Testing, Testing, 2.35


It was time to replace the old Racing Ralph that wrapped the 29ers rear wheel - the tread had been worn pretty smooth along the center and at least one knob was completely sheared away. It was starting to get flats. The tire to be replaced was a 29 x 2.25, already quite hefty for a rather standard XC, hardtail bike, but I thought I would try pushing things just a bit further by upsizing to 29 x 2.35. Turns out that is just about all this frame is going to handle; another good smack against a rock, and another degree out of true and it won't spin between the stays at all.

Why the bigger size, anyway? I don't know exactly, but the increased contact surface and correlative positive impact on comfort and traction were certainly not being overlooked. So, where to give it a good test run? Bonelli, of course. We have had a few dry days now between rainstorms so I knew I would be able to find nice long dry stretches of trail, mixed with great big puddles and mud wallows.

Verdict: The new tire - Kenda Slant Six Pro is very similar to what it has replaced - just slightly larger. It rode excellently where the riding surface was dry or tacky. Once the mud became sticky, however, that lack of clearance was very noticeable. I figured the build-up between the outside treads would eventually clear if I continued to ride, and while little missiles of mud did fly off other areas of the tire, globs along the outside fringes of the tread held firm, rubbing against the stays. I stopped three times to clear it by hand and glove, before I was satisfied. 

Keep in mind this is not a critique of the tire per-se; it is more a caution against choosing a tire that may be too large under certain conditions (even the old 29 x 2.25 bogged down in extreme mud). We, fortunately (or not?) live in a location that is dry most of the year, and where the tire will (and did this first time) perform quite well. As intended. Throw a little sticky mud into the mix, though, and I may find myself wishing for a smaller size.

enough rain to cause some little landslides...

and lingering mud wallows

so sticky you could use it as mortar

downed limbs and mud through the jungle

the vantage from Bonelli's hight point, looking down on everything but the higher distant peaks

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