Best Mountain Bike Tires: Tackle Rough and Bumpy Terrain

Hit off-road trails and ride over bumps and rocks with these high-quality mountain bike tires

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Mountain bikes are designed to get you through tough terrain. Whether it’s riding a forest trail, through mud, or across shallow rivers, you want to ensure that your tires are up for the challenge. The tread needs to be thick to avoid punctures and blowouts, while the rubber needs to be comfortable and springy to make it over rocks and boulders. Throw in some additional shock absorption, and you’re good to go. Here are the best mountain bike tires to consider to enhance your off-road experience.

  • Best Overall
    Maxxis Aggressor EXO/TR Mountain Bike Tire
    Summary
    Summary
    Large and robust tires with grippy snappy central knobs for improved traction. Tubeless technology to conserve weight and avoid flats altogether.
    Pros
    Pros
    Includes a mesh sidewall to protect against punctures and enhance durability. It features four layers of material, giving them a longer life.
    Cons
    Cons
    They may slightly slow your speed, causing you to work a bit harder than if you had OEM tires. Their thickness may rub the frame during tight cornering.
  • Best Value
    Goodyear Folding Bead Mountain Bike Tire
    Summary
    Summary
    Developed out of a tough kevlar bead to reduce punctures. Includes folding beads for improved design and reliability.
    Pros
    Pros
    Their large 26-inch size allows them to roll over boulders, tree stumps, and difficult terrain more easily. They’re rugged and tough.
    Cons
    Cons
    They can be a hassle to install on the bike. Plus, their aggressive tread adds more rolling resistance, making them more difficult to get going.
  • Honorable Mention
    Continental Mountain King II Wire Bead Mountain Bike Tire
    Summary
    Summary
    Designed out of what the manufacturer calls the BlackChili Compound for additional strength and durability. They feature four-ply protection for reduced abrasions and punctures.
    Pros
    Pros
    Tubeless-ready for added convenience reduced weight, and versatility. Grips tight to trails, sand, mud, and water.
    Cons
    Cons
    The sidewall feels thin and soft. They are also on the skinnier side of mountain bike tires.

Tips

  • After receiving mountain bike tires, you should leave them out to let them expand before putting them on your wheels.
  • Always consider bringing a few canisters of CO2 with you to inflate the tires if they get a flat.
  • Packing a few extra tubes for tubed tires is a wise decision in case they get a flat that won’t reinflate.

FAQs

Q: What is the difference between tube and tubeless tires?

A: A tube is inserted in the tire and is where the air goes to inflate them. They are the most common bike tire and have been around the longest. They will also need to be reinflated if the tire gets a puncture. A tubeless tire, on the other hand, does not contain a tube. Instead, the tire is sealed with a special sealant and cannot be deflated. They are generally quicker but can be more expensive.

Q: How do I know if a tire will fit my bike?

A: Check the size of the rim before purchasing the bike tire. Each tire will list how large it is and what size wheel it will fit. You also want to make sure the tire doesn’t rub the frame during tight turns.

Q: Do the tires have to face a specific direction when mounting them?

A: Yes, tires will have an arrow depicting which way they should face when on the bike. If they do not, check the logo and make sure it is facing the opposite side of the disc brake. However, you need to check with the manufacturer to see how it recommends mounting the tires.

Final Thoughts

For one of the best mountain bike tires with maximum grip and control, consider the Maxxis Aggressor EXO/TR Mountain Bike Tire

There is also the Goodyear Folding Bead Mountain Bike Tire, which comes with brand name recognition and large beefy tires to keep you on the trail.