I finally went out and bought a new set of tires for the AIR9 yesterday. When I built it up last summer I just moved the Bontragers off the Mamasita and over to the AIR9. They have been great tires and I got a good deal on them when I bought them but Bontrager has discontinued them so I've been on the hunt for a replacement for a while. In my search I've learned one thing, 29" tubeless tires are not only hard to find but they are also freaking expensive, almost as expensive as tires for my truck. I've been shopping around, getting quotes here and there but not really finding much, that I could afford anyway. The tread on my rear tire was really starting to get low and lose traction so this week I decided I needed to make a move especially with two big, back to back weekend trips, one being the 6 Hours of Warriors Creek.
Yesterday I decided on a set of Continental Mountain Kings. They were reasonably priced and had a good looking tread in my opinion. Really my opinion on tread is really not something I would base a purchase on because I'm clueless when it comes to tires and tread. I listen here and there to conversations about tire tread for as long as my attention span will alow (5 min max) then I go out shop around throw all my good info out the window and buy on what I think looks good for the best price. Sounds like a good way to pick a tire huh.
I bought the Mountain Kings, took them home and began the ridiculously long, painful, irritating and messy process of mounting up a set of tubeless tires. Normally I make a mess of epic proportions, cuss and fight the tire for 2 hrs before giving up and running down to the local bike shop for help. You see I have no air compressor which makes this process alot easier but I'm always putting off the purchase of one because the only time I need one is when mounting up tubeless tires.
Last night as usual I spent alot of time trying to mount them with my floor pump and as usual I made a mess and got no where. I finally gave up and waited until this morning when I could get access to an air compressor.
Once I did I got them seated only to find out one of the tires had a slice in the side wall. I was forced to return home and swap it back out for the better of the two Bontragers and make the drive to the air compressor again. Finally after wasting too much time with my tires I was ready to go but something wrong. The Bontrager was alot bigger than the Conti. They were both supposed to be 2.2's but I guess it's that whole European skinny tires are better crap that screws everything up and running it on the back made it look even weirder. I was already late for a ride so I said screw it and decided to swap them around later.
After the ride I finally broke down and bought an air compressor so I could swap the tires around before heading out for the weekend. Now that I have two totally different tires and two obviously different sizes I'm going to go crazy worrying about the whole vanity thing. I mean you have to look fast and good too right? Anyway the AIR9 is a hardtail and a skinny European girly tire just won't do when it comes to smashing my way through nasty rock gardens. Since I have already paid for and ridden the tire I guess I will keep it a give it a shot. Obviously the cut tire went back to the shop for a return but I'm pretty much stuck with the other one.