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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm searching for a good tire for this spring / summer in Northern California. I'll be using Stan's tubeless.

Conditions (basically all conditions):
Hardpack
Loose over hardpack
Gravel / Rock / Decomposed granite / sand
Some paved
Some wet / light mud​

Important Criteria:
Lightweight
Rolling resistance
Higher volume (cause I ride a hardtail and need the cush)
$20-40 Each​

Considering:

Kenda Karma DTC
Kenda Kozmik Lite II
Panaracer Razer XC
Hutchinson Python NG Air Light
Hutchinson Cobra Air Light​

Suggestions? Comments? I've never used any of these tires. I do have two sets of rims, so maybe I can set up a pair for fast racing and a pair for "other"...thanks!
 

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No good in rock gardens..
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A low knob front tyre isn't going to be the best in gravel or that sandy stuff or in light mud, especially on the corners.

I would run a larger, more aggressive tyre up front and a less agressive tyre on the back.

The Karma would be OK, with the 2.2 version up front and the 2.0 out back. I've used this combo in similar conditions to yours and quite liked it. The 2.2 Karma is deeper knobbed, not just a bigger casing. 2.1 Nevegal would also go well up front and be lighter than the 2.2 Karma.

Maxxis Ardent 2.25 up front, with a Monorail or Crossmark or Larsen TT out the back. The 2.1 Maxxis Rendez also works well on the front and is not too bad on the back either and is intended for loose surfaces.

Mountain King II 2.2 up front with a 2.2 Air King or Race King out the back.

The Razer is small for the stated size (like most Panaracers) and the Python struggles as a front tyre in that gravelly stuff. (close tread pattern and not much edge)
 

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No good in rock gardens..
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I have no experience on riding the Cobra. I've seen them in the flesh at the LBS and TBH I don't think any closely treaded tyre is a good pick for loose gravel, sand or even loose soil. The 2.1 Cobra is kind of small in reality.

The 2.1 Barracuda would be a better front tyre for loose conditions with the Cobra out the back. The Barracuda isn't light though, at around 650g for the 2.1 airlight version - but it's quite large and more like a 2.2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I see that the python air lights are not recommended with Stans / ghetto tubeless. I've seriously been considering them setup that way. Anyone have success?
 

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Sideknob's got it right. A fat tire up front with aggressive shoulder knobs and low,closely spaced center tread. Even though it will be heavy, it will not feel heavy. Save the weight weenie tire for the rear.

I've used the Kozmik Lite which is an older version of the Kozmik Lite II and man does that tire make the bike go like a rocket! I think it weighed just under 400 grams. If you like doing face plants,then by all means, put it on both the front and rear.LOL. It's a fragile tire too.

Currently I run a 2.5 Continental Diesel (860 fast rolling grams) on front and a Kenda Karma 2.0 on the rear. This suits my riding conditions perfectly. I'm not too fussy about what goes on the rear, as long as it's light (500 to 600 grams) and rolls fast.

I think it would be a good idea for you to buy a sub 400 gram set of hardpack tires and a typical AM fat tire setup just so you can experience the dramatic difference in performance. On hardpack, your legs will feel supercharged with the skinny light tires but in loose rugged terrain, you'll wish you never bought them. You just can't have your cake and eat it too. It takes a LOT of experimenting to find YOUR best tire. And even then there will still be some sort of a compromise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great info, fellas, thanks!

Riding close to Tahoe and misc riding this winter, I've been on 2.4 WTB Mutano Raptors, and found them to roll fairly well, but worthless in mud.

Last race season, I was on the since discontinued Forte Sherwood 2.1 both front and rear and found them to roll okay and I only crashed twice on a very wide variety of terrain. Tread is somewhat similar to the Karmas.

I'll probably try the Karma 2.0 front / Kozmik Lite II 2.0 rear for racing and Panaracers MX 2.3 / XC 2.1 for "other".

I'm not going any narrower on the rear cause it's a hardtail...
 

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vitiate said:
Great info, fellas, thanks!

Riding close to Tahoe and misc riding this winter, I've been on 2.4 WTB Mutano Raptors, and found them to roll fairly well, but worthless in mud.
I tried them a few years ago and thought they were a very fast rolling tire for the size and weight and good cornering grip in front. I let one of my riding buds try them and he liked them so much, I sold them to him. I couldn't get over how tall they are. Turned my bike into a 27er.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the advice, I steered away from the Hutchinsons cause I run tubeless and the air lights are not recommended.

Bought a Razer 2.3 (552g - slightly overweight) for the front and Karma 2.0 DTC (453g) for the rear. First ride today. 27psi front, 28 rear for my 155 lbs. Both gripped well and roll fairly well. The Karma has really good grip, in fact, I was thinking that the Kozmik lite may have been sufficient. I do like the air volume of both for more cush on my access xcl hardtail.

Razer sealed up quickly but the Karma went flat overnight. I did the shake and lay flat and it sealed up fine since.
 
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