Good race tire for cornering

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

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by devinci

I may be asking a lot but im looking for a good RACE 29er tire which would have these caracteristics (most important from top to bottom).

-good cornering traction
-good rolling
-puncture protection
-light weight

I am using maxxis Ikons but for some reason, I really suck with them in corners, I feel they can let go at any time, I do not trust the squared profile. Maybe I suck at handling the bike but when I lean the bike over in corners, it feel quite sketchy, someting I did'nt feel with other tires with a more rounded profile. I do like their volume and rolling but the new EXO TR are quite a bit heavier then the past EXO only.

Given I can have maxxis tires at very good prices, I was thinking of using a crossmark up front, what do you guys think? Is it better for cornering traction?

FWIW the ''fast rolling'' tire I have loved the most so far were my Kenda SMall Block 8, they inspired confidance in corners. I currently train on maxxis ardent and they are super grippy but no way I will race with these porker.

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by yourdaguy

I feel the same way as you on Ikons and have been called nuts by many since they swear that Ikons are the best tire ever made. Anyway, I love Racing Ralphs and have never had a problem (by the way I actually have punctured an almost new Ikon sidewall so bad that it was ruined). Some claim the Ralph's are not that durable in the sidewall, but would rate them at least as good as the Ikons since I have a couple thousand miles with no issues.

If conditions are muddier/slicker then I like the Rocket Rons. A little more rolling resistance (about the same as Ikon-Ralphs are the best at rolling resistance) Also, no problems with sidewalls although I only have a few hundred miles as opposed to a couple of thousand miles on Ralphs and I have around 1000 miles on Ikons. The sidewalls of the Ron's look to have a little more rubber part way up the sidewall so they might be the best overall for your needs.

Compaired to Ikons: Ralphs Rons
Cornering taction: better much better
Rolling resistance better same
Puncture protection same or better probably better
Weight lighter lighter

All my experience is running tubeless on rims with internal width of 23-25 and 29er. Generally around 24 front and 28 rear psi, I weigh 175#.
All Ikons are 2.20 All Ron's are 2.25 Ralphs are 2.25 and 2.35. By the way, they no longer make the 2.35 although many still have stock and I like the 2.35 front 2.25 rear although 2.25 at both ends is not that much different.

In the fall of last year I had one of my bikes set up with Ralph front and Ikon rear and it was actually pretty nice because when I was getting close to the limit my Ikon would slide out a little and actually make the bike turn faster. I was telling people that my Ralphs were writing checks that my Ikons couldn't cash but it was actually a pretty good setup for mostly dry with lots of slick spots. Although I would predict that a Ron front and Ralph rear would be even faster (I have not tried that)
For certain parts stiffer is more important than lighter.

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by devinci

thanks for your comment, interesting.

Do you know anything about the Onza Canis? The tread patern looks a lot like the Racing Ralph but maybe a bit more agressive. The tire looks round and it is cheaper then schwalbe...

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by DanW

The Canis tyres come out a fair bit heavier than claimed whereas Schwalbe seem to be spot on. The tread on a Canis is actually less aggressive than the equivalent sized Ralph IMO (certainly in terms of straight line braking as there's more space between the Ralphs nobbles) but roll a fraction quicker in the dry. It's worth noting too that the tread on the Canis gets noticeably deeper with every size you go up. I liked the Canis as a rear tyre but much less so as a front tyre. The Canis is also extremely supple and the compound seems much grippier so where the ground is hard (no mud in sight) but maybe with slick rocks or roots, the Canis are fantastic. I didn't find them so good with the smallest bit of mud around. The Ralphs were far better in this respect, with more grip in dry to mixed conditions due to the tread I guess but a bit less grippy on slimy rocks. Ralphs are such great tyres for dry to mostly dry conditions (basically leave them on all year except when mud tyres are needed), soI can fully understand their popularity!

