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Goddam mud!!!!

Iain CIain C Posts: 464
edited March 2008 in MTB beginners
See other rant about punctures...the sooner someone invents the hovercycle the better!

My other issue following my return to MTBing is mud. I'm a bit limited trail wise round where I am (Rugby) so I often have to go on bridleways and fields and at this time of year many of them are a horrible clay-like quagmire. I'm often grinding to a halt and sometimes the bike (Trek Fuel EX7 full susser) won't even push through it without the wheels locking up with crud.

It seems like the tyres (Bontrager Jones) clog up super quick and there's not much clearance around the chainstays or across the top of my Rock Shox Recons. There's three things I'm sure I could do to improve things...

Technique-last weekend one of our group (a very experienced ex racer) was able to keep cycling on a yucky ploughed field on her Marin Rift Zone where the rest of us were pushing with locked wheels. She said obviously avoid the really glutinous bits, but also speed was critical, not too slow, not too fast. Any tips here?

Tyre Choice-I have no idea if the Jones' are good mud tyres but I could do with a set! Any recommendations? I do some off-road driving (please don't hold that against me!) and I know that really open, aggressive patterns "clear" themselves more quickly, is that the same with MTBs? My fiancee's old shed of a bike that is about to be given away has a set of Michelin WildGrippers that have seen very little mileage on it that seem very "open" in their design, might these be worth a go, or are they really old hat now?

Tyre Pressure-in 4x4 circles we "air down" for muddy days as you get more traction...can MTBs do this or will it make things worse with regards to mud room and clearance?

Thanks in advance!!


  • Random VinceRandom Vince Posts: 11,374
    i'd not go below 30-40psi, bearing in mind that you corner by leaning and putting torsional forces through the tyre, if its too low then it'll wobble around a lot making handling poor or allowing rim damage and punctures

    maxxis high rollers have served me well and i don't recall mine clogging up that much on silt like surfaces of old coal mine slag heaps.
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  • S_J_PS_J_P Posts: 908
    Mud's great, with the right gear :wink:

    I used to stare in disbelief at my mates whose tyres remained clag-free whilst mine were huge mud-monsters. Then I swapped to a Bonty Mud X's and really haven't looked back since! You can pick them up for around £20 an end if you shop around, and keep your existing tyres for dryer times.

    The Mud X's tread clears immediately no matter what they roll through, though the sidewalls do still clag-up on the really sticky stuff, but they do keep rolling (see my Pinkbike album linked below).

    You could also try going tubeless, zero punctures, you can run lower pressure for better traction, and improve the feel of the bike in one fell swoop :D
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    Momentum is a good thing when it comes to mud so yeah keeping speed up helps you get through sticky patches.

    As for tyres, the same principles apply, wide open treads shed mud better. Also though they tend to offer less reliable grip on rocks and roots so it's a trade-off and depends on your locak conditions. I'm running Trailrakers (2.1's) over the winter as I ride on quite rooty/rocky ground as well as mud so don't really want a pure mud tyre. Trailrakers do seem to clog up pretty easily but then it's mostly clayish mud around here rather than wet stuff that sheds easily.

    Also if you switch to a tyre with a more spiky tread on the shoulder be careful until you get used to the new cornering feel - I nearly went over the bars on a fast downhill as the trailrakers cut in on a corner much more than I was used to :p ).
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    I've got a panaracer Trailraker 2.1 on the back of my bike, seems pretty good in the mud although we don't suffer from the clay badly where I live. I think (others may corrrect me) that you want to run a narrower tyre at higher pressure on the back so that it cuts through the mud to give you traction and a wider tyre at lower pressure on the front.
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  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Maxxis Swampthings are pretty good too - the wide open tread stays fairly gloop-free.

    I susbscribe to the narrow tyres camp as far as mud goes. You have a smaller contact patch, which means that the wheel is exerting more pressure on the ground. In theory this should cause the tyre to dig through the sloppy stuff to the firmer stuff underneath.
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  • Will SnowWill Snow Posts: 1,154
    ...assuming there is firmer stuff underneath :shock: :lol:
    i ride a hardtail
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    i like the mud i do....

    My missus just loves it when I get home on a sunday afternoon and traipse the trail all through the house :lol:
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  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Will Snow wrote:
    ...assuming there is firmer stuff underneath :shock: :lol:

    That's a worrying thought... :shock:
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  • S_J_PS_J_P Posts: 908
    After ignoring a wood-closed sign, and a Danger Earthworks sign on my local loop, two of us ventured into Cromers Wood a few weekends ago. A huge water pipe is being laid straight through the wood, which was a decent riding spot before it was churned up by excavators :(

    Anyhow, whilst riding across a suspiciously flat section of ground across the trench in which the pipe was laid, my wheels sank up to the brake discs. The ground was like quicksand with a thin top-crust, and sodden sandy deposits beneath :shock:

    I leapt off the bike, finding a reasonably sized rock to save me from the quicksand-like material I had found myself on. My attempts to leave were hampered by my shoes sinking beneath the surface as soon as I put any weight on them :?

    My riding buddy rescued me with a handy plank of wood resting against a pile of spoil. It just goes to show that there isn't always a stable base layer!

    (Edited 'cos I can't spell :roll: )
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Hmm, warning signs are usually there for a reason... :roll:
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  • Iain CIain C Posts: 464
    OK cheers all! Looks like I need to invest in some new rubber then...I was out with my girfriend at the weekend and even the old Velociraptor on the back of her bike (my old cast off) was clearing itself better than my Bontys. But when I look at them, the tread depth is very low (by design as they are still brand new)

    I'll probably go for Maxxis or Bontys again...but hey summer is coming so it won't be so much of a problem soon anyway! :D
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Pffft, not if last summer was anything to go by... :(
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  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    I'd say, that if you are clogging up then go as thin as you can.
  • guillianoguilliano Posts: 5,495
    Bonty Mud X in tubeless guise work brilliantly, and even at 50psi they deform loads more than a tyre with a tube to offer loads of grip.
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