How to Choose Mountain Bike Tires

If you’ve been mountain cycling for a while as well as are feeling like it’s time to up your game, a tire upgrade supplies a lot of bang for the buck. Exactly how, you ask?

Gain traction or reduced rolling resistance: Getting a tire with higher grip brings higher confidence, which converts to a lot more fun as well as faster progression as a rider. If you have a demand for rate, though, consider sacrificing a little grasp to obtain rolling performance.

Going tubeless ways fewer apartments: It won’t end all flats, yet tubeless sealant fixes some apartments on the fly and you’ll never ever have the dreaded pinch level (no tube to squeeze!). You can additionally ride with a much reduced tire stress, offering you a much less lively trip and a better feel for the trail. Find out more concerning the advantages of going tubeless.

Save some weight: Occasionally the benefit of going lighter is much more mental than physical– tires are a tiny percent of overall bike weight. That stated, grams accumulate as well as decreasing mass in rotational parts (wheels, tires, cranks) can settle since you use up much less energy to relocate them.

Prior to you begin shopping, check out our Bike Tires: Exactly how to Pick article to find out more regarding tire specs and also terminology.

Mountain Bike Tire Size and Width

When you’ve determined your tire diameter (29″, 27.5″ or 26″), you’ll want to dial in your width:

A cross-country bike will have tires in the 1.9″ to 2.25″ size range.
Route as well as all-mountain bikes will have tires in the 2.25″ to 2.4″ size range.
Downhill bikes, which are suggested to hold up against the abuse of declines and also rock gardens, are commonly furnished with tires as much as 2.5″ vast.
Fat-tire bikes, which can be made use of for all-season path riding, have tire sizes of 3.7″ to 5″ or a lot more.
Think about wider tires: Though much heavier, wider tires use far better grip (a plus for sand) for an extra confident feel. They also approve more air volume to soak up bumps. You can opt for a wider tire on an existing edge or obtain bigger rims to accommodate even larger tires.

Always confirm clearances: With any type of new tire, especially a bigger one, you need to ensure it has adequate clearance within your framework. For more details concerning wheel, tire as well as framework compatibility, see our Bike Tires: Just how to Select write-up.

Choosing Mountain Bike Tires by Riding Style

If you’re unsure how you ‘d classify your riding design, look into our introductory mountain cycling write-up. Because no tire stands out at every little thing, you should focus on attributes that are crucial for your riding style.

For cross-country riding, climbing up efficiency is more crucial than grip or added durability, so you want to take a look at tires that are lightweight as well as roll quick (try to find smaller sized, more densely spaced lugs).

For route riding, an all-around tire makes good sense. You want a moderate level of grip, durability as well as speed.

Though you need to ride to the top, the focus for all-mountain biking gets on descents. You require tires that grip well when you take turns at speed and also tires that can hold up against modest impacts (seek bigger side lugs).

For downhill riding, you’re obtaining a lift to the top, so you need a beefy, solid collection of tires for gravity-fueled enjoyable. You require tires that can deal with some abuse, stick touchdowns and claw their method around turns.

How Tire Tread Affects Performance


The style of the knobs– or lugs– on a collection of knobby mountain bike tires differs commonly. Comprehending how these and other tire attributes impact efficiency will certainly aid you match your tires to your riding style.

Big, widely spaced lugs bite into soft, sloppy ground; large channels do a good task of releasing the filth.
Small, closely spaced lugs provide small hold with reduced moving resistance (even more rate).
Ramped lugs (slanting rearward): Usually in the center, they lower moving resistance to assist you go quicker.
Side lugs: Usually bigger, they give additional grasp in corners.
Shift lugs: Situated in between the center as well as side lugs, they enhance grasp as you lean into a turn; the result is a smoother change from facility lugs to side lugs.
Note: These slits within the lugs help them have far better hold on tough, slick surface areas.
Keep in mind: Many brands likewise classify or explain their tires according to the intended surface.

Additional Mountain Bike Tire Features

Rubber Compounds

Brands commit a great deal of r & d to their rubber compounds. They attempt to stabilize inconsistent objectives: excellent grasp, long wear and low rolling resistance. Soft compounds will certainly give you far better grasp, while a tougher rubber will certainly last longer and also provide you reduced rolling resistance.

Race tires usually use a solitary substance that uses exceptional grip. However these single substance tires are normally worn out after a couple of trips.

One common layout solution for nonracing tires is a dual-compound rubber. They have harder rubber in the center to assist the tire roll quicker and also last longer. On the sides of the tire, the area of the tire most critical for cornering, is a softer rubber to supply more grip.

Puncture Resistance

A lot of appealing trails have jagged edges and thorns lying in wait. That’s why so many bikers gladly trade a little additional weight for a lot of added security.

Durable rubber helps, but the key to pierce defense lies within the housing. Having a 2-ply tire is one tactic. Supports made of Kevlar ® and other safety products is one more. Some tires position protection in just the sidewalls, which are especially vulnerable, while other tires are beefed up from bead to grain.

Mountain Bike Tire Shopping Tips

Beginning with one collection of tires: While racers have tires for multiple scenarios, you can begin with a single collection of brand-new tires. Think about just how and where you generally ride. Then concentrate on the most tough types of riding as well as terrain you plan to deal with.

Make a decision if you want to mix as well as match: It comes down to personal preference. Some cyclists favor a tire with even more traction in advance and also one with much less rolling resistance in back. Some riders like the same surefootedness all over. Try it one way currently and try out the various other approach following time.

Talk with an REI bike professional at REI: The experts there recognize the surface in your location as well as can make suggestions or special order tires to satisfy your requirements.