Does anybody have a recommendation for a 29er tyre for use in wet, muddy conditions? I’m running a Kenda Klaw XT at the moment. It’s a nice tyre, and it’s definitely an improvement over a road tyre, however I’m still finding myself either getting bogged down in the mud, or slipping occasionally.
Should I be considering a different tyre for really muddy terrain? Or would I be better off with a 26" wheel (and the corresponding larger choice of tyres)?
The other solution, which I’m working on at the moment, is to practice
At least two different considerations: tire (tyre) width/volume and tread pattern.
The widest 29er tires are the ExiWolf and the newer WeirWolf. I have the ExiWolf and it floats better than my Kenda Klaw because of the bigger width and volume of the ExiWolf. The tread of the ExiWolf is small knobbies, however, so it fills in immediately and sucks for climbing muddy terrain. The Kenda is better for wet climbing, but I prefer the ExiWolf for everything else.
Search for the recent review of the WeirWolf, but IIRC the comments were similar.
According to a guy who builds 29 inch DH bike wheels, the “go to” 29er tire for rough conditions is the Kenda Nevegel. I have two ordered but haven’t gotten them yet. As Josh said, the Weirwolf is somewhat of a joke, thin as notebook paper and a bit oversized. I did a meager 18 inch drop and blew it off the rim.
There are plenty of big tread 29er tyres out now and more arriving all the time. I’m currently waiting delivery on a WTB Weirolf 29x2.5 but it’s more of a hybrid than a mud tyre.
There is the Bonty Big Earl in 2.5 in 29 now with big tread pattern but it’s too aggresive for trail/town IMO. I believe Specialized are bringing out a version of one of their 26 DH tyres. Here are some sites where you see what’s available, but there are others:
I’m learning as I go along but here’s what I’ve found so far. The Weirwolf is no good for aggressive riding. Sidewalls too thin, too big for the rim (I’m on a KH), and too little tred. The Kenda Nevegal is a huge step up (and I have no idea why dealers sell any 29er with that Kenda Klaw, which is not nearly the tire the Nevegal is). Also, and this is crucial, the trick is to run a burly 26" DH tube, like a Gaz. This gives a lot of extra stability and allows me to run the Nevegal at 20-22 psi. It’s still mushy enough to handle some hard rolling and absorb drops up to about 3 feet.
Most of the little I know I gleaned from e-mail conversations with Mike Curiac, who is a sort of Mr. 29er here in the States, winning a lot of the races and building a lot of 29er wheels (his occupation). I got hold of Mike in the hopes of avoiding the costly trial and error routine in trying to find out what works and what doesn’t. Mike was the one who said the Nevegal is the “Go-to” DH 29 wheel, and said he always ran burly 26" DH tubes since all 29er tubes are paper thin. I went with Mike’s suggestions on both counts.
It’s simple to stretch a 26 X 3 inch Gaz tube over a KH 29 rim, and it seems to provide some added stability. The Nevegal is simply a better version of the Klaw, and is about 10 bucks more–still not a legitimate DH tire owing to single-ply sidewalls, but questionably the best thing going so far. It’s got a much more aggressive tred then the Weirwolf and seems to be about the same width once inflated.
As mentioned on an earlier post somewhere, Mike custom ordered–to his own specs–the first batch of true 29er DH tires and they should be out in a few months. He placed an order for 500 so there should be enough to go around for awhile. If the new Curiac DH 29 tire works out as planned, then true DH runs on a 29er should be possible very shortly.
Mark, re: the Big Earl, it might have just been a rumour I heard but I was under the distinct impression that it is either out now or coming soon.
vivalargo: Interesting what you say about smaller, thicker tubes providing stability, I’ll try that when my Weirwolf 2.55 arrives.
When I bought my Bontrager Jones XC 29x2.25, the guy in the shop sold me a 700cx1.75" tyre against my better judgement because it was all he had. I realised later I could have got a fatter 26" tube. Anyway, I pumped it up to fill the tire and it has very good stability, could just be co-incidence, but I wonder if the tube being so over stretched somehow helps to support the tire.