Over the years, many of us have sought to find the perfect winter tyre. So far, I have been unsuccessful but after some recent tyre changing, I have remained with Trailrakers.Initially I presumed that the relative difference between tyres was small and therefore more miles were the key but after a few swaps the difference was obvious. The main choice seems to be fat and float or thin and sink.An all year tyre, e.g. Continental Vertical struggles in the chalk and the mud and although it copes well I always was stuck. A great spring/autumn tyre like a Michelin Hot S floats a bit but spins and slides much too easily.A Fire Mud cuts through anything and mud does not stick but it slides under power and tends towards the nervous rather than the surefooted. In a comparison with the Michelin on identical bikes (Nomads), it slid less on chalk and mud but spun out easily in ruts and under power.
Refitting a Trailraker made a noticeable difference in traction in mud, slimy chalk and improved the safety margin.
One small point in sizing is that the 2.1 when fitted to a Mavic 717 at 35-psi measures only 1.8 inches. When magazines review tyres they sometimes allude to a variance in the carcass size from the stated nominal size and it would seem that this may be the case with the Trailrakers and although it may improve the tyre clearance, it reduces the tyre contact patch. Over rocks and roots my contact patch is small enough already therefore, I would always plump for the larger sizes and if your frame does not block with mud perhaps you can run a bigger tyre too. More grip, less impact, better traction uphill and improved braking all for the asking. For the lightweight rider speed may be king but for most of us, a little more tyre in winter conditions helps us keep it rubber side down.