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Best Mountain Bike Tires On The Market | Review and Guide

Do you love hitting the roughest trails and maneuvering over roots, rocks, and ruts with ease? If you answered yes to this question, then it is very likely that you are a mountain bike enthusiast who prefers uneven terrain to paved roads.

There is nothing wrong with this preference; in fact, mountain biking is one of the most enjoyable sports out there. Unfortunately, the toll of rough riding on your bike can be catastrophic, with the most damage likely to be seen on your tires.

Shredding tires is quite common with mountain bikes. However, this can be avoided altogether by buying bike tires that will hold up to the worst terrain.

That is why I have identified the best tires on the market so that you do not have to waste money buying new tires after every biking adventure.

How to Choose The Best Mountain Bike Tire

Before we look at the best tires available right now, let’s first discuss how to refine your search and some important features to consider.

Tread and Profile

The tread on your tire is important to your safety, enjoyment, and performance when riding. Therefore, it’s essential that you understand the tread you’re looking for.

The center zone of the tread is where you’ll spend most of your time and this section is responsible for the rolling resistance on your bike. If a tire has closely-space center knobs, it has a lower rolling resistance making it easier to pedal and is suitable if you’re traveling in snowy conditions. However, taller, widely-spaced knobs provide more traction and resistance and perform at their best when the surface is dry or soft.

The transition zone on a bike tire determines how responsive a tire is around angles and corners.

Round tread profiles are versatile and ideal if you’re not yet comfortable with riding uphill or in tough terrain. Alternatively, square tread profiles shine best when riding through loose dirt as they can break through tough patches of mud.

Tire Width

The width on your mountain bike tire is more important than you think, and they typically come in a range of sizes from 1.6 to 2.5 inches. So, how do you choose the right tire width for you? Throughout this journey for the best tires, you should comfortably know your riding style and abilities. Tires with a narrow width will roll fast and are developed with cross-country riding in mind. You should avoid using narrow tires in rough and muddy conditions.

On the other hand, wider tires are more stable and ideal for rough terrain. They also offer better grip and traction so you are still in control when traveling in mud, rain, and snow.

Don’t just consider your riding style and typical weather conditions, but the maximum width your mountain bike will allow. If you opt for a tire that is too wide for your bike, this could put your safety at risk as well as rub against the suspension fork and cause this to wear down.

Rubber Compounds

There’s a variety of rubber compounds available and it can be confusing to narrow down your search for the best manufacturer for you. The most important factor to remember is that rubber compounds have a different thickness to suit the pavements you ride on as well as offer specialized grips and traction.

For example, tires that are designed with a soft rubber have an incredible grip,   they tend to wear out fast, particularly if you ride your bike on flat surfaces. Even when you’re traveling to your chosen destination, you might find that there’s an immense amount of pavement on your route, so a harder tire would be a great choice in this instance.

There’s also the option of dual rubber compounds on the same tire to evenly offer two features in one. These generally have hard rubber on the middle and soft rubber on the outside to provide an even balance of grip and durability when riding.

Front and Rear Tires

You might be wondering why we’re splitting the front and rear tires into two sections because you can choose to match both wheels should you wish, and this is a common trait. However, today’s technology has lead to advancements in the front and rear tire offering different advantages.

The front tire takes the lead for taking corners and keeping the bike in a straight line. If you choose a wide front tire, you’ll be able to stay on course easily and not have to steer the bike as much. On the other hand, a narrow front tire improves your rolling resistance and you can travel faster.

A rear tire tends to wear out quicker than a front one because it takes all the impact if you use your bike for cross-country riding. Rear tires usually have horizontal knobs across the tire to provide even traction and prevent the wheel from continually spinning as your pedaling (a very handy feature for climbing up hills).

The Best Mountain Bike Tires | Review

The bike tires I will give you below are high-performing, as well as being durable and affordable. Tires are probably the most important part of your bike, so don’t rush the process by choosing the first you see or the cheapest available. So enjoy this comprehensive review.

The Best Mountain Bike Tires Comparison Table

Maxxis Ardent Mountain Bike Tire (Folding 60a, 29x2.25)
  • Race winning tires
  • Used by professionals and amateurs alike
  • Tested for durability

The Double Fighter is a 26-inch tire from Continental, offering mountain bikers a rugged and reliable tire option when hitting off-road spots. This tire is perfect for trekking bikes and Sporty ATB options and can be ridden smoothly and quietly on tarmac roads as well.

The design of the tire includes a sturdy sidewall that protects the bike when riding in urban areas littered with sharp objects, and the tread in the center of the tire has shoulder lugs for great grip on wet surfaces.

This aforementioned tread can be found on the original bike Double Fighter racing tire. Additionally, the knobby size of the tire makes it perfect for quick and dexterous riding.

Some of its features include:

  •       Tread is based on the Original Double Fighter MTB Racing Tire
  •       Tire rolls smoothly and quietly on tarmac
  •       For sporty ATB and trekking bikes
  •       Fast center tread with shoulder lugs for assured traction
  •       Tough sidewall to protect the tire from urban debris

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WTB VelociRaptor 2.1 26 Rear Comp Tire
  • Braking specific rear with wide knobs that dig in while braking in loose terrain
  • Tube type tire with a wire bead, these tires are very durable
  • Cross-country trail

The legendary Velociraptor from WTB is a cross country marvel that weighs only 700 grams. This amazing 26 inches by 2.1 inches tire achieves this feat through the use of lightweight casing, DNA rubber, and Aramid bead construction.

