Help me with MTB tire selection

I soon need to replace the Ground Control tires 2.4" that came with my Specialized Epic Evo. I know it’s a bit shallow and silly, but I want tires with tan color, here are the contender in order:

Ground Control Grid 2Bliss Ready T7 Soil Searching
Part No.: 00122-5018$65

Vittoria Mezcal


Maxxis Rekon

On a cursory look, it appears that the Mezcals are lighter, less rolling resistance, less grip…relative to the Maxxis and the Ground Contrlo are in the middle. Wonder if the community can provide some feedback on these 3 choices.


Tires are dependent on riding and terrain… but Ground Control is my favorite tire right now for where I ride. Rekon are very similar and a great tire but a bit more expensive. Don’t know the third option. All good options I’m sure.

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Yes, I’m hoping it is implied in my post, that the current ground control feel adequate for all my needs, just looking for the tan lines.

I’m partial to the Vitoria Barzos.

They’re fast rolling and light. Grip is good in most New England conditions.


You can also get the Rekon Race in Tanwall.

Rekon/Rekon Race 2.4 is a pretty good combo.

The Vittoria Tanwall tyres are their race version also so less durable / less puncture protection.

What kind of trails do you ride on? Are you looking for race tires, or general use trail tires?

Nice selection, I think. But aren’t they kinda heavy?

Yeah, for sure. Maxxis tyres aren’t light.

OP was keen on the Rekon though, and I think a Rekon Race rear is a great combo and is available in Tanwall. I am not 100% certain what their preference is, but considering they were choosing between Mezcal, Rekon, and Ground Control. I figure a Rekon/Rekon Race is a perfect compromise.

A lot of brands make good tan wall tyres. Mostly all that I can think of are in their fastest tread pattern, or lowest protection level.


In theory looks good, but reviews says that grip in dry slippery conditions is bad.

Do you think the grip difference between the ground control and the Rekon Race (front wheel) is substantial and they are not interchangeable, given the same set of trails?

General use. All the variety, from rocks to forest roads. I would like to shave some weight while minimizing the loss of grip and puncture protection

Now that you mention it… I feel pretty happy with my MTB setup, but wouldn’t mind shedding a few hundred grams in tires weight if the puncture resistance is not compromised. What would be your suggestion for the tan tire that achieves this balance?

Mmmm…I wonder if given your experience you could say something like… With this tire you can save 200g (per tire), but your protection level is (roughly) 50%…comparing with my current tire (Ground Control).

My current trail bike is set up with Bontrager XR4s (800g) on the front, and Schwalbe Nobby Nic (850g) on the rear.

The XR4 is good for a front tire - but too light (not enough puncture resistance) for a rear tire. I had a Nobby Nic on the front for a while, but it’s a little heavier than what I need.

I have been riding the Nobby Nic Super Ground on the rear this past year. I’ve been impressed with its puncture resistance. No flats despite riding some pretty rocky trails. For the spring, I plan to switch to the Wicked Will for. A little less rolling resistance.

I ride everything from smooth dirt to desert and granite rocks with this combo. This is not a race tire setup - it’s for general riding. Although - I probably will use this combo for the Grand Junction off-road in May, as it’s one of the few races I’ll do this year and I’m too lazy to switch. Plus that course is rocky, so maybe not a bad thing to have beefier tires.

And they’re both available with tan walls.

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If by “dry slippery” you mean loose over hard, agreed. They’re not the best for that. I’m on roots/rocks and loam with a small amount of buff flow-style, and even less loose over hard (unless you count acorns, which no XC tire can handle). If your conditions lean away from that, or you place a higher value on the loose over hard performance, this is not your tire.

The conventional advice says to look around you at the local races/rides and see what others are riding. When you see a tan wall you think could work, ask about it.


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You’re looking for a unicorn. It doesn’t exist. You either get grip and puncture protection or you get light weight race tires that increase the flat risk. (At least until some new lightweight synthetic material comes out that costs 5x as much…)

You shouldn’t start with color and looks, but decide what kind of tire you need. Many tires on the market have tan wall versions. I personally am not too fond of Maxxis tires: breaking performance was perceivably worse than e. g. the various Schwalbe and Specialized tires I have tried.

Personally, I like Schwalbe tires best. Their allround tire is the Nobby Nic, which is very grippy, yet offers reasonable rolling resistance. Their Racing Ralph/Racing Ray combo is the next step towards a more XC-focussed tire. I have run a mullet setup with a Racing Ralph in the back and a Nobby Nic in the front. Worked great.

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I’d say stick with what you know. Ground control works for you and it’s a good tire. Learning a tire over lots of rides is more important than having the “perfect” tire IMO.

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Nah, how do you know if there isn’t something better out there if you don’t try? Tires make a huge difference, especially offroad.

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You’re preaching to the choir here: I try them all! OK, in that case I vote OP should try Rekons or Rekon/Rekon Race combo. I prefer Rekons to Ground Controls personally: I can run them lower pressure without feeling the tire fold in corners the way I do with Ground Controls under about 19psi.

Definitely don’t do Rekon Race in the front for an all-around tire choice: that’s a race only option unless your trails are totally flat and you don’t care about braking performance. Same with Mezcal to a lesser extent.


All that said, I’ve tried them all and they’d all be fine as long as I picked something in the proper category and learned how it rides.

Rekons are my favourite tyre so far. I run them in 2.25 on a 25mm ID wheel at around 20r/18f PSI.

Other tyres I’ve tried are
Bontrager XR1 & 2(Also 4 which is awesome grippy but heavy)
Maxxis Forecaster & Ardent Race.

Rekons seem at home on such a huge variety of dirt, making them good wherever I go or whatever the weather.

I have been thinking, given the variety of tyres that pros and advanced amateurs use - we tend to overthink the tyre choice.

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I’m curious, what do you mean?

With offroad tires in particular you have plenty of choice for good reason, and your choice of tire can impact how your bike feels or how successful you are in a race.