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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an xc hardtail which is currently setup with a dhr2 front, forekaster rear. I used it on the trails close to me before I got a trail bike.

I'm looking to revert back to a more xc setup. It will mostly be used on sealed bike paths on the way to a Commonwealth Games xc trail. About 20kms sealed path (concrete), 12kms dirt, tree roots and gravel.

I was thinking of an xr3/xr2 f/r but was hoping someone could make any suggestions before I buy anything.
 

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Yeah, the Bontrager XR3/XR2 is pretty tough to go wrong with...Even XR2's F/R aren't a bad choice but depends on the trail types. The new XR3 looks like it would make a really nice rear tire, but the current 2.4" offering seems a little wide and heavy. Hoping they make a smaller version of it soon.

If you're not locked into Bontrager stuff, Maxxis has a Rekon Race in 2.3" that is a great fast rolling rear tire...short middle knobs, and good shoulder knobs. I also like the Ikon 2.2 on the rear, but it's shoulder knobs are not as significant and doesn't seem to hold an edge as nicely leaned over.
For the front, again depending on terrain, Ikon 2.35, Ardent Race 2.35, or even Rekon 2.35 are good choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for that, I'm not locked into anything at this point. Bontrager is easy to get here, relatively cost effective from the lbs and the 30 day satisfaction guarantee makes them a safe buy, just take them back if they don't work out. Same goes for specialized.

I'm not unhappy with my Maxxis experiences just that it is more of a gamble if they don't work out and buying online is a must if you want competitive pricing here. Schwalbe/Conti/Michelin are in the same boat, most lbs charge like a bull for these tyres.

I like to support my lbs as much as practical thus looking into bonti/spec.

Ultimately I just need something that will be civilised on concrete (the dhr2 is awful here) while providing reasonable grip on the trail. With wetter weather on the way I'm looking at those tree roots and thinking will an xr3/xr2 deal with them adequately?
 

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Michelin Force AM,
Don't let the name fool you, it's much faster rolling than the "AM" sounds, great for a rear tire, but also good for front if its more XC oriented. The 2.35" may be a bit big but comes in at around 760grams.

For fast and reliable rear in XC territory a Maxxis Ignitor (I have a 2.35" but they make 2.1") is great, awesome cornering bite and good meat in the centre too. Made for XC purposes so rolls and climbs very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I was reading some reviews about the Michelin force and wild tyres.

When you say faster rolling, are you referring to paved surfaces or strictly trails? Reason I ask, my gravel bike has gravel king's on it, and whilst they're fast rolling on gravel, on paved surfaces the sound/vibration is rather unpleasant.

Maybe I'm asking too much from a tyre to be able to do both sealed surfaces and xc trails?
 

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Seriously, check out the Mezcal. They’re surprisingly smooth and fast rolling on paved roads, especially at higher pressures. I rode over 2000km on a set of the 27.5x2.6” while mtb touring in New Zealand and they weren’t inappropriate anywhere. I rode lots of pavement, gravel, rough 4x4 roads, and gnarly singletrack and never wanted for another tire as long as I adjusted my pressure to be terrain appropriate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My wheels are 29" and 21mm inner. The trails around here are mostly sandy loose over hard, leaves and roots. More drops than outright jumps, technical climbs and tight switchbacks downhill.

I looked at the Mezcal and seems decent enough, would you run them front, rear or both? Supply is an issue where I am, besides Bontrager, spec, Maxxis and Schwalbe everything else is online monstly. Maxxis and Schwalbe tend to be over priced compared to online.

Xr2/xr1 is where I started but I'm concerned of their ability in damper weather. From what I read cornering on the xr2 is not stellar? I do like Bontrager's money back satisfaction guarantee.
 

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21mm is skinny for Bontragers XR Teams, imo.
They are a high volume very rounded tread profile tire designed for wide rims.
A Nobby Nic may work on your rims but you'd also need to run 20 front and 25 rear or more depending on rim hits.
If you lower the pressure too much on skinny rims the sidewall can fold over in cornering with a fast loss of traction.
Skinny rims don't support the sidewall as much.

I get really good traction climbing and cornering in the dry at low pressure from XR2 Teams on 30mm inner width rims. For the 2.35 35mm would even be better. 14psi front and 18 rear. What you could run with a wide rim would depend on rim hits. On wide rims the sidewall doesn't fold over it wrinkles to give a bigger footprint.
 

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My wheels are 29" and 21mm inner. The trails around here are mostly sandy loose over hard, leaves and roots. More drops than outright jumps, technical climbs and tight switchbacks downhill.

I looked at the Mezcal and seems decent enough, would you run them front, rear or both? Supply is an issue where I am, besides Bontrager, spec, Maxxis and Schwalbe everything else is online monstly. Maxxis and Schwalbe tend to be over priced compared to online.

Xr2/xr1 is where I started but I'm concerned of their ability in damper weather. From what I read cornering on the xr2 is not stellar? I do like Bontrager's money back satisfaction guarantee.
My favorite XC/light trail combo is Vittoria Morsa front and Mezcal rear. Super fast rolling with decent grip and does well on pavement also.

Probikekit has them both on sale, think because Vittoria just released "vittoria graphene 2.0" tires.

Morsa front
https://www.probikekit.com/bicycle-...ech-tnt-tubeless-ready-mtb-tyre/11436048.html

Mezcal rear
https://www.probikekit.com/bicycle-...ech-tnt-tubeless-ready-mtb-tyre/11436054.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone.

I decided to go the Xr3/2 combo (29 x 2.4 XR3 & 29 x 2.2 XR2). Figured if I don't get along with them I'll try out the Bontrager 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

I've done about 30kms on the tyres so far. I ran them @ 26psi rear, 22psi front

The XR2 measured slightly over 2.2" however the new XR3 measure under the quoted size, a touch over 2.32". That is on 21mm inner wheels. Both tyres mounted nice and tight, inflated without much complaining and seem to be holding pressure well. The XR3 center and transition knobs seem smaller than the XR2 (there are more of them) although cornering knobs are larger. The cornering knobs on both are significantly less aggressive than both the 2.35 Forekaster and 2.3 DHR2 but that was to be expected.

Initial impressions on paved surfaces: far nicer than the previous combo, quieter, accelerate quicker and hold momentum better. I can feel the weight difference from my previous setup. Light gravel, dirt and the occasional wander over grass a non issue.

Took them out to the local trail today and I'm actually quite impressed by how they behaved. Similar to paved surfaces, acceleration and holding momentum are very very noticeable. This was a great start. I did not expect either of them to grip as well as they did to be honest, and started off taking it quite easy down the trail.

The XR2 was actually the biggest surprise. Climbing and braking traction were expectantly not quite the same level as the Forekaster, but exceeded what I was expecting from what is the least burly tyre I've ever run. I never felt a lack of control from the rear, with predictable skipping/drifting over the rougher sections of hardpack & looser gravel. Explosive acceleration out of slower sections was a blast, the tyre was quite a bit of fun.

The XR3 was good but didn't wow me like the XR2 did. I did not find the confidence to lean in as I have become use to with the minion, it just never gave me that reassuring feeling through quicker berms. It's all a little subjective I know because other than that it did fine, braking and slower technical corners were great and I never felt like it was robbing me of my momentum.

I never expected this setup to 'beat' my old one in terms of outright grip. Overall, they are exactly what I wanted, light and low enough rolling resistance for sealed surfaces but with enough traction to tackle the local trails when I get there and have some fun.

I'd be interested to see how things change as the winter arrives, and whether the XR3 will grow on me.
 
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