I'm already looking for new XC tires for next race season. I'm riding a steel hard tail and am looking for a set for mostly hardpack conditions with some loose soft dirt on top. We are generally dry, so mud isn't an issue (besides I have a good set of mud tires). Nor are roots or big rocks. I'm looking for something with really low rolling resistance. I've been running 2.1 lately and am looking for a change.
I've looked at Maxxis, WTB and Ritchey tires, but I wanted to see if there are any other brand/models I should be considering. Thank you for your help.
I love the WTB Epicwolf 1.95's on my Zaskar, sick fast at 465g, enough knob to corner but not as well as some of my other tires. I think they were discontinued and reintroduced as a slightly heaver and tougher Exiwolf. My Ritchey Excavader/Elevader combo is also pretty fast and corners a bit better but their braking performance in anything less than hardpack conditions has disappointed me.
2004 Marin bobcat trail, 2006 trek fuel ex7, 2007 iron horse road bike
I ran some Irc mythos 1.95's for a while, decent grip.. very fast and light.. and CHEAP the 1.95 size on these seems narrower than a normal 1.95 at least to me. I'm a fan of the Ritchey tires, try the zed race, I use those in a 2.1 side and like them .. also cheap sometimes.
How does this make sense? narrow = fast rolling right?
Given than the weight is the same, the larger tire will have a shorter contact patch and roll faster. Unfortunately, 10% larger and the same weight also means 10% thinner and 10% more puncture prone. There is a different optimal size for every terrain, frame geometry, and riding style.
Handling is another issue. Correct me if I wrong, but I've been taught that a narrower tire lowers the bottom bracket and makes for more precise handling. Even without the extra cush, bigger tires allow the bike to hold a line through rough stuff better although tight line changes are compromised.
I also have some Tioga Factory XC Slick 1.85's that I'll put on the Zaskar every one in a while. They're an ounce or two heavier but they roll even faster than the Epicwolfs. The way that bike takes tight switchbacks on those tires makes me drool. Too bad their climbing bite and braking bite suck. They're just not great tires for most of the trails around here.