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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I'm looking for some suggestions and opinions about 29er tires. I have been running Exiwolfs for as long as I've owned my bike. It's a 2006 Raleigh XXIX with the original steel fork. I ride 1,000 plus miles a year on mostly hardpack and loose, rocky singletrack.

I'm still running the original Speed Disc wheels, and converted them to tubeless with the Stans kit and have enjoyed several thousand miles of flat free riding ever since. I've bought one new tire each year and rotated the front to the rear, mounting the new one on the front each time giving me about 2,000 miles of use per tire.

I'ts time for a new one this year, and I'm thinking about changing to a different tire, but am nervous because the system I've been running has woked well and I'm reluctant to mess with a good thing. The reasons I would have for making a change would be to go with a lighter, more durable tire. I also have decided to replace both tires this year, because I realized that I haven't had new rubber on the back since the bike was brand new.

I'd like to stay with a 2.3 or wider, so the two options I'm looking at are the Kenda Small Block Eight or the Schwalbe Knobby Nick. The Knobby Nick is way more expensive, so I would hope it would be worth it durability wise.

I'm hoping to hear about personal experiences with these, or other, tires to help me make a decision .

Thank you.
 

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The Small Block 8 only comes in 2.1 for the 29er size. I run one on the back of my single speed. It's a sweet tire for hardpack and rolls very smooth but doesn't work as well in loose rocks or gravel. I run a Panaracer Rampage 2.3 in the front and I love that tire. I've also tried the Exiwolf, Ignitor, and Bontrager ACX as front tires and the Rampage is my favorite so far. If i didn't already have a 2 foot stack of tires, I'd probably be looking to try the Ardent 2.4 as a front tire and maybe a WTB Bronson 2.2 as a back tire. Supposedly the Bronson rolls pretty smooth for an aggressive tire. (I also have a pair of Dissent 2.5s but I have not tried those on the single speed. Way too heavy).
 

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I just picked up a maxxis ikon exo. 29x2.2. It is freakin awesome for a rear tire, though not sure if I would run it as a front. Hard to break away from the nevegal as Its never steered me wrong. Like the pun :). In all seriousness, i ride in dallas and austin tx. Lots of rocks, roots, hardpack, loose over hard and it rarely if ever breaks free (usually only if i make it by bad riding). SIdewalls are holding up well and its a pretty light tire. IMHO it blows away the small block. You could always try the slant six, but not sure about its durability. Ill def keep riding the maxxis after this experience.
 

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I wouldn't let my kids ride the Small Blocks, I hated that tire.
I bought out the LBS of Weirwolf LT 2.5's when I heard they were not going to be made for a couple years, it is the best rigid front tire ever....no battle.
On the rear I have had good luck with the Crossmark and the Bonty XDX was the best rear tire ever. They do not make it anymore,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input. It seems that a lot of folks like to run different types of tires on front and back. I've always liked to run the same model so that I only have to buy one new tire when the rear wears out what are the advantages of different ones on each end?

I've ruled out the Small Block, it doesn't seem like. a very good choice for the type of trails I ride. I am intrigued by the Knobby Nic, it would shave over 100 grams per tire and give my rigid ride a little more cush, but at twice the price of most other tires I'd be taking a leap of faith that the durability would make it worth while. Any body out there have experience with it?
 

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Thanks for the input. It seems that a lot of folks like to run different types of tires on front and back. I've always liked to run the same model so that I only have to buy one new tire when the rear wears out what are the advantages of different ones on each end?

I've ruled out the Small Block, it doesn't seem like. a very good choice for the type of trails I ride. I am intrigued by the Knobby Nic, it would shave over 100 grams per tire and give my rigid ride a little more cush, but at twice the price of most other tires I'd be taking a leap of faith that the durability would make it worth while. Any body out there have experience with it?
what works well on the back may not work as well in the front, depends on your terrain and your riding style. for me, the exiwolf makes a decent rear tire but a terrible front tire due to a complete lack of side knobs.

something with aggressive climbing tread works well in the back, and something with good side knobs for cornering traction up front...for my terrain and riding. i do think the SS requires more rear grip than a geared bike as i'm standing and mashing more often than on the gearie....on the SS i like the ignitor or fireXC in the back, with the ardent 2.4 or WTB stout up front.
 

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I find that when things get a little steep I need TRACTION in the rear, nothing worse than wasted effort when you spin out.
I just picked up a Speshy Purgatory 2.2 looking for some extra hook up.
 

