and the RR 2.1 front and back on my Blur.
Weight:
RR - 490,491g
Nokian - did not weigh

First: My Nokian mounted easily to an x3.1 rim and sealed quickly with Stan's latex. The Scwalbes mounted less easily, definitely required soapy water and a compressor, but sealed quickly by riding immediately after adding the latex.

Second: I ride race in San Diego, I'm 6'4" and weigh 185# - only noted due to relavance for tire selection.

Rolling Resistance: Racing Ralph
They seem the same (both very good) to me in the dirt, but the RR is faster and quieter on the road. However note that I only had the NBX on the rear.

Cornering - Racing Ralph
There is certainly room for improvement with the RR in softer soil, but overall they handle much, MUCH more predictably for me than the NBX. That is the number 1 factor for me - consistency. Sometimes the NBX had lots of traction and sometimes it had none. The RR maybe does not achieve the max traction of the NBX but it has very even handling and braking. The RR has the same amount of cornering traction as the Conti Vapor (a full knobbie) I had in front. I pushed both tires beyond their limit. On solid dry trails the RR in the rear can begin to washout, in looser soil the front will push and ultimately washout, the front and rear seem pretty well balanced and weight transer (typically forward) can be used to maximize traction. The NBX in the rear either just goes straight or washes out into oversteer. The RR is great transitioning from braking to cornering or even braking mid corner Power could be applied much sooner exiting a corner on the RR than the NBX. So for me the RR is better entering, through and exiting corners than the NBX. The RR allows much lower pressures than the NBX. I ran the NBX at 55psi, the RR at 40psi front and rear and even at that the NBX sidewall rolled over which is why I never even tried it on the front. The RR climbs great while still providing good cush. The NBX was cushier, but also spongy in response to acceleration. Much of the inconsistency of the NBX is likely due to the fact I had to run high pressures just to limit the sidewall folding over. Even so the NBX is terrible on the road and I often ride many miles on the road to get to a trail.

Emergencies - Racing Ralph
I found myself overcooking a few corners, hitting particulary rough sections wrong or having to abrubtly stop or alter my line for a hiker or another rider and the RRs were always "there" for me.


Wet sections- NBX LITE
I ride in very little mud, but the NBX sheds mud very well.


Off camber and Ruts- Racing Ralph
I don't particularly like how either climbs out of ruts, but the RR avoided dropping into ruts much better. The RR is unusually good in off camber turns - better than the Vapor I had on the front.


No doubt for me the Racing Ralph is the way to go. It is now my standard choice as a racing tire. The Python Airlight is demoted to my standard training tire. I initially thought the RR would wear very well, but I already see some wear and predict based on the low knobs the performance will suffer with wear. These are a dry condition racing tire and I will have to only use them the week of a race or buy them frequently. However the NBX wore quicker and the knobbies got torn off on rocks. The RR has been durable to some pretty severe rocks. I can see for lighter riders on less rocky and more loamey (sp?) trails the NBX could be the equal or better than the RR.
 

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Has anyone ever tried the Schwalbe Jimmy Light SOFT Front Only? That rubber (Schwalbe told me) rolls slower, but supposedly corners better than what's used on the RR. I really like that tire, and so do my friends. The 550g Big Jim SOFT Front Only goes even a bit further.
For quite some time now, I chose well cornering tires for the front, and well rolling for the rear. The front only gets about 40% or the rolling resistance anyway (depending on your weight distribution).
Unfortunately, none of the mentioned tires exist in 29". My now ideal setup is Bontrager ACX Jones (lotsea knob) front, WTB Nanoraptor (many little knobs, almost like inverted thread) rear. The Jones corners better than the best 26" XC tire I've ever tried (Jimmy SOFT, RR 2.1"), the Nanoraptor is just a decently rolling choice for the rear, and offers more traction than you could expect from a 26" full knob. I'll pay serious money for some 29x2.1" 500-550g Racing Ralphs!!!
 

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My thoughts on the Racing Ralphs (UST)

I thought I would express my thoughts on the RR, UST version righ now, but IMHO the tread performace is the same wether UST or Regular tires.

