Best Mountain Bike Tire Reviews 2018

Mountain biking is a hobby, a profession, a passion, and a privilege. There’s nothing like taking your bike to your favorite trail with your friends and riding either just for fun or to race to see who’s going to buy the beers tonight. Whether you’re just getting started or have been riding for a while, you know that there are only a few things which compare and that having the right tires are critical to your ride. To help you shop for some new MTB tires, we’ve poured hours into researching and reviewing some of the best on the market to give you a top five list of outstanding yet affordable mountain bike tires as well as a buying guide to help you choose the right one for you.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Wheel Size
Tire Width
TPI
Compound
Weight
Our Top Choice
Maxxis High Roller II Mountain Bike Tire
Maxxis is a renowned and revered cycling tire brand that’s loved and trusted by riders across the globe. Its commitment to innovation and exceptional customer service is why it is where it is today.
Lighter than other trail tires. Great traction and grip. Clears mud well. Available in multiple sizes. Durable. Works great on aggressive trails.
It wears a bit quickly.
26, 27.5, or 29 inches
2.3 inches
60 tpi
Dual rubber compound
865 grams
Best Value
Kenda Excavator Pro Mountain Bike Tire
Kenda is a world-renowned tire company that’s been in business for over half a century. Its tires are used for nearly everything, from garden tools to mountain bikes.
Works great for both beginners and seasoned riders. Affordable pricing. Works as both a rear and front tire. Offers good grip and traction. Rolls fast.
It’s a bit of a heavy tire.
26 inches
2.1 inches
120 tpi
Dual tread compound
640 grams
Continental Mountain King Mountain Bike Tire
Continental has made tires for vehicles and bikes throughout the world. Its consistent dedication to performance and quality have made it a trusted brand for over a century.
Excellent tread wear. Able to run tubeless. Sidewalls protect against cuts and rips. Works well even in slippery areas. Available in multiple sizes. Good for XC and trail riders.
A bit pricey.
12 sizes; 26 to 29 inches
2.2 inches
180 tpi
Black chili compound
739 grams
WTB Weirwolf Mountain Bike Tire
WTB is an American biking brand that started out as a small group in California and is now a renowned company known for the quality and reliability in its products.
Incredible grip no matter the angle. Works brilliantly in dry conditions. Rolls very fast. Great for cornering. Easy to install. Doesn’t wear quickly.
Doesn’t work as well in wet conditions.
26 inches
2.3 inches
27 tpi
DNA rubber compound
795 grams
Bell Sports Traction Mountain Bike Tire
Known for its excellent biking and racing helmets, Bell is a brand that puts performance and function over looks and has thereby earned the respect of riders around the world.
Fits well. Offers good traction. Kevlar layer provides additional strength and durability. Available in multiple different sizes.
A few users had issues mounting this tire.
7 sizes; 18 to 29 inches
1.95 inches
27 tpi
Rubber compound
861 grams

(Updated )
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Watch Our Mountain Bike Tire Review

How Do I Choose the Best Mountain Bike Tire?

Mountain biking is a thrill whether you’re racing or just tearing up the trail for fun. To feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins, to have nature surround you and delight your senses, mountain biking is a one-of-a-kind experience.

When you hit the trail, it’s something special that you can’t get when you’re riding on a road bike or cruising down the beach on your cruiser. To ride the dirt trail, with trees framing either side, the clean mountain air filling your lungs and the seemingly endless trail unfolding before you is nothing short of heaven in the wild.

While you’ll need protective gear such as a helmet and gloves, this hardly subtracts from the experience. To make your ride even better, you need to ensure your bike is outfitted with the best tires. Sure, you’ll get a set of tires when you buy your MTB but what you’ll soon realize as you spend more time riding is that different tires offer different experiences. Some are better suited for the rear of your bike, others are built for the front; some work best in dry conditions, others work best in wet conditions; some reign supreme going downhill while others are workhorses that take you cross country with ease.

We put a lot of research into the matter and came up with a mountain bike tire buying guide to help you choose the best mountain bike tire for your bike and budget.
Price
Mountain bike tires have a wide price range which is due to multiple factors such as size, compound, brand, and more. As you can imagine, larger tires typically cost more than smaller ones because they require more material and in some cases, manufacturers have different versions of a particular tire which brings with it added features.

A good price range for mountain bike tires is $20/25 on the low end and this can go all the way up to $300 or even more. The higher end tires are typically for riders that are more serious or professional, so if you’re just starting out, you can get a great mountain bike tire for $50-75 dollars.

When you’re shopping around, you’ll come across some cheap mountain bike tires but we advise against those because while it may look like you’re saving money, your riding will suffer. You’ll also end up having to repair cheap tires more frequently and replacing them, so it’s wise to get a good pair from the get-go.
Features
When you’re shopping for a new mountain bike tire, there are many different features to take into account to ensure that you’ve got the right one for your bike as well as the trail you’ll be riding on.

Here are the features you may want to consider when buying a new tire:
  • Wheel size – MTB tires are measured in inches and the wheel size along with its width are important to know which works for your bike.
  • TPI and carcass – the carcass acts as a skeleton within the rubber. The cloth carcasses are measured in TPI (tread per inch).
  • Tread pattern – this is what you see on the tire. Different mountain bike tires have different trip patterns and they affect how you ride.
  • Tire compound – the material used to make the tire. Different compounds carry different properties, advantages and disadvantages.
  • Tire bead – the bead of the tire is what fits into your rims. There are two types, folding and non-folding, with each offering its own set of pros and cons.
  • Front or rear – some tires can be used on both the front and rear wheels while others are multipurpose tires that are made for either the front or rear wheel.
  • Tubed or tubeless – some tires can be used without tubes while others need them. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages.
Construction and Design
A mountain bike tire’s construction is vital to its performance. One of the first things you’ll notice is the measurement which is shown as the wheel size by the tire width, e.g. 26 x 2.1 inches. The wheel size refers to the rim of your wheel and is definitely important, but so is the tire’s width. This affects the performance as well as the feel of your bike. Wider tires provide more stability when riding fast and taking sharp corners. This is because the wheel’s higher surface area provides more contact for improved traction and grip. However, a drawback of wider tires is that they decrease the mud clearance between the frame and tire, which reduces the speed.

Wider tires are also heavier than the slimmer ones, but they can work on low pressure and provide more suspension. They’re typically used for downhill bikes, all mountain and trail rides. On the other hand, slimmer tires are lighter and are able to roll faster than wider tires, but they require higher air pressure to run. These tires are usually used for light trails and cross-country riding.

When it comes to the compound used to make your tire, firm tire compounds are durable and wear slowly, but they don’t grip very well, while soft tire compound wears out quickly but are sticky and grip quite well. What you’ll notice while shopping for a new tire for your bike is that many tires are now built using a dual compound. These have a softer compound on the side knobs, which gives you an improved grip, while a firmer compound is in the middle to increase the tire’s lifespan.
Performance and Ease of Use
There are multiple different tread patterns available on mountain bike tires. These patterns are placed in groups as each pattern offers something different and is ideal for a certain area. The knobs, which are long and pointy, offer better grip than the short and smooth ones. Not only does the length of the knob affect its grip, but so does its spacing.

Tires’ tread patterns are placed in groups:
  • Minimal rolling resistance – tires in this group range from slick to semi-slick and cross country tires. It’s important to note that if you’re planning on going off-road, take note of the side knobs which are critical in cornering.
  • High grip – this tire group is built for wet conditions. They have tremendous grip and are ideal riding downhill and climbing uphill.
  • All-around tires – these tires are a hybrid between high grip and minimal rolling resistance tires.
Another important factor we mentioned when shopping for a mountain bike tire, or any bicycle tire for that matter, is the tube (or lack thereof).

Tube tires are fairly light by themselves but become heavy once you put them in the inner tubes. The tubes are easy to fix if they become punctured and they’re quite inexpensive, so replacing them isn’t a huge deal. On the other hand, tube tires are easily punctured and when air pressure is low, you can have what’s known as pinch flat – which is a rupture in the tube that’s a result of air pressure building up in a single area of the tube. Once you have a repair kit and know what you’re doing, repairing these issues are quite easy and quick, so you can go riding again in no time, but it may be an inconvenience for some.

Tubeless tires, as the name suggests, don’t need any tubes, but they do need a special rim to put the bead of the tire in and seal it. Luckily these rims are readily available online and at your local bike store; there are also those that can run tubeless or with inner tubes. Tubeless tires are a bit more durable than tube tires but are somewhat heavier. Unlike tube tires, tubeless tires can work with a lower air pressure, better even as the lower pressure can give your tire a better grip and provide you with more traction. Tubeless tires are fairly easy to repair once you’ve got the kit and know how to use it. It’s also important to note that tubeless tires are more difficult to install than tube tires because of their beads, but you get better at it once you’ve done it a few times.

If you’re looking to ride cross country (XC) then look for narrow tires with smooth knobs that roll fast. They give you the best performance in conditions that don’t demand as much. When things get wet then stick to those narrow tires as they clear mud well, but also look into increasing the knobs on your tread for more traction. You sure don’t want to be slipping around!

When going downhill riding, you want some strong tires that can take a beating, as gravity will be helping you on your way down. So get tires that are durable and corner well for the best experience.

Lastly, when riding the trail, look for tires that are durable with more grip than cross-country tires. These tires are also known as “Enduro” tires and they typically have softer compounds so they’re able to stick better to rocky surfaces. All-round tires work great in this case because they have the right amount of speed, durability, grip, and traction so they work well for climbing, descending, cornering, and just about anything else.

What is the Best Mountain Bike Tire?

We’ve covered all the essentials when choosing a mountain bike tire. It’s time for us to take a look at those five great options we mentioned before to see what they have to offer.
Our Top Choice
The Maxxis High Roller II Mountain Bike Tire is an off-road version of the Maxxis High Roller. Its EXO Ultimate Lightweight Sidewall Technology makes it lighter than many other trail tires on the market. Another great tire from Maxxis is the Ardent TR EXO Tire which is available in 4 different sizes and also uses dual compound rubber. This is a better option if you’re specifically looking for more speed on the trails.
Maxxis High Roller II Compound Rubber Mountain Bike Tire – Available in 3 Sizes

Maxxis Mountain Bike Tire TB73307000 – 26-Inch x 2.3-Inch


Features
Maxxis started out as a company with one goal with in mind: to become a renowned world class tire company. Thanks to its commitment to both developing top-tier products and supplying excellent customer service, it achieved that goal and more. It’s known and respected by riders around the globe for its innovative, high quality, and reliable tires.

The lineup of incredible mountain biking tires offered by Maxxis is one of the best in the world. Our research team spent hours researching the products to choose a particularly impressive one to feature on our list and the one that was finally decided on was the Maxxis High Roller II EXO Mountain Bike Tire. This is the trail version of Maxxis’ well-received High Roller II MTB Tire and is available in three sizes.

The Maxxis High Roller II has an aggressive and open tread design for incredible traction and mud-clearing capabilities. It’s much lighter than other MTB tires which is thanks to its EXO Ultimate Lightweight Sidewall Technology. On top of that, it’s built with dual compound rubber, which offers a grip like no other for an impressive ride on any trail.

The Maxxis High Roller II EXO MTB Tire is an excellent product from Maxxis that gives you the right mix of stability, adaptability, and stiffness to deliver a great ride even on aggressive trails.
Best Value
The Kenda Excavator Pro Mountain Bke Tire was built for riders of all levels of skill. It has a directional tread for the best performance as well as a cross-paddle design for increased speed. Another great trail tire from Kenda’s Signature Series is the John Tomac Mountain Bike Tire, which is specifically designed for traversing slippery and rocky terrain.
Kenda Excavator Pro Mountain Bike Tire, DTC Rubber & Directional Tread – Available in 3 Sizes, 3 Colors and in Folding or Wire Bead Options

Kenda Mountain Bike Tire 212370 – 26x2.1-Inch, Folding, DTC


Features
Kenda was founded in Taiwan over 50 years ago. It’s a tire company that offers a wide range of high-quality tires for various vehicles and machines such as lawn and garden tires, scooter tires, motorcycle tires, bicycle tires, and more. Its name is known throughout the cycling and automotive industry and continues to thrive with exceptional products and service.

For our MTB tire review, we’re looking at the Kenda Excavator Pro which is a part of Kenda’s Eric Carter Signature Series. If you aren’t familiar with Eric Carter, he has two World Cup Championships as well as 10 NORBA national titles. He’s worked closely with Kenda to develop a tire that can be used by riders of varying skill levels.

The Kenda Excavator Pro MTB Tire can be used as either a front or rear tire. It’s available in four different sizes and two different models. There’s the Cross Country (XC) version has folding bead sizes along plus Dual Tread Compound (DTC). This gives it an increased tread life plus single ply build for reduced weight. The Downhill (DH) version has a 2-ply build with Stick-E rubber. Both models have a directional tread where each knob was built for optimal performance. Each version also boasts of cross-paddle designs to make your tire roll faster and give you more speed on the trail. Overall, the Kenda Excavator Pro is a value-packed tire that’ll serve you well, and for a long time too.
The Continental Mountain King Mountain Bike Tire features Continental’s Black Chili Compound for decreased rolling resistance as well as improved grip and mileage. The Mountain King is a pricey MTB tire, so if you’re looking for a more affordable option with the Black Chili Compound then check out the Continental X-King Fold MTB Tire.
Continental Mountain King ProTection Mountain Bike Tire with Pro Tread Lug Design – Available in 12 Sizes and 5 Colors

Continental Mountain Bike Tire 100511 – 26-Inch x 2.2 - Black


Features
Dating back to 1871, Continental started off as a manufacturing company in Germany. Fast forward over 130 years later and it’s a leader in global manufacturer of tires for cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and more. It’s a brand trusted for its quality and reliability and, honestly, if a company has been in business for over 100 years, the people there must be doing something right.

The Continental Mountain King Mountain Bike Tire is an impressive MTB tire that’s available in six different sizes. It features Continental’s unique Black Chili Compound, which decreases the rolling resistance you’d experience by 26%, enhances grip by 30% plus it gives your tires 5% more mileage. All of this combined gives you more control and use out of these MTB tires.

To boost its strength and durability, Continental built the Mountain King with its ProTection system. This grants the Continental Mountain King Mountain Bike Tire 30% added protection against punctures and a 25% reduction in weight. It features a Pro Tread Lug Design that was designed with professional MTB rides for a versatile tire that provides easy rolling.

Its 4-ply frame works with tubeless ready rims thanks to its UST bead design. When you combine it with Revo Sealant, you have performance that’s unmatched and exceptional on nearly any trail. Overall, the Continental Mountain King Mountain Bike Tire is a durable mountain bike tire that works well on muddy and slippery surfaces and offers some impressive grip for some great rides.
The WTB Weirwolf Mountain Bike Tire rolls fast and is made from DNA rubber compound. It also has a transitional tread along with terraced knobs for incredible traction. Another great WTB mountain bike tire is the Special Edition VelociRaptor, which is built to ensure you make it up that mountain. As a front tire it’ll give you impeccable soil clearance and it climbs especially well if it’s used as a rear tire.
WTB Weirwolf Mountain Bike Tire with Comp Tire Steel Bead

WTB Mountain Bike Tire TR3327-P


Features
WTB is an American biking brand that’s focused on creating reliable and durable equipment for mountain bikes. It began in 1982 when mountain biking was still a relatively new sport and the bikes weren’t as good as they are now. WTB started off as a group of riders who making equipment for their bikes and attracted the attention of other frame makers. Fast forward and WTB is now a world-renowned mountain biking brand known for its innovative, reliable and exceptional MTB gear.

The Weirwolf MTB tire is an updated version of the one launched in the 1990’s named after the man himself, Mark Weir. He worked closely with WTB to develop a mountain bike tire that’ll serve you well on the trail. The WTB Weirwolf Mountain Bike Tire is described by WTB as an all-mountain king. It’s available in two width sizes, 2.1 and 2.3 inches with the 2.1 version only being available for a 26-inch wheel size while the 2.3 version is available for the 26– and 29-inch wheel sizes.

This tire is built using a 60a durometer DNA rubber compound that rolls fast and is built for performing at its best no matter the condition. However, it’s most stand-out feature is its transitional tread between the shoulders and crown that gives it impressive traction and feel no matter the angle. This coupled with its terraced knobs give these tires the traction it needs to grip the ground, especially during those wicked turns.

It’s compatible with UST and seals up quite well for easy installation. Overall, this tire is definitely a shining achievement for both WTB and Mark Weir.
The Bell Sports Traction Mountain Bike Tire is available in seven different sizes, each with a durable Kevlar layer which gives it added strength as well as increased puncture resistance. If you’re looking for a new helmet as well as new tires then check out the Bell Super 2 Helmet, which is available in multiple colors and has an integrated breakaway camera mount.
Bell Sports Traction Mountain Bike Tire with Kevlar Layer & Carbon Steel Bead – Available in 7 Sizes

Bell Mountain Bike Tire 7064327 – 26" x 1.75-2.25" with KEVLAR


Features
Bell is mostly known for its helmets; whether they be for mountain bikes or racing bikes, the helmets this company creates is known throughout the racing and biking world for their performance and function. Bell has been around for quite some time and has earned the respect of professional riders and hobbyists alike for its reliable helmets as well as other sporting equipment.

The Bell Sports Traction Mountain Bike Tire is an affordable mountain bike tire with a great set of features for its price. Its strength is boosted by its Kevlar layer, which provides additional puncture resistance so there’s less chance of your tire going flat while you’re riding up and down the trail. You can fold this tire for hassle-free storage without damaging it thanks to its carbon steed bead.

When it comes to the tread, that of the Bell Sports Traction Mountain Bike Tire is tall and knobby, which gives you exceptional traction. This makes riding trails smoother and also provides you with better technical single track riding. It’s available in seven different sizes which include 18 x 1.75-2.25-inch, 26 x 2.25-inch (Kingpin Performance with Kevlar), 27.5 x 1.75-2.125-inch, and 29 x 2.10-inch. Overall, the Bell Sports Traction Mountain Bike Tire is a durable MTB tire for a great price.

Get the Best Mountain Bike Tire of 2018!

Thank you for reading our buying guide and review of some of the best mountain bike tires around. We’ve made sure our list offers a wide range of MTB tires for multiple prices so you can find something that fits within your budget. If you aren’t feeling any of the options on our list, check out the brands featured, they have solid reputations and are sure to have something for you.

Our Top Choice
Maxxis High Roller II Mountain Bike Tire
Best Value
Kenda Excavator Pro Mountain Bike Tire
Continental Mountain King Mountain Bike Tire
WTB Weirwolf Mountain Bike Tire
Bell Sports Traction Mountain Bike Tire