Note: The 4/18/2011 update to Full Tire Survey with Comments. It’s a PDF document.
My 29er came with S-Works Purgatory tires, but I am wondering if that’s going to be the right tire for me when the ground really gets wet this winter. Right now in Northern California, the trails are pretty much damp hard pack, which is ideal. However, when the rains really come in over the next couple of months, it’s going to be getting very muddy, so I’m thinking about a more aggressive tire, particularly in the front.
There’s some great reviews out there, and a lot of information, but almost everything leaves out an important detail: rider weight.
There is virtually no information out there with respect to tires or tire pressure for heavy riders. Without this information, much of the information is useless.
A great example of this is tubeless. Tubeless sounds like the way to go in most cases. You shed weight, and you can run at a lower pressure. This means more grip, and can be a better ride quality as a lot of the chatter of the trail is absorbed by a squishier tire. Also, with the goop that you put into the tubeless tires like Stan’s No Tubes tire sealant, you get great puncture resistance. The fluid fills the hole and seals the leak.
I have friends that ride their tubeless tires at 20-26 PSI, and rave about how much grip the tires have over rocks and obstacles. I can say with certainty that a 230 pound rider running 20-26 PSI is going to leave a debris trail. Pieces of rim, shards of tire, teeth. Blood.
Not going to happen.
So, whats a big guy to do? I am getting pretty comfortable on the mountain bike. I hit the little jumps on the trail, getting air off the rocks along the way. Over logs. I want an aggressive set-up, but I don’t want to destroy my wheels or burp out on a ride.
A burp is when you are riding tubeless and you do something like a hard corner or hit a rock and the bead of the tire is pushed/pulled off the rim just enough to let the air out of the tire. The loss in pressure further reduces the force of the air pressure holding the tire to the rim. Instant flat.
If I go tubeless, what’s a good PSI for a 230-poundrider (and all the associated crap that one rides with)? There’s very little information on this.
Another question that is difficult to answer is what kind of tire to use. A 150-pound rider is going to be using a different tire than a 230 pounder. My buddy Joe (who weighs a scant 150 pounds) can ride his cyclocross bike on the trails I do, over all all of the rocks and everything – at high speed. If I tried that, the rescue party would have an easy time finding me. Just follow the bits of cyclocross bike to the scene of the horrific accident.
Mountain Bike Review has a great list of reader-provided reviews of mountain bike tires (29er tires, all other tires), but these are submitted by “average”weight riders. I want to know what a good tire is for someone of 230 pounds riding over different types of soils and terrains.
Even if I find a good tread pattern to guide my fat ass over the trail, I want to get a tire beefy enough handle the wear and tear that I’ll put it through. I need sidewalls that are durable.
There is no other way that I can see to get answers quickly, other than to ask the readers of this site. I get many thousands of readers every month – and I hope there are as many mountain bikers as roadies on this site — so let’s help each other. Tell us: what works for you? What kind of tires, with what PSI, in what conditions?
Tires you like and tires that are durable. Are you riding 29er? Tubeless? What do you use for different conditions, such as mud vs. hard back, sand, etc.?
The key drivers are conditions: Wet hardpack, Wet mud, Dry loose, dry hardpack, Rough, wet rough…
And discipline: XC, XC racing, downhill – I’m not interested in any other type of riding, and you shouldn’t be either.
If you are already sick of my pathetic ramblings, and wish to simply participate in the Mountain Bike Tire Survey, just scroll to the bottom of this article. Loser.
Since you’re still reading this, then you are smart and have good taste. You’re probably good looking as well. Since I like to share valuable knowledge with smart, attractive people of good taset, read on… another valuable cultural contribution awaits.
While discussing off-road disciplines, in the interest of being thorough, I cannot help but discuss the little-known discipline of mountain unicycling. I actually was thinking of this on my last ride. Some wild-ass daydream moment, and I was thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to try to ride a unicycle over this?” Of course, no matter how ridiculous something is, you can bet that someone is doing it.
If you doubt me, watch the Dudesons in MTV2. Better yet, don’t – your IQ will actually go down with each successive episode. When you’re having a good day – maybe witness some random act of kindness — and are starting to think that mankind has a chance of making it to the next century, turn this show on. The Dudesons makes Jersey Shore look like Masterpiece Theatre.
Mountain unicycling is… ridiculous. No matter what sport you’re into, there’s always some loose fringe to it. And, they have an association dedicated to it. And competitions. People that were pretty good at the real sport, but not great – so they latch on to some weird variant that nobody else does so that they can claim expertise.
Well, I’ve got a message for you, fringe sport lackey: its easy to be the best at something nobody else does. By default, if you’re the only one doing it, you’re the best. You are world champion! You have a world land-speed record? So what! You were on a recumbant. Nobody cares. Like recumbants of the roads, mountain unicycling must have only one purpose: to annoy and get in the way of their mainstream counterparts. World speed record on a recumbant? How come I always have to pass you if you’re so damn fast? Get the hell out of the way.
Additional comment on fringe sports
Many sports have them — these wierd ugly half sisters of the much more attractive real sport. Some easy examples, and I welcome you to send me more:
Real Sport Fake Fringe Sport
Mountain biking Mountain unicyling
NFL Canadian Football League
Road cycling Recumbant riding, BMX (for people older than 16)
Tennis Paddle ball, paddle tennis
Bowling okay, bowling is already a fake, fringe sport
Skiing Ski biking (other than this, which looks cool)
Snowboarding Snow skating
With each of these, as well as other activities that try to pass themselves off as sports (curling, poker, etc), I get a similar reaction: I want to smack these people.
But, I digress. Back to mountain bike tires, and the mountain bike tire survey for heavy riders. Please fill it out, and when I get enough data I will make the results available.
And now, the Survey…
Update: limited responses so far… come, on guys! the response on this one is pathetic. Put down the beer, and go out and trash some tires. Let us know what is good and what sucks.
Results of the mountain bike survey as of 4/18/11 are available by downloading the following PDF: Full Tire Survey with Comments.
Okay, now that you’ve sat through me rambling on for hundreds of words on end, the survey. If’ you’re good. I will remove the commentary above at some point and just make the survey it’s own page.