'06 Kona Dawg Deluxe/'06 Cannondale F400(frame)/'98 Cannondale SuperV1000
Michelin Comp 24-1S tires
Well, I got my new tires last week(Thursday, in fact) in time for my Saturday ride, but I decided to hold off. The horse trail we hit is chock full of blackberry vines and wild rosebushes. My Specialized Fear Control/Master set is full of holes already(from that very trail) so I just used them. I did go ahead and mount the Michelins on an extra wheelset, tho.
Luckily, they turned out to be XC tires(I got the 2.2 XC Competition version). According to Nashbar, they were supposed to be DH/freeride-specific. I'm guessing they just used the text for the DH tires for both or something. At $14.90(US)/tire I wasn't gonna argue. They're a little bit softer than my Specialized, as far as I can tell, and have pretty aggressive tread. They're directional, but not front/rear specific.
I have to admit, I didn't think I'd find anything I'd like better than my Specialized setup, but I was seriously wrong. The Michelins grip and corner way better. In fact, the main limitation thus far has been my reluctance to push my speed into the corners with them. That, and chickening out when I do push it a little. Also, I think I might need to adjust the air pressure a bit. Rear seems a bit bouncy, but that could be my shock. I was able to take most of the trail at much higher speed with them, tho. Anyway, I'm way behind as far as newer MTB tires go and I'm sure it shows in this post. There's probably much better tires than these out there. It's a hell of a step up for me, tho.
Only taken them out on two rides so far. No idea how quickly they wear yet, but I doubt they'll see much pavement. Should be almost exclusively trail miles. The first ride was a little damp. Couple days after a rain and the temperature was low enough that more water had runoff than evaporated. No puddles, tho. The second ride was today: sunny and a bit warmer than the first. Less moisture in the soil. The trail I rode has pretty much any condition you'd encounter except for sand. It's a good mix of hardpack, some softpack, rock(loose and embedded), roots and even moss. The only problem I had out of these tires was an attempted washout after accumulating some mud on the front and turning a bit too sharply on some embedded stone. I corrected a bit and was able to ride it out. I'm pretty sure everthing else was me. Once I ran off the trail because they cornered so well. I overcorrected because I was used to having to be a bit more forceful in my steering with my old tires.
All in all, I'd recommend givin' 'em a try if you're rollin' old rubber and want better handling, or just new tires. Oh, and I'm pretty sure these are actually lighter than my Specialized tires. I went with the Kevlar bead(old ones are wire, plus iron curtain beadlock) and the bike felt way lighter when I first took off with 'em mounted. The Michelin's might be a little softer in the sidewall, but I need to ride 'em both a little more to doublecheck.
If anybody's got other ideas for a good XC tire, let me know. I've been thinkin' about givin' the Dart/Smoke combo another try when I get another bike(and some more green), maybe.