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If you want a really good durable tire and want it to last. If you want faster get the racing Ralph. I run that on my SS Ibis Tranny (26") but if u want even more traction go with the nic. Whichever you choose. Get the snakeskin. They r worth their weight in gold (literally)
 

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Schwalbe tires are great - fast and light and excellent traction - but I have seen so many of them die an early death from sidewall cuts in rocky areas that I wouldn't make a recommendation for that. They also don't wear particularly long (but DAMN do they ride nice...) I don't know that I have ever had a rear tire that I have liked better than the Exiwolf - I too, had an XXIX and rode the stock tires for a while - but soon changed the front to something more knobby. Kept the Exi's on the rear for a long time. Got great mileage from them, and they worked well in a lot of conditions. Lotsa volume and durable, average weight... (light and durable are almost mutually exclusive). Right now, I am running the Bontrager 29-4 on the front (2.35" with a HUGE volume and large knobs, and it rolls easy to boot!) with a Continental Race King 2.2 in the rear. It's a fat 2.2", small knobs that hook up well and I am impressed with it as a rear tire - but it is a bit sketchy on braking on loose, the Exi was much better.
The new Wierwolf coming out soon may be a good choice too - looks great, but I have had WW that clogged badly in mud, and it's getting to be that season again.

I like to test tires out - have had Michelin, Specialized Captain, Crossmark, Geax Saguaro on the rear. Specialized made a tire that worked great on the front (Resolution) but as usual, discontinued it after a season. Had a Wierwolf 2.55 on front for a while (I wanted a bit more knob for loose stuff and in the wet). If I was choosing tires today to start, I'd probably keep the 29-4 on the front and put an Exiwolf back on the rear. My recommendation would be to keep the Exi on the back and get one new tire for the front!
 

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Just loaded up an Exiwolf on the back and a Ardent 2.4 on the front. Both ghetto tubeless. Running both at around 30 psi, will drop a psi or two per ride over the next few.

Only one ride ~28 miles and no real challenging terrain, but the Exi hooked up well on the steep climbs and the Ardent softened up the ride in front considerably over the 2.1 Hutchinson Pythons I had previously (running rigid). I have yet to test the cornering, but I think the Ardent will do admirably.
 

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I've had seasons of great luck with Specialized tires. I prefer the Captain for trail you describe, and the 'Grid" version has a beefy sidewall, is UST and I was able to set the bead on these babies with a hand pump! I ride a hard tail SS as well as a rigid fixed gear MTB with these tires and they hold-up extremely well. Haven't had a flat in three seasons that I could not fix with a sinple plug, never having to remove the tire from the rim. The other WAY cool thing about Specialized is they have a satasfaction guarantee. If you think they suck, return them. How can you go wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the responses the information was all very helpful I pulled the trigger and ordered up a 2.4 Ardent. I decided to take ATBScott's advice and move my existing Exiwolf to the rear and try a bigger, more aggresive tire up front.

I've really been happy with the performance of the Exi's, but since it's the only tire I've had on my XXIX I'm curius to see how a different set-up will affect the ride quality. I'll post my impressions of the new set-up after I've done a few rides.
 

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I have to throw Panaracer Rampage into the mix, suprising it hasn't mentioned yet. Great front tire in AZ. I recently put one one the back and like it better than the Exiwolf it replaced.
I'm having a hard time finding a tire with a better (traction X durability)/(cost X weight) ratio.
Cheers,
M
 

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(To SteveyD) I think you'll be happy with that setup. Particularly the Ardent up front.

I rode last night with some fast rocky sections and was happy with how the Ardent soaked up a lot of the bumps. For me running rigid, it's not the 10 big hits but the 10,000 little hits through the course of a ride that wear on my wrists & shoulders.
 

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Geax Saquaro

I'm a big fan of the Saguaro. The low rolling resistance is great for keeping momentum up hills, and the traction is better than any other similarly low resistance tires I've used (SB8, python). I use them front and back, but if you live in an area with deep sand and/or mud, you might go with front tire with deeper tread. They work well with Stan's, and cost less than most other 29er tires. The wire bead can be had for around $20, and the folding for $35-ish
 

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Been running the 2.4 Ardents on my XXIX for over a year now setup ghetto tubeless on the original WTB rims. Don't be afraid to experiment with lower pressures. I found the Ardents are very sensitive to small psi changes. They hook up much better at lower pressures. I am 220lbs and run 21/25 with no burping or rim bumping problems. They fit in the XXIX frame with room to spare.
 

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WTB Nano 2.1 front and rear on all my bikes. predictible rubber... no surprises, last well, light (ish) roll fast... race/free-ride/commute... they do it all .... i run them on 3 bikes front and rear.. love them.

Q
 

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I've been doing the same thing you do except with Rampages. Sometimes I think about getting something different, but then I never do because 1) they work so well for conditions where I live (loose, rocky) and 2) are inexpensive. I might be able to find something a little lighter that works as well and is as durable, but I'd probably spend hours & $$ I don't have, and, well, I might not. If I was going to race I'd probably care more about weight & speed and I'd put some effort into optimizing my tires, but for now the Rampages rule.
 
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