Cam MTB - the Cambridge Mountain Bikers' Forum

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  • Wear a helmet. Despite recent advances in medical science, brains still cannot be mended nor replaced.
  • Wear gloves or mitts. Hands often hit the ground first. Cuts and grazes invite infection and a hospital visit.
  • Wear eye protection, it only takes a twig or thorn to lose an eye. Crud catchers are a good idea in mucky weather.
  • When downhilling, for your own protection, allow plenty of space behind the rider in front.
  • Bring a bare minimum emergency tool kit and a spare inner tube.
  • Breakdowns are a bore. Plan not to have any by ensuring your bike is in perfect working order.
  • Punctures are also tedious. You can minimise them by fitting latex tubes, slime tubes or running tubeless tyres.

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Tyre choice for a 29er

Hi people

I am struggling with my 29er at the moment, more than I think I should be. I am looking at changing tyres to try and shed some weight as well as stop the amount of punctures we have been getting lately. Also thinking of changing tubes, looked at Latex but so many people have had them go bang in a big way for me to go that direction, so standard tubes it is.

What you you suggest to lose some weight, gain grip and resist punctures better.

Set up is currently

Standard tubes at about 220g
Schwalbe Smart Sam, Active, 2.25"


Re: Tyre choice for a 29er

Hi Steve.

You are not going to lose a lot of weight with different tyres. I would train harder, eat and drink less and pop a laxative or two before a ride.

The problems yourself and your lad had on Tuesday night were I believe down to bumping up a high curb on that main road. Both your flats were within a few hundred yards of this and we did not find any thorns in your tyres. I may be wrong but I think you both had pinch flats.!

I have never had a latex tube go bang and I have been running them for over 3 years riding off road 2-3 times per week. I believe that If you introduce a latex tube to a tyre with sealant (that has been used tubeless) then the sealant may disintegrate the latex and this would cause it to go bang.

Latex tubes will get you home in 98% of all cases if you get a thorn but if you run the standard tubes you will possibly be fixing punctures regularly out on the rides.

A lot of people run tubeless tyres and I understand they are very good as the sealant you use should seal most punctures if you change it regularly. I also believe they are better with potential pinch flats but I have known several people have their tyres "burp" (i.e. go flat) when bumping over rocks / curbs etc.

Tyre choice/ tyre width is very much down to personal preference. I run Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.1 in the summer and Bontrager XR mud 2.0 in the winter.

I hope this helps.


Re: Tyre choice for a 29er

Thanks for all your help last time Paul, really appreciated that. 2 new tubes purchased today as I forgot to repair the others and only have a short time before I go out again tonight with the Thursday group.

If I were to choose the bikes again, I would have gone for 27.5" ones as there is simply less rotating mass to get moving. I might as and when finance allows change my bike to something that isn't a 29er, but that will be over 12 months away. I am working on the do more and eat less, so far, 3 stone lighter in less than 6 months, down from a 42" waist to a 34", not sure about the laxatives though, a step too far for me I feel, lol ;)

Latex tubes seem to be marmite to people, they either love em or hate em, I am only going from online reviews I have been reading and of course yourself. Do you use latex in a 29" wheel with success?

Tubeless is out for so many reasons, but mainly lack of knowledge about such things.

Tyres, I still have no idea, but the ones that came with the bike dont get great reviews, just cheap throw on tyres by all accounts, so definitely looking to change them soon :)

Re: Tyre choice for a 29er

Hi Steve,

We haven't met yet - work has prevented many CamMtb experiences over the past few months. However I feel obliged to tell you that Paul is well known around these parts for being a ruthless member of the latex mafia. I am convinced he is on the payroll for International Latex Corporation based out of Sicily (coincidence?). This will become clear to you in the future when you see how much latex paraphernalia he has at his house in one form or another.

Back to your question - I asked the same question this time last year when I moved to Cambridge from a sunnier part of the world. I received some sound advice from Duncan, famed for his straight talking and common sense, which I have pasted below. The cellar maturation process is key here.


