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Front tyres

By Team evolution - Posted on 25 November 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I know it's been done to death new bike looking for a new front tyre Nobby nicks are so so that came on it would love to run a maxis ignitor but they don't make them in 27.5

Thinking minion dhf or high roller 2 any thoughts


What about the Schwalbe Magic Mary up front?

I like my ardent race

2.2 Ardent race on the 29er XC bike.
2.25 Ardent on the 26 AM bike - currently running a 2.35 Ignitor but have another new Ardent waiting to go on.

Isn't there a new Nobby Nic just out? Anyone tried that?

While it's not the lightest tyre, my test ride on a Cannondale Trigger left me impressed with the Hans Dampf it had up front.

It's very annoying that they aren't keeping the Ignitor up to date in widths and diameters. I'd love a 29x2.35. It's a ripper loose conditions front XC tyre. It would be enough to tempt me back yo Maxxis.

Put an XR4 Team Issue 2.3 (29") on front of Rumblefish a few months back - excellent on both loose/soft dirt and rocky conditions and rolls pretty well. Lifted my confidence a lot over the standard 29-3.
Came across a great group test in Mountain Bike UK magazine (November 2014 issue 309)on "Aggressive Tyres for 650B" - XR4 won the test which confirmed my purchase a few months earlier.

xr4 could be the go

demo road a bike last week brand new magic mary on it felt like it just wanted me to fall off every corner or boggy section of trail by the end of a 36km ride lots of the outer lugs were already fractured at the base

had a brand new ardent on a hard tail that i bought tyre was brand new another one that felt real loose now its either my bad skills more than likely or maybe wrong presures normally about 25psi
the nick at the moment is about 18 felt ok last friday but have run my ignitor at 25 with extreme confidence just love them
oh its a 27.5 rim

18 is low. The NNs when i was running them would get squirmy below about 22, 24 was better.

What do you weigh?

HighRoller II in 27.5 is the best by far, the Ardent's roll better but the HighRoller has much better grip.

I'm 70kgs have been rideing mtb just over a year doing Lancaster scorpion and most of lovin shovels haven't yet done the two drops but my cornering skills are so so best I ever felt was on a infinities front cross mark rear both pretty new

I'm 78kg, so only 12% more than you.

I reckon 18psi is too low on the front for all the normal XC to AM front tyres.

It might be OK if you are running the new super wide rims (30mm inside width or more), which are supposed to provide better support, but i don't yet have any experience with them.

"Product X is good". Kinda meaningless unless we know how you ride, and on what surface.

I find pea gravel sketch as hell, so I'll pay anything (cost, weight and rolling resistance) for a little extra grip, especially front.

For the 26" AM bike (which I ride as hard as I can), Im currently running a Conti Der Kaiser Projekt 2.4. It's very similar in size, tread pattern and compound to a DHF 2.5 42a, which I ran before and still run on the DH bike.

Both are some of the softest compounds you can get, they have well spaced knobs to get through the top loose layer, and both have a big gap between the centre and side knobs. This makes it a sort of 'expert mode' tire. You get great grip upright and when you tip it over and commit 100%, but theres a big gap between those knobs where cornering feels sketchy.

A comparison between the DHR (left) and DHF (right) better illustrate this.

The High Roller II is very similar, but has (IMO) less gap between the knobs and hence, less sketchiness between upright and knee down angles. It seems to be a growing favourite among aggressive XC and AM riders in Perth.

As a comparison, the NN has evenly spaced knobs without gaps. Absolute cornering grip might be reduced a little compared the the DHF etc, but the more consistent and predictable grip probably means a faster more confident ride for most people.

The big gap in cornering knobs still catches me out on certain sections, especially faster corners where Im not leaning the bike over that much. I've got a new set of rims on the way and I think I'll try a ~2.5 High Roller II up front and keep the 2.4 NN I'm currently using on the rear.

Minion DHR II. Love it on the front

Thanks for that great info.
What sort of pressure do u run up front? I'm riding a 26" with similar 2.3 wide tyres, and still trying to work out the best pressure. I'm about 75kg plus gear. Sliding out too much in the pea gravel !! I used to run narrower ty

Sorry to pinch your thread 'team evolution'.

I ride more by feel than numbers.

Through my short mtb career i've never stopped experimenting. First running really hard, then going very soft, and now back to fairly hard.

I'm 65kg and run them as hard as I can without bottoming the tire onto the rim, or having the tire collapse pumping a jump or berm. If I had to guess a number, 1.5-2 bar (22-29 psi).
If you run tubes, i guess the idea is to go as soft as possible without getting a pinch flat.

Tire size and casing will also affect this. Big tires with DH casing for example can run softer than a skinny lightweight XC rubber. Wider rims also need less pressure as Hawkeye said.
I have a set on 34mm rims on the way. 34mm internal width that is. Wider not only means less pressure but there is also a bigger contact patch. They suggest no issues with running ~1 bar (15psi) for my weight.
I think wider rims are going to benefit aggressive riders more than going from 26 - 27.5. On Perth trails anyways.

Riding style is also critical. Lets face it, Sam Hill is probably faster on a BMX than I'll ever be on my dream rig.
I'm still learning to ride, so don't take everything I say as gospel.
Keep your weight on the pedals. Stick your elbows out and get low. Get low, get low, get low. Turn your hips in the direction you want to go. Look that way too. Weight the outside pedal and shift your weight forward for more front grip. Keep your body upright and tip the bike. Brake before the corner, not during.
I'm still trying to do all of that without consciously thinking about it, but I seem to get loads of confidence once i do.


+1 to Mr Mez.

And I'm finding the 29er lets me do what he mentions with much greater confidence as i have much less fear of going over the front in rough/rooty conditions than i could ever achieve with the 26er. It's made it easier to be a better rider.
Keep practicing until your turning goes from the left picture to the right..
until you are eventually turning like this....

Once you have this technique sussed, then start to look at pressures and tread patterns. This is why tyres have such aggressive knobs on the side.

you can have the grippiest, nobbliest tyre in the world, but you will never realise their full potential until your turning technique is honed!

just my 2 cents.
Pete (Tyre obsessed)

Is rolling resistance effected more by tread pattern or width?

And where is the fastrak compared to the Ralph/Ron/nic?

I'm currently running fastrak 2.2 & 2.0 (very fast, good fire trail/buff trail tires) they suited my riding. But now I'm riding in more locations and looking to push harder I need more confidence in the front in loose over hard conditions and would like some more volume to help over the rocks.

Thinking of changing to rapid ron or new nic front, and putting the 2.2 fastrak on the rear.

I wouldn't recomend rocket rons for loose over hard - always nobby nic for that. Loose over hard is really a confidence and experience thing. Over time you get confident /skilled enough to feel the front slipping slightly every so often, then you know you are right near the edge of grip for that surface. Problem is to get to that experience point probably requires some washouts when the reaction to the slide is the wrong one or at the wrong point.

Don't know if this helps, but I suspect that one of the unconscious ways we seek out that grip is test by over tightening the corner briefly ( ie turning in too much) expecting a slip and correcting back when the slip occurs. Not that different from driving a car fast, where if you are expecting a car to slide it's controllable, when it happens out of the blue, all hell breaks loose.

I've found the *new* Rocket Rons to be pretty good on the 29er, possibly comparable to Ignitors (guessing - haven't tried them on the new bike).

Although, as you say, when it's unexpected like last Sunday, all hell breaks loose. I'm not blaming the tyre for that though, it was deep sand, I was leaning the bike over while braking on the front to avoid some loose babyhead rocks on the apex. I don't think many tyres would have kept me off the deck with that combination of stupid going on.

Usually when the front lets go, I find the bars seem to instantly swing to 45 degrees until the front catches, without me thinking about it. Very important to not be on the brakes though (unlike me, last weekend).

Fast Trak: would never use that as a front tyre on sandstone trails. Tread is way too low for my comfort levels. Lives up to its name as a rear, though. I have one set aside to fit for the next race. Smiling

Not quite as fast rolling but close, and still good for grip and that planted feeling on the trail are the Rubena Kratos and Scylla combo in the greyline compound. I've got the 29x2.25s on my training wheels and quite like them. Not sure if they're available as 650B/27.5. They're making them, but not sure if they're being imported here.

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