Probably the most important part of your mountain bike are the tires, this is what connects you and your bike with the surface you are riding on, and for probably the most inexpensive part of the bike, it plays a big role in how your bike performs, not having the best mountain bike tires for your style of riding can be a painful, or expensive lesson to learn.
Tubeless vs Non Tubeless
The debate rages on, but in my opinion, if fitted correctly and they are compatible with the rims you are using, tubeless tires are the best to use in 99.9% of all riding circumstances.
With tubeless you can run lower pressure, so you have a much better feel for the trail, you are not going to have the risk of pinch flatting, and with tubeless you have a sealer inside them, so if you get a small puncture like a thorn or tack, it will seal itself, unlike tube tires.
If worse comes to worse and you slice your tubeless tires open, you can throw a tube inside to at least get you home.
The tread you use is usually determined by the surfaces you will be riding on.
- Hard packed trails, you need a tire with closely spaced knobs that are going to roll very quickly.
- Loose, rocky, wet, muddy trails, you need wider spacing between the knobs, bigger knobs that are made of a softer stickier compound.
- All round riding surfaces use a fast rolling tire with bigger side knobs that really dig in and can give you more stability.
Tire Side Wall and Weight
It is possible to shed more weight by reducing tire weight (racing tires), but you sacrifice strength, and increase susceptibility to cuts and punctures.
It may take a little experimenting in variety of side wall thickness, to find the balance between a good weighted tire and one that can handle the conditions you ride in.
Important characteristic to note with tire width are;
- Thin tire = higher pressure and a noticeable increase in speed
- Wider tires around 2.2 to 2.3, are more stable in looser conditions, will give the rider more confidence, but the trade off is rolling resistance is slower so the bike is likely to be a little less responsive.
Best Mountain Bike Tires
What’s best for one rider is not necessarily the best for another, so experimentation and a bit of trial and error, even trying different front and rear tires until you come up with a combination that suits your bike, your style and riding ability is probably the best approach!
Continental Race King
Continental Race King 29 Tire
This is a large volume low profile tire that is all about speed, a super fast rolling tire with widely spaced knobs to handle a wide variety of conditions.
If you want the best XC tire for dry, hard conditions without a doubt this is it!
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Kenda Nevegal RSR Wire Bead Tire
from: Jenson USA
Kenda have a great range of tires, from the standard tubeless, the signature range, right up to the Kenda kevlar that has a tall knob design for greater holding ability in loose conditions it has the pro center tread that gives greater cornering abilityand come in a range of sizes to suit most bikes and rims.
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WTB Bronson TCS Tubeless Tire
from: Jenson USA
WTB Bronson Tires from the 2.1 racing to the 2.3 in the 26″ models are all quality tires.
Witht the dual dna compund these tires will handle anything from wet to dry and from loose to rough!
All Mountain, Free ride to XC you will find a WTB bronson to suit!
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