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by ophiravina

sorry for being the "specialized fan" but after trying the racing ralph and the geax saguaro, I fell in love with the fast trak control tire from specialized, tubeless (29x2.0).
I ride this tire in XCM and XCO with confidence. I dont have two sets of wheels so I use it for training and racing. only in the off season I used the capitan in the front :-/
2016 scott adictt 10:
2015 sworks tarmac :

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by Ghost234

I used to be a Kenda fanatic. I loved the Karmas, but I am a convert to the Racing Ralph. They are bloody expensive, but they are the best tire for most conditions. I don't think I'd ever go to anything else. Unless its wet, the cornering on these is some of the best I've ever had.

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by CulBaire

My experience is all 26" and 650b, YMMV!

I'm not a fan of the Maxxis tires; I find they have a softer side wall and if using them tubeless they tend to be a bit squirmy at low presures. They are also fat tires, coming in well over weight. That said I do like to train on them, as they are dirt cheap here in Australia.

The Crossmark is an alright rear tire, but not something I would use on the front. I modified mine by cutting off the cylindrical knobs ala I found performing the modifcation greatly improved the tires bite particularly on our sandy climbs around here. I do like the look of the Maxxis Aspen also and may give that a try when the time comes.

For racing, I am using an age old combination 2.25 Rocket Ron on the front, and a 2.25 Racing Ralph on the rear, I find this combo works quite well and rolls pretty quick and grips well in most conditions that I encounter when racing (usually loose and dry or rocky conditions).

Edit: Kenda's were fantastic back in the day, I used to run a Karma rear and Nevegal rear with great success; I am disapointed their flagship tires are no longer lightweights and 26" has been all but forgoten as they were a great tire at a great value price.

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by 4crosswheels

I'd go with a Front 2.25 ron and a rear ralph you can always trim down the center of the Ron for Increased RR on a 29er

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by TheKaiser

I think that for a fast rolling/climbing setup that can still rail hard flat/downhill turns you can't beat a Rocket Ron on the back with a Nobby Nic on the front. If you look at the (German) Bike magazine tests, the Nic is nearly as fast rolling as the Ron, and still quite light (lighter than many of the other less knobby tires from other brands that have been mentioned) but they actually have some pretty substantial knobs for cornering (by XC standards at least).

Of course, that doesn't solve the high Schwalbe price problem. And it assumes you trust those rolling resistance tests which were actually kind of interesting in that they suggest that the Sb8 and several other supposedly fast rolling tires are actually quite slow! Do any of you guys know if any independent citizen scientist tests of knobby tire rolling resistance similar to the Al Morrison data that roadies have?

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by chrisMTB

I'm interested in trying out the new Schwalbe Thunder Burt, looks fast as hell! Still not available through the US distributors.

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by HillRPete

Ghost234 wrote:I used to be a Kenda fanatic. I loved the Karmas ...

I'm liking the Karmas (27" DTC) but wondering if maybe a Turnbull Canyon in the rear, or front and rear for dry conditions, would be even faster. Nobody ever seems to run the Turnbull, or at least nobody is writing about it.

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by Juanmoretime

Soil type makes a big difference in tire choice. I found the Rocket Rons to corner okay. Where I live the Continental Race Kings keep me hooked up the best.

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by sstefanov

+1 for the RaceKings 2.2 RaceSport (Black chilli compound). They work great for me, tubeless set up with Conti Revo Sealant.


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by jooo

I haven't used them myself but CulBaire mentioned the Maxxis Aspen and on paper these seem like they could be a candidate for what you're after. The claimed weight of the tyre is similar to the Ikon and the Aspen appears to have a decent side nob:

This seems to make giving them a go not such a bad idea either:
devinci wrote:Given I can have maxxis tires at very good prices

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by devinci

I actually have a set of 26 aspen tires, the side knobs are not that agressive at all, it is a fast tire.

The conti race king are about the worst piece of crap for North American racing, they blow hard in agressive corners.

I am starting to get used to the Ikon... My next tires will most likely be the racing ralph

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