I replaced the surprisingly short lived Hutchinsons with a pair of Maxxis Larsen TT 2.0″ tires from BMCR today. The above photo is a Hutchinson Toro 2.15″ with less than 200km of trail use — no pavement. While the Hutchinsons still have some life left, they are certainly past their prime. The Larsen TT tires are fast-rolling XC tires which weigh either 500g or 540g each depending on which model I have. So far I haven’t been able to determine which model, but I really don’t care, so we will just leave it at that.
When new, the Eriksen was originally weighed with a pair of Panaracer FireXC Pro 2.1 tires (590g each). The total weight was about 23.25 lbs. After arriving in Australia and rebuilding the Eriksen with a few minor changes and the pair of aforementioned Hutchinson tires (570g each), the weight was down to 23.09 lbs (10.47kg). So with my armchair bike scale, the total weight should now come in between 22.78 and 22.96 lbs (10.33-10.41kg), depending on which tires I actually bought. However, I probably didn’t comply with the standard bike weighing procedures as I left the bike computer mount and a few other insignificant accessories installed, so none of these numbers are worth anything anyway. We will just call the total weight around 23 lbs.
Back to the tires. I left the bike shop and proceeded directly to the Mitcham MTB park where I then crashed. We’ll get to that soon. The new tires are definitely faster than the old worn out Hutchinsons, climb better and seem to have sufficient braking grip. Climbing on loose gravel is a little sketchy, but the tires perform well on most other surfaces. Cornering grip is not as good as a tire with a more open tread pattern, but it is usually a good trade off for a faster tire overall. I have not used the new tires in the mud, but due to the closely spaced blocks I suspect they would quickly clog. The Hutchinsons, even in their current state, are probably a better mud tire.
UPDATE: I rode Eagle Park on Sunday. The ride started out warm, dry and sunny, and the new tires performed well. The ride ended cool, overcast and rainy. The Larsen TTs gripped well on wet rocks and on damp ground. The tread did start to clog and pickup wet clay on the climb up ‘Top Deck’, but traction was still very good.
Overall, I am very happy with these tires and will probably stick with these or try another fast/low rolling resistance tire when they are shot. A fast tire, like the Maxxis, really works well with a hardtail. While there are tire designs that offer more grip and more stability, they can (and usually do) make an otherwise quick handling and fast hardtail feel slow and sluggish.
I’ve had a few tires on the Erkisen over the past year and a half:
|Panaracer FireXC Pro||2.1, folding||590g||A good all-purpose tire with great traction on dry trails and works well in mud. Rolls slowly and feels sluggish/heavy.|
|Michelin XC AT||2.0, folding||600g||A very good all-purpose tire. Decent traction, rolls fast. On the heavy side for an XC tire.|
|Hutchinson Toro||2.15, folding||570g||Good grip, relatively light, very puncture resistant. Good mud performance. Wears quickly, sluggish.|
|Maxxis Larsen TT||2.0, folding||500-540g||Fast and light with good climbing and braking traction on dry trails. Sketchy in loose gravel, cornering grip not the best.|
The crash. The lack of cornering grip should not come as a surprise based on the Larsen TTs low(ish) rolling resistance, closely spaced blocks and narrow cross section. I’ve ridden similar tires before, and generally prefer them to more stable, wider and slower tires. What did come as a surprise can be seen in this convenient video at approximately 4:15: