2020 XC Race Tire Thread

What’s everyone planning on running for tires in 2020?

I’m between racing Ralph, Aspen, rekon race, and ikon

Any news on anything new coming out?

My Plan:
Hard Pack Front Racing Ralph - Rear - Thunder Burt 2.25’s
Not Dry - Front Rocket Ron/ racing ray 2.25 or 2.35 and rear Racing Ralph 2.25 all Exo / Snakeskin

Technical Stage racing with mixed weather 2.35 front and rear - maybe try Forkasters.


Sticking with Schwalbe:

Most days:

Racing Ray 2.25 - Speedgrip - Front
Racing Ralph 2.25 - Speed - Rear

Very dry or more hard pack conditions and long endurance races - Thunderburt 2.25 - Speed - Rear

Very early or late in the season, when there is still a lot of leaf litter, might see me on some Nobby Nics.


Kitted out the hardtail with Maxxis: Aspen 2.25 Exo 120tpi in the rear, Ikon 2.20 Exo 120tpi up front.

Thinking I could potentially find myself wanting a little more traction early-season though, NorCal can have some really muddy days.

1 Like

Teravail Ehline.

Vittoria has always interested me too. Anyone ever try them for xc racing?


I ran both Vittoria Mezcal G2 2.25 race casing and Aspen 2.25 EXO TR last year. Preferred the Vittoria.

I’m on a 2.35 Vittoria Barzo F, 2.25 Mezcal R in trail casing and will swap to race casing when the season comes around.


I’ve just bought a pair of Bontrager XR2s but haven’t fitted them yet.


Probably no change for me this year. 2.25 Aspen’s front and rear in Arizona.

Been interested in Vittoria though. @stevemz what kind of terrain did you run the Mezcal in? And why did you prefer that to the Aspen?

1 Like

SoCal, so mostly dry and loose over hard.

I feel like the Vittorias are more puncture resistance and hook up a bit better than the Aspen. It also just might be my familiarity with the tread pattern which lets me push things harder than I might otherwise on the Aspen.

I liked the Aspen in general and would run them again, but with the new Vittoria Race casing, the weight is basically the same.


Maxxis at the moment. Ardent front Crossmark rear.

Thanks for the review :metal: I might honestly give those a shot.

1 Like

Ardent up front and
Ikon 2.20 Exo in the rear

Maxxis Ikon EXO 2.25 all round for me.

I ran Forkaster as a front tire at a technical wet race. They hold up nicely on descents but you really need to be sure you need them because they are definitely not the fastest tire up non-technical climbs…

Mezcals 2.35 front and back for me. Raced them all 2019 season with great results and not changing anything for 2020.


Its gonna be my first season where I am going to try some XC races. I just bought a set of 29" wheels and 2.25 Vittoria Mezcals to take the place of my 27.5 x 2.8 Maxxis Rekons. I haven’t had a chance to ride them yet so I might have taken too large of a jump to the narrow tire and go back up to a 2.35 in the Spring/Summer but we’ll see. The larger tire was also nice for the sandier sections of these Michigan trails but its also not as rocky and rooty as where I was before.

I’ve been really pleased with Bontragers over the past few years. I’ll likely run XR2s but may beef up the front to an XR3 since the marathons I’m planning later in the year have some descents where I’d like a bit more confidence (mostly for ORAMM).

1 Like

Ikon 2.35 - Rear
Ardent Race 2.35 - Front

I might try an Ikon in the front, the Ardent race is fine but I’m always wishing for more bite. For longer endurance back country races I’m thinking of trying an Agressor up front.

I just sliced a new Ikon on a rock and even with bacon strips and Stan’s race sealant I couldn’t get it to hold enough air for me to get home. I could have used a boot but didn’t make that decision early enough and only had 2 25g air cartridges.

Going to try the Conti Race Kings Protection and see how I like those.