It has been awhile since I got a hold of the Maxxis Ardent 2.4″er tires, but I have been riding them in a wide variety of conditions and now it is time to lay down some of my thoughts on these big meats.

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First Impressions: The 2.4″ Ardents are a different tire than the 2.25 version are. Again, you can go back to the “Out Of The Box” post to see what those differences are. Suffice it to say that the 2.4 inch Ardent is much more impressive, not only in width, but in sidewall thickness/stiffness and in tread height for the intermediate knobs. It makes a world of difference in my testing so far. I’ll get to more of that in a bit. First, let’s get the current measurements, as promised from last time.

Casing Width: 61.6mm
Outer Knob To Knob: 60.3mm

So the casing is over 2.4″ and the tread area is just a hair under. We’ll call it a wash and go with 2.4″. The thing about this tire is that like the Racing Ralph 2.4″er, this tire has a great, round shape to the casing on a P-35, (35mm wide rim). Again though, the Ardent has a thicker casing than a Racing Ralph, so it should survive rocks better than the Schwalbe.

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The tire mounted up tubeless, (remember, this voids your warranty and is not recommended by Maxxis), and I found I could run some insanely low pressures for packed snow machine trails which allowed an almost snow bike-like experience. During this phase of the testing, I was running pressures down into the teens front and rear. Later on, as the trails cleared out, I was bumping up that pressure to the mid 20’s and the tires were hooking up rather well on the dry hard packed dirt. The tires felt very supple and were gripping the ground really well, but I wasn’t bottoming out on the rims at all.

Getting back to the cornering of the Ardent, I found the 2.4″er to be a different animal than the narrower version. With the taller intermediate knobs, I could lean slightly and not get a vague feeling, like the traction was going away on me, like I would with the 2.25″ Ardent. This tire would hook up on dry terrain at any lean angle. I found that traction was decent on tacky to dry dirt, but the Ardent still doesn’t like greasy dirt or mud. You really have to back off the speed if the dirt gets very wet at all.

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Traction for climbing was decent. The huge footprint of the tire on the P-35 really helped lay the power down, so slipping out was never an issue. Only when I hit mud or wet roots and wet downed tree limbs did I detect that the Ardent wasn’t going to give me a high degree of traction. Again, the ability to run low pressures lets you get away with more than you would be able to otherwise with the Ardent.

coldmayrain10 006Mid-Term Thoughts: I like this Ardent. It measures up to a true 2.4″er, is supple, has a better tread than it’s narrower brother, the 2.25 Ardent, and it rails on dry to tacky soil. I want to go to some rockier trails next and give the Ardent a go in those sorts of conditions. I am pretty convinced that the Ardent won’t do well in mud, and the wetter things get the faster the Ardent 2.4 inchers performance will fall off. It does do tubeless quite well, which even though Maxxis doesn’t recommend it, I find to be a plus here.

The volume of this tire on a 35mm wide rim will perhaps be a close fit in a lot of frames, and it definitely will not fit at all in many other frames. If your chain stays are 62mm or more apart from each other where the tire will reside, then you should be good to go. I have the tires and wheels in a Gen III Soul Cycles Dillinger frame. It gives me about two millimeters all around the rear tire for clearance at the chain stay. Pretty close! If you have a flexy wheel, you will find out. This combination seems to be working fine so far though. As for the Rock Shox Reba Team, the clearance is fairly tight. A quick check with a Manitou shows better clearances. Keep this in mind when you choose your Ardent and a rim to put it on.

That’s it for now. I will be doing some more riding on some different trails to find out more on the performance of the Ardent 2.4″ tires. Then I should be back afterward for my final review. Stay tuned………..

Note: The reviewed products were provided to Twenty Nine Inches at no charge for review. I was not paid or bribed for this review. I will give/gave my honest opinion or thoughts through out.