What's the fastest mtb tire in 2.4 (ish)-2.6 size?

I don’t know but I intend to find out. I had four variables going yesterday on two different bikes so I think some simplification is needed. I’m thinking of just riding the spectral and adding a 10# backpack for half of the runs. It should make a difference that I can see…and then I can add another variable the next time once I have a testing system that works.

As for the suspension, I had the compression fully closed on the front and rear, it firms it up but it’s not completely locked out. I did one run wide open on one run (I forget which one) and it was the same time. On that bike when smoothly spinning along the suspension doesn’t move at all even when wide open…you can feel it wallow when out of the saddle mashing but with a smooth spin I don’t think it matters if its locked out or not on pavement…and I think it’s faster wide open on the trail (though technically not proven).


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After several years on a rigid 29er it’s taken me some time to get used to riding a FS. Unless I’m actually riding rough stuff I’ll have the fork locked out and the shock in “climbing” mode. I rode the Highland Trail 550 in just over five days on a fully rigid no problem.

Tyres: the fastest rolling I’ve had (out of a sample of not very many) have been Vittoria Mezcals. I put a 2.6" on the front of the hardtail and I’m having to brake so as not to outrun my wife who’ll be on Bontrager XR3 & XR2 which are pretty fast rolling themselves. I wouldn’t use them in mud or on trails with wet roots though, the rubber compound is too hard.

For fast rolling and good grip off-road I like the Bontrager XR3/XR2 combo but the newer XR3s seem to have less tread than they used to.

Alright, I fitted the Racing Ray/Thunder Burt 2.35s yesterday and just went for a test spin. Unfortunately this ride was on the roads and not on MTB track due to the terribly muddy conditions atm.

Initial impressions:

  • They feel much more supple that the Ardent Race/Ikon they’re replacing! Though, this did make em harder to get seated tubeless. Where I could get the Maxxis tyres seated with just a floor pump, I needed the boost of a CO2 cartridge for the Schwalbes. Still, they were easy to get on by hand which is a plus.
  • Mounted on a 25mm internal width rim the Ray measured 57mm and the Burt 56mm. A few mm smaller than they’re supposed to be but I think that will stretch in time.
  • They make so little road noise! Like, almost on par with my road bike tyres. In comparision the Maxxis tyres were extremely load, which did have the benefit of not needing a bell :sweat_smile:
  • Imo they look amazing on my bike.
  • Did I mention they look amazing?
  • They look amazing!

Wil report back once I get a good impression on how they ride on trail.


Ran the Kenda Booster Pro TR 2.6" vs. the Maxxis Ardent Race/Ikon (both exo casing, 2.4") today, it looks like they are ~ 5 seconds faster over 14 minutes which probably isn’t a significant difference. They felt faster though…lighter, more comfy, easier rolling. But the stopwatch today says they’re close to the same or the same.

That Kenda tire feels super thin on the sidewall, like road bike thin. And it only weighs 666g!

Not sure why my runs on the maxxis tires were so inconsistent but I managed 4 nearly identical runs on the Kendas.

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They do look amazing.

I will be interested to see how you find them. I chickened out and put my Ralph on instead due to minimal chance to ride my MTB between now and A-Raceday.

How “big” is the 2.6 Booster Pro compared to a 2.4 Rekon Race or Aspen?

What is your goal, really? The “fastest” tires might change in different days, let alone different courses.

My last bike came with a set of Aspens that I believe were used at Leadville and Vail Lake, I left them on for my first couple races. I had a couple spots where I was struggling to make it up climbs because there wasn’t enough traction. No good being fast rolling if you waste time and power just trying to make it up a hill! Also struggled to make it through some fast but loose corners. Problems magically disappeared when I swapped on a Ray/Ralph.

One of my best race results ever was on a Hans Dampf up front at about 1000 grams. I was so far behind at the initial race climb that I couldn’t even see anyone anymore. Took me about a half hour to even start catching up. But once it got to the tech part of the course, I picked everyone off and worked my way into the podium.

I hope so, since I just put my money on one even though I was against it for years. I was convinced my HT was faster, but some race results have told me maybe I was wrong.

But in the very least, I am nearing the end of my serious racing “career” and this new bike is a lot more fun to ride :man_shrugging:

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64 vs 60 mm on the recon race or ikon they’re the same. It hasn’t stretched out though so it might gain a little more.

What is the fastest tire for me on my trail? Is there actually much of a difference between tires? I’m finding testing is much fiddlier than I ever imagined!

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I’m wondering if a 29mm internal rim is wide enough to run/support the 2.6 Booster Pro?

I ran them at 16/17 or 17/18 (can’t remember) and it was fine on that trail. Where I really feel the tire squirm is when a jump line turns a bit at the bottom of a roller and the rear tire loads up…it might have rolled under that but as far as regular “flat corners” with me riding they were fine (200# with kit on, I corner “OK”).


Really starting to hate science. Today I did 10 laps, I figured if I could bookend the test wheels with my stock wheels and if the stock wheels ran the same times on laps 1 and 2 as they did on laps 9 and 10 then I could assume the results in the middle (laps 3-8) would be “real”. It all was making perfect sense until laps 9 and 10 and then slow stock wheels all of a sudden went (sorta) fast.

I think my next test will just be 10 laps on the stock wheels and see what happens to the times.

And for the record, I’m not braking at all for the entire lap. Also, I’m calibrating my powermeter every lap or two (temp started in the 50’s, ended in the 70’s…so maybe the air density is part of it?)