Tires for all-mountain bike on the Front Range (again)

Hi Lee,

First off thanks for keeping a killer blog! And for your books. I’ve got MMBS and have learned lots (even though I’ve been mountain biking for 16 years). I am hoping you can help me out with a tire question. I am a Front-ranger (live in Westminster) and mountain bike all along the front range. I got a Pivot Firebird this spring and love it. I find myself riding more aggressively on this bike. It came with Nevegals which I did not like.

I am having trouble finding a good balance of weight vs traction/cornering/braking in tires for this bike. I see you have some time on the Clutch and Butcher tires. Since these are offered in the control casing, they are pretty light. Would you recommend either (or some combination) of these tires for an all mountain/long travel trail bike on the front range? Or steer me in another direction?

Thanks, in advance, for any input you can provide.


Hey Jason,

From what I’ve witnessed, the Pivot Firebird is a good climber and a fully pinned descender. What a weapon for our Front Range trails, which tend to be steep and rocky.


Looks like you need a tire with good grip, good durability, decent rolling and decent weight. You’ll want big knobs, an open pattern and some casing reinforcement. (I think this applies to most aggressive trail riders.) All major tire makers provide what you need.

Options include:

• Kenda Nevegals. A lot of people like them.

• Maxxis Ardents, Minions, and/or High Rollers. All proven. The new High Roller 2 looks smart.

• WTB Bronson or Prowler MX. A coaching client says the Bronson’s side knobs are too flexy. The Prowler looks good. The 2.4 MutanoRaptor is a brilliant tire but best suited to harder dirt.

• Schwalbe Nobby Nic. A few clients are running these on their 29ers, and they appear to work well.

• Specialized Clutch or Butcher. I’ve run the Clutch in DH and SX casings, and they were grippy but slow. The Clutch Control is probably lighter and faster. The Butcher has a more open, gnar-friendly tread. At this point, I’d go with Butchers over Clutches. They seem more versatile.

My Specialized Enduro is much like your Firebird — and it’s currently wearing a pair of 2.3 Butcher Controls. When I rock the DH I might go for burlier Butcher SXes or DHes, but so far the Controls seem ideal for aggressive Front Range trail riding.



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