Saturday, October 26, 2013

Quick tires review

I had the opportunity to test a few different tires during the season. I mainly rode 3 different models and will describe my thoughts on each one, starting with the one I used most. All models were 29er size, of course.

Kenda small block 8 - 2.1 - DTC SCT

These tires have very small and tightly placed knobs. The profile is round and the tires is made of 2 different compounds. The center knobs are harder, more of a plastic feeling and are made for faster rolling. The side knobs are stickier to provide more traction in corners. The tire volume is not a big volume. I have'nt measured them but they are quite a bit smaller then my maxxis Ikon. The weight came in at

I loved this tire. It performs well in the dry and sligthly soft conditions. It is not made to ride in wet and loose conditions though. When used in the proper weather, the rounded profile and the side threads inspire confidence in the corners. The traction is good overall but you'll need a bit of climbing skills to keep a decent traction when stuff gets loose or a little wet. The volume might have been an issue at time though. I mostly rode them at 20,5 psi and I did hit the rim a few times when going fast down hill.

Overall, I'd say they are a good tire for most of the season when conditions allow. They are not too expensive and the SCT tires seal up tubeless very, very easily. They also seem durable and the sidewall are pretty thick and resistant.

Maxxis Ikon - 2.2 - EXC EXO

Not much to say about these popular tires. They are pretty light for their size and the volume is big. The profile is a squared one and the center threads are small to provide a good rolling resistance. I find the squared profile feels a little bit less confident in the corners then a rounded profile tire. These were my race day tires so I did not put extensive training kilometers on them. The big volume make it a very comfortable tire especially at lower pressures. I generally used 20 to 21 psi with these tires.

I found they can handle both dry and slightly wet conditions. They can even handle mud if you've got the handling skills for it. They sealed up very easily as well using stans juice on my stans crest rims. The only downsides to these tires is the price. If you buy these at the local bike shop, you'll be looking at a 95$ tire. Also, while the sidewall protection seems resistant, I have had a few sets of Ikons in the past and have found the thread punctures quite a bit.

Maxxis beaver - 2.0

Holy sticky tire batman!!! Rode these tires only once, but it was in a super muddy, slippery race with sections people were running because it was too muddy. These tires are so sticky I could stay on my bike the whole time during the race. A spectator even told me I was the only one going up the main technical climb on my bike, everybody else was running up it.

They are a mud specific tire, with a small volume, very sticky compound and agressive threads. I don't think they should be used anywhere else because the volume is so small and the rubber seems thin on the sidewall.

If you're looking for some super traction in slippery conditions, go with the beaver, awesome.

Continental race king - 2.2 - racesport

Not much to say about these tires except the volume is big and could make it a comfortable tire. I rode them at different pressures but never found them as comfortable as my Ikons. They roll super, super fast and they do have good grip when it's DRY. I could test them on wet and loose conditions and they totally suck. Traction goes out the window as soon as it is loose or wet. The rounded profile is great but the side knobs are not going far enough for me on the edge of the tire, which makes it a poor cornering tire when you like to lean the bike over in corners.

After a handleful of rides, the sidewall were already showing signs of use. They are indeed very thin. The tire seals up relatively easily with stans juice but you might need a bit more work then with other tires to get them 100% air thight.

I have decided those tires are not for me at all. My next tires should be very interesting.

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