Making the bike faster – replacing my 2.35 tyres and other thoughts…

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  • Making the bike faster – replacing my 2.35 tyres and other thoughts…
  • Premier Icon Northwind

    Tyres’ll make the single biggest difference… Not just about width but also weight and stick. What’s on it now?


    Try replacing the rear only initially. I rarely run matching pairs (currently 2.35 Hans Dampf up front and 2.25 Nobby Nic rear). Even in the summer and bone dry, I’ll quite often run something like a Ralph or a small block 8, with a big fat 2.35 up front for fun.

    The rear tyre is the far bigger penalty in terms of rolling resistance anyway…

    Premier Icon youngrob

    I had a Muddy Mary (2.35 but comes up big) on the front of my Orange P7 until recently, I changed it to a Fat Albert (2.25), which I already had on the back, and the difference was amazing – much faster both up and down. Try tyres first and see how you get on.


    Panaracer Rampage 2.35 on F&R at the moment…
    It would certainly be cheaper to change tyres only 🙂

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog

    I’m with Mr Lake. Stick something fast on the back and take it from there. Rampages roll pretty slowly and don’t grip that well either ime. Chuck a Ralph or an Ikon or similar on the back and the bike’ll feel a whole lot faster.

    Since using Maxxis Minion 2.35 DHF front and Medusa 2.1 rear I haven’t worried about tyres in almost two years.

    Premier Icon mboy

    Again, definitely tyres first.

    Especially on the rear. Put a Maxxis Ikon or Crossmark on there, or possibly something like a Conti X King. Then keep something still reasonably knobbly and grippy, but slightly faster rolling on the front, like a 2.2″ Rubber Queen in Black Chilli compound, or a Maxxis Ardent or similar. That will make a huge difference to your speed!

    Some lower rise bars may then (relatively cheaply) help you gain a slightly more weight forward, lower CoG position for the road riding and the climbing, but to be fair on most mountain bikes you’re sat quite upright anyway compared to a road bike.

    Clipless pedals aren’t going to make the huge difference a lot of people think they do. They’re slightly more efficient over a distance, but you won’t notice any outright speed gains.

    Rims can be a good place to save weight, but the EN521 is only about 70g per rim heavier than the 719’s you’re looking at. You’ll save more in the tyres for sure, especially if you converted to tubeless at the same time! Also, rim weight won’t really affect your speed, lighter rims can help you climb a bit easier, but won’t make any difference on the flat. I’d say to make any real difference you’d need to be looking at something like Stan’s Crests, or any other sub 400g tubeless compatible rims. Otherwise you’re really not going to notice it like you hope you might! And without knowing you as a rider, you may then be getting into the problem of wheels too flexy/flimsy for your riding style.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    I have dropped from EX721’s to XM719’s along with Minions to Ardents, big difference to the zip of the bike and now I’m not flinging the bike down the mountains in the Lakes it’s all holding up fine. Also heading over to tubeless has helped.


    +1 for tyres first.

    The easiest way forward is to fit the grippier tyre up front and have something fast rolling at the back – re the Panaracer Rampage; I had a soft compound on the front and a dual compound on the rear which gave me good rolling and plenty of front end grip when required.

    I’ve had good results with Maxxis Ardents on the back and something like a High Roller or Minion up front. Lots of folk here swear by the Maxxis Crossmark on the back.

    I’ve run Specialized Captains (R) / Storms (F) on my hardtail which give me all the grip I need and decent rolling speed. They have the bonus of being tubeless ready, which also helps reduce rolling resistance to a small extent.


    A few years ago I rebuilt my Soul to be a tougher beast (I was mostly riding in the Peaks) but now I’m down South riding only Surrey Hills, it feels a bit cumbersome. It doesn’t help that I ride road most of the time too, and any MTB feels ponderous on the climbs and flat in comparison to full carbon loveliness!

    Current set up is flat pedals, Mavic EN521 rims on Hope hubs, hi-rise bars and big fat 2.35 tyres. It’s great going down but far too much time to take in the view on the ups and not that swift on the flats either…

    Current thoughts are:
    1. Lower rise bars, to bring myself forward – easier to get the power down and do so efficiently.
    2. Skinnier tyres – say 2.2 but not sure what to get. Any thoughts for general trail tyres?
    3. Lighter wheels – 719 on Hope
    4. Back to SPDs

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