After some more extensive use of it, I’ve decided that the continental Mountain King 2.2 tire seems quite excellent for the off-roading I do. A view of the tread can be found here. They also make a 2.4, which I haven’t tried.
After riding some mtb trails in the Pine Grove Furnace State Park here in PA, I must express how awesome this tire is. I can’t remember a time that I’ve ever really lost grip, and this includes going over dirt, mud, water, gravel, and leaves; dry or wet, this tire grips like a champ. Also, I ride muni with 125mm cranks. I don’t own 150s (gonna buy some this summer), and thought I would have a real difficult time with the 125s. However, the 125s have been working out ok, and I attribute that a lot to the light-ness of the tire, at about 580g.
The only gripe I have is that sharp turns on pavement are twitchy and a bit hard to control. On dirt or gravel, this isn’t an issue.
To be honest, I’ve never tried any other 29er off-road tire. However, I REALLY like how light the Mountain King is compared to my Big apple 2.35, and wouldn’t want something as heavy as the BA (995g) for trail riding. I think I may try the Big Apple 2.00, since it is lighter AND will (according to what I’ve read elsewhere on the forum) handle road camber better on my commute to work.
Now that I finally have a summer job (and hopefully getting another next week), I have to wait for the paychecks to start rolling in. Then I’ll be able to afford a few things, like the Qu-Ax 150mm cranks, Big Apple 2.00, and Coker touring handle.
UPDATE ON CUSTOM PAINT JOB:
My spiral black/white paint job is still holding up well. There is some surface dirt, especially on the sides of the (painted white) cranks, but that wipes off with some windex or simple green. There are about three or four spots where the paint has chipped, which happened when the frame was hit by another hard, metal object (like another unicycle in my trunk, or a crank puller). I’ve also tried to scratch the paint off, and its hard to do. I did make a small scratch, but had to use a knife and dig in really hard. So, my paint job seems very scratch resistant, but not very impact-resistant. I’m glad I left the chrome on, or else I’d have four pea-sized rust spots. Overall, I’m very pleased that it has stood up for so long (about 6 weeks later). Eventually, I may get it powder-coated black, but I have a feeling this paint job is going to last quite a while.