Ah, the mountain bike tires. They are probably the most critical components of any MTBs. Without them, you’re obviously unable to go anywhere and your bike is like a useless thing. Tires are also considered one of the easiest and even the cheapest to improve your mountain biking performance.
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So, why not spend some time to learn some must-have features on your MTB’s tires for better choice later. It’s guaranteed not taking you more than 5 minutes. Let’s get started, shall we?
Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Tires Reviews 2020
Continental Gatorskin Bike Tire – DuraSkin Puncture & Sidewall Protection, Road Bike Replacement Tire (23c, 25c, 28c, 32c)
The Continental Gatorskin is a workhorse of a tire that almost riders will appreciate.
Since puncture protection is considered a priority in this field, the manufacturer has brought their car expertise to the bike’s tire segment. Utilizing PolyX Breaker – the latest proven proprietary technology against flats, to reach the highest resistance to outer impacts and foreign objects to repel punctures efficiently.
In fact, the Gatorskin tire is crafted for true long-distance running – like heavy training, touring, and commuting – under the toughest conditions. It’s a big thank you to the high-grade polyamide fabric integrated with wire bead. They excel protection to the tire, keeping it from the worst conditions and stay outstanding out of a bunch.
What I love most about this product is the available folding versions with a wide range of tire sizes that riders can carry along with less storage space needed.
Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Tire 2-Pack
Have you wondered why other mountain bike tires are only recommended for either front or rear end, except for this Continental? That’s because of its ultra-low weight! This feature gives you two biggest benefits:
- Handle excellently on both loose and hard surfaces
- Deliver perfect traction around corners
Combining with the superior puncture protection, this tire is arguably the most durable and versatile option on the market. It especially impresses during the winter training rides – a thing that other trail tires can’t hold up.
With a wide range of tire sized provided, even available for 650c Road Bikes and MTB, it’s worth the title of “The Most Versatile Tire of The Year”. That’s why I particularly listed this 2-pack set here as a highly-recommended option for heavy trainers or long-distance riders in the worst case. Since packing them along doesn’t take as much space as other unfolded tires, right?
Bell Mountain Bike Tires in Standard or Flat Defense
Among three options, I pick the standard Bell Mountain Bike Tires that highlight a unique flat-defense technology with 25% extra puncture resistance and strength compared to others.
Crafted from a high-grade rubber material, fans of these tires also give compliments for their superior durability. In a survey, it received the highest votes than any other by an optimized tread pattern to perfect suit for any off-road adventures.
With ultimate control and superior traction from a tall, knobby tread, I’d even go so far as stating that the Bell Mountain Bike Tire has the potential to leverage an intermediate bicycler to a higher level.
Packing these as backup tires in worst cases seems not difficult at all because the carbon steel bead allows them to be foldable with damage-free and easier storage.
Continental Ride Tour Replacement Bike Tire – Extra Puncture Protection, E-Bike Rated City/Trekking Bicycle Tire (12″, 16″, 20″, 24″, 26″, 27″, 28″, 700c)
Constructed with durable, long-lasting continuous center tread pattern with extra puncture belt, this tire is designed specifically for trekking and touring endeavors.
Differ from other Continental siblings, it ensures low-rolling resistance for straight-line speed whilst reducing the flats occurrence efficiently. And with an avalanche of size options, it ensures that you can give the right ride tour tire for venturing out on any rough terrains you intend to ride them through.
I really appreciate the edges of this tire. They bring better ample traction compared to other trail models, giving more grips on muddy roads or wet conditions and keeping ultimate safety. Something I’m looking for in those hills where I live.
The Continental Ride Tour Bike Tire also gives me lots of mileage whereas never had a flat, despite how much I’ve ridden on tarmac, concrete, gravel, or rollers. There’s even no wear in the little!
Continental Grand Prix 4000s II Cycling Tire, Set of 2 Tires
I’ve got a couple of these when blowing one out. Despite the expensive price, I feel every single penny spent on the Grand Prix 4000s is really well-worth.
This newer model has updated its carbon with the Black Chili tread compound to win and boast fast rolling speed. At the meantime, they maintain a decent grip which is substantially more than the Gaterskins. So now, these tires are not only punctured resistant but also safe and joyful when riding downhills or on wet and dry roads.
Durability and lightness are two other mentionable bonuses. Since they are now equipped with Vectran Breaker belt, I clearly feel that they are much lighter but stronger and tougher than the Aramid models. On the other hand, the perfect duo of 330 TPI and 3-ply casing delivers extra reinforcement to their longer-lasting performance. Making it one of the most well-worth products on the market.
Actually, I have been riding 8,000-10,000 miles each year and these have proven to be the top-rated. No flats or damages despite many crappy and rocky roads I’ve ridden through. Really impressive!
Maxxis Ignitor Mountain Bike Tire
The Maxxis Ignitor is an aggressive mountain bike tire in medium to loose surfaces with mediocre rolling speed, but excellent braking traction and terrific cornering grip. The race-proven eXCeption Series 62A compounds truly deliver perfect performance on multiple conditions.
Seriously, I’m not a good rider in the corners, but these never made me feel unsafe. Have tested them through many extremely hard terrains, there are actually some uh oh moments, however, they were so much manageable.
I also did a little bit of jumping on the hills or on sandy/muddy roads, thought that things would get out of hands but all ended up with I recovering on every occasion. So, I would confidently say that these tires definitely do their best for trail or mount biking, without the need of spending more.
I run them front and rear on a trek with my 26” wheels because I like to think this is not the mountain bike tire that is limited by traction but only by my bravery and skills.
Goodyear Folding Bead Mountain Bike Tire, 26 x 2.1, Black
If you want to save some precious weight off your heavy MTB but still remain aggressive traction off-road, the Goodyear Folding Bead is surely the best choice.
It features Kevlar fiber material for the bead, instead of metal wires as others would do, hence, deliver a more easily foldable construction. This type of mountain bike tire is ideal for travel packing and installing.
But you might want to unfold it for a couple of minutes to let the tire assume its full shape. And as it doesn’t require which way of treads to face too, the assembly afterward is much easier.
I particularly like the decent small knobby treads. They work best for almost paved riding and perfectly stick to any terrains – something that I never thought of. Test ride shows all good results so, I would recommend it for around suburbia and trails.
Take note that it only fits 26” wheels, and though the manufacturer stated its 2 – 2.125” measurement, I found it also fitted a 1.5” to 1.75” rim nicely. Hope this information helped!
Schwinn Mountain Bike Tire (Black, 26 x 1.95-Inch)
Riding in the city streets up North East was like a nightmare to my poor Schwinn bike, so I decided to give its wheels an upgrade. Starting from the tires! I wanted them to be longer-lasting, smoother running and more durable, which is the reason I gave these Mountain Bike Tires a try.
They might take 15-20 minutes to reform (since they arrive in folded shape) and when inflating the tubes, you should go slow to let all beads sit properly around. Tips: A set of biking fixing tools might do good help in this case.
Glad that my 26” bike wheels respond well with them on there and the tires themselves also hold up more than perfectly. They grip the ground well while some off-road performances are really possible.
To be honest, you might need some time to get used to them, but once the tires’ sensation locks into a turn, you don’t want to try anything else. So, the last words I want to tell you are, don’t ever let the price fool you!
Schwalbe Hans Dampf Snake Skin TL-Ready Mountain Bike Tire 26 x 2.35, 27.5 x 2.35, 29 x 2.35
The Schwalbe Hans Dampf features their unique way of low rolling resistance, weight reduction, and puncture protection.
They emphasize the renowned combination – tubeless-ready design and SnakeSkin sidewalls. Giving complete protection to sidewalls and shoulders against sharp glass and rocks – the main feature making SnakeSkin different from the Super Gravity.
For that reason, it’s a worth-trying option for any riders who don’t intend to perform downhills with extreme enduro, dirt jumps, and jumps.
I also like the choice wise of Evolution Line and TrailStar compound. They help to optimize the SnakeSkin performance by maximizing control and grip. Hence, delivering phenomenal durability, intensive use, and excellent quality.
So, if that’s exactly what you’re finding so far, these are surely a good candidate!
Continental Mountain King II Wire Bead Mountain Bike Tire
On a whim, I’d like to give these Mountain King II a try to check if they have been improved as significantly as advertised. And after 6 months up to now, it hasn’t disappointed me yet!
While offering much better puncture protection, the tires work their best at all-around performance with no side effect of extra weight. During my personal test on crushed rock, a mix of asphalt and crushed limestone, they did great. I can feel a huge improvement on the loose/soft grip – very hooked up and planted!
But the most decent performance might lie in their beef-up shoulder lugs. Seem like there’s more void created toward the center lugs to make corning become telepathic.
The fit got no troubles and they paired with my bike’s wheels to roll quietly and easily, especially on the asphalt. So, for the price, you can’t go wrong with the Conti’s.
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Best Mountain Bike Tires
1. Riding style
No tire excels at everything so, it’s essential to classify your riding style and focus on attributes which tires are the most suitable for that.
Basically, there are three styles of mountain biking:
- Downhill riding
- Trail riding
- Cross-country riding
- All-mountain biking
For the first style, a set of burly, tenacious tires is highly recommended because they can handle stick landings, abuse, as well as claw their way around turns.
Trail riding, on the other hand, requires you to maintain a moderate level of durability, traction, and speed. Hence, a set of all-around tires really makes sense.
If you’re a cross-country rider, climbing efficiency is now overweighing than extra durability and traction. That’s why lightweight, fast-rolling tires are on top of choice. Plus, choosing for more densely spaced lugs with smaller size will be more helpful.
Last up, is the all-mountain biking style. To ride to the top, you want to pick grippier and wear-resistant tires with bigger side lugs that when taking turns at speed, they can withstand outer impacts.
2. Size & Width
Actually, tire width and bike type have a close connection:
|Width Range (inch)||Bike Type|
|1.9 to 2.25||Cross-country bike|
|2.25 to 2.4||All-mountain and trail bikes|
|2.5 or small||Downhill bikes|
|3.7 to 5||Fat bikes|
That’s why after identifying the tire diameter (26”, 27.5”, or 29”), it’s essential to dial its width.
I’ve also received a lot of questions about if the wider the tires, the better. Well, it’s a yes from me.
Despite the extra heft, wider tires deliver better traction, especially riding over sandy terrains, for more confidence to the rider. Besides, due to the extra air volume accepted, it absorbs bumps better. Don’t worry, your current rim still gives a nice fit to a wider tire. Just make sure that it gets adequate clearance within your bike frame.
On a knobby MTB tire set, the knob or lug design usually varies widely. So, to match them to your riding style, it’s essential to understand how each of them affects the biking performance.
When it comes to threads, there’re just two options: Lower thread and high thread. It influences on how stiff and durable of a tire as well as its low-rolling-resistance ability.
If your biking style requires lower rolling resistance and more supple tires, choosing higher densities of threads is ideal. But at the same time, less puncture protection is something you need to trade off. That’s why this kind of bike tire is usually used for light trail and cross-country riding.
On the contrary, lower thread makes the tire stiffer and more durable with good balance for all-mountain, heavier trail, and downhill tires.
To classify whether a tire is a high thread or low thread, they use TPI (stand for Threads Per Inch). It is the carcass of a tire that’s made out of parallel threads, oriented at a 45-degree angle from bead to bead and coated with rubber.
High thread is usually within 67-127 TPI while a low thread is from 60-67 TPI.
Now, if you’re wondering what effects on the flat resistance, ride quality, and weight of a tire, it’s sidewall construction. And the feature itself is determined by how many plies of the carcass are wrapped by any inserts in between the layers and around the tire bead.
These inserts leverage the structural integrity, or puncture protection, or both.
Usually, the breaker layer is dense strips of Kevlar, nylon, or Aramid. They all have two similarities – pliable and lightweight – to provide good protection whereas affect minimally ride quality.
With downhill and all-mountain tires, butyl inserts or thick nylon are utilized for extra stability and pinch flat resistance, at the weighted expense. Conversely, thinner, lighter tires take advantage of higher air pressure to satisfy those two elements.
In terms of cross-country tires, usually, there’s little to no sidewall protection due to smooth path nature. This is a big bonus because it helps to save lots of weight.
1. What size mountain bike tire is best?
Tires, like wheels, come in three major size options: 24”, 27.5”, and 29”. It’s impossible to find one size fit all, but dependable on the wheel type you’re using.
Hence, to figure out what tire size is the best, consider your wheel size first.
2. What are the best Maxxis Tyres?
The Maxxis Ignitor Mountain Bike Tire is my pick of all the time in loose surfaces. It allows me to ride smoothly through such challenging terrains whereas not slowing down the speed. Not to mention to the terrific cornering grip and braking traction. A well-worth choice ever I’ve made!
3. What is TPI in mountain bike tires?
TPI which stands for Threads Per Inch is the carcass of a tire that’s made out of parallel threads, oriented at a 45-degree angle from bead to bead and coated with rubber.
If you have no idea of choosing whether a need thread or high thread, kindly consult my Buying Guide section above. It surely helps!
4. How wide are mountain bike tires?
The width range is dependable on the mountain bike type, which I’ve already explained detailly in the Buying Guide section. Take a peek here for more information!
So, I do hope that with this very detailed review of the best mountain bike tires, you can find a bit of help. But on top of that, let figure out your needs and requirements carefully to identify the most suitable. Bike tires might be something that needs to stock regularly that you can make a sound choice, a choice wise will save lots of bucks for your riding investment in long terms. Thanks for reading!