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Recovering couch patato
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or : how to void the warranty of yet another Nanoraptor tire, and kill 2 hours of a boring evening.

I took a pizza knife to the Nanoraptor I raced on as a front yesterday. It was a drying track that started in absolute the worst of clay and grass. I could have take the Kenda Klaw's, or the Schwalbe Black shark 1.85's, but both would have slowed me down a lot. I know the Nano as a rear can offer loads of traction, if you just keep spinning the cranks fast enough, and just chose the same as a front. I had to ride to the race through fierce winds over 19km, and was not looking forward to dragging along extra (wire bead) tires.
The race was okay, but I wished the front Nano had offer a bit more bite without being an anchor like the above would have been. We all know how closely spaced the knobs on the Nano are, and inspired by my experiences yesterday finally found the energy to take some out.

I took out the 2nd and 4th (outer) knobs in the lines of 4. Also, from the centre knobs, I cut off the tales, to make a bit more room between them.

In the race, the tires clogged up like mad when wrestling through the CX-style grassmud, woodchips dirt, and gravel. Worse than with most tires I know, but once cleared again (I used my shoes to at least clear the sides while riding), they just ran so well. My straightline speed over wet mud was waaaay better than the 26"ers I blew past, though some of that has to do with my "after you milord" mentality in the first lap chaos.

I now have a wire Nano (don't own working folding ones unfortunately), that dropped some 30-40g off it's original 718g. I'm sure it will roll slower on the hardpack, dry grass and sand it used to love so much, but hope to gain back a bit of bite, maybe even on that often-seen loose over hardpack.

Sorry, no camera. Look at your own Nano, and mark some knobs to see what it could be like.
I hope to test the tire in tacky/slush conditions this week, to see how it holds up. The part of the tread alongside the sticker, I absolutely perfected, the rest I just went over only once. should be interesting to see if that make any different in shedding mud.
I could take out even more parts of knobs to open it up even more, but perhaps I can find a difference already.

I also have plans to rid a set of XR's of half the thread depth. The knobs seem cleverly spaced, but still quite bulky. For racing, we may be able to suffice with only half the rubber, especially in dry conditions, with that wide profile. and should the XR's hit mud, lower knobs may hold on to fewer mud as well.

Also interesing would be to find a way to trim the knob height on an otherwise unharmed Nano. I was thinking to mount the tire on the rear of a bike, in a trainer. The roller would be replaced for something with a rougher surface, preferably with a rounding on it, pressed to the tire with a spring load, to ensure even wear. That, or (quick fix) just letting the propelled rear wheel spin freely and have someone hand-trim the knobs with a heavy beltsander. For dry races, a rear Nano, presently our fastest rolling, already offers overkill traction on most conditions, wasting some speed. I especially wonder how the re-released greenline Nano's would work with voided warrantee. My knob-cutting would bring them back to the 600g mark, as would probably the shaving method.

My Black Shark 1.8's also have the grip&traction overkill problem, and would probably only get better with a serious tread reduction.

Anyone else ever MADE a 29" tire work for him in any remotely similar way? Please share your experiences!

Happy trails,

J
 

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Recovering couch patato
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14,019 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
shiggy said:
How about a pic?
As I wrote :
> Sorry, no camera. Look at your own Nano, and mark some knobs to see what it could be like.

Now officialy no-one cares about my topic, so I'll give this worthless update.

Bram already did this, but I never saw the result, so now it was my turn to put the pizza knife to a Bontrager AcX Jones. I chopped a bit off all of the knobs. Minimal height off each, the 2 middle rows a bit more, slightly ramped so I can use the tire as a front or rear. The tire went from 570g to 535g. If it works, 535g is actually not too bad at all for 29", and the acX is quite plush for racing standards as well.
From the looks of it (I'll be honest, it's a mess) the chopped AcX looks like it will give crappy traction like a Fast Fred, hard cornering al most as good as with the full sideknobs, cornering a bit like the XR (I can hope, can't I?), and roll faster than a Nano. The lack of tall knobs might actually improve the sand pit tracking as well. If I can find it to indeed roll faster than or on par with a Nano, it'll be a frequent choice for a rear tire. My lightest (slower) Nano is now 680+g. If it actually corners as well as a Nano, I'll likely chop another (I somehow own 5, who's the tire fetishist here?) and save 1430-1070=360g over what I raced on yesterday and still 300g over what I raced before this season, Nano rear and XR front.

Still in doubt on whether or not to chop an XR, especially the front intrigues me. But I own *only* 2 sets...
 