"Around here ridged 29ing single speeding in November I tend to use a brand new but two year old (matured in a cellar away from UV) tubed Bontrager ACX2.2 on the front & one of three tubeless Bontrager Mud X2.0. Choice been dependant on actual ground conditions and forecast conditions during that ride. Dryer more used/balder, wetter I use medium wear & muddy new fresh tread.
In other parts of the country/destinations I quite often go for a larger volume in both ends, but then this is only if riding without suspension but then I would most likely be also riding with gears, a different rear wheel & a louder bell.
I did draw a Venn diagram earlier this year to investigate any common factors & yet found that the only true common denominator was the size of my stomach which unlike some of the other parts of my body is not affected by extremes of temperature."

Re: Tyre choice for a 29er

Been running latex inner tubes 15 years without the issues you are experiencing. 29er mtb around here are by far the best bikes to have due to the larger diameter so not falling into as many holes and offering great rolling momentum and comfort. xc 29er tyres start at around 400 grammes and go upto around 900 grammes. A reliable 2.0-2.25 inch width well sorted/fastish tyre will weigh 550-750grammes.

If you want to try 650/27.5 just buy some wheels, tyres (I am currently running Maxxis 27.5x2.25 in the rear and 27.5 x 2.8 Rocket Ron up front)and pop them in your 29er. Been riding 27.5 plus since April which offers great contact, handling & comfort. I highly recommend the Halo Vapour plus wheels from the Light Blue bike shop in Chesterton Rd. they can be run 15/Qr front & QR/12mm at the rear, are fully tubeless compatable, not silly money and are very easy to mount the tubeless tyres too.
Just finished a laden 350mile ride using this set up on my 29er and it was fab, no punctures (the chap I did it with had 4)
Or if you want to live on the edge I run a 27.5+ wheel in the front & a 29er wheel in the rear on my single speed.

But the only way to get the most from any bike is fitness & experience which unfortunatly can only be earned with hard work and not splashing out a few quid.

Re: Tyre choice for a 29er

Thank you for the replies, I do really appreciate it :)

Just to make things clear, I am not looking for short cuts, I am not looking to lose the odd gram off the bike here and there, that wasn't my reasons for asking, I will try and explain it better.

The thing which I have not explained well, is on a road bike I have learnt over time whats good and whats not so good and I bought the bike to suit what I needed. When I purchased this MTB, I went purely on the recommendation of a sales assistant, probably not the best move in hindsight as I went unprepared and it was more of a spur of the moment thing to ride in Thetford with a friend from work. So, it turns out I am happy with the gear train, its a mixture of Deore and Deore XT, the lowest groupset but well regarded, the rear derailleur was Deore XT which isn't too bad at all. The frame is middle of the road weight wise, strong enough to take any abuse I can throw at it. The forks were ok, cheapest of the Rock Shocks, but apparently a touch better than the cheapest Suntours. The wheels are said to be not the best, along with the tyres as well on the reviews I have read. So I was looking to find something that would simply roll easier than what I have. I am not looking to change the wheels as thats a pricey option for little gain, the cheapest and easiest upgrade seemed the tyres, hence my reason for asking, something that grips, but maybe weighs a bit less than what I am currently using.

I am sure given a few years at this, the setup I have will seem much easier, but I was just trying to up my speed a little as I wasn't happy about the amount of time people are having to wait for me, to be blunt, it makes me feel pretty crappy, but I promise you all, I am trying very very hard. I know Paul said people don't mind, but I do, I take it quite personally about people trying to enjoy their evening and me slowing them down at every junction

I will happily stay with the tyres I have if they are no worse than something else I can pick up, they just don't get a good review, thats all

Re: Tyre choice for a 29er

OK so I think you have £18 tyres (think 1984 Skoda), Try a pair of Rocket Rons (think BMW 135i x Drive) Brmmm BRmmm

when it gets proper muddy go for the

Range rover sport SVR (ish)

Re: Tyre choice for a 29er

OK so I think you have £18 tyres (think 1984 Skoda), Try a pair of Rocket Rons (think BMW 135i x Drive) Brmmm BRmmm

when it gets proper muddy go for the

Range rover sport SVR (ish)

Awesome, just the sort of thing I was looking for, and in my terms too, lol ;)