Pretty great tips from Kenda Tires:
1. Always run tires in the direction that the arrow on the sidewall indicates. Running a tire backwards may gain traction when pedaling, but often it greatly sacrifices braking and cornering performance.
2. If you’re going to run two different sized tires, we like to recommend running the larger tire in the front and a smaller tire in the rear. This way you shave a few ounces while still retaining traction and cornering performance up front.
3. There is no ONE tire. What you gain in traction you give up in speed. It’s a delicate balance that comes down to what is most important to you as a rider. There is no such thing as a “really fast mud tire.” That is why you should own several tires for various trail conditions.
4. Sticky compounds are great for traction, cornering bite and possess a slower rebound rate. But they give up a bit in durability to achieve these traits. Super sticky tires work really well but should be used by someone who knows this limitation and is willing to replace them. The softer rubber compound simply does not have a long life span and resist punctures as compared to a harder durometer.
5. If you pinch flat often put more air in your tires. We would all love to run 30 psi with a tube but it’s probably going to lead to trouble unless you are a featherweight rider.
6. You can also avoid pinch-flatting by learning to ride light and to skim over obstacles rather than slam into them by sitting into the bike and weighting the saddle.
7. Check your tire pressure with a gauge before every ride. Carry a pump with an accurate gauge so you can easily do this. At home keep a hand held “test” tire pressure gauge. Consistently compare gauge-to-gauge, as well as against the gauge used by a pro shop. That way you will be able to catch a gauge on its way out.
8. Different trails require different pressures, all the while considering your riding style. Higher pressures work better for some trails and for heavy riders. Lighter riders can use a lower pressure, although there are always limitations due to rocks, bumps, dirt texture, and trail speed.
9. Adjusting the air pressure in tires is probably one of the most overlooked tuning tip. If you’re unsure of what pressure to run, start high and air down while on the trail. You’ll know when you hit the sweet spot in pressure because your tires will conform to the trail, provide ample grip and absolutely never pinch flat.
10. If you’re glancing off obstacles chances are your pressure is too high. If it’s too low the tires will fell like mush and roll off to the side in turns.
11. Know the effects and limitations of rim width on tires. Just because you can mount a 2.50 tire on a narrow cross-country rim, it doesn’t mean you should or that it will perform well on the trail. Big tires on narrow rims usually cause more side wall squirm and give an unsettling feel while cornering. Conversely, with rims becoming wider you need to make sure you aren’t running too narrow of a tire on the newer wide rim profiles because it will change the relative position of the cornering knobs possibly making the tire less stable.
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