Tire life Geomax 51

The 51's do have a harder rubber compound and wear very well, just don't go near a hard packed track as I've found that they slid out pretty quickly. I'll stick to the bridgestone 404 front's for MX and I've put the 51 on my off road bike...

When it comes to tire compounds your hard terain tires are acually softer then your soft terian tires. Hard terain tires they want to flex more so that they grip hard services better. Just like a drag strip tire very soft to grab the hard concret. Soft terain tires they make harder so they dig in better. So when it come to chunking and tearing off nobs you are sometimes more likely to have that problem with a hard terain tire. That is why HT tires usually have shorter and more nobs on the tire. ST have fewer nobs that are taller.
The actual reason the knobs are longer on a soft terrain tire is because traction on soft soils depends on the knob penetrating deeper into the surface. On a hard surface tire, the knobs are shorter in order to prevent them from rolling and squirming under a lateral load, which would lift the contact surface of the block off of the soil surface. In keeping with both these things, another difference between the tires is the "land/sea ratio", which is the ratio of block surface (land) to the space between them (sea). Hard surface tires will have more land than a soft tire.

As far as rubber compounds go, any of the higher quality tires made today are going to have more than one kind of rubber in the tread, and possibly yet another compound used in the body of the tire, too. Good hard surface tires will often have blocks with a "stickier" compound on the exterior of the block with a stiffer, less flexible core under that.

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