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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm riding in my first endurance races this year, with A racing being the Brek 68. I would like to go tubeless for the first time this year as well, but am not sure about how thick of a casing to go with, or if I should go with a full UST tire. I have Mavic UST rims and intend on using a sealent. I will be riding in Colorado, and Laramie. I will not be competing for position, but would like to beat someone, and finish.

I am looking at picking up a hard pack tire set, and a loose or rougher conditions tire set. Current contenders for the hard pack tire are the Racing Ralph and the Specialized Fast Track. Loose or tough conditions are the Mountain King or Specialized Captin up front and the hard pack tire out back. All tires will likely be in the 2.2 to 2.25 size.

My question is:
Given the choice between the light (Evo / S-works), medium weight (Snake Skin / Control), and UST (Tubeless / Grid) weight casing, which one will get me over the finish line with the least amount of time, the least amount of effort, and give good handeling?

Tire pressures I usualy run are 26 to 30 front, 30 to 35 back depending on tire and need for pinch flat protection. I weight 180.
Bike will be a 09 Stumpjumer full suspention (110/140 front, 120 back).

Thanks,
Chad
 

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i've been a tubeless guy for several years now. when i ran 2.1's i had a one or two torn sidewalls a year. after switching to 2.25 schwalbe racing ralphs i had zero flats or torn tires in training or racing and that included the growler, breck 100, colorado trail race, ect... i think the extra float of a slightly larger tire allows you to pin it on the descents with no worries. i ride a carbon Giant 26" hardtail, old school all the way!
schwalbe rocket ron's are also a good race tire and fat albert's are a great all around tire
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DWJ,

I've heard nothing but great thing about the racing ralph and do want to give them a try.

What casing were you using for the Racing Ralph? Evo, Snake skin, Tubeless?

Thanks,
Chad
 

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You don't need UST, but IMO, you don't want a super-thin sidewall, either. I've had good luck with the Racing Ralph Snakeskin, and wouldn't go near the regular version for tubeless conversion unless my trail conditions were nearly rock free.

I've also had reports from my LBS manager that the Specialized S-Works Tubliss tires are nearly impossible to seal up (confirmed by Specy rep), and that one level down from S-Works work great.

IMO, just by picking up a tire in your hand and feeling the casing integrity, you can tell if it is REALLY a viable candidate for tubeless conversion.
 

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crossmark ust

A while back I went through about a tire(non-ust) every two weeks due to sidewall tears. I decided to go with maxxis crossmark UST, and I've had one issue in the last 3 years.

Just started riding 29ers, I haven't thrown on a UST yet, but I'm about to. I've had a WTB bead break, yeah break, and a crossmark(non-ust) sidewall tear and a kenda small block eight tear. Miles ridden ~200.....

I learned a lesson a few years back, that if you are competitive, the weight of the tires won't keep you from the podium, however a flat tire will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for your well thought out responses. Picking the right tire to a tubeless application can be surprisingly complicated as there’s a lot of mixed information out there about durability, particularly in the regular tire converted to tubeless category.

I’m going to pick up one snake skin / protection type casing tire, and an UST tire for training and see what works best for me.
 

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@CDS123 - any results of using your tires? Please post your findings.

My $0.02:
I love Schwalbe tires, I have only used UST versions of RaRa and NoNi. I have not had any problems with them, they are very robust. The NoNi in 2.25 is a pretty high volume tire BTW. I ride in mostly hardpack with some summer sand and sharp basalt rocks.

I've always wanted to try the RoRo but was put off by the lightweight casing. Anyone out there have experience?

I also want to try Schwalbe Double Defense and/or Snakeskin protection, but the cost is high to just TRY every tire out there. Anyone?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I run a 2.1 captain in front, and 2.0 fast track in rear, both tubeless on Mavic crossrock UST rims on my SS. Had this setup for about three years, and have never had an issue with the casing leaking or tearing when running 25psi front and rear. And thats here in central PA/northern MD (ie; razor blades for rocks.) The 2Bliss tires are amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have not pulled the trigger on a tubeless set up, but did get a pinch flat, and a goat head flat this weekend (running tubed). That's enough to get me motivated for a sealant system.

I've decided on getting the rocket ron in a tubeless 2.25 and the racing ralph 2.25 in snake skin. I'll get them mounted up and see what kind of performance / durability I get out of them. I'm getting on the dirt about twice a week nowadays, so it will be a few weeks before I can comment about the durability, longer if it snows. I also want to switch them front to back and see if one or the other casing provides a more stable / confidence inspiring platform in the front for cornering.

