XC Race Tire Thread

Thanks, do you (or anyone) know what compounds are worth getting both for schwalbe or the aspens?

Also this is a dumb question but what would be fastest on pavement or hardpack aspens vs other? My old burt/ron combo was quite fast there…

For the Schwalbes you have the option of going with either the “Super Race” or “Super Ground” construction. Both now use the Addix Speed rubber. The Super Ground is going to have additional puncture protection (similar to the old SnakeSkin tires). The Super Race will be a little faster and more supple, so it will come down to how you want to use them and what types of trails you will ride.

The TB is one of the fastest tires on pavement. The Conti Race King might be another one to consider as it is also very fast on pavement and hardpack. I’ve found the Race King better on the trails in terms of traction, especially if dealing with roots or any dampness, compared to the TB. Its very easy to get the TB spinning on a wet root, but they are great on smooth hardpacked trails.

I don’t have experience riding the Aspens but most feel they are a really good, fast all-around XC tire. I don’t think they would be faster than a TB or Race King on the pavement though.

Some info on the Schwalbes:


When speed, unsurpassed control and low rolling resistance matter, choose a tire with Super Race Construction.

Their extreme suppleness absorbs bumps, de-stresses the rider and ensures traction. Super Race is the prerequisite for shaving off seconds and achieving personal best times.

Super Race tires are ideal for sportive use in XC and marathon applications. Turn-Up construction keeps the tires supple and flexible, while the RaceGuard protection layer keeps your tires inflated while you achieve maximum speed.


Schwalbe’s proven SnakeSkin construction has been further improved—a light and flexible fabric layer makes the tire cut-proof, both on the tire sidewalls and under the tread.

Low weight with good puncture protection allows for a wide range of technical applications— from XC to All Mountain.

The superground construction is Perfectly suited for hardtails and bikes with medium travel.

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Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it!

Maybe try the Schwalbe soft or super soft compounds?

My local trails are predominately granite, would shred anything with a soft compound pretty quck.


I live in Colorado, and don’t often ride wet roots and rocks. I was in Spain last week, and rode in the wet. Very scary. If I knew I was going to be riding a lot on wet roots and rocks, I’d optimize my tire choice for that. Better to replace your tires more frequently than crash and get injured.


That’s basically the East Coast riding at times of the year. At other times, it’s moon dust over hard pack.

Wet roots can be a rough deal.



For what it’s worth, a Vittoria Syerra lasted me one day before getting sidewall sliced on the rear. But they feel very secure in the front.

I’ve found that low tread tyres that would normally be considered summer/hardpack tyres work really well on wet rocks and roots, basically the more rubber in contact the better. Racing Ralph used to be my go to winter tyres on my local trails which were very well drained so no mud or loose stuff that needed any tread to provide grip, I’d often have to switch to a Nobby Nic in the summer when it was dry, because the trails would get so loose.


I have loved my Vittoria Mezcal’s but they do not hold up in jagged/rocky terrain at all. Constantly slicing sidewalls. I think they are great if you are in terrain dominated by dirt or smoother rocks. I raced them in Moab (very rocky) with no issues (smooth rocks). I rode them for BCBR in the Okanagon where it’s less rocky but the rocks are more broken with jagged edges and had two issues related to those sharp rocks. Those affordable/light weight tires are so tempting but I think I’m gonna have to bite the bullet and get something a bit heavier from Maxxis (Ikons or Rekon/Race offerings I think).

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Conti Crosskings also have strong sidewalls. Comparable to Barzo or Rekon in terms of profile. Very good cold and wet behaviour. 2.3 is 760gr. Does not live long but that is not the point for these tires.

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I had my first full ride on F&R Mk1 Forekasters today, with 2.35 up front and 2.25 out back during a 2hr smash fest. On damp roots and a damp to dry top layer with a few muddy puddles I was really impressed. I can trust the front more that a Barzo, and they didn’t feel a lot heavier, I’d be confident they are a bit more draggy on tarmac so am guessing the compound is a bit softer than Vittoria’s

So, until they wear out these are my Autumn/winter race tyres, swapping to Barzo/mezcal for Spring/Summer.

About 4-6 months ago, I went from a Maxxis Ardent Race 2.25 to 2.4 on my Yeti ASR 2017. I am doing the Austin Rattler marathon 60 mile race in November which is a qualifier for Leadville. I feel slower on the 2.4s as they feel heavier when climbing and my lap speeds at my local MTB trails don’t seem as fast. Is it in my head or should I go back to the 2.25s (or I think they have 2.35s)? Thanks for the feedback…

If I remember rightly, the Ardent Race is quite heavy? It might be better to try some other tyre options in 2.4" before writing off the size.

However that obviously costs more money, and some people just prefer 2.25.

Personally I find 2.4" to be noticeably faster/smoother/more confident, but it is also terrain dependant.

If you aren’t riding technical terrain the 2.25 might be all you need.

Sorry, that’s not that conclusive really :sweat_smile:.


You could try putting a 2.25 back on the rear and keep the 2.4 up front. See if you like that any better.

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Perhaps you have already experienced both but I found Ikons had a distinct velcro like grip on forest floor that the Rekon Race doesn’t have. Cant compare them as a front as only had Ikon on the rear.


I race on the Ray/Ralph combo and right now do the majority of my non-racing trail riding on the Rekon race 2.35/2.25. As of now I’m leaning towards The Specialized Groundcontrols to try, I also may try the Racing Ralph Super ground as I have an extra Super ground Racing Ray I accidentally ordered when trying to get my set of tanwall super race ralph/ray combo (gave the shop the wrong product code).

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I rode the ardent race all summer and loved them :grinning:

Full disclosure, I’d never ridden an XC tire before May of this year so I have no other comparisons. I used them in High Cascades 100 and they were great. Training rides were mainly on BCBR or Single Track 6 type tech trails, but I still rode a lot of wet steeper lines on them (I’m from BC) and they were manageable, especially if I could get the side knobs dug in. Hoping to do ST6 next year again and they are definitely on my short list. I’m Switching to forekasters for the winter, curious how different they feel.

Again, I’m a newbie with this XC stuff, so take that with a large grain of salt.

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@Kuttermax I am a Schwalbe fan - Nobby Nick in front and Racing Ralph in the rear - but they really are a lot of work to get them on to your rims.

Just got a few Fast Traks and Renegades at half off for myself and a friend. And a few Butchers for my bigger bikes. $30-35 a tire is hard to beat.