Written by Alan Starrett Tuesday, 16 March 2004 20:17
When you push the Fire XC Pro to its limit in a corner it will respond with sufficient warning of impending wash out before totally letting go. Its only Achilles heal, if it has one, would be full on mud where it has a tendency to pack up. Then again, what tire doesn't except a mud specific tire?
For a full 2.1 knobby in kevlar bead it is about as light as you'll find at 580g and the unique tread pattern provides fairly low rolling resistance. Panaracer advertises this tire as having what they call an "ASB Chafer" which is supposed improve pinch flat protection. As a 165lb rider I have run pressures regularly at 38-36psi, which for me seems to be a good balance of traction and rolling resistance in most conditions and have had no pinch flat problems. Panaracer offers the same tire in a 1.8 version that is below 500g and with a slightly modified tread pattern provides very low rolling resistance. At my weight however, combined with East Coast roots and rocks, I couldn't run any less than 45-50psi without pinch flats. With that type of pressure I was paying a heavy penalty in the traction department. If you are a lighter rider or spend a lot of time on fire roads and can run lower pressures the 1.8 is definitely a fast setup.
They are available in red, yellow and blue and I mean RED, YELLOW and BLUE. It is not just a strip of color it is nearly the entire sidewall and it does little to fade over time so you better be committed to your choice. If those colors don't appeal to your personal sense of style you can get the 2.1 in all black witch makes for a pretty stealthy look.
One last thing, you may see these tires listed by the mega-log mail order outfits as being "on-sale" for a couple bucks less than their "regular" price. Beware because the tires they are selling are often times OEM Panaracer Fire XC Pros that are made in Taiwan and were originally intended to be factory installed on low end mountain bikes. They are heavier, of poorer quality and the sidewall graphics are totally different than the high quality Japanese after market version described above. Bikeman has the real deal and can hook you up.
LIKES: All around performer, Predictable cornering, Light weight: 580 grams for 2.1", and Cool Colors!.
DISLIKES: Pack up in heavy mud, all around performer, not exceptional in any one area, and heavier riders may be prone to pinch flats on 1.8" tire.
|Panaracer Fire XC Pro: 2.1, Black/Red, Kevlar. A mix of 2, 3 and 5mm center knobs, tall cornering knobs, color stripe on sidewall made of Silica compound for added durability. Two way tread; one direction for front, opposite for rear. 590g...|
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