CONERING:
On the front I am not happy with these tires on anythig that is loose on top of hardpack (mulch, crushed coral rocks and other natural matter.).
The tire seems to wash out very quicly and loose it's grip. On soft soil and roots they are ok, but excel on smooth hardpack. The bacj does well with some slipping and skidding under braking but not really an issue or problem. They roll really fast and nice into and out of turns.

BRAKING:
OIn the front wheel braking is fine and no issues, On the rear it has a tendancy to skid out and break loose very easliy under modest braking. Rolls really fast once you let go of the brakes.

ROLLING RESISTANCE:
These tires roll really well over any surface with speed. IMHO, they are a tad faster than the Pythons and the Mosquitos.

Pressure was run at 34psi in front and 37psi in back with 2.1 UST Version.

Overall I rate these an exceptional HARDPACK ONLY tires.
Now after 2 ;aps at one trail head (14 miles total) I procceded to change the front tire to a Schwalbe Big Jum 2.25 UST on front and the bikes performance was way better and handaling was great. I ran the BJ at 32psi and it one of the best All-Round tires I have used.

Depending on the trails conditions I will use the BJ 2.25/RR 2.1 over my favorite comdo of the Mosquito/Pyhton which I will use on the more technical trails due to the run better at lower psi than the schwalbe and the mosquito/python be just a tad better on wet root and moist trails.
 

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I want to see...

the Kenda Karma DTC's thrown into the comparison. I keep hearing good things about them, they are readily available, and supposedly have very low rolling resistance, but there are no comparisons as far as that goes with the RR's and the NBX's that I know of. Anyone?
 

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I used the Kenda Blue Groove 2.0

and they rolled as well and gripped just as good as the RR.
I used these latex sealed and they really kicked but! I kust wanted tires with a little taller knobs and UST. The BG are an excellent tire, light and a true 2.0 unlike the NBX.
 

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Everyone Beat me to it

I was going to write a nice review about my test rides with the NBX. But it looks like the above description sums it up quite well.

So far I rode my NBX lites on two style of trails. One very fast and the other short and extremly twisty.

It took my a bit to get used to these tires because they are tricky to get the right feel and ride out of them. I also had to drop the pressure down a little because I felt 44 was a little to much to maintain a consistent grip. On the twisty track let me tell you these things just would let go of the track. Freaking amazing. I was scared for once in my life that I was going to hit every tree because how hard I push these tires. I leaned hard and wow they just stuck... Like a roller coaster.

On the downside. I felt the tires a little squirmy in the off camber stuff also as above. But when I lowered the pressure that went away.

I Have two bad points.
1.) These tires don't seem any faster rolling than my Rockster Sworks tires. In fact if the terrain gets just a tad soft I felt as if the tires sunk into the ground because of riding on those skinny rails. I may have just been tired but thats what I felt.

2.) For a 2.0 the are for sure way skinny. But hey so am I. Big difference I dont weigh much the tires do! For a 1.85 tire (Looks like) they are heavy.


Two Good Points
1.) Lean into the the curves and these puppys will lock you in for a nice ride. I love speed boy do I and I love being able to just let it go and rely on the tires for once.

2.) Price. I bought mine for 30 bucks from Alfred E. Bike. This bike shop is a 30 minute drive from me so I went and picked them up. Great bunch of guys there. The supplier they use is Quality Bike Product. It took them three days to get them in. If you buy from them expect the same 3 days before they are shipped to you.

Thanks everyone for the reviews on these tires. I think this thread will help clear up all the confusion. I certainly had some before I bought these tires. I am still getting the RR tires just because I would like something with a bit more air in them. I will use them for my longer rides and my 12 hour events I love to do.
 

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watch the tire pressure...

thanks too for the detailed description BUT what i read here about the Nokian is about 100% the contrary from what i experience so i sat down and thought for a minute what could be the reason for that....your tire pressure!

55 psi i way too much even if you are quite a bit heavier.remember - i use them at 37 f/40 r psi. that's about 3 psi more than i use on wider tires. I'd say with your weight no more than 45-47 psi should be needed.the slightly higher pressure is just to fight pinchflatting of that tiny tire.

by running them at such high pressures you don't allow the carcass to be supple and to work.you ride on top of those skinny,soft knobs which in fact are the reason for that "fold over" symptom you describe.no tire will fold on a rim! it's the knobs that gave you that strange sensation and that's really just because you started already with too high pressure settings and went even higher after...

you say it makes awful noise on pavement...again this is because the high pressure makes the tiny,soft knobs stick out and they get folded.

lower that pressure and you'll get rewarded with tons of grip and added speed!
 

