Who is it for
All mountain bike riders who regard excellent grip higher than size, rolling resistance, noise and weight.
Chain Reaction Cycles is at the time of writing charging about US$ 40 for a 26×2.4 60a folding tire. Price depends on the version you’re after.
Maxxis Ardent 2.4 is a huge tire. So the first thing you have to think about is if it will fit in your frame. It works well with my Ibis Mojo and Canyon Nerve AM, but it isn’t exactly spacious and there is a tendency to accumulate a little more dirt between the frame and the tire than I like. It shouldn’t be a problem with the front tire, although I do not have enough space for a Neoguard with my RS Revelation. The Fox Talas 32 has enough room for both the tire and a Neoguard.
The next thing to consider is the weight. According to Maxxis the version I’m using weigh 815 gram. Considering that rotational weight requires twice the energy to be moved compared to non-rotational mass (Wikipedia), you should have a rather good argument to go for such a heavy tire. Ardent comes in several different versions. The lightest is the foldable 26×2.25 (645 gram), while the heaviest is the triple compound 26×2.6 (1270 gram) version. So you might consider going down to 2.25 instead of 2.4 to save some weight.
Maxxis Ardent comes in both 26″ and 29er versions. According to the Maxxis website the 29×2.4 weighs 20 gram less than the 26×2.4. Hmmm, that’s strange… I guess you can’t totally trust the info on the Maxxis website. The 29×2.25 weighs 50 gram more than 26×2.25. That’s more like it.
Having tested a lot of different tires I must say I’m really impressed of how this tire performs when it comes to traction. Ardent is said to be suitable for loose/hard, medium, loose and wet ground, but not hard pack and mud. The 2.4 version is not optimal for loose/hard. For that I would go elsewhere, such as the excellent Maxxis Aspen or Conti Raceking.
It’s under more difficult situations that the tire shines. There is nothing that beats riding along a rocky, wet, root infested single track and knowing that it’s not your tires that are going to make you fall into the bushes. Of course, there is always something out there that bites even better to the ground, such as the Schwalbe Big Betty Goey Gluey 2.4. Late in the autumn and early spring I would go for this tire instead of Ardent. These tires are insane. You can actually ride down smooth wet rock without sliding. But it comes with a huge toll due to the Goey Gluey. It feels like you are cycling with the hand brake on. No kidding! They STICK to the ground.
Back to the Ardent tire… Cornering is excellent due to the large side knobs. It sounds like marketing language, but it’s true.
The heavy weight of the tire means that you’re not going to accelerate as fast as you would with a lighter tire. However, when you do accelerate the center tread is going to secure the grip. The same is true when you’re breaking. They really bite to the ground.
Just look at those knobs and you understand that cycling on asphalt or hard pack is going to cost you a lot of effort. No doubt about that. The kinetic energy is not only transformed into heat, but also a lot of sound. It’s not like your road bike with slick tires. People are going to notice you on your transport to the woods.
A set of tires is easily worn out on a season if you use them regularly a couple of times a week from early May to October. I did that, and at the end of season it was easy to notice the lack of grip that had been there in the spring. I also found a rather huge crack (1 cm) in one of the tires. Luckily the NoTubes Tyre Sealant (strongly recommended) had succeeded in sealing the crack until I saw it. No rubber tube would ever endure that!
Packing of mud and dirt
There is a really huge difference between the 2.25 and 2.4 versions. A friend of mine and I started last season long before the snow was gone. While his 2.25 tires packed snow like mad, my 2.4 tires didn’t pack snow at all. And this makes a real difference, since the tires won’t grab nearly as good if stuff are caught between the knobs. Also during summer packing of earthly material has been no problem with the 2.4 version.
Ardent comes in a lot of versions. You can get single, double or triple compound tires, and tires with MaxxPro 60a or SuperTacky 42a rubber compound. For most of us the 60a is the right one. If you want even better grip, but significantly lower longevity, go for the 42a version.
Collapsing side walls has not been an issue for me when the tires have been used on Mavic XM819 rims at about 27 psi. A friend of mine had a total blow out of the NoTubes Tyre Sealant during cornering when he had lowered the pressure down to 20 psi with an Ardent 2.25 tire. For those of you wanting to use really low pressures it might be a good idea to consider using the L.U.S.T. version of the tire. A fabric layer has been added to the sidewall, making it better suited for a tubeless setup. Currently it’s only the 2.25 version that has L.U.S.T.
If you want a really good grip, and don’t mind too much about weight, noise, high rolling resistance, or a bulky size, you should order a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 tire at once. Just be sure that you have enough space for this huge tire.
If you don’t need the kind of traction that Ardent 2.4 gives you, you should maybe consider the Ardent 2.25, Aspen 2.2 or the excellent Continental Race King Supersonic 26×2.2.
Where to buy?
I usually buy my gear at Chain Reaction Cycles, Universal Cycles or a local Norwegian shop called Sykkelkomponenter.no, but I’m often surprised by the speed and price of local shops. If you want to find the cheapest prices – type “Maxxis Ardent” in the search field below: