Ready for tomorrow

Indoor training, power meters, threshold wattage, road climbing and gyroscopic musings are all fine and dandy, but tomorrow I’m coaching a young downhill racer, and it’s time to Ride with a capital R.

Who: Alex, a young DH pinner. I see him following ex-pupils Evan Powell and Joey Schusler and to the national and world levels.

Where: Left Hand Canyon OHV Area. It’s steep, raw and anarchistic. The people driving Jeeps and shooting machine guns don’t care how we ride our bikes.

What: Touch on some skills, then apply them in the steep/tight/gnarlies. A big part of riding LHC is the brutally long/steep/rough climbs. Men are made out there.

Bikes: Alex is ripping an Intense Socom. I’m rocking the Mighty Carbon Enduro with flat pedals and DH tires.

The Mighty Carbon Enduro, ready to climb like a goat and descend like a … uh … Mighty Carbon Enduro.


— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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12 replies
  1. leelikesbikes says:

    All I know is it’s lighter than a DH tire, tougher than an XC tire. It sounds a bit like Specialized’s SX casings, and — from way back — WTB’s Inner Peace. WTB was ahead on dual compounds and “freeride” casings.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    The bike worked super well Saturday. Climbing and traversing felt slooooooow with the downhill tires (vs my normal Eskars), but the downhills were surefooted and felt like they were in slow motion. I nailed corners I’ve always drifted through.

    This is a whole lot of bike!

  3. WAKi says:

    I always wonder whether you can tell rider skills by his tyre choice… I use 1ply 72a UST Highrollers and absolutely can’t tell how exactly 42a 2ply DH tyres make me faster in a bike park. I can’t feel any difference (apart from being nearly double heavy) in the corners.

    Bike looks great, I own a Nomad which feels a bit short yet too big fro trails. But not that short to spend money on new bike… I don’t think it will make me any faster either…

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    Such a great, loaded question.

    I think strong/skilled riders can ride any tires they want. I’ve seen Lopes rail on skinny semi-slicks (and kill the climbs). I’ve seen Keene hammer climbs with DH meats (then slay the downhills). I suppose it’s all about the situation and riding style.

    In a bike park with clean, bermed turns, I think the XC tires would be faster overall. If you have a good berm, traction becomes somewhat optional.

    Left Hand Canyon is very steep/rough/loose/raw. Eskars work quite well overall — Eskars have been my go-to tire for a couple years now — but I knew I’d be riding with young Skywalker, and that he was going to be on his downhill bike. I needed to be able to execute the downhills at my best, and didn’t want to be worrying about traction or pinch flats.

    In that situation, the DH tires deliver noticeably more cornering traction, as well as overall stability and confidence. But — man — they were PIGS on the flatter parts. So piggish that those fun rocks and corners weren’t so fun because I was pedaling so freaking hard.

    Random but related: For a while this summer, I ran some Specialized Fast Traks on my Stumpy. Compared to the Eskars, they felt much quicker/faster, and they had decent traction: fun medium-aggression trail tires. But the side knobs tore off after just a few rides. Back to the burlier, better supported Eskars.

  5. WAKi says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive answer. I’d love to have one question more, although I can smell “it depends” in the air 🙂
    When do you think a trail tyre gets heavy for an average joe (skills weight trails)? When does it get heavy and when do you actualy start finding excuses for lack of strength? compromising the grip and braking with lighter smaller knobbs.

    I run these 900g each HRs on technical trails, but I am thinking of giving a try to some super light option like Conti Mking Supersonics which come nearly 400g lighter each. especialy now in winter as HR is a terrible drive tyre on wet trails (especialy roots)

  6. aussie chris says:

    I’ve found that on any given loop (which is every ride unless you have a lift), I spend about three or four times as long climbing as I do spend going downhill. So if I wanted to be faster on a loop, all things being equal:

    60 minute climb + 20 minute descent = 80 minutes

    10% faster on climb, 10% slower on the descent:
    54 + 22 = 76 minutes

    10% slower on the climb, 10% faster on descent:
    66 + 18 = 84 minutes

    Mind you, this is from my current racing mindset. My fun mindset says ‘2.35 Super Tacky!’.

    Another consideration is that soft compounds are usually more expensive and never last as long.

  7. leelikesbikes says:



    I think tire choice comes down to

    – Terrain

    – Bike

    – Which part of the ride are you optimizing for?

    – Is there a part of the ride where a certain tire is a deal breaker? Example: A light XC tire is just asking to be destroyed on serious DH terrain.

    – What are you confident on?

    – Etc.

    I tend to end up on all-around tires like the Eskars. Pretty fast-rolling. Pretty good in the corners. Pretty long-lasting.

    Check out this madness:

  8. Anonymous says:


    thanks for pics…i remember that you posted up on this before.
    right now, raining in Bay Area after a pretty bad weekend storm…
    the images you posted are as close to the trail as I’ll get ’til Friday.

    gonna take the dogs out for a run at the beach now.


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