The Perfect Tire Search

more-grip After slicing my sidewall wide open on an evening ride last night I'm searching for the best XC tire. I love the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs in general. They've been my tire of choice these days, however I've been hearing too many stories of how thin their side-walls are. They do make a SnakeSkin version, which comes at a cost and added weight penalty, but at this point I'm done being a weight weenie when it comes to tires. The downside is that the SnakeSkin version of the Ralphs are nowhere to be found. My only other gripe against the tire is that the tread wears too quickly.

My second favorite tire goes to the Specialized Fast Trak (pictured above). They're predictable, but not quite as grippy as the Racing Ralph. My search continues, and after a few conversations with a few buddies of mine I'm narrowing my field down to the Racing Ralph SnakeSkin, if I can find them, and the Maxxis Ikon EXO. These peaked my interest in that they're high volume, tough casing, roll fairly well, and come in at a very respectable 580 grams per tire. That's about 30+ grams compared to the Ralphs and Fast Trak, each with their respective thicker casings.

What say you? Can you recommend anything better than the Ikon, Ralphs or Fast Trak? Suggestions welcomed. I'm done worrying about getting stranded because of tire failure, especially if I'm committed to longer endurance/marathon XC distances.