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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have searched and found a number of similar threads. However, in those threads there is much discussion of speed and traction, but not much about road noise/buzz (or at least I didn't find it). I am willing to give up some speed and traction to get a smoother/quieter rolling tire.

I am looking for a tire that rolls smoothly and is quiet on pavement, yet is "trail-worthy". For my usage, I would define "trail-worthy" to be a tire that has a reasonable amount of traction on hard pack, has the ability to handle traversing off-camber exposed rock and roots both wet and dry, and has some compliance and pinch flat protection to deal with a plethora of exposed roots. Mud is not a concern. Speeds are generally low, so cornering traction is not a priority. I have never cut a sidewall.

The following tires seem to be mentioned frequently for this type of usage:

Nanoraptor
Crossmark
Small Block Eight
Fast Trak
Racing Ralph
Python
Larsen TT
Crow


Are any of these tires significantly quieter/smoother on pavement than the others?

Any other tires I should consider? Has anyone tried the Vulpine?



The Twin Rail also seems to get mentioned frequently. However, I have left it off the list because I don't think it meets my criteria for "trail-worthiness". My concern is that the twin rails would cause the tire to slip excessively when trying to climb over wet roots and rocks.



More details:


This is for a fully rigid 29er mountain bike that will be used for commuting to work. I have three primary routes to work:

1) Paved bike path - 5 miles each way.

2) Non-technical single track dirt trail that runs along the coast. Some roots and a small stretch of deep sand. 7 miles each way.

3) A cross country ski area lies directly between my house and office. There are a number of routes through this area with some intermediate single track. Mostly hard packed dirt with lots of exposed rock and roots. There is no mud to speak of, as the soil is quite sandy. However, the exposed rock and roots can be a bit treacherous when wet.

The trails are shared with equestrians and hikers (many with dogs on a 25ft. retractable leash). Therefore, speeds are kept low, so cornering traction is not a high priority. However, good climbing traction and a bit of traction when traversing wet off-camber roots and rocks would be a bonus. The trails are covered with exposed roots, and with no suspension, some compliance from the tires would be nice.



My likes and dislikes of the tires I have used for commuting (on my 26" bike) recently:

Jet S: Smooth and quiet on the pavement. Surprisingly good traction on wet roots and rocks. Reasonably compliant. Limited braking and climbing traction. Too many flats from shards of glass. I went through a stretch where I had 7 flats in 5 days. At that time, I switched to knobbies and haven't had a flat (from glass) since.

Python (first generation). Very compliant. Reasonably smooth rolling, but buzzes a bit on pavement. Decent traction wet and dry. However, I have gone down a couple of times because the front tire washed out abruptly (while traveling straight down hill over off camber sections that I expected to easily roll right over). This led me to try the Racing Ralphs, which is what I am using now.

Racing Ralph (first generation). Very fast rolling. Less compliant than the Python. Buzzes a bit on pavement (similar to the Python). Good grip in the dry. Abysmal grip on wet roots or rocks.


My ideal tire would be smooth rolling like the Jet S, have the flat resistance of a knobby, give more warning before breaking loose in the front than the (first generation) Python, and have more traction in the wet then the (first generation) Racing Ralph.
 

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A hopped on pop.
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i am currently running a 1.9 kenda karma up front an a 1.75 dry x rear on my monster cross. i ride about 36-45 miles on that bike at a time and about half of these miles are on paved roads.

the rear dry x is great. rolls fast and relatively quiet for the traction it gives. i would like to run one up front as well, but i cannot fit a 2.1 and prefer a 1.9. if i can keep my spin up, i can hold 20mph .

i am going to run a 2.1 nano front/sb8 rear on my 29er to make it abit more "road" friendly. i am not too fond of the sb8 though. when it looses traction, it is sudden and it spins out quite abit (but it is a fast, hard pack xc tire).

the nano is still one of my fav go fast tires.
 

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I run a 2.1 nano front/2.2 Maxis CrossMax rear on the road. Fairly quiet and good off-road traction.

Mud
 

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Always Learning
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Backmarker said:
I am looking for a tire that rolls smoothly and is quiet on pavement, yet is "trail-worthy". For my usage, I would define "trail-worthy" to be a tire that has a reasonable amount of traction on hard pack, has the ability to handle traversing off-camber exposed rock and roots both wet and dry, and has some compliance and pinch flat protection to deal with a plethora of exposed roots. Mud is not a concern. Speeds are generally low, so cornering traction is not a priority. I have never cut a sidewall.
Nanoraptor front and rear. They will last forever and take care of you quite well.

BB
 

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Expert Crasher
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I have not tried the Nanos but got 1000+ miles of pavement/commuting type use from a Crossmark, including approx 200 miles of singletrack use on the rear of my SS. In terms of grip to rolling resistance, it was a good performer.

They don' t make a Larsen in 29", though it would be good for what you seek. SB8 might as well, though the two I used (2.1 and 2.35) lacked competence on wet roots/rocks that you said you encounter.

You might be able to mix and match too, Crossmark front, Nano rear based on your likes/dislikes.
 

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Crossmark is the best I've ridden for your criteria but that only includes, R Ralphs, Bonty XR frt, Panaracer Fire Cross and Rampage (so loud on pavement I've considered ear plugs but also INCREDIBLE cornering traction so I still ride them on pavement to the trailhead).
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Fast Traks are real screamers on the road. Apart from that, it seems to do most all things better offroad than a Nano.

Why not Nano Rear, Weirwolf front? WW really rolls decently, and offroad feels fun, in a big kind of way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cloxxki said:
Fast Traks are real screamers on the road. Apart from that, it seems to do most all things better offroad than a Nano.

Why not Nano Rear, Weirwolf front? WW really rolls decently, and offroad feels fun, in a big kind of way.
When you say the Fast Traks are real "screamers", are you saying that they are really fast or really loud?
 
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