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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tire Time 2

Ok I'm just fickle, just when I kinda settled on my next combo of tires, things are looking to change again.

Needed some retail therapy last Friday and next thing I know, there's new rubber in the house, Ardent 2.4 (with EXO protection). Price wasn' too bad, easily one of the cheapest of these truly larger ones that can be bought locally.

Weight is impressive too (at least to me) for such a large tire (non UST version here). Claimed weight is 815gm on Maxxis site. Actual scale reading was ~810gm

Placed it side by side with a 2.35 high roller.... the overall width just blew me away. The extras on the sidewalls already told me how much more height it will be versus many tires of similar size on the market.

Usually front/ rear "dilemma" is pretty clear cut for me but with this the question of whether to mount it on the rear or swap out with the Rubber Queen 2.4 that's now in front was again seeding different ideas in my mind.

5 cups of nerve soothing green teas and probably twice as much nicotine fix later, decided that the RQ2.4 is too much of a bitch to yank off the rim. But at the back of my mind, I am still thinking that the ramp center knobs on the Ardent is probably going to do a much better job on the front hoop...

Putting the tire on was easy. Ran a 2.25 tubbie inside which seems ok for size (running too small inner tubes with big tires brings on its own set of problem). Good thing cos if u forgot the tire lever in the trail and have a flat...

Anyway this is how things look (for) now.

Gearing up for wet muddy and possible rain this morning, which it did, tire pressures were low. 17psi up front and 18 psi in the rear-duty Ardent for the day.

Cornering Traction
With that kind of pressure, commenting on the traction can be a little bias. Still, given the kind of wet condition, the tracking was awesome. But I did caught sight with a backward glance that the Ardent was actually deflecting way more than any tires I have used. Could be due to a combo of the pressure and the use of a less than ideal inner tube.

However nothing was unseated though. After a quick initial assessment while riding, I took a leap of faith in the next series of turn on a down. Leaning and going "brake-less" trusting the tires to take me through. The Ardent did not disappoint, the lower transition knobs didn't look impressive but did their jobs way better than expected, breaking nicely and letting the side knobs take over, which immediately hooks up to every bit of available terrain.

Having been on my old mangy Prowler, getting used to more and more slipping on wet climbs in the last 2 months, the Ardent hook up pretty well even in the wet by comparison. Over slick rock surfaces during climbs, it held much more than expected. More than once, when balance was just about to be lost with a lack of momentum, it was probably the side knobs that took over with effective grip, enabling me to quarter crank and force the next pedal stroke to get out of those situations. While the high rolling knobs isn't terribly efficient on rolling resistance, they probably are helping with more overall traction compared to other center-ramped tires.

Over rock gardens it did the job well too, maybe a bit too well despite the rain. On drier days, it would mean having to carry even more speed through. But then it may have something to do with the front....

Rubber Queen 2.4....continuing the assessment.
Going lower and lower pressure with bigger and bigger tires, I think, has reached a point where even if low pressure doesn't cause pinch flats as in my case but too little air is having negative effects in other way.

Though comfort level was high, the front RQ felt sluggish running around ~17 psi. Hitting down hard on it wasn't a concern. I was doing jumps and landing hard with my usual lack of finesse just yesterday with the same low pressure. Still it carried my weight well enough not to case the rim.

But on continuous twisting and turning in the trail today, the tire pushing dirt and mud much more than before. Even though the bike setup is decidedly rear weight bias, at the bottom of a few troughs, the whole bike bled too much speed as a result of the front pushing instead of rolling. Momentum was lost on the initial burst of the climb ahead.

Next test for the combo...
Putting pressure back up and see if everything still hooks up well for traction and improvement on rolling resistance.

Followed by a front rear swap.

Measurements of the 2 tires as it was run today (at higher pressure, they will probably measure a couple of mm wider and or higher). When measured at the widest point across knobs, both are 59mm on 30mm wide Subrosa rims

Given the RQ is slightly wider but the Ardent being a tad higher, volume wise, both are probably very close.
Tire Rim+Tire
measurement, no knobs
Tire Height
(inch) from rim
Tire Height
(mm) from rim
side-side, no knobs

Rubber Queen 2.4 with Rim 80.50 2.17 55.10 59 2.323
Maxxis Ardent 2.4 81.00 2.19 55.60 57 2.244

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