Trans-Sylvania Epic: Which tires are most popular?

Maxxis rules the day at grueling XC stage race in Pennsylvania

Which tires are most popular?

Kaysee Armstrong (LIV) opted for an aggressive Maxxis Tomahawk on the front for the 2017 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photo courtesy of Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

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.

Which tires are most popular?

Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX/Hyperthreads) won the elite men’s overall title at the 2017 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic on Vittoria Barzo tires. Photo courtesy of Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Front Tires

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”.

Which tires are most popular?

Kyle Trudeau (CZ Racing) raced for the podium at the 2017 Trans-Sylvania Epic with a Maxxis Forkaster on the front and a Maxxis IKON on the rear, while his teammate Henry Nadell opted for IKONs on both front and rear. Photo courtesy of Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

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.

Front Tire Size

Front Tire Brand

Rear Tires

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.

Which tires are most popular?

Vicki Barclay (NoTubes/Kenda) rocked a set of Kenda Honey Badgers at the 2017 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photo courtesy of Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

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.

Rear Tire Size

Rear Tire Brand

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.

Which tires are most popular?

Cory Rimmer (Kona Factory Team) went with a little higher PSI than usual in his Maxxis Ardents at the 2017 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photo courtesy of Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

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

About the author: Mtbr is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.

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  • Teleken says:

    No surprise what XC racer wants a 1,000 gram tire?

  • John says:

    Not having ever raced this kind of event I was somewhat confused as to why a 2.25 tire was the most widely used but a slightly narrower 2.2 was on the back.

    Any reason for a narrower tire on the rear than on the front instead?

  • mort brkr says:

    Now THIS is the types of comparos I like! Curious as to why such measurement discrepancies however.

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