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more Racing Ralph blather

nino said:
thanks too for the detailed description BUT what i read here about the Nokian is about 100% the contrary from what i experience so i sat down and thought for a minute what could be the reason for that....your tire pressure!

55 psi i way too much even if you are quite a bit heavier.remember - i use them at 37 f/40 r psi. that's about 3 psi more than i use on wider tires. I'd say with your weight no more than 45-47 psi should be needed.the slightly higher pressure is just to fight pinchflatting of that tiny tire.

by running them at such high pressures you don't allow the carcass to be supple and to work.you ride on top of those skinny,soft knobs which in fact are the reason for that "fold over" symptom you describe.no tire will fold on a rim! it's the knobs that gave you that strange sensation and that's really just because you started already with too high pressure settings and went even higher after...

you say it makes awful noise on pavement...again this is because the high pressure makes the tiny,soft knobs stick out and they get folded.

lower that pressure and you'll get rewarded with tons of grip and added speed!
That is very perceptive and possibly true. I did start with about 50 psi in these tires and initially liked them for the traction. However I tried lower pressures, down to about 40 it just did not work (and yes they literally fold over - as in threaten to come off the rim) for me so I bumped it back up in increments to even 65 psi. That is how I determined that 50 - 55 psi was the best compromise for me. I'd consider re-trying them but the low durability to rocks (many knobbies are torn), wierd interaction with my suspension and the fact I gave it away to a friend will prevent that.

Nino, have you ridden the RR? I searched and did not find that you had.

Here is an update on the RR based on my race yesterday (Sagebrush Safari). First, this was a muddy race and I was kicking myself at the start for having them on the bike. The entire course was damp from recent light rains and there were many large puddles covering the entire trail. Well, it's not like I came even close to the podium or anything but that is due to fitness and stiff competition (the podium in my category had the about the same time as Jimena Florit). But these racing ralphs are just awesome and were a large part of me having a great race which has re-energized my training. I love climbing, descending and singletracking on these. They are just a very good tire for me. As far as mud goes they did occasionally pack up, but completely cleared when speed increased and even when packed still had excellent traction. I was surprised they did so well.
 

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no , i didn't try the RR...

...and most probably never will.
according to the german magazines (3 different ones!) who usually give pretty favourable comments on anything from germany the RR is indeed a very fast and good tire and a weapon for marathon races etc. BUT it has its limitations which is anything loose (gravel,sand,mud).only in dry conditions it's a perfect race tire.
sounds pretty close to the Fast Fred which also is a very fast tire with even bigger limitations.Marathon races are realli big over here in Europe and the RR is a favourite among marathonistis because it has a sturdier sidewall than the Nokian too.

the Nokian however was found to be the "quadrature of the circle" means a tire that can do everything.it's the fastest tire,grips excellent everywhere except in deepest mud and is pretty light too.

we have lots of gravel fireroads and mixed terrain and the Nokian excells everywhere. and the difference this tire makes on the stopwatch is unreal.
 

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I love Pisgah
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I have a few times. Fast tires for sure. Great rear. I hate them as a front. Way too loose for me except pure hardpack.
 

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DIRT BOY said:
Overall I rate these an exceptional HARDPACK ONLY tires.
Now after 2 ;aps at one trail head (14 miles total) I procceded to change the front tire to a Schwalbe Big Jum 2.25 UST on front and the bikes performance was way better and handaling was great. I ran the BJ at 32psi and it one of the best All-Round tires I have used.
I run BlackJack 2.1 front, RR 2.1 rear for quite some time, and this combination works very well not only on hardpack.
 

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nino said:
...and most probably never will.
Your loss. ;)

They are not very good as a front tire, but they are better then Nokian on the rear - in most of the conditions.
 

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Yup, The RR are scary on gravel...

and they are horrible on what we call "Sugar Sand" here in Florida.
When you hit patches of this deep, fine and soft sand you have NO CONTROL! The Python are better in these situations than the RR IMHO.
 
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