Thanks again for everyone's input.
 

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CDS123 said:
Have not pulled the trigger on a tubeless set up, but did get a pinch flat, and a goat head flat this weekend (running tubed). That's enough to get me motivated for a sealant system.

I've decided on getting the rocket ron in a tubeless 2.25 and the racing ralph 2.25 in snake skin. I'll get them mounted up and see what kind of performance / durability I get out of them. I'm getting on the dirt about twice a week nowadays, so it will be a few weeks before I can comment about the durability, longer if it snows. I also want to switch them front to back and see if one or the other casing provides a more stable / confidence inspiring platform in the front for cornering.

Thanks again for everyone's input.
Great options, go for it....

really the requirement for sidewall strength and endurance requirements is as much set by the rider, then the terrain....

A very precise "light" rider probably doesn't need UST....

A more "downhillish" rider probably needs the UST.
 

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I know folks that raced in places like Moab and did very well with the snakeskin Ralphs.

Myself, I can't see using much less than the equivalent of the Bonty TLR. Flatting sucks.
 

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I've raced a variety of terrain types on the Evo sidewall Racing Ralphs. This included the 24 hours of Moab. No issues whatsoever. I'm 185 on a 29er FS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quick follow up b/c NC2WA requested.

I ended up getting a full UST Racing Ralph for the back, and UST Rocket Ron for the front, mostly because I have a full UST rim and I really just wanted a system that's light, works reliably, can be changed the day before a race and wasn’t going to leak, and wasn't going to be gaining weight all summer while the Stans sealant was drying and needing replacement.

This is my first tubeless tire set up, and they certainly do ride great. Running the front at 30 psi, the back at 32 psi and they ride like there is much lower pressure in the tire, but don't have any casing squirm. Really happy with the ride characteristics. Went over a rock garden and heard my rim pinch the tire, but haven't seen signs of a pinch flat, so I guess they're fairly robust.

Tires were a total PIA to mount initially. Lots of cussing and I broke two tire levers. Once mounted, pressurized, and stretched out, I can get them on and off by hand and it's no longer an issue.

The tires aren't really fully air tight without tire sealant. Mine were going flat within 24 hr when run dry (side walls leak). Consequently, I squired a heck of a lot of Slime tire sealant into the tires on initial set up; tires sealed up great, but felt slow on my first few rides. Took out the extra sealant, and measured out 2 oz of slime for the second install and the tires became a lot easier to peddle.

The Racing Ralph truly is only for dry conditions. I thought they would perform well in slightly damp spring conditions, and I was mistaken. The RaRA packed with wet sand and wet dirt at every opportunity, compromising traction. By damp I mean you can see an imprint of your tires center tred in the dirt after you roll through, this is by no means mud. Rocket Ron did great in these mixed conditions and had no packing up issues.

The tires never felt like the rocket ships I was hoping they would be. Maybe my expectations were too high, could be the weight of the UST tire, could be damp trails, could be spring time legs, don't know. The ride is great, the reliability looks to be good so far, and dry traction is excellent. I may be looking for a second RoRo for the back to better handle mixed conditions.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Damp trails makes for a slow ride.

I got out last night an fully dry trails. The tire combo has pulled 6 minutes off a 750 ft grany gear climb, 36 min down to 30 min. Heart rates are nearly identical. Bike feels easyer to peddle.

Previous tires were Specialized Captin 2.2 and Maxis Ardent with tubes.
 

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Don't rule out Michelin Mountain Dry2 completely either. Its a fast, grippy tire with incredible puncture protection too.
 

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I recently mounted up and have been riding a set of 29er Conti Race Kings. They were by far the easiest tires to mount up and seal with Stans I've tried (and I have tried quite a few). These went on 355's. The tire casings spin very true - no squirm. The tires ride very fast - low rolling resistance. I made sure I picked up the newer 2.2 version of the tire, as the originals actually came in closer to a 1.9. Anyway - raced them once in a 3-hour event with a lot of rocks and roots and they held up great. Highly recommended.
 

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Conit Race Kings

Race Kings get my vote on the 2.2's. I tried the ralphs and had trouble with rock gardens during the breck 100. I run the Race Kings since last summer and love them.
 

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I've had good luck in tough conditions with the Geax Saguaro TNTs 2.0 (they come bigger as well) with Stans-low rolling resistance, thick sidewall protection, pretty light.
 
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