- Not the fastest rolling
- Somewhat heavy depending on casing and compound
- Not a top performer in mud
Mountain biking is a diverse sport that ranges from full-out pedal fests to hard-charging gnarly descents. But, most riders find themselves riding somewhere in the middle; a mix of climbs, tech, descents, and fun jumps. As 2018 comes to a close, we compiled a list of MTB tires that fall in this range of riding and excel at what they do. We surveyed our employees and our customer reviews to determine each winner. Read on to find out which tires won and why? This guide of the best MTB Tires will help you find the right tires to put between you and the dirt.
Maxxis’s line of Minion tires are arguably some of the most popular tires for more aggressive trail riders, and rightfully so. These venerable tires provide a ton of grip in most conditions including wet rocks. They also perform stunningly in the corners, letting you push hard both in and out of the apex helping to maintain speed. We’ve found these tires to be some of the easiest to setup tubeless, usually only requiring a floor pump. Further, they are available in several compounds to refine your tire selection for your specific terrain. They aren’t the best in mud, and can be a touch on the heavy and slow side when using the most protective sidewalls, but most would only use those configurations in gravity-oriented riding. Available in both a DHF and DHR tread pattern so you can refine your tire setup even further.
The Continental Trail King is another longtime top performer. This tire spans the range of trail riding to enduro a bit more than the Minion due to its lighter weight and better rolling characteristics. This tire’s Apex sidewall protection is fantastic, resisting rock scuffs and tears like a champ. Plus, we think the checkered pattern looks pretty rad. There is only one compound to choose from for this tire, but it is a great compound, and should perform well. Our main complaint is that these tires can be a bit of a tight fit to mount to a rim. Besides that, they seal up tubeless quite well. We find that this tire functions well both on the front or rear wheel.
The Nobby Nic has just undergone a recent update. Sporting a new tread pattern, and a much improved compound, the new version is faster rolling and longer lasting. That improved lifespan is important because these carry the biggest price tag. Many are willing to pay that premium because the Nobby Nic is a solid performer with best-in-class weight and speed. The latest update did see a slight bump in weight, but also an improvement in performance. This new tread pattern has a deeper cornering release point that is fairly predictable, and a controlled drift. Due to their lightweight nature, these tires don’t have the toughest sidewalls. We generally don’t recommend them for riders who see a lot of rocks or sharp objects. For loam, dirt, and roots they are excellent performing tires. Some users have had challenges with certain sealants weeping through the sidewalls, but we found that to be an intermittent issue, and have had no issues with Orange Seal sealant. Run it front or rear, or mix and match with Schwalbe’s MTB tires.
If you need further guidance in finding the perfect MTB tires for you, please reach out to one of our expert Gear Advisors. They can help you navigate the various options and match them to your riding style and preferences. You can contact our Gear Advisors by phone, email, or chat. Gear Advisor Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:30am to 7pm, Sat-Sun: 9am to 5pm (PST)