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Replace: One of the best mountain bike tire – a very powerful fashions in evaluate

Schwalbe, MAXXIS, Continental, Michelin, WTB, Kenda… The vary of mountain bike tires on supply is big and typically complicated. We examined greater than 50 tires and though we couldn’t agree on a transparent favorite, we are able to inform you how you can discover the proper tire to swimsuit you and your bike.

Desk of content material

One caveat earlier than we begin: this ENDURO group check has no Finest in Take a look at, nor have we chosen a Finest Worth Tip both. With regards to tires, there are numerous components to keep in mind that affect its efficiency, which is why tire producers supply a wide range of fashions for various kinds of riders, path situations and talent ranges. Somebody whose Enduro bike solely will get ferried to the highest of a mountain on the trailer of a shuttle has very completely different necessities to an alpine adventurer who has to earn each descent. Even when we might have agreed on “one” tire, it will nonetheless solely be the absolute best compromise for all-round use. You see, there isn’t any one ideally suited tire to swimsuit each biker! As an alternative, we’ll inform you about our private favourites and clarify how you can discover the proper tire for you.

To be able to hold issues so simple as attainable, we divided the group check into a complete of three components. The primary half covers the basics you’ll must find out about tires. Within the second half, we’ll present you the 4 most vital components to contemplate when selecting new tires. And within the final half we inform you how you can discover the proper tire for you. As soon as we’ve lined the fundamentals, we’ll offer you an outline of all of the well-known manufacturers. We examined each tread sample, rubber compound and casing.

All of the fashions in check

Half I – Concept: what you must find out about tires

If you happen to’re nonetheless working tubes, you’re by yourself

Some great benefits of tubeless are apparent: much less weight, extra grip, decrease rolling resistance and improved puncture resistance. Though setting them up could be a bit tedious (although fashionable rims and tyres normally make the method painless these days), virtually all fashionable Enduro tires and rims are tubeless prepared. In case you’re nonetheless working tubes, we now have detailed directions on how you can match tubeless tires and we urgently suggest that you simply lastly convert. We solely experience tubeless and that’s how we reviewed all of the tires right here.

By no means heard of tubeless? In our final information to MTB tubeless, we clarify every thing you must find out about tubeless setup, tires and far more!

It’s all about tire strain

The best tire strain is crucial: an excessive amount of and you may say goodbye to consolation and grip. Too little and the dealing with turns into imprecise and spongy and also you’re more likely to puncture. That stated, the proper strain depends on private desire in addition to numerous different variables. However, we now have some pointers on how you can discover the proper tire strain for you and your type of using. If you happen to’re simply searching for a place to begin that works properly generally, then we suggest 1.8 bar (26 psi) for tires from 2.35″ to 2.5″ broad, back and front.

Tire pressures above 2.5 bar result in a critical lack of grip!

Tire width ≠ tire width

How broad is simply too broad and the way slender is simply too slender? A wider tire has a bigger footprint and may thus generate extra grip. The elevated quantity may also result in elevated puncture safety and luxury. Nonetheless, with tires which are wider than 2.6″, aggressive riders must struggle with a number of the damaging unwanted side effects within the corners. The dealing with turns into spongy and inaccurate in order that holding a exact line turns into troublesome. In berms, wider tires can collapse extra simply with a way more pronounced impact on dealing with. Each the rim and the tire profile have an enormous impact on the precise width of the tire. Totally different rim widths shall be extra suited to explicit dimension ranges of tires and the ultimate tire dimension might be influenced by becoming it to a slender or broad rim. The precise tire width is at all times measured on the widest level: on the edges of the shoulder knobs.


Don’t underestimate the load of your tires. A set by itself will add about 2 kg to your bike. Despite the fact that they aren’t a lot heavier than a full water bladder, the load of the tires has a noticeable impact on the dealing with for the reason that tires are a part of the wheels’ rotating mass, which it’s a must to speed up and decelerate once you pedal and brake. Though tires have a damping impact that reacts to bumps rather a lot faster than your fork can, additionally they type part of the “unsprung” mass of your bike and thus have an enormous affect in your suspension. Nonetheless, a heavy tire may also have a constructive affect on dealing with. When issues get tough, heavy tires will provide help to maintain your line by way of a rock backyard or over roots as lateral impacts don’t upset them as simply. Nonetheless, there’s a really wonderful line between too heavy and too gentle, although on the entire we want to have a bit extra weight on the tires to avoid wasting our rims and spare tubes.

Powerful, thick casings are heavy, so many bike manufacturers resort to speccing fragile tires on their builds to scale back the load of the bike. What a pity!