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WAWE
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Cloxxki said:
I also have plans to rid a set of XR's of half the thread depth. The knobs seem cleverly spaced, but still quite bulky. For racing, we may be able to suffice with only half the rubber, especially in dry conditions, with that wide profile. and should the XR's hit mud, lower knobs may hold on to fewer mud as well.
Why not ride it and wear it down halfway... then keep'em around for racing.

:confused: :rolleyes:
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wearing down tires? I only manage that with really nice, really soft compound tires, of which unfortunately non exist on our sport. My Nano's never showed the slightest sign of wear, so rubber could have been way softer without complaints about wear, but only praises for the extra grip...knobs could have been lower...oh well...

Also, XR's probably have a better shot at a safe tubeless application when new rather than wore down.

I took another look at my XR front wheel. Man, that tire is colossal. I chopped bits off parts of some centre knobs, to see what it'd look like. You only take off like 1mm, but it makes the profile much racier. Think Flyweight, Fast Fred, etc.
It won't go under 600g, but a carefully chopped XR front might make a nice rear tire for sand, hardpack and dry forest soil.
Volunteers to be the first to do it?
 

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If you try the trainer and a gritty "thing"

You might consider mounting the tire backwards before grinding it off on the trainer. I found that the belt sander with some coarsish paper (80 grit maybe?) gave the knobs a marked ramp profile. Actually, I guess it depends if it's going to be a front or rear and if you want driving or braking ramps. But I think grinding them shorter on a trainer will ramp them too.

Shouldn't it be "sali-raptor"?
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Today I took the Nano Special out for a ride. I pointed the bike, other than the 35g less rubber identical to last sunday in the race, towards trails I normally avoid within the first fortnight after any rain. I don't like mud, but that's where I had to test the chopjob today.

On pavement already I noticed that it corners more like a knobby, you feel some knobs working hard in corners. Normally a Nano is almost like a slick on pavement, very uneventful. As this is an offroad tire test, a good feeling to start the ride with, as it was still very managable, nothing extreme or anything, just a knobby on pavement.

The mud wasn't as tacky as in the race, it got stuck to the sidewalls a bit, but never totally clogged the tread, making it hard to compare the Special up front to the standard Nano rear in terms of mud shedding.
Slowly I built confidence in the front tire, which still felt like a Nano, but was jsut that bit different.

First, building up the pace on twisty slick bits, I noticed that the initial feeling of understeer into anything wet, stayed away. I starter repeating a few 90º turns, and no matter how fast I'd go, the understeer didn't show anymore. At one point the rear gave in. Interesting, this 35g knob reduction seems to really have improve overall cornering.

It's always hard to isolate one tire's rolling resistance, let alone on trails you avoid when wet. I couldn't get over the placebo idea that the front now actually rolled easier, despite the fact that I can interrupted the centre tread a bit more. If in fact it was now actually slower, it's by so little no-one should be able to tell.
Comparing my tire's tracks in the mud, it's obvious there's now fewer knobs penetrating the mud. In theory, fewer knobs to pull out of it again, and lower rolling resistance. My experience with the mightly Maxxis Minotaur 380 was that indeed small, widely spaced knobs can offer both speed and good mud tracking.

Intentionally swerving the front wheel in slick mud, the wheel seemed to actually roll from underneath the bike, where normally I'd expect it to just slide and wander.

In a rain pool, I tried to clear some mud off the tires standing next to the bike, and came up with a little experiment. I spun each wheel, one at a time, to a given speed, and then put it in the water. The front tire seemed to extend the spin quite a bit before coming to a halt. Paddling fewer water per rotation, that'd make sense, and also hint that rolling resistance in wet conditions could well have improved.

Finally, in the construction sire annex sand pit behind my appt building, I couldn't find a big difference in handling.

Overall, in this first test ride, I think the Nano only got better after I took away all those knobs to open the tread up a bit more. I gained cornering grip, and seem to have actually lost rolling resistance on at least some types of surface.

If you have 1 or 2 hours to kill, taking away those knobs from at least one Nano could give you a reason to from there on regard it as the "front" Nano. It may actually offer extra traction and even better wet rolling resistance (speculation) there, but as a rear I've hardly found that I could not make it up climbs. Then, traction is always welcome if it doesn't cost too much speed.

So far, I think the trade-off is extremely positive.
-I've lost 35g off a race tire (A purple line Nano, though a time bomb, could be 540g)
-Can't say it's become slower anywhere, likely even faster than it already was
-Definately higher grip threshold. No more understeer the moment the bike starts to lean over. The Nano's didn't gain sideknobs in the process of course, so a real gripper it's never be.

The way it rolled and handled today, I wonder how it will be on hardpack and gravel, where normally I hate the Nano, and dig the Acx Jones. Could the Nano claim a more permanent position on the front of my bike? Then what to do with all my other tires?

Yes, chop'em!
I am nearly finished chopping off half the knobs off an XR front, sidewknobs just a little shaving to make a nicer round profile. What I now see is not only one messy tire, but also one that is the largest knobby we have, with a very low profile that looks smart. I have some hopes it will finally offer an even better option for loose sand than we've had since '99 with the Nano.

I haven'y tested the chopped AcX yet, but as it's now my lightest knobby at 535g, I certinly will. If it hasn't lost too much of it's "endless" grip on thin gravel over hardpack, and gain some serious speed, I'll be quite happy. The AcX never did it for me as a rear tire, but if it does roll well, and the climbs aren't too steep, it may make a nice rear tire for a dry start-stop CX kind of course.
For that kind of tracks where you ahrdly need a rear tire for more than a bit of cush, I could chop the knobs off quite a bit more still (better from another tire, I have too many anyway) and get the weight down to 515-525g, and have a very good tradoff between weight, volume and speed.

Thanks for reading, let me know if you came through it. We get more tires every day (tell us about the Karma please, Mike?), but a bit of handywork sometimes can offer a free extra choice.

I kick myself for not taking up the pizzaknife a few days earlier, if what I think I felt today is true, I could well have used that edge last sunday when I was doing unvoluntairy 180's in the opening lap before the track dried. I was flying by my standards already, but with a bit more help...?

Be careful not to cut yourself, if you're to try this at home!

Happy trails,

J
 

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520g rear tires, now that sounds excellent!

520g rear tires, now that sounds excellent! Plus it's got that sweet supple casing too, that might be the way to go. Thanks for sharing the experiments :)
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update on the customized Nanoraptor, mounted as a rear now. I seemed to notice yesterday in loose sand that it offers less traction. It seemed to dig in more than the standard tire. On grass climbs it was possibly better.
I still hope to do some semi-scientific rolling resistance test in sucky mud. It seems to be pretty good there. The few more slippery descends in yersterday's race were totally uneventful, can't remember the rear as much as looking up or slipping. Probably better than with a standard Nano.
As a pure roller, the customized tire doesn't disappoint at all. Can't tell the differenc. I won't claim I can tell the 35g difference on a 12kg bike, but knowing it's not there anymore is worth something to some.

So far, the customized Nano seems to be better where the Nano normally doesn't shine as much as other tires. Where the Nano does shine, sand, it loses some of it's edge. On a moist or slippery course, I'm pretty convinced the customied Nano will always be better as a front. My theory that it also rolls better over wet soil has yet to be confirmed or busted. A difference should be there, but it may not be huge, we're still talking about the same tire quality and size, just a partially different tread layout.

In the mean time, I've been riding the Bontrager XR specials more (drastically trimmed knobs), and they TO ME seem faster rollers than steel Nano's. Also better in loose sand. They feel like race tires, and don't like wet soil any better than, say, Fast Freds. Very similar performance to what I'd expect from similarly sized Fast Freds, also. Maybe a bit less overal grip, the remaining knobs being low but large, lower circumference vs. surface. On fast courses, the XR specials still feel better overall than steel nano's, at least to me. Volume has should have something to so with that.
 

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Cassoulet forever !
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While i was into modelism (RC controlled cars), some guys used to wear down the tires by mounting them on a lathe and using sand paper.

I wouldn't have remove any rubber on the center knobs if i was you, because it increases rolling resistance on hard surface.

If you want a tire that works on hard surface + mud, i would use a pretty thin tire, witha a continuous thread at the center line, so that only this knobs touch the ground on hard surface.
In mud the center would dig in and i would use the lateral, tall, rigid, spaced knobs to get the traction.
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
20.100, you may be confused with what I've done to these tires.

I never meant the XR or Nano as pure mud tire, just wanted more grip from the Nano and more speed from the XR.

On the XR's, I trimmed knobs down to make the tire faster.
On the nano, I removed whole knobs to open up the tread pattern, hopefully get better mud shedding, and better wet traction.

>I wouldn't have remove any rubber on the center knobs if i was you,
>because it increases rolling resistance on hard surface.
Then why do slicks roll better on hard surface than knobbies?

I have some Schwalbe Black Sharks in 28x1.85. They grip well, but roll bad. They grip TOO well, probably. I may trim down those knobs, as well as take some one. Don't know yet.
 
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