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  1. #1
    Junior Member Wilk's Avatar
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    Larger front tire than the back?

    I've been upgrading my rig and have started looking at tires. I've seen a few people talk about having a larger front tire than the back.

    Just wondering if anyone has done this, or if anyone knows why some riders prefer it.

    Cheers, Tom.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Raging_Bulls's Avatar
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    The front has the hardest work when it needs to deal with the bumps, stones, edges etc. The wider and higher the tire there, the more it can take before the rim hits anything.
    Also, wider tires tend to have a larger diameter as well, which means it'll roll over bigger obstacles more easily.

    This "wide front and smaller rear" setup is a trend that's becoming more and more common indeed, but IMO that's mostly because MTB-ing is more about descents nowadays.
    For climbing, you'd want the wider tire on the back and for old-school XC it doesn't really matter that much. XC bikes tend to have equal widths, or slightly wider at the back.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    I've always run my tires either both the same or the front bigger. Doesn't matter whether it's XC, AM, or whatever. It just makes more sense to me since the front tire does most of the work. When you are going downhill it takes all the hits and does most of the braking. Also, I like fatter tires and I can't always fit them on the rear anyway - my hardtail 29er runs a 2.1 in the rear and a 2.3 on the front.

  4. #4
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    You get the most benefit from traction up front for cornering and braking, which everyone does, compared to climbing which is done less frequently especially in flat areas. The other thing to consider is that since the rear tire carries more weight, it gets more benefit from a tire with lower rolling resistance. The weight on the rear tire and acceleration applied to it wears it out much faster than your front tire, as well.

    These two things are a big factor on some new bikes, especially Specialized since they have so many of their own brand of tires to pick from. It's normal to see a 2.2" front and 2.0" rear, with more aggressive tread up front.

    I'm with Thor. I have more tire clearance up front than rear, so I'm limited to an honest-to-size 2.25" or slightly smallish 2.3" in the rear. I currently have Specialized Ground Control 2.3" front and 2.1" rear, but I can fit the 2.3 in the back because it's actually more like 2.2"... so I'll do that when I wear out my rear tire.

  5. #5
    To be continued Dannihilator's Avatar
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    On my dmr, the tire on the front is slightly wider than the tire on the back.

    Front: 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller
    Rear: 26x2.125 Maxxis DTH

    So basically, .075 of an inch.
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  6. #6
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    Along in this tire discussion... I have a Trek XO1, Rolf Vector and 700x35. I want to switch tires for the moment until the weather turns squirrley and need the grittier cyclocross tires on there now.

    Any reason I couldn't go with a 700x32 or 700x30 and tread of my choice for rolling better. I am about 90/10.... hard surface over improved trail.

    tx

  7. #7
    PBR Racing RIC0's Avatar
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    I've ran the same size up front and out back for 7+ years now.

    Now i do like a more aggressive front tire than back.
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  8. #8
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I prefer a larger, more aggressive broader tire up front. It holds better. A smaller rear tire also seems to allow me to slide the back tire around when I need to.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

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  9. #9
    aspiring dirtbag commuter max-a-mill's Avatar
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    i think it is so the back tire will slide before the front.

    think about it if one of your tires breaks traction you'd rather it be the back one right?

    i always run a bigger more aggresive tread on the front.
    - the revolution will not be motorized -

  10. #10
    Junior Member Wilk's Avatar
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    Makes sense to me now.

    I have come from a trials biking community where our rear tires are always much larger due to always landing on the back of the bike. As of late I have become much more into mtb than before and gaining as much knowledge as possible from here. xD

    At first I thought it was really strange to have a larger tire on the front but this makes much more sense.

    Got a 2.35 on the back and a 2.2 on the front but it's time to upgrade the front anyway, so I may go larger.

  11. #11
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I run a 2.25 on the front of the dually and a 2.1 on the rear both with tubes. I do this because most everyone else does and because I'll take any help that gives me more traction on the front.
    The hardtail has 2.1 tubeless on both cause that's the way it came, I don't feel like messing with the tubeless and I've not had any traction problems.
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  12. #12
    Trek DS 8.4 Rider! zerogravity's Avatar
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    I started on my DS 8.4 with a 700x38 fr/rr then 2.2/2.0. On my Rumblefish i have a 29x2.4/29x2.2 rear
    ''Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.''-- Thomas Alva Edison

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raging_Bulls View Post
    This "wide front and smaller rear" setup is a trend that's becoming more and more common indeed, but IMO that's mostly because MTB-ing is more about descents nowadays.
    Total crap.

    Wider front tires have been the standard for decades. A wider front tire is beneficial while cornering on the flats as well on "the descents."

  14. #14
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    On 29'ers with suspension forks the already high front end will get higher with a larger tire. Just something to consider if you already have difficulty climbing the steeps.

  15. #15
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim? scrublover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clem von Jones View Post
    On 29'ers with suspension forks the already high front end will get higher with a larger tire. Just something to consider if you already have difficulty climbing the steeps.
    If you already have trouble climbing the steeps, a little bit of extra height won't make it that much worse.

    However, better overall traction might make things better. IMO, it's a technique thing more than anything else when climbing steep stuff.

    Not all tires are created equal - just because it's wider doesn't always mean taller. I have actually grown to prefer a slightly wider rim in front, pared with the wider tire - spreads it out a bit more, but keeps it from being much taller. My current fav is a Stan's Arch or Mavic xm819 in back with a Flow up front. Works well.
    I believe the clouds in my coffee more than the weatherman on t.v.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    I run Geax Saguaro 2.2 front and back in late spring/early summer when things have mostly tried out but have not become crumbly and loose, and swap in a Maxxis Ardent 2.35 in front as things get sandy and dusty in the late summer and continue through the fall when it gets wet and sloppy. Mostly I like the larger, more aggressive tire up front for cornering. It feels to me like the combination of more aggressive tread and lower pressure that a high volume tire allows for make a big difference. The Saguaro 2.2 does fine on climbs, so I never bother to change it. It isn’t really a conscious effort to run bigger tires up front.
    Cat-3 Fred

  17. #17
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    I had always run the same size F and R but recently switched to a 2.3 Specialized Ground Control up front and keeping a 2.1 on the back. I found that I corner faster and more securely, roll over stuff easier and descend with more confidence. Amazingly, the 2.3 was no harder to push even though it is wider and a few grams heavier. I actually go faster with this tire. I'm a XC racer who keeps it on the ground--any air I get is incidental, lol.

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