Monday, July 13, 2009

WTB Saddles and NoTubes Raven Tire Review

WTB Saddle and Demo Program I have always been a fan of WTB saddles. In the past I used the Rocket V SLT with ti rails (210g), this year I opted for the Devo Carbon (190g). Now I am looking at the Silverado (also 190g). The Silverado is a bit narrower and longer than the Devo.

If you are in the market for a new saddle, WTB now has a demo program! I was able to try the pictured saddle at the Firecracker 50 race. I'll try to get more demo info and post it here. NoTubes Raven As everyone knows I love my lightweight Kenda tires, but since NoTubes is also a sponsor I have been able to try out the NoTubes Raven 26x2.0.

Todd has been a fan of the 29" Crow for some time. I have now put ~ 1500 miles (including pavement miles) on my rear mounted Raven in various conditions from SoCal's loose-over-hardpack to New Mexico and Colorado's high-desert and varying mountain terrain (everything from sharp loose rocks to east coast-style wet-roots and rocks). Under very close inspection I have a few superficial slices, more than a couple goathead spears, no sidewall wear, almost no tread wear (!), and the tire holds air from ride-to-ride so I only check the pressure every few rides. The Raven is an great XC tire. The sideknob is perfect and I have only missed the extra tread a few isolated times; once on a really loose up-hill switchback and another time on a ride with some downhillers on a true DH course I had no business being on. The Raven seems to ride everything including the loose climbs and wet roots very similarly to how my Kenda Small Block 8 does, but with less weight and I assume less rolling resistance. If I am worried about extra flat protection I run the Kenda Small Block (see all the closely spaced knobbies, top photo). I haven't tried the Raven on the front, I really like the Kenda Karma as an all-round tire and continue to use it as my front tire. Todd may try the Raven as a front tire and keep his Crow on the rear.

Specialized vs. XTR Cranks

I will have a set of Specialized MTB Carbon cranks waiting for me when I get to Durango, after I ride them a bit I'll write up the comparison.


  1. I use the Kenda Karma 29x1.95. How would that tire do in Colorado? I'm thinking about doing the Silver Rush 50 next year and haven't a clue about tires.

  2. Hi Richard, I haven't ridden that course, but the Karmas should be a great choice. Just make sure you take the time to find the perfect tire pressure when you pre-ride. If you are sliding out or bouncing off rocks, try lowering the pressure; if you ding the rim over rocks (or flat), add pressure. Adjust the front and rear pressure independently. If you run them with Stans Sealant you can get away with a lower pressure than with tubes.

  3. I saw the results fro the National Championships in Granby.

    Congratulations on a hard fought race.