XC Race Tire Thread

Apologies if this is the wrong thread for it, but I’m exploring the idea of switching from my Maxxis Rekon 29x2.4WT ( F ) and Ardent Race 29x2.35 ( R ) set up to something lighter to lighten up my bike (Yeti SB100). Don’t get me wrong this set up is grippy, reliable, and pretty fast for me, but I’m curious if there are any lighter offerings.

For reference I have 29mm internal rims, do not race/intend to race, and ride XC-ish trails (when dry) in the SF Bay Area. If you’re familiar with the area, some examples are Mid-Pen, Skeggs, Waterdog, Marin/Mt. Tam, Tamarancho, China Camp, East Bay Regional Parks, etc.

I’d stick with what you have. It’s a great combo and about the lightest I’d be willing to run outside of a specific race scenario.

Do you feel this combo gives you what you need for XC and “trail” riding outside of racing? I’m not sure when we’ll race - so have left on some heavier duty trail tires that my Niner came with. But I would like to switch them for something more XC ish, with enough to help me get around most trails.

I’d have no concerns running this combo for everything but the most gnarly trails or terrible conditions.

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Maybe try Forekaster 2.35 front and Ikon 2.35 rear. I bought two Ikons (29x2.35) last year and they were 700g and 705g. I haven’t weighed my Forekaster but Maxxis says 735g. That will save you approx. 150g for both wheels. Personally I really like the Forekaster and keep it on even during summer.

I’ve used 2.4 aspens and I don’t like them, they feel super slow.

I’m using racing ray/Ralph combo on cape epic trails right now and I don’t like the Ralph in the back.

I might try that combo you recommend for tomorrow. I’m going to a specialized shop in an hour so it might work out perfectly!

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I’ve been loving and using Mezcals 2.35 f/r for years. I use them year round for my riding and racing. At 175 lbs I run my psi 18 front and 19 back on my Spark RC 900. Riding in the Midwest they are perfect and I’ve never wanted/needed anything else. I think they’re a hidden gem.

I’m not a fan of Aspens, they don’t inspire confidence railing corners.


How did the Aspen 2.4 fit on the Epic?

I usually run the 2.25 Aspen but was looking at stepping up to the 2.4 for some extra tire volume.

I ride almost the exact same combination except I ride the pink PTNs. Do you run the Super Race or Super Ground version? I am running the Super Ground (lots and lots of rocks here in Arkansas), but the PTNs have basically eliminated snakebite flats, making me wonder how thick and durable a sidewall needs to be.

I’ve only tried the SuperGround. I’ve had mixed results with thin sidewall tires across all previous brands, but I’ve never tried with with inserts.


Slightly left-field choice but the Vee Rail Escapes are pretty awesome tyres that roll well and hook up great here in the UK!

Bring extra tubes when you ride Specialized mtb tires. There are some models that are decent, but Spesh was worse than old Schwalbe in terms of punctures for me.

What didn’t you like about the Ralph out of curiosity?

I’m going to try the Super Race version and report back. Might be best of both worlds - low rolling resistance with lightweight inserts keeping the risk of pinch flats as low as possible.

Just fine

Just picked up some Rekon Race 2.4 120 tpi. Gonna run them on 25mm internal light bicycle carbon hoops on my Rocky Mountain Element. Currently running 2.35 Ardent race but I’m all about max volume and am curious to see how the rekon race handles.

I’m hesitant to run a semi slick in the front on some of the gnarlier trails around but after laying eyes on them I think they will be a great replacement for the ardent race!


Maybe try the 2.35 Thunder Burt on the back with an insert. That is going to be my go to for a rocky stage race in March.


My biggest regret last year was buying 2 Aspens for my blur with 30mm rims. This year I’m going back to Ralph/Ray.

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Hey @Jonathan! Inquiring minds want to know… What are you planning to run for tires on your new Epic? Sticking with the Maxxis brand or going to try the Specialized family?(Fastrack, Renagade, Ground Control)

I definitely need to do some testing!

I have the 2.3 Fast Trak Controls, 2.25 Aspens and 2.4 Aspens. I anticipate I’ll be on the 2.25 or 2.4 Aspens, depending on the course.

I used to ride Fast Traks in 2014-2015 and liked them, but the tire has changed quite a lot since then. I only rode them twice on my new Epic and while I did like them, I missed the predictability of the Aspens (drifty, but you know what it’s doing and know where it’s limits are) and although I don’t have any data to back it up, the Fast Traks felt slower. Gotta test that to know, though.

They are heavier than I anticipated, though. The Fast Trak Controls measured 680/681g, where as the 2.25 Aspens were 638/640g and the 2.4 Aspens were 698/701g.

Between the 2.25 and 2.4 Aspens, this one is tricky. I feel like the 2.4s roll slower on a perfectly smooth road, but I don’t race on perfectly smooth roads. They are very impressive at increasing your traction (particularly when climbing) and they do a lot to help preserve momentum on bumping, rocky trail.

But, whether it’s in my head or not, I find myself thinking their increased size also comes with a rolling resistance penalty. I just can’t understand why Nino seems to run 2.4s all the time, even at a race like Cape Epic. If he’s doing that, I’d like to think they have data showing he isn’t bleeding watts, otherwise I’d assume he wouldn’t use them.

I am using Tubolight inserts in the Roval Control SLs (can’t wait to swap those rims for ENVE M525s, but that’s another thread for another day), so I have been trying pressures as low as 12.5psi all the way up to 23psi with the 2.4 Aspens. The sweetspot for me in terms of handling and preservation of momentum on rough terrain seems to be ~16psi (150lb rider weight), whereas that sweetspot seems to shift to 18.5psi with the 2.25s.

I am planning on doing some testing this spring for all 3 tires.

  1. Record wheel speed at 150w, 200w, 250w, 300w and 350w with all three tires on the rollers. (This is likely the worse test in terms of applicable data since tires aren’t designed to roll on a smooth drum, but will be interesting just the same.)

  2. Coasting rolldown tests on road, gravel and typical trail where the gradient starts downhill and ends up uphill. I start at the same spot, no pedaling, take the same line and record the distance traveled before I stop.

  3. Record time on 3 climbing segments at 300w. One climb will be a consistent and hard-packed surface fire road climb, the second will be a consistent and soft fire road climb and the third will be a consistent and rocky/bumpy fire road climb.

Hopefully that will give me an idea of when to use which tire.


That’s pretty consistent numbers wise to what was reported for the Cannondale team riders for the 2.35 Schwalbes, adjusted for the fact they aren’t running inserts (I’m assuming +2-3psi)

Avancini: 67kg, 18/19psi no insert
Fumic: 69kg, 16//19psi no insert

Marotte’s pressure was higher at 19/21psi, but the tanwalls make me suspect that they are 2.25s and its listed incorrectly on the caption.

Not apples to apples, but interesting triangulation Triple Bike Check: Comparing the Scalpels of Cannondale Factory Racing - Pinkbike