Mountain Bike Magazine SANI - Autumn 2018 - Page 84

Sidewall tears? Pressure? Burp? Tubeless ready? Puncture resistance? Which sealant? Too heavy? Plus bikes? Mud friendly? Volume? Rolling resistance? 650B/27.5 compatible? Value for money? Width? Boost? Which rim? A FEW WEEKS AGO, Fatboy splashed out on a Cannondale Bad Habit 27.5+. “Clown bike” was my fi rst thought, of a bike with 3.0” wide tyres, but the only one looking like a clown was me. In the past we’ve been neck and neck on most downhill segments, now there’s no way I can compete with his new rubber. He is monstering downhills on these massive 3.0 tyres, leaving me in his proverbial dust. Even G-Mac, with his impressive list of KOMs, 84 | MTB | tech talk is smashing holes in his piddly 2.35 tyres, trying to hang with Fatboy. At the same time, I’d gone out and bought a set of gum (skin) wall tyres just because they look cool. Swapping these for my tried and tested Minion DHF 2.35 front and Ardent 2.4 rear tyre might have resulted in a perfect storm scenario, but can rubber really make that much diff erence? (BTW: more tyres need to come in a gum wall option). I then rode with the A Team on the Wednesday night and they were appalled at the fact that I was running 2.4s front and rear (but they did agree that the gum walls look cool). They are much more race and marathon race focused, and generally can’t understand why anyone would ride a bike that weighs more than 11.35kg. This then got me thinking – is there a tyre set-up that would allow me to compete on both fronts, without having to grow a new set or have a cardiologist on standby? The answer is a fl at – NO, not a chance. Tyres play such a massive role in how a bike handles and feels that it is worth taking some time to ensure that you get a tyre that is best suited to what riding style you are trying to achieve, and match the trail conditions you most frequently ride. You need to ask yourself: “Do you want to stick it to Fatboy down Sani’s Umko drop, or hang with the A Team on a Sabie climb?”. Tyre manufacturers nowadays WHICH TYRE IS BEST FOR WHO, WHEN & WHY? There is no single mountain bike component that can change the character of a bike more than its tyres. Tyres are the only contact point that a bike has with the ground (apart from those painful situations most of us try to avoid). Even the most modern bikes will handle poorly if the tyres do not match the trail conditions. Choosing a MTB tyre for your riding style and conditions is therefore one of the most important aspects of bike set-up. Words by Andrew Kenny