Entrance tires ≠ rear tires

The necessities for the entrance tire differ from these of the rear tire. On an Enduro bike, you wish to generate as a lot traction as attainable on the entrance, whereas the rear shall be a compromise between grip and rolling resistance. With regards to puncture safety, there are huge variations as properly. The forces on the rear wheel are normally greater and once we take into account all of the punctures we now have had, the bulk have been on the rear – it could be price becoming a extra sturdy tire.

MAXXIS Minion DHF – Vorderreifen
MAXXIS Minion DHR II – Hinterreifen

Sure, tires are costly!

Even in the event you don’t match new tires day-after-day as the professionals do, replacements do make fairly a dent in your vacation fund. The actual fact is {that a} high-quality tire is comparatively costly but additionally has an enormous affect in your bike’s path efficiency. A tire isn’t only a consumable half – as a substitute take into account it as one thing that means that you can tune your bike and its dealing with. As an alternative of carbon spacers, it pays far more to spend money on a high-quality tire.

What are the advantages of tire inserts?

Tire inserts have change into a dime a dozen and the worth vary of those programs is big. The working precept is usually the identical: a foam insert acts as a cushion between the rim flange and the tire throughout heavy impacts. Because of this, the tire not slams into the rim and doesn’t get broken as simply. Different issues akin to burping can solely be prevented by only a few programs. We’ve already reviewed most of the common tire inserts in the marketplace, testing them out on the paths and within the lab. Nonetheless, general we normally want merely becoming a tire with a thicker casing. Why? The load distinction between the tire insert and a thicker casing is commonly solely marginal. On prime of that, the tires are far more strong, don’t puncture as simply and supply higher cornering stability.

The realm of utility isn’t set in stone

Even when a tire was specifically designed for the entrance or rear wheel, you don’t essentially have to stay to those directions. A Minion DHRII (Downhill Rear II) additionally works properly on the entrance and provides a barely narrower different to the cumbersome Minion DHF. Even Michelin’s Wild Enduro entrance tire can supply extra traction on the rear wheel in muddy situations than their “supposed” rear tire.

You’re additionally free to make use of the tires in no matter situations you favor. A mud tire typically performs excellently in summer time when the paths are lined in a thick layer of mud. Tire producers offer you a tough guideline on what the tire is nice for, however this isn’t carved in stone: you determine!

Who says {that a} mud tire can’t work in deep mud?

How did we evaluate so many tires?

Good issues take time: no different group check at ENDURO has taken us as lengthy and concerned as many check riders as this one. All of our editors received concerned. During the last two years, we’ve reviewed about 200 bikes. That makes 400 tires on which we rode numerous kilometres of trails. This has allowed us to attract on a wealth of expertise within the evaluation of tires. We consider the traits of the commonest fashions in all their variations with each experience on our check bikes.

Expertise, assessments and check rides are one factor, however what actually issues is how the tires evaluate straight to one another. Throughout our back-to-back classes in numerous bike parks, our tubeless pump ran at full tilt as we swapped tires. We focussed on sure standards and solely in contrast chosen tire mixtures – there isn’t any level evaluating a mud tire and semi-slick tire once you’re searching for the proper all-rounder. What actually issues is the distinction between two tires with the identical objective: on which tires do the shoulder knobs fold too simply, which supply higher self-cleaning and which don’t allow you to down once you get on the brakes?

By far the commonest explanation for punctures in tubeless tires are pinch flats. Once more, we fell again on the testing expertise of all our editors. However since no two punctures are alike, we additionally examined the tires’ pinch-flat resistance in Schwalbe’s tire testing laboratory – arrange tubeless, clearly!

The path isn’t a lab. Using situations can’t be reproduced precisely with any machine.

Half II – The 4 most vital components in tire choice

Whether or not you’re planning an Alpine crossing, wish to race downhill subsequent weekend, otherwise you’re planning a week-long bike vacation together with your buddies, in the event you’re searching for new tires, there are 4 basic items to contemplate when searching for the “good” tire.


Youngsters’ bike or wagon wheels? You clearly want the proper diameter tire on your wheels, however right here we’re speaking about discovering the proper tire width. It ought to fit your rim and your using type. A large, high-volume tire provides extra “suspension” and will increase consolation. Traction and pinch-flat resistance additionally improves with rising tire quantity (utilizing the identical tire in numerous widths). Nonetheless, because the width will increase, the precision of the tire is decreased, and if it’s not supported by an identical (broad) rim, the tire will squirm rather a lot within the corners. With rims of round 30 mm inner width, you may run most tires between 2.4″ to 2.6″ broad. In case your rim is narrower than 25 mm internally, the utmost appropriate tire width is 2.4″. MAXXIS tires are available both customary or Large Path (WT) widths. The tread profile of WT tires is optimised for 35 mm broad rims, however we discovered that additionally they labored properly on 30 mm rims. Something narrower than that and we wouldn’t suggest a WT tire.


The casing is the spine of your tire. It provides the tire its form and construction and considerably influences cornering stability, puncture safety and weight. At the beginning, you shouldn’t select the casing based mostly on its weight, however relatively in your weight, using type and path situations. The sturdier the casing, the decrease you may have your tire strain with out working the chance of getting a pinch flat on each rock and root, or the tire folding within the corners. If doubtful, you’ll do higher resorting to the sturdier casing so that you don’t danger destroying your new tire on the primary experience.

Rubber compound

Tire producers guard the secrets and techniques of their rubber compounds like McDonald’s guards the recipe for his or her BigMac sauce. They’ve good motive for doing so: whereas virtually all rubber compounds can generate sufficient grip in dry situations, there are big efficiency variations as quickly as the paths are moist. Tire producers are in a relentless battle to search out the proper compromise between grip, rolling resistance and sturdiness. To attain this, most of them not depend on a single rubber compound, combining as much as three completely different mixtures with completely different properties as a substitute. For instance, a triple-compound tire i.e. a tire product of three completely different compounds, makes use of the toughest compound as a base to provide the tire its stability. The softest compound, providing elevated grip however a lot much less sturdiness is used for the shoulder knobs. They solely contact the bottom once you nook, providing far more traction as you lean the bike over right into a flip. The centre knobs use an “intermediate” compound to scale back rolling resistance and improve the longevity of the tire. As if this wasn’t already complicated sufficient, producers additionally supply completely different mixtures of triple compound constructions. WTB, for instance, retains issues easy and designates their tires both Excessive Grip or Quick Rolling. On an Enduro bike, we like to make use of a mushy model with a variety of grip up entrance and a more durable triple compound on the rear for much less rolling resistance. Tires with just one or two rubber compounds are normally a bit extra inexpensive, making them a very good different for the rear if you wish to go a little bit simpler in your pockets.


The tread sample is the distinguishing function of each tire and has an unlimited affect on dealing with. The tread has three sections: the centre knobs, which affect rolling resistance and braking traction; the shoulder knobs, which give the required cornering traction, and the transition knobs in between the centre and shoulder knobs. They supply the transition between centre and shoulder knobs and supply traction as you lean your bike totally onto the tire’s shoulder. There are numerous tread variations when it comes to the spacing, form and dimension of the knobs. When choosing the proper tread, it is best to pay explicit consideration to the situations in your trails. In mushy, moist soils it is best to go for an “open” sample with massive knobs and large gaps between them. This ensures that the tread doesn’t get clogged up with mud and the knobs can dig deep into the mushy floor. If you happen to’re searching for a tire that rolls quick and doesn’t squirm on exhausting rock slabs or berms, you have to a extra “closed” sample.

Half III – How to decide on the proper tire

One of the best start line for locating the proper tire, or the proper mixture for the entrance and rear wheels, is your present setup. Now it’s your flip to do some troubleshooting: analyse how the tires behave on the path, the place they carry out properly and the place they don’t, and take into account once you final punctured. Listed below are some recommendations on how you can eliminate your tire issues:

Pinch flats

Pinch flats are identical to the snakebites you used to get with tubes in your tires. A tough touchdown or affect ends in the tire getting pinched between a rock (or every other path impediment) and the rim puncturing the tire in two locations – by the rim and between the centre and shoulder knobs. If you happen to usually endure pinch flats regardless of working a excessive tire strain, the casing is simply too skinny on your weight, your using type and your trails. An interim answer is to extend the tire strain much more. Nonetheless, in the long term, it is best to resort to a thicker casing (like Schwalbe’s Tremendous Gravity as a substitute of Snakeskin). If you happen to solely sometimes have pinch flats on the rear wheel and also you’re in any other case glad together with your tires they usually’re nonetheless new, a tire insert would possibly make sense.

I’m too gradual on the straights

Need to roll sooner on the descents? Or have a bonus over your using buddies on the climbs? If the rolling resistance of your tires is simply too excessive on your liking, it’s both as a result of tread or the rubber compound. Relating to rubber compound, the answer is easy: a tough compound rolls sooner. Because you virtually solely use the centre tread on even terrain you may confidently select a triple compound tire with a tough centre compound and a mushy compound for the shoulder knobs. That approach you may roll sooner and nonetheless profit from the elevated grip of the mushy compound within the corners. With regards to the tread sample, a semi-slick tire with tiny centre knobs on the rear wheel will roll rather a lot sooner. The ensuing compromise in traction is normally solely price it on very exhausting packed floor. Tires with bigger knobs may also roll properly if the tread may be very tightly spaced. A superb instance of that is the MAXXIS Aggressor.


In grippy corners and berms, the large lateral forces that act on the tire can unseat the tire bead from the rim, opening up a small hole between the rim and tire and leading to a loud “burp” as air escapes. Moreover dropping strain, different tell-tale indicators of burping embody the residue of tubeless sealant on the sidewall of your tire and your rims. Burping is particularly prone to happen on tracks with a variety of berms. You possibly can merely put a little bit extra air in your tires for these trails, but when it continues to be an issue, or in the event you’ve managed to actually pull your tire off the rim, you want a thicker casing. If the issue persists, the burping may be on account of an inappropriate rim and tire mixture. If you happen to’ve received a large tire on a really slender rim, the tire received’t have sufficient help.

Lots of grip in dry situations however no grip within the moist

As quickly because it begins raining the calls for in your tires change in a short time. Clearly, you may’t anticipate the identical degree of efficiency on moist roots and rocks as in dry situations, however you don’t must resign your self to an entire lack of grip. Examine your tire once you’re using in moist situations to see if it will get clogged up with mud. If the tread doesn’t clear itself successfully, you’ll barely have the ability to distinguish the tread sample inside all of the mud. A extra open sample with massive gaps between knobs might make sense on this case. Good examples of this embody Schwalbe’s Magic Mary, the WTB Verdict Moist or MAXXIS’ Shorty.

When issues get moist, you’ll rapidly have the ability to inform the nice rubber compounds from the dangerous. Solely the softest rubber compounds handle to search out buy on moist roots. Strive a mushy rubber compound up entrance and a medium compound on the rear wheel within the moist winter months. That approach you run much less danger of the entrance wheel sliding out and you may nonetheless sustain together with your buddies on the climbs.

Reduce sidewall

The sidewalls of your tires can get minimize comparatively simply, particularly in case your trails are very rocky. Some of the frequent causes of that is in case your rim is simply too broad or your tire is simply too slender. If the sidewalls of your tires stick out wider than the shoulder knobs, the sidewalls are far more uncovered and inclined to cuts from rocks mendacity at an angle to the path and every other sharp objects. The answer: mount a wider tire. The tire casing additionally determines how simply its sidewalls can get minimize. The next TPI (threads per inch) casing can indicate extra safety towards cuts, although this rule of thumb doesn’t apply with tremendous costly Cross Nation racing tires which have greater than 120 TPI. Some tires even have a cut-resistant layer built-in into the carcass, such because the EXO casing utilized by MAXXIS.

There isn’t a single tire to swimsuit everybody, however everybody can discover a tire appropriate for them.

Editors alternative: which tires can we run?

Trev Worsey, 78 kg, Scotland: 15° and a drizzle: a lovely Scottish day in August. For me to remain in management on our steep and moist trails, I run a mud tire on the entrance. The knobs on the MAXXIS Shorty aren’t fairly as aggressive as some and nonetheless roll fairly properly on the climbs. We don’t have shuttles, so I put a Excessive Curler II on the rear wheel, which provides good self-cleaning talents and in addition rolls quick sufficient.

Finlay Anderson, 74 kg, Scotland: With my weight, I don’t have to fret an excessive amount of about punctures and like to avoid wasting just a few grams with a lighter casing. The broad WTB Vigilante with its mushy rubber compound actually clings to the bottom in off-camber sections. Nonetheless, on exhausting packed berms, the shoulder knobs fold simply. Would possibly as properly: braaap

Valentin Rühl, 85 kg, Stuttgart: I’m not too involved about lap occasions. Having enjoyable, moving into the circulation and catching air is my factor. I like the Schwalbe Hans Dampf. It’s very nice whereas drifting and at all times stays predictable. I completely must have the Tremendous Gravity casing on the rear for enhanced sturdiness. For the winter, I wish to put a Magic Mary tire up entrance.

Christoph Bayer, 87 kg, Alpine Workplace: For years my favorite tire back and front was the two.4″ MAXXIS Minion DHRII. Michelin’s tremendous grippy Enduro mixture is slowly taking its place although. The entrance tire gives tons of grip, but the again allows you to drift right into a nook once you really feel prefer it. Tremendous quick and pure enjoyable!

Felix Stix, 92 kg, Stuttgart: Maintain on and cost by way of – my using type is something however clear. Skinny-walled tires have a mean life expectancy of 5 minutes on the path, so I resort to probably the most sturdy Enduro model for the casing. I’m loving the Tremendous Gravity casing of the Magic Mary. Sadly, I at all times must resort to downhill casings in moist situations as a result of there isn’t any 29er mannequin with the additional mushy rubber compound.

All of the fashions in check

If you happen to’ve gotten this far: congratulations! Now you’re an skilled on tires. Over the next pages, we’ll offer you an outline of the completely different tires in our huge group check. We examined each profile, rubber compound and casing to allow you to discover the most suitable choice to fit your wants.

Phrases: Felix Stix Pictures: ENDURO-Group



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