Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

So, what tyre then?

Posted by Matt | March 17, 2008 | 2 comments so far

Modern bikes being what they are, it’s not uncommon these days to be faced with many different ways of skinning a cat. Not only in terms of the sheer number of bikes you can use to get the same job done in wildly differing ways (such as my riding an Orange Prestige back to back with an Intense 6.6 over the same Holmbury Hill route recently), but also in the myriad adjustments available to the serial fiddler who wants to tweak his particular bike just so.

Take my Orange Five for example. It’s a sweet bike, something I really am proud to own. It comes with SRAM X-0 trigger shifters with adjustable levers, a Fox RP23 shock and a Rock Shox Pike 454 fork with compression, rebound and threshold knobs to play with. That’s without playing around with different stem lengths, handlebars, grips, saddles, tyres and tyre pressures thrown into the melting pot.

As it happens, my Orange seems to be set just fine. So fine in fact that until recently I’ve had little cause to veer too far from the basic settings I dialled in just over 900 miles ago. A while back though, ‘just riding along’ I noticed Dave’s coil sprung Pike was moving quite dramatically as he pedalled where mine was pretty much static over the same ground. Now I’ve never thought of my fork as anything other than nice and plush but seeing Dave’s fork got me thinking.

So having got back to the bat cave (and with Colin’s useful write up about fork set up in mind) I decided to tentatively fettle my fork. All I did was turn the Motion Control threshold down about two thirds of a turn, then I stepped away from the bike. What a revelation! Now my fork is far more active (I maintain that big hit performance aside what you really want in a fork is plushness over the small trail lumpiness you encounter for 90% of your ride) and the Five feels even more satisfying to ride. To be honest I’m loving this bike even more as the miles roll by.

I’m also looking forward to some more extreme tweaking over the summer. My Panaracer Fire XC UST tyres have been great for year round predictability, far more so than I anticipated when I started out on them. But what self respecting MTB’er sticks to one set of tyres throughout the year. I’m looking for something, not exactly semi slick, but definitely lower profile for the summer months. It needs to be fast but grippy in the dusty clay of the North Downs and the loamy goodness of Leith, Pitch and Holmbury Hills and of course it needs to be tubeless.

If anyone has any suggestions I’d be happy to hear.


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 2 comments on ‘So, what tyre then?’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

  1. Colin says:

    A lot of folk seem to swear by the Maxxis High Rollers or Schwalbe Nobby Nic/Racing Ralph combo. The Schwalbe are expensive though – can they really charge that for bicycle tyres for heaven’s sake.

    I’m gonna hold fire until/if summer arrives before shelling out on dry weather booties.

  2. Dominic says:

    Have seen people use Schwalbe Big Betty on the front and Fat Albert on the rear. Think they can be got UST if not the Nobbys are good. is good for Schwalbe tires, I have used them.


Leave a comment…

Have your say – we'd love to hear what you think.

If you have something to add, just complete this comment form (we will not publish your email address).

*Required information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.