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Our customer David Cambell reviews his Maxxis Ardent EXO casing tires. With a 2.4" Ardent up front and 2.25" model in the rear, David says the Ardents balance trail perfromance, weight, durability, and price. Read more below!
Being located in Central Texas, I get to contend with plenty of limestone, small rocks, big rocks, roots, and hard pack dirt. Riding most trails in the mud here is a big no-no. Because of this, I wanted a good pedaling XC/trail tire that didn't make me wince anytime things got a little wet or sketchy.
I purchased a pair of Ardent 29" EXO dual compound tires, going with a 2.4" front and 2.25" rear (both easily set up tubeless). Prior to these, I tried the Specialized Butcher, Specialized Ground Control, and Specialized Fast Trak tires, and the Maxxis Ikon tires. Each of these had some elements of what I was looking for, but also obvious drawbacks. While every tire is going to involve a compromise, the Ardents have (after 2 months of riding) never disappointed or betrayed me. They're definitely best for more of the XC style trails -- but they can also get you through some of the rowdier trails here too.
I would say they definitely show their limits once you hit a patch of mud. I have a second wheel set where I run a Minion DHF 2.3 and Aggressor 2.3 rear. It may go without saying, but I can't lean the Ardents quite as much or be as aggressive around corners. Besides that, I find myself feeling a whole lot less worn out after an hour of pedaling on the Ardents. Comparing them to the Ikon, they're definitely more secure feeling all around and I haven't noticed much of a penalty in resistance either.
While every tire choice is up to terrain, conditions, and personal preference, I would say the Ardents strike a great compromise on the trail between braking, cornering, rolling resistance, weight, and durability.
1.) Excellent rolling resistance
2.) Good bite while climbing over rocks and stones
3.) Won't explode when said rocks and stonestouch them (sidewalls have stood up well)
4.) Very good cornering over hard pack
5.) Won't turn into slicks after they get wet
6.) The pricing won't make you cry
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