The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, a cross country mountain bike stage race, is famous for including rocky central Pennsylvania singletrack. The race also includes an enduro competition, with points for the fastest descenders. That got us wondering… would we see the same trend toward wider tires that is now prevalent in enduro specifically and mountain biking in general?
Find out which wheel size is most popular with these top racers.
We surveyed the top 10 elite men and elite women in the general classification to find out what they were running.
By a slim margin, the most popular front tire size was 2.25”, accounting for 37% of front tires. Next up was 2.2” (26%) and 2.35” (21%). Only two riders were on tires as big as 2.4”, and one of them commented that when measured, it was actually 2.25”.
Maxxis topped the manufacturer standings, making up 42% of top contenders’ front tires. Ikons were the favored front tire, with Ardent Race the next most popular. Runner up honors went to Schwalbe, mostly for its Racing Ralphs.
There was more consensus on what width rear tire was best: 53% were 2.2”, while 37% were 2.25” — thus accounting for nearly 90% of all the rear tires. The two outliers, nominally 2.4”, were the same as the two front tires mentioned above, both of which really measure more like 2.25” said the racers using them.
The breakdown of rear tires by manufacturer was the same as for front tires, as all racers used front and rear tires by the same manufacturer, even if they used different models. Ikons and Ardents were again the most common rear tires.
Other Tire Observations
Opinions were split on whether to make changes to tire setup for the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. While many top racers opted to run their standard setups, wider tires and higher pressures were choices made by many who were concerned about flatting on the frequent and sometimes sharp rocks.
“I added a few more PSI,” said Cory Rimmer.
Former women’s winner Vicki Barclay added, “I opted for wider tires with more side knobs to give me more traction on the rocks.”
NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic veteran and three-time overall winner Justin Lindine said, “I brought the more durable [Vittoria] TNT versions of my tires.”
To learn more about the Trans-Sylvania Epic visit outdoorexperience.org.