Thoughts on XC tires

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4/15/2018 7:09 PM

Hey all, my son started racing on his high school team last season as part of NICA. He was very in to it that he sold a dirt bike along with money he saved up so he could buy a Specialized Epic Hardtail. The bike served him well. That said it is time to start looking for new tires for him. Unfortunately when it comes to Cross Country, I have no idea what to look at, or what brands outside the OEM tires that came with his bike.

The stock tires worked well enough, but they did leave things to be desired in wet weather where the course had plenty of roots, especially in corners. They did not grip well. In dry conditions they are just fine.

So any thoughts on a good brands to look at for competitive XC is greatly appreciated. I am thinking to get a set specifically for wet days and a set for dry.

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4/15/2018 9:24 PM

I never raced XC, but I did own a set of Maxxis Beavers for a while in 29x2.0 on an old hardtail. To me, they performed quite well in the mud we have here (clay base, so very slick when wet) but they had quite a thin sidewall and I ended up tearing one on a ride. It would probably be a good tire for racing though since it is quite light.
It depends somewhat on your local trail conditions, but mud tires generally have a lot of open spacing and some have a 'paddle'-like pattern repeated in them. I don't know of many other XC mud-focussed tires other than the Beavers and Bontrager XR Muds, but anything that is lightweight and has some widely spaced knobs should work. Just make sure you have clearance in your frame if you are going to be running a wider tire with tall spikes.

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4/16/2018 6:35 AM

Maxxis Icon for dry. They make all the sizes and casing combo's you would need.


Can't help with the wet setup- maybe look at some xc world cup bike checks from wet races.

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4/22/2018 8:28 AM

I picked up three tires to give a try and see what works best with him. Two Ikon EXO/TR in 29x2.2 and one Ardent Race EXO TR 2.2

We will try dual Ikons and then give the AR fron with the Ikon rear (shamelessly copying the set ups found on the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com team.

Thank you for pointing me towards those tires.

The other tires I looked at is the schwalbe rocket ron/racing ralph but for now will try these Maxxis tires.

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4/24/2018 6:51 AM

You made a great choice. The Ikons are what you'll see all over XC races, from WC to local races. The Ardent Race is a great tire for rougher, more technical courses. A little slower rolling but a little more grip, both braking and cornering.

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