The day has arrived. I finally did my research and picked up some new tires for the 29er, mounted them up, and will head out for a ride tonight to see how they handle the baby-head rock gardens of Shawnee Mission Park. Just to throw a bone...feel free to join me tonight for a night ride from my casa at 8 p.m.
For me, I wanted to get a beefy tire (I'm no weight weenie), something that can handle the technical and rocky terrain w/o fear of flatting. I like a bit more cushion and knob in the front and a faster rolling tire in the rear. For the past two seasons, on all of my bikes, I've run a Specialized Captain Armadillo Elite 2.2, set-up tubeless (front) and a Maxxis Crossmark LUST 2.0, set-up tubeless (rear). These are all 26" bikes. I had planned to run the same on my 29er, however, Maxxis does not yet have a 29" version of the Crossmark LUST available, AND Specialized had to go and confuse me by developing yet another version of the Captain; the Grid.
I now had to come up with a new rear tire plan and also decide on which version of the Captain to get for the front. I made some calls, talked to my good pals who actually use the crap outta their gear and have first hand experience. They each gave opinions on what I should or should not run. My general understanding of the new Grid version of Specialized tires is that they are heavier, but nearly bullet proof and unlike the Armadillo Elite - More supple and are less likely to burp while running lower tire pressure while cornering. So for the front I went with the Captain Grid 2.2. For a rear fast-rolling tire, I went with a Fast Track 2.0 Grid .
Set-up for these was the easiest I have ever had for a UST tire, period. I use one wrap of Gorilla brand duct tape as rim tape, a Stans valve stem and Stans Sealant. I put the tire on the rim and was able to inflate them with a floor pump (not a compressor!). Never have I been able to do get a tire to bead-up with a floor pump and rarely can I get a tire to bead on the first try, even with a compressor. I was more than pleased.
I'll give feedback as I experience how these bitches perform. I'll test these babies out tonight, and over the weekend during the 6-hours I'll be racing at Bonebender. That should be a good test. Clinton trails have been known to kill rubber on more than one occasion.
EDIT: Trail tested and approved. I love the Grids! Sticky as heck on the rocks and not a flat, even in the worst of conditions! DO IT!