For the past few weeks I've been talking about needing new tires for my main ride, the Trek Fuel, but it's becoming a real pain in the rear to find straight answers on what's best for our trails. Walk into ten different shops and you'll likely come out with ten different answers. Of course what do you expect with such a subjective question like "what tires do you suggest?" You're bound to get every possible tire around suggested to you, with that sort of question. So what's the fix? I'm not sure entirely, as I still haven't made a final decision.
The first thing I need to do, I suppose, is figure out what kind of rider I am. Do I enjoy faster XC style riding with less technical terrain and some gut busting hills? On occasion, yes. Do I want to just haul butt down the hill and try my best to make it down in one piece? That's another yes. So looks like I need a tire that rolls fast on hard trails and grips everything from the loose stuff on hard packed trails to the loam in the deep forest. Great! So I just need a magic do everything tire. Where am I supposed to find that?
I asked the guys at the last shop I went into and got three different answers on great "all around tires" but all three of the guys were riders that spent most of their time riding down hill technical terrain in the forest. I ride more varied terrain than that so those tires may be overkill. Looking around at the fast guys at the races is even more confusing. It seems that racers tend to find a tire that works for them and then stick with it, no matter if there's something newer or better out there. So if I'm a jack of all trades sort of rider, like most of us, I suspect, are what am I supposed to do? Well thankfully there is a tire called just that. Well it's actually called the Hans Dampf (supposedly German for Jack of all trades), from Schwalbe. The only problem is that despite it being called a do everything tire, it's massive and very aggressive looking. Hardly a fast looking tire, it looks more like the thing you're going to see on some 6 inch travel trail devouring beast not a 4.7 inch trail bike. Then there's the price tag of $90.00 per tire. That's a lot of dough to throw down on tires that may be too aggressive for what I do. They may be great but at $180 for the set it's hard to justify a maybe. There is the option of just sticking with what I know... the Kenda Nevegal. The only problem with that is I feel as though I'm selling the bikes potential short. Sure plenty of people will tell you it's not about the bike (or the tires) but I'll bet that all things equal, tires could easily make the difference between a great ride and one in which you're chewing dirt.
The next problem I face when it comes to this dilemma is that I'm a cheap skate. When it comes to spending money on things for me I make excuses for why I don't do it. Sure I'll take my wife out, or buy her nice things. But when it comes to spending money on me it's a whole different story. I sit and research until I'm blue in the face then when I think I've got it all sorted out I stall and research some more. It becomes this endless cycle, that lands me in exactly this position right here... Blogging about tires for my bicycle on the internet. Sure I enjoy sharing my random thoughts with those of you that will listen, but is it really helping me make a decision? Maybe what I need to do is just go for it. Stop thinking about the possible outcomes and throw caution to the wind. Throw down the cash and just ride. Maybe I buy the best tires I've ever tried and maybe I don't. Does it really matter? In a couple months I'll have worn them out and need to start the whole process again. The end result is still the same I'm still getting out and riding my bike. Perhaps this concept could spread to other parts of my riding and life. Instead of sitting and thinking about what to do or what to buy maybe I'm better off just rolling the dice from time to time.
What are you waiting for?