The popularity of this tire also lies in its amazing front tire steering control, which allows you to handle all types of terrain with supreme ease.

Additionally, this large tire has deep directional treads that allow you to climb inclines and cut through corners easily. Apart from the amazing traction of the Velociraptor, the cross country rear tire is precise and powerful when climbing and braking, allowing you to tear through any obstacle in your path.

Some of its features include:

  •       Legendary tires weighing 700g
  •       Lightweight casing
  •       Renowned for its steering control, 35-65 psi

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Maxxis CrossMark Mountain Bike Tire (Folding 62a, 26x2.1)
  • Fast rolling center ridge - front or rear
  • Raised side knobs for better cornering

The 29-inch CrossMark clincher tire is a foldable and lightweight tire created for use on hard packed dirt.

The 605 grams tire is created with a continuous center ridge and a tread pattern that works well on high-speed hardpack, and when you factor in the low-profile knobs, you have a tire that will plow through buff trails.

When it comes to riding in wet and loose conditions, the raised side knobs and the spacing in between the center lugs provide sufficient traction.

Some of its features include:

  •       Fast rolling center ridge
  •       Durometer – 60a (26×2.25), 70a (26×2.1 and 29×2.1)
  •       Front or rear raised side knobs for better cornering

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Maxxis Ignitor Mountain Bike Tire (Folding 70a, 29x2.1),Black
  • Race winning tires
  • Used by professionals and amateurs alike
  • Tested for durability

The Ignitor bike tire from Maxxis comes in 26-inch and 29-inch options, both of them giving you an opportunity to experience fantastic performance in an array of riding conditions.

These folding tires are popular for their versatile construction compounds, which include the durable 70a, the race-proven 62a, and the urban-ready 60a.

You have the option of selecting which compound you want on your tires depending on where you want to ride your bike.

Additionally, the well-spaced tread pattern on the tire allows for minimized rolling resistance and speed on light gravel trails, asphalt roads, and hard-pack single tracks. The knobs on the tires will also ensure that you receive great grip in all weather.

Some of its features include:

  •       Long-lasting 70a or race-proven eXCeption Series 62a compounds
  •       Excellent multi-condition performance
  •       Designed to roll fast and hook up in medium to loose conditions

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Kenda John Tomac Signature Series Nevegal Mountain Bike Tire (DTC,...
  • Downhill wire bead version has 2 ply construction and STICK-E Compound for better grip
  • Cross Country folding bead version is single ply with STICK-E Compound or DTC (Dual Tread Compound)
  • New FREERIDE wire bead version is single ply, Stick-E and added Butyl insert for extra strength and...

The Kenda Nevegal is part of the John Tomac signature series, which is exceptionally popular in the MTB world. The beauty of this tire can be witnessed in loose and muddy conditions, where it provides incredible grip and control.

There are several wires beaded and folding tire options when it comes to the Nevegal, each of them having a different tire construction for varied grip in loose and hard conditions. The Dual Tread Compound (DTC) construction, for example, is great in steep situations, as it is made of soft rubber that provides great grip in such instances.

One thing that is common among all the Nevegal tires is the long-wearing rubber that they are made from, which gives the tires durability even when faced with constant rough terrain and cross-country trails.

Some of its features include:

  •       The 2.35″ version uses Kenda’s DTC
  •       This is a super soft rubber that yields an excellent grip
  •       2.1 ” tires use the same firmer rubber compound over the entirety of the tread

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Maxxis Ardent Mountain Bike Tire (Folding 60a, 29x2.25)
  • Race winning tires
  • Used by professionals and amateurs alike
  • Tested for durability

The Ardent bike tire comes in three options, mainly the folding 60a, the wire beaded 60a, and the wire beaded 3C. These tires do great over rough trails, as well as over loose soil and hard ground. More specifically the Maxxis tires have been designed with traction in mind, and therefore have several components which will ensure that you have the optimum grip on your mountain ride.

Firstly, the tire is equipped with large side knobs which have numerous advantages when riding through corners at high speeds.

Furthermore, the Ardent product has a center tread that provides traction during acceleration and deceleration, as well as ramped knobs that reduce rolling resistance.

Some of its features include:

  • Designed for traction
  • High volume casing

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The Winning Mountain Bike Tire

As you can see, the Maxxis, Continental, WTB, and Kenda tires mentioned above are the best of the best. These extremely popular tires are guaranteed to provide you with an excellent grip in all conditions, as well as a smooth ride and durability during your biking adventures.

So if you own a mountain bike and lack quality tires, the performers given above will make your time much easier. But if I had to limit this article to one only bike tire, the winner would be the Maxxis Arden. This isn’t one of the heaviest bike tires available, which makes it ideal for traveling uphill and also for pushing your bike through wet and windy conditions.

The dual compound tread is flat for excellent rolling resistance, but the tire also provides enough power and traction to make it ideal for all year round. The height is also ideal for keeping the bike stable at all pressures, and the tread isn’t so aggressive that it can’t handle smooth pavements.

You have many options with this tire as you can push hard on it, or take it easy on long roads. Finally, the tire is completed with an EXO casing to add additional protections to the side wall.

What are your thoughts on your list of the best mountain bike tires? Share your feedback in the comments, as well as any recommendations to other brands.

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