Last post, I joked about ‘what tyres for wet chalk’ as my current tyres are worn out and I need any confidence boost I can get. Since then I’ve spent a good evening searching around the webernet looking for tyres to suit my requirements and come away feeling pretty confused.
I guess I should really float this ‘what tyre’ subject past a forum or two but just can’t face the pointless trolling. What I’m looking for really is feedback from people who have direct experience of the tyres which have made my shortlist.
First of all I’m veering between getting some winter specific tyres for the Orange Five or replacing my worn out Panaracer Fire XCs with something similarly ‘all rounder-ish’. So my shortlist is pretty short! Either way they need to be UST (tubeless) compatible, resistant to sharp flints (think Box Hill climbs) and offer plenty of grip on the wet chalk, clay and roots that is a North Downs winter. Width wise, I’m looking for the wider end of things I guess to compliment the Orange’s All Mountain capabilities (not mine, ha!).
First up, in the winter tyre camp is the Bontrager Mud X, a default recommendation from most magazines I’ve read and billed specifically by the manufacturer as proving ‘exceptional grip on wet roots’. It comes as a 1.8 or 2.0 width, weighs an amazing 550g and sounds pretty promising.
Also on the shortlist here is the Panaracer TrailRaker UST, available as 2.1 only, with no quoted weights from Panaracer making comparison difficult. I’m thinking this might be more suited to wet gloop, but what do I know?
On to the ‘all round’ tyres. This is where I’m really confused, especially by tyre compounds. The Mud X is listed as a 60/50 dual compound tyre whereas most MTB tyres seem to be in the 60/70 range. Fine. But on my shortlist (again by media recommendation) is the Maxxis High Rollers which in UST 2.1 form have a 62 tackiness figure and weigh 890g — in other words they’re a bit heavy, not particularly wide and might not be very grippy?
I’ve pondered the Maxxis Minions but in UST form they’re probably too wide at 2.5 and very heavy. Can I just put non-UST 2.35 Minion DHRs on and run them tubeless? The tackiness rating is down to 42 on the 2.35s – much lower than the Mud X’s! That’s where I getting confused. How much of a variation is there from 40-ish to 60 in terms of grip and rolling resistance anyway?
There’s also, intrigingly the prospect of putting on Maxxis ADvantage 2.25 non-UST tyres which come with a 60 stick factor. If they work tubeless and don’t have flint vulnerable sidewalls.
The only other ‘all round’ tyre on the shortlist is the Continental Rubber Queen, which if nothing else would keep the schoolboy in me amused. They’re available in 2.2 or 2.4 UST versions that top out at 1050g (wow!) and the 2.4 has their special ‘Black Chilli’ compound which claims tons of grip (no tacky figure though) and lower rolling resistance. Chunky, heavy but promising?
So there you have it. My leaning is toward the Bonty Mud X’s for now through to spring riding, but your thoughts would be very welcome as I’m extremely confused!