By Karl Rosengarth
As one of my local mountain bike heroes once said: "It’s all about tires and tire pressure." While that may be an over-simplification of a complicated sport, there’s no doubt that mountain bike magic happens at your tire’s contact patch.
This year at Interbike I roamed the floor, looking for the latest and greatest MTB and CX tire offerings. I found a rack-full of interesting choices. Below are ten tires that tickled my fancy.
Continental tells us that their 2012 lineup will include a total of 14 tires in 29" size—counting all-new 29" tires and variations of existing 26" tires. The lineup will range from $50 to $65 MSRP. The Trail King 2.2 (pictured above) will retail for $55.
Coming in 2012 from Maxxis is a Minion DHF 29 x 2.5" (tubeless ready). A nice meaty tire for the growing gaggle of long-travel 29er dualies. Hooray for more aggressive 29er treads and widths! MSRP TBD.
Schwalbe‘s Hans Dampf is an all-mountain tire available in 2.35" width in both 26 and 29" sizes. The grippy TrailStar compound is designed to inspire confidence in rugged terrain. The SnakeSkin sidewalls offer protection against slicing and dicing. These tubeless-ready treads retail for around $90.
Tioga is slated to release their all-new Psycho Genius Venture freeride tire by the end of 2011 in 26" x 2.35 or 2.50" and 29 x 2.35" sizes. Construction features triple-layer compound and reinforced casing. Weight is listed as 830gm for the 26 x 2.5" size. Price TBD.
The tubeless-ready Flavor from Syncros features dual density compound and is available in both 26 x 2.1" and 29 x 2.25" sizes. The 26" weighs in at at 570gm and the 29" tips the scale at 620gm, with both Flavors selling for around $70. If you like high-volume, fast rolling tires, check out the Flavor, Flav.
The new Cross XG Pro TNT tire from Geax is tubeless-ready, 32mm wide, 150 tpi, 390g and retails for around $55. Time to get your cross on. Nuff said.
Hutchinson‘s new Toro CX tire is a conventional tubed design that measures 32mm wide, sports 127 threads per inch, weighs in at 350g and retails for around $50.
Vee Rubber has been in the bicycle tire business for over 30 years, though it’s had very little presence in the US market as of late. That’s about to change as the company is releasing a complete range of mountain and road tires, starting now. Here’s a look at the Mission tire that features a folding bead and dual compound. The Mission will be offered in a variety of widths in 26", 29" and 650B sizes for around $40.
Michelin is releasing a completely redesigned Wild Grip’r in January 2012. Both 26 and 29" versions will be offered in multiple widths, with tubeless ready versions available. The dual compound design provides harder center knobs for longer wear and softer corner knobs for grip. Retail $50-65 depending on features.
Here’s a look at the WTB Weirwolf LT 29 x 2.5" tubeless compatible tire. The Weirwolf retails for around $75, weighs in at 940g and looks like a great all-around tread for big-wheel enthusiasts.