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MTB: Rear tire review

As of right now I’ve got a stash of tires that I’ve been trying to choose between for a rear tire. My front tire, the Ritchey Excavader WCS serves me well. For the rear my current arsenal includes:

  • Forte Sherwood XC
  • Continental TwisterPro
  • Panaracer FireXC Pro 1.8
  • WTB MotoRaptor 2.14 (haven’t tested yet)
  • Continental Mountain King Protection 2.2

All tires are the folding versions of their respective model.

Forte Sherwood XC

Forte Sherwood XC tire

Width: 2.1 inches
Weight: 585g (claimed: 540g)
Price: $17

Traction: Rating: ★★★★½
Cornering: Rating: ★★★★½
Rolling resistance: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Weight: Rating: ★★★★☆

I rode this tire right after riding the Twister Pro. Naturally it felt heavier, but the increase in rolling resistance was noticeable on the first climb. I tested them both on the same trail.

Continental TwisterPro

Continental Twister Pro

Width: 1.9 inches
Weight: claimed 450g
Price: NA

Traction: Rating: ★★★½☆
Cornering: Rating: ★★★★☆
Rolling resistance: Rating: ★★★★½
Weight: Rating: ★★★★★

I have ridden this tire the longest of all tires, mostly in east coast terrain like Toronto, Pennsylvania, and Slatyfork. It’s a good overall tire but eventually I wanted something with more bite – especially up front. For the back this tire is good, though, because it makes a good compromise between weight, rolling resistance, and traction. There is a bit more slide when cornering than the Forte Sherwood but that’s to be expected, because this tire sacrifices on knob height to achieve its low weight.

Panaracer Fire XC Pro 1.8

Panaracer FireXC Pro 1.8

Width: 1.8 inches
Weight: NA
Price: NA

Traction: Rating: ★★½☆☆
Cornering: Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Rolling resistance: Rating: ★½☆☆☆
Weight: Rating: ★★★½☆

I was initially very excited to try this tire because of the reputation of the FireXC as a great all-around tire. What I didn’t realize was the sacrifice I’d be making in riding by going with the thinner (read: lighter) 1.8″ version instead of the more common 2.1″ one. It was next to impossible to get restarted on a climb if you had to stop; these tires would bite deep but because they’re so thin they wouldn’t have good overall traction. Also, rolling resistance on these was horrible; I felt a night-and-day difference in climbing from switching from these to the TwisterPros. Deflection was also a problem with these; they would regularly deflect off roots and rocks and throw the rear slightly off-course.

Bottom line: I think I would have enjoyed the 2.1″ FireXC Pros a lot more.

Continental Mountain King 2.2 Protection

Continental Mountain King 2.2

Width: 2.2 inches
Weight: n/a
Price: $53 for two (eBay)

Traction: Rating: ★★★★½
Cornering: Rating: ★★★★½
Mud: Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Rolling resistance: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Weight: Rating: ★★★½☆

I happened to ride these in the rain, so I got to see firsthand that they’re not great in mud. Other than that though, they seem like great tires overall. It’s not as light as the Twister Pro but I’m sure it grips a lot better – I can’t confirm that because I haven’t ridden both on the same trails. Anyway, they came highly recommended from MTBR reviews, and I’m looking forward to riding them more.

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