The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Mountain Bike Tire + Reviews
How easy is it to find the best mountain bike tires? Well, the answer may surprise you, as you often seem to have to choose between a smaller price or a better quality. You shouldn’t have this problem with the SCHWALBE Black Jack Active Line Tire, which we’ve picked after taking a look at many other mountain bike tires. The product has a lower weight, which means that it can go faster than other types of tires, especially when you have to ride uphill. It also has lower rolling resistance so, when the tire is rolling, the total energy loss will start to go down, meaning you won’t have to put in as much effort. Of course, we can’t skip over the fact that it has a better grip than others. In case that this model is not available, you can also try the Continental ShieldWall Mountain Bike All Terrain Tire option, which has plenty of similar features, meaning you will be closer to the affordable mountain bike tires you were looking for.
This tire is lightweight, so you shouldn’t have problems going uphill. The lower rolling resistance also means that you don’t have to put in as much energy. The shark-tooth U-blocks work to make the grip better, especially when you are about to deal with a curve.
The tire compound can be a bit soft, which makes it a less ideal choice in some cases.
Since it’s a lightweight tire that should make cycling faster, it has shark-tooth U-blocks that let you take better curves and lower rolling resistance, you should keep an eye on this model.
The low rolling resistance is simply a must for any mountain bike tire. The self-damping also plays an important role in the speed of the bike, while the three-layer Tubeless Ready-enabled casing takes care of the important aspect of the puncture protection.
Some people may encounter some problems with installing or changing these tires.
The low rolling resistance is a must for these products, while the self-damping and the three-layer Tubeless Ready-enabled casing make sure to elevate the product to a new level.
Also To Consider
With low rolling resistance in place, you already have a good thing going on, but it’s the Black Chili Compound that serves multiple purposes, such as improving the rolling resistance and making the grip better, which manages to make this tire truly shine among the others.
In some cases, people may have issues with installing this tire, but it’s not a common issue.
While the low rolling resistance is very important, this tire stands out thanks to the Black Chili Compound, that offers a better grip and improves the rolling resistance, thus making you interested in it.
10 Best Mountain Bike Tires (Updated Reviews) in 2021
In order to help you find the best mountain bike tire, we’ve taken a look at various products in this category, checked multiple mountain bike tires reviews, and selected ten of those that look the most promising. Check out the list below that has all the info that you will need for an informed decision and see which one is your favorite.
- 1. SCHWALBE Black Jack Active Line Tire
- 2. