Update: Jan 14
I did a couple more rides and the tires seem to be improving as the break in and the little rubber nipples wear off the knobs. The cornering traction is still imppressive for this class of tire and I haven’t broken it loose yet. Today, I went for a speed record on a combination of pavement, hardpack, loose dirt, leaves and gravel. The rear tire broke free a couple of times under heavy braking but I climbed and descended at full throttle and I beat my best time by a couple minutes on a 40 minute run.
The tires feel fast on a climb and rollers. And there’s enough cush there to keep me comfortable on this rigid 29er. The descending was impressive as I was able to push and push but I didn’t feel like I was on the ragged edge. This is not an awesome all-mountain tire like the Specialized Purgatory but this is really looking like a great XC Racing, endurance, fast tire. I’m thinking Leadville! Maybe not for me though.
Update: Jan 12
The first test ride is done and it was a good one. I rode it at Waterdog Park, in Belmont CA where the trail system is a tight maze of rocky, loose, and buff singletrack. I’ve been riding this trail every day on this same Santa Cruz Highball bike so I have a pretty good guage on how different tires feel on this trail.
I aired up the tires last night tubeless last night to 40 psi and they held with hardly any leaks. Pressure this morning was still at around 38 psi so I dropped it down to 23 psi for my ride.
The good news is cornering was awesome. The tires felt secure as I leaned into loose turns. The transition from middle to side knobs was good and the side knobs had bite. I leaned harder and harder into the turns to find the cornering limit of the tires but I could not find them today. Front and rear were hooked up when cornering.
Braking and climbing was pretty good as I climbed and descended some steep terrain. On the looser terrain, I got the rear tire to break out a few times during climbing and descending. So a little more modulation and weight shift to the rear wheel was necessary to keep the rear planted. On the next few days, I’ll play with tire pressures to see if I can squeeze more traction from the center knobs.
As far as speed and durability with rocks, it did well but it’s too early to tell. I’ll ride this tire a lot more and log the miles and smiles.
One of our best friends here at mtbr is the UPS man otherwise known as brown santa. He came yesterday with some new Panaracer tires called the Driver Pro 29er. This is exciting to us since we do a lot of 29er XC rides here and this looks like a fine blend of speed, size, traction, weight. Panaracer says pick all four. Price is $55.95. We measured the weight at 597 and 599 grams. This is commendable as the claimed weight is 590 grams and we know all about the difficulties in getting consistent weight with rubber manufacturing processes.
The rubber is soft to the touch and grippy. Craftsmanship looks very good with a nice rubber covered bead. No threads are apparent as the casing seems fairly robust for a lightweight tire.
The knobs are small and plentiful. There seems to be four patterns with dimples at the center of the casing, small center knobs, three transition knobs and a well supported side knob. Mind you, all the knobs are small so this is not an all-mountain tire. But it does look like a great mix of speed and traction.
Longevity and the $56 dollar price might be a concern so we will keep close track of our mileage. The first ride starts today.
What tire are you using on your 29er these days and how do you like it?