I've been looking to replace my current 26 inch tyres with some new ones. I ride an Anthem X2 for reference.
I ride mainly XC. I am not a pure racer, and ride only one or two team based enduro's per year (12hr/24hr), so I would sacrifice pure speed in these for an enjoyable riding combination the rest of the year. I want these tyres to be optimised to Perth's conditions, ie. ball-bearing gravel if possible.
Basically just looking for recommendations from locals, but the tyres dont need to be semi-slicks for ultimate speed.
I was considering Crossmarks for a starting point.
Thanks for your help.
Had a run with the crossmarks at the xc race in Jarrahdale over the weekend as a new to Perth (and pea gravel) rider. They seemed to work well and hook up ok, but 30psi in the front was too much for me (60kg rider) as I bit the ground at high speed due to a wash out of the front end. (i was running these pressure due to the rocky nature of the course).
The other tyres I have tried are the kenda nevegal over here. They were excellent, but I just never really trusted them enough to throw them around corners.
I think the main focus is wide tyres (i have used 2.1 and will be
experimenting with wider tyres in the near future). Have a play with pressures too, as I suspect this caused my problem at Jarrahdale.
Were you running tubeless?
I am currently tubed, and was running at about 40psi which is lower than recommended on a tube, and I thought that was a little firm myself. 30psi is way lower again.
Have been considering going tubeless at some point.
Tubeless is the go. Besides lighter weight and better puncture resistance due to running goop, lower pressure (and therefore more secure grip) is realistic because of the thicker sidewalls and lack of a tube to pinch.
I used to run 30psi tops on the front of my Maxxis Ignitors and I'm 83kg with all my kit on, so 30 at 60kg is quite high in my view.
One thing with Crossmarks is that you need to lean them over hard to get the edge to bite, there's no half measures or in-between. I find them a bit scary as a front for that reason.
So what do you run instead? Good question. My experience is limited to mostly loose-over-hardpack over here in the eastern states, but for general trail riding on unfamiliar trails I have found the Ignitor to be a great all-rounder. Not the greatest roller, but on the front that has less impact than on the rear. Quite grippy and works OK even when muddy due to the relatively wide knob spacing. You just need to duck after completing the muddy sections as mud flies off in chunks as your speed winds up again. Splat!
The only downside is that when it actually does let go you don't get a lot of warning. However, I've always managed to gather up the slide somehow and stay off the deck. It's a small casing, so a 2.35 roughly equates to a 2.1 in other tyre models and is what I ran. I noticed it was very popular as a front at the race on the weekend.
Another popular front tyre option is the Schwalbe Nobby Nic. I've found this tyre to be quite pressure sensitive. Running at 30psi like the Ignitor definitely doesn't work. I run a 2.25 and at the Mont on the weekend ran it at 24psi. You get a bit of squirm but I found I can easily live with it. It's off-road after all: the bike moves around - learn to live with it.
I have had two washouts - admittedly in iffy conditions - with this tyre and neither ended well. One was a greasy damp trail surface where I came into the corner way too hot and reacted way too late, and the other was in poor light on roots I didn't see on the berm, and no bodyweight on the front tyre. So it's hard to say for sure at this stage whether it was the tyre or me.
I did reverse the direction to recommended this weekend to get the angled side lugs to bite more side-on in a slide rather than end-on, and that seemed to work, but the grip was awesome and you could probably have run a full slick like a Furious Fred anyway. Plus, my technique was much improved over a month ago (been doing figure-8 cornering drills) so it's hard to draw a firm conclusion. It would be fair to say my confidence in it at the moment is not as strong as it was, so I am taking it more carefully for now.
Howeer, lots of guys use the tyre as a front and really like it, so despite my experience I think it should still be on your short list.
I hate the crossmark as a front. As TG said if your just cruising and not being aggressive with them they just let go. As a rear I find them ok. If you could get the Ranchero that would a good tyre. We have one section of bush here that guys from WA compare to pea gravel and they find the Ranchero works good on it. Just not sure Maxxis makes them anymore.
I haven't ridden XC for some time now - too slack ...
Anyway, my opinions, for what they are worth:
Firstly, go tubeless as soon as you can. The difference just doing this makes is astounding. Lower tyre pressures, better grip and less rolling resistance mean better handling and more fun.
I'm running Schwalbe Nobby Nics on the front of both of my bikes. I run them at about 23psi and ghetto tubeless. They handle the pea gravel well, but are not super-speedy. I won't change because they simply inspire more confidence when I'm cornering on any loose surface. I did try them on the rear, but they were too wide to fit in the frame of my Epic so they became "front only" fittings on both bikes.
Currently, I'm running GEAX Lobo Loco on the rear of both bikes. I run them at about 25psi, but they are a thinner tyre than the Nobby Nics on the front. (These are also tubeless). They are quite nice to ride on, being a soft compound. They grip well, but will let go gradually and will do so before the front slips, which is something I like.
When they finally wear out, I'll replace them with some Schwalbe Racing Ralphs I have in the shed.
I hope that helps a little.
Thanks for your responses so far.
I am currently running a Maxxis High Roller on the front and a Larsen TT on the back (both non-UST specific).
Do you think I should try to run these tubeless (ie. buy some Stans with the current tyres) or got with some new UST specific tyres Schwalbe's or similar?
Do the tyres Im using at the moment suit the Perth ball bearings?
Senator 52, I was running tubed tyres at the time.
I think the tyre choice of yours is a little off for riding pea gravel. I think the larset TT on the rear should be fine, but I would definately reconsider the high roller on the front.
I did notice a lot of the guys running the Nobby Nics by Schwalbe. That will certainly be my next avenue, should playing around with pressures not work for me.
On that note, In my eyes, 40psi is far too much for pea gravel conditions. I would be skating everywhere at that kind of pressure. Before you lay down the cash on some new rubber, find yourself a short lap with a few climbs and a variety of terrain and surfaces, and play around with your tyre pressures. This will make a huge difference as you have seen guys running as low as 24psi.
Running 40psi more on the thought that I couldn't go lower with tubed tyres. I believe that the 24psi was tubeless.
Could I go down to 25-30psi running tubes? I thought this would bring on the likelihood of pinch flats.
In anyones experience, how does runnings Stans (or similar) go with an non-UST 60tpi tyre?
Yes, in this case the posts above are referring to tubeless pressures at 24psi, but the 30psi I was running was with tubes. I have seen pressures as low as 24psi ridden on dh bikes in wet conditions with tubes. You can certainly run less than 40psi. If you don't mind me asking, what is you total weight with gear (camel back etc)? As mentioned above, tubeless is certainly your friend in terms of low pressure without pinch flats. As for non-tubeless tyres being converted, i haven't had that experience, so unfortunately can't offer any advice on that.
I would find a couple of spare hours and a small loop and start by dropping to say 32psi as a starting point. Then drop the pressure incrementally each lap and keep an eye on your watch. I usually use this trick for a race course if I have the time to get out and look at the course before race day.
It will become apparent when you have too little pressure, as the tyres will 'squirm' and feel sketchy in the corners. I also know a lot of people run slightly lower pressure in the front tyre, as this tyre is the one you rely on for grip, and there is generally less weight on the front compared to the rear.
+1 to all of the above. Stopwatch is the gold standard, I usually go by how "connected" I feel.
You ride in WA Wicksey? Rocket Ron works over here?
I ride an 2.2 Ignitor front and 2.1 Crossmark rear on my HT. Both LUST tubeless
On my Trance, running the stock Nobby Nics front and rear which I've not looked at the width. Again, tubeless.
Of the two setups I like the Nics better... but it's hard to compare the bikes.
2012 Giant Trance X0
2011 GT Zaskar Carbon
2010 Malvern Star Oppy A4
I'm about the same weight as you and just did my first XC race at Jarrahdale last Sunday.
I'm on a 29er and was running tubeless Schwalbe Racing Ralph TL Snakeskin 2.1s Front (32psi) and Rear (35psi) when I first went there for a practice run the weekend before. Quickly found the Racing Ralph on the front is not a suitable tyre for pea gravel: front kept washing out on faster corners, even when I dropped the pressure to 28psi.
Replaced the front with a Nobby Nic TL Snakeskin 2.25 at 28psi for race day, kept the rear Ralph but ran it at 30psi, and found that a good combo: good upfront traction through corners and no issue with rear traction at all. Mind you, I'm far from quick at the moment, but it was a vast improvement on the Ralphs front and rear. I like the feel of the Nic as I find it very progressive - no letting go and then grabbing as the lean angles increase.
Am doing the 4 Hour Enduro at Jorgenson Park this weekend - different surface I assume (its an old Golf Course) so will see how the combo handles it
yep, work pretty good with pea gravel up front.
Hey guys, appreciate all the help.
I've decided I am going to run Schwalbe rubber, with a Nobby Nic upfront and either a Ralph or Ron on the back.
My question is, should I be buying a UST specific tyre, to assist me with getting my Stans/Bontrager conversion to work on standard rims?
This and this is what I had been looking at.
I'd recommend the UST versions. Schwalbe is known for being light in the sidewall, which is why I like their UST tyres as it saves me a couple of hundred grams right where it makes the most difference. However, this comes at the cost of resistance to sidewall cuts. The most vulnerable spot seems to be right where the tread finishes.
So in the terrain I ride in (Sydney sandstone) I wouldn't run their non-UST versions even if I was using tubes. They're not robust enough. The UST versions aren't as bullet-proof as Maxxis, but they're good enough to last the life of the tread in most cases.
If you're using the Bontrager rim strips, your life will be a lot easier if you pair them rubber that uses a UST bead.
If there is a concern on your part about Schwalbe's thin sidewalls Senator52, then if you heart is set on using the NN and the RR, get the Snakeskin sidewall version like I did: they aren't that more expensive, don't weigh a hell of a lot more and they are tough as (from my own experience running in hostile environs and other's feedback). They do stiffen up the sidewall a bit as well as provide protection, so the ride is a touch harsher, but I think you'd have to be a rad racer to really note a quantitative difference in performance.
These Schwalbes are what they term TL (tubeless ready), they do have a distinct bead, they lock onto a tubeless rim with a reassuring 'thwack' when you inflate them, and on my rims at least (Stans) the bead does not release when the tyres are completely deflated, and I've never had an issue with any significant pressure loss over time (the Snakeskin sidewalls help here I believe - they are less porous). So, I'm guessing that they would perform pretty well on a ghetto tubeless setup?
According to Schwalbe's website, the below 26 inch tyres from their 2012 Evolution line are made with a Snakeskin option? I hope I'm reading the info right?
Nobby Nic - Various compounds
26 x 2.25 SnakeSkin, TL-Ready (4X)
26 x 2.25 TL-Ready, SnakeSkin
26 x 2.40 SnakeSkin, TL-Ready
26 x 2.40 TL-Ready, SnakeSkin
Racing Ralph - Various compounds
26 x 2.25 SnakeSkin, TL-Ready
26 x 2.25 SnakeSkin, TL-Ready (4X)
Rocket Ron (pretty much an all-out racing tyre)
26 x 2.25 SnakeSkin, TL-Ready
I had been looking on Wiggle for the Schwalbe tyres and didn't notice a 26' snakeskin option on there?
Went to go an buy the Bontrager rim strips today and the attendant told me I was lucky I spoke to him because Bontrager rim strips only work when you are using both Bontrager rims and tyres, any other combination and you need to use Stan's!
Sooo, I walked out and I'll have to get them somewhere else.
Last edited by senator52 on Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ha! That guy is a goose.
I've used them successfully on Mavic XM117 rims. In fact they're still inflated and I haven't touched them with a pump for over 6 months. Feel free to quote me if yo ulike.
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