Outfitting your mountain bike with the right tires e tires can make or break your offroad exploits. In the same way that bulky, overly treaded tires will slow you down on the road, tires that are too smooth and too small will affect your traction on the trail, ruining your cornering as well as being potentially unsafe. Choosing the right bike tires is no different than choosing some for you car, really, and it’s important to find the right set.
Of course, just as with anything else, there are seemingly endless arrays of mountain bike tires to choose from, and once you factor in thickness, tread, size, folding vs non-folding, it can be bit daunting to sort through them all. To help you out, there’s a few of the best mountain bike tires to get you out on the trails.
Let’s just say you’re on a budget and want one tire that can handle every bit of terrain you come across but doesn’t excel at any one. That’s the Continental Trail King. Continental knows a thing or two about tires, so you can expect them to make a good bike tire. The knobs aren’t as big as they could be considering the tire size, but there are plenty of them, and they’re ample for everything from roots, to gravel, to hardpacked dirt. Pretty cornering and braking for singletrack. Continental says they’ll work best on bikes with more than 140mm of travel thanks to the large, thick size.
The Trail King also feature Continental’s BlackChili compound, which is supposed to increase rolling resistance by 26% and provide 30% more grip than activated silica. The ProTection outside is also 30% stronger and 25% lighter than previous models.
All in all, a good all-mountain bike tire that doesn’t break the bank. You’ll have no problem with technical trails or more mixed XC.
The High Roller II isn’t just the best downhill mountain bike tire. It may just be the best mountain bike tire of all, a relative legend in the MTB world. The best of the best turn to this tire when they need speed, agility when cornering, and the ability to shred the most technical of trails. It’s made from Maxiss’ 3C Triple Compound Technology, which gives it even better braking and traction, with 2-Ply DH casing with butyl-protected sidewalls. There are modified knobs on the shoulder, and an open tread design for gripping loose dirt, rock and even mud.
The High Roller II is built for just about any terrain you could throw at it and will keep you firmly planted the whole time. Unless, that is, you are trying to get some air. But it really shines when flying downhill at breakneck speeds.
If the High Roller II is the king of downhill tires, the Minion DHF is what you reach for when you need traction. And lots of it. Bulked up in size even more than older models, the knobs and tread on this thing are big and hefty, for serious grip on all surfaces – loose, packed, gravel, mud – and the ramped knobs allows for less rolling resistance. The channels cut into the center of the knobs provides even more gripping surface.
The Minion DHF handles like a boss on corners, taking them with precision and comfort, thanks to those beefy side knobs. And the straight-line steering is as good as it gets. If you need grip, confidence and precision more than speed, the choice is obvious.
Like the Minion DHF, the Michelin Wild Rock’r are knobby tires with tons of grip, built for shredding the toughest of terrain without shredding the rubber. With 4 rows of huge, tall tread blocks that cover almost the entire tire, there’s really no terrain it can’t tackle, and the MagiX version uses a special rubber compound that is a bit soft, allowing for extra grip that practically grabs onto the ground and keeps you there. It also makes the tire much tougher and more durable, lending a longer lifespan when you’re constantly chewing up rocks, and ensuring you spend more time on the bike than replacing the components. That’s what the Wild Rock’r is best for; tough terrain that chews up tires and spits them out, such as true mountain downhill. A little bit heavy, but worth the extra traction and durability.
Cross-Country more your style? The Maxxis Ikon might suit you better. Maxxiss itself calls the Ikon their most versatile XC tread – a lightweight racing tire that still offers excellent grip and performance on all kinds of terrain. In 29×2.35 it’s one of the larger XC tires you’ll find, and features Maxxis’ 3C technology, which combines a more durable rubber in the center with even gripper cornering knobs, as well as a durable third layer underneath the two. The EXO Protection adds even more resistance to cuts and punctures, which is always welcome on a racing tire (or any for that matter).
The high-volume tread offers excellent traction, but also does a good job of absorbing bumps and uneven surfaces. At the same time, it really doesn’t slow you down, letting you maintain good speed on the trails without killing your legs (and lungs). And the even spacing gives good handling on corners.
Overall, a sturdy, trustworthy XC and racing bike tire that will let you fly while still tackling tough terrain and without sacrificing precision cornering.
Don’t have a lot to drop on tires, and just want something to get the job done and you out on the trails? The Goodyear Folding Bead will do the trick, while still giving you a high-quality, durable tire that will last plenty of mountain miles. It’s Goodyear, after all. The tread is aggressive enough for most riding, with superior traction and handling, but isn’t so bulky as to slow you down considerably. They’re quite light, too, and the folding bead build is always convenient for packing into your pack as a spare. Nothing fancy, just a quality bike tire at a low price – our Budget Buy choice. It will fit various rims between 2 and 2.125 inches wide.
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