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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here a little info on my riding:

I ride or will be riding the popular trails around the bay. china camp, wilder ranch, water dog, annadel, skeggs, the gap, and so on.

I also enjoy riding on paved trails/streets.

Im looking to get some tires that have a good balance of low rolling resistance and sufficient traction for my dirt riding.

Right now i have tubeless tires which are for xc racing and they suck on the loose stuff, but are nice and fast on the hard packed trails.

So what tires would you guys recommend?

Any help is appreciated!!
 

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I would say Kenda Small Block 8's, but winter is a bad time for those tires.

I'm really stoked on my Kenda Karmas (29'er) and the Nevegals are always a hoot. Again, it's hard to find a a tire that will suit pavement and the current muddy conditions of winter.

ALWAYS check with the MTBR Reviews section. I've made a lot of purchases and held off from some based on what the community has to say.
 

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I found that Schwalbe Racing Ralph and Nobby Nic are very good compromise between traction, cornering and rolling resistance (probably their biggest strength) and even the UST versions are very light, BUT they are very pricey and especially the Nobby Nic seemed to wear kind of fast. If this not really an issue, then I would recommend Nobby Nic for the front and Racing Ralph for the rear. Especially the RR has phenomenal low rolling resistance (have it on my HT in the rear). Again, these tires are very good compromises...if you're looking for maximum traction + cornering, they will not fit the bill.
 

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We race on SBs

In my 8th year as a coach I think we are not traditional mountain bikers as I experience your basic dude or dudette out in the parks. When things get loose, sloppy, really bumpy or otherwise weird, which is what recreational riders experience, the SB8 fails unless they are absolutely fresh and the rider is very skilled with them. further they do not last very long.

The constant search for "good rolling" and "good tooth" is a conundrum and really depends upon your own individual tolerance for mitigating both ends of the equation. (smooth/light/cheap/grip)

Right now I use a 1.95 Nevegal front and a 2.0 Blue Groove rear on my Bontrager Racelite. Neither is as smooth as the SB8 but they grip better. However unless I am sharp I get beat in weird stuff. In the past, when I was more recreationally oriented, I had a 2.35 Nevegal front and a 2.1 Velociraptor on the Stumpjumper Pro. Years back I had Velociraptors on the Bonti and they defined grip in the nastiest considtions. My current tires are much lighter and smoother but are nowhere near as grippy. My favorite for the mid-ground and bang-for-buck is the Panaracer Fire XC Pro. Before we got a sponsorship that was all we ever bought and were quite happy with them.
 

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I'd suggest the 2.24" WTB MutanoRaptors. They have a semi-rib down the center, and the knobs on the sides are moderate in height, with a decently large shoulder knob. They work great as a rear tire with something a bit knobbier on the front too. (You can get away with a little more beef up front if the rear rolls easily). IRC Trailbear 2.25" in the front hooks up well in turns, rolls decently easy as a front tire, and works well with the Mutano in the rear. Both tires seem to last a long time too..
 

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How about WTB All Terrainasaurus on sale as a cheap and pretty good choice and Kenda Kozmik Lites for a more expensive, less durable, but better performing option. Neither do well in mud, but both roll very well over a variety of terrain, including trails, paths, and moderate off road stuff.
 

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I'll throw in another vote for Panaracer Fire XC Pros for general usage.

I'm really starting to like the Nevagals on my Slayer though.. but they're definitely not for cutting down on rolling resistance.
 
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