XC Race Tire Thread

Makes sense.
Thx for the response.

Unfortunately the fast trak is going with a bike that was sold and the nobby nics were from way back when they had the “crotched rims only” warning so those aren’t around anymore either. I’m sorry dude!


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Alright guys, I talked a little with some friends about this and am trying to figure out a good recommendation.

I am coming from racing XC and Marathon on a fatbike - I picked up a Specialized Epic Evo and am ready to embrace a different style racing now.

I have been going back and forth for days as to what tires to put on the bike.

I am;

  • I am a 200lb rider
  • Mid-technical rider (I have been riding and racing for 20-years)
  • I ride in southern Michigan, northern Indiana and a lot of trips to Brown County Indiana.
  • I don’t like mud and typically don’t ride in it (can handle it fine, just don’t like it).
  • I dont hit jumps or look at getting a lot of “air” pure XC rider in honesty.

I honestly want to get a set of tires that are fast and can handle fast dry stuff with some cornering confidence and I am not constantly changing. - I don’t ride generally in an area that has a lot of tire flatting sections and this year I probably wont race over 2hrs.

I feel like a good choice for me would be a straight F/R Rocket Rons or a set of Continental CK/RK combo. I am also considering Aspen F/R

Anyone want to chime in or pry some more information out of me that they need? I have not raced a FS bike in over 6-years and have been on full rigids. I am already in the rabbit hole with suspension setup (just got a shockwiz).

I also know this is the wrong thread but are people really running 760-780 width bars on these new Geo bikes???

A pair of Race Kings and a second pair to train on.

If it ever rains, then a pair of Cross Kings would be handy.

Practice makes consistent.


The bike has Ground Controls on it already - I think I will keep those on a spare wheelset for mud/wet races or possibly technical courses.

Since you are bought an Epic Evo - you could try a Fast Trak/Renegade combo. Disclaimer - I haven’t run them but they are next on my list to try. Some other combos that have been good to me:

  • Schwalbe Racing Ray/Ralph - great all around tires that handle alot of different conditions and that I have no problem pointing down steep mountain trails.
  • Schwalbe Thunder Burts - running these right now F/R and like them. Haven’t ridden them enough yet but the few rides I did in the fall I loved them.
  • Conti Race Kings - Ran them at Barn Burner in 2022 and they were ok. Be careful though. I bought 3 each months apart and from different places (2 Amazon, 1 LBS) and all had misaligned tread causing a noticeable wobble as if your wheel was out of true.
  • Vittoria Mezcals - Ran these for a few years 2017 to 2021 or so and liked them in general. Had 2 iffy flats in 2 different races though in 2021/early 2022 so have moved on. Heavier than the Schwalbes or Contis.
  • Maxxis - Ikons, Rekon Race - good, tough general XC tires. Again, heavy relative to the Schwalbe and Conti and they tend to do very poorly on rolling resistance tests. I’ve also run Aspens on the back and do not like them at all. I try to stay away from Maxxis tires just because they have a near monopoly on new bike tire installs and I like competition so I try to support other brands.

With any of these, tire pressure is going to be key so if you take out a set and feel like you aren’t getting the traction or performance you think you should - try to move that pressure around - generally down. I was running the Thunder Burts around 16F/17R last season and they felt great. Maybe check out the Silca Tire pressure calc and take a mid point between what you are at and what it recommends and work your way from there. Of course, coming from Fat Biking, you are I’m sure well in tune with low pressures and the importance of tire pressure on performance so this might be unhelpful advice.

At 200lbs, I’d look at inserts like the Vittoria AirLiner XC or similar just so you can dial in the pressure for traction and have some peace of mind around rim strikes.


Thank you for the post - I am going to read it a few times. The quoted section could not be more accurate, I work within .2psi for perfect tire dial pressure when racing the fat bike. It makes a world of a difference on that bike. I found fast flat courses with minimal technical, but slick dust covering would be around a 8.3psi front and 9.1psi rear. That baby would be dialed!

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I’m from the same area and hit the usual spots: Winona, Andrews,Meyer Broadway,BC, DTE, etc.

Pirelli XCRC Rear, Pirelli XC M Front: This is a great 365 day setup, Good in the spring, with enough tread for the summer blowout at Winona. The last forever, and grip doesn’t seem to drop as they wear. If you are racing you should go XCRC front as well.

Specialized eliminator rear, Fast track front. Cheap, great in the spring/early summer, roll really well. They don’t quite have enough traction during the dry summer season, not great with leaves in the fall.

Aspen Front and Rear. Lots of volume, great a lower pressures, roll really well, I don’t love it on the front.

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Ah a fellow local!

I primarily ride at Creekside, Soldiers, Imagination Glen and Palos.

I am going to chase the DINO series this year (which Winona is part of). I will take a look at the Pirelli tires, I was recommended by the LBS I got the Evo from to go with Fast track/Renegade. The Mezcals mentioned above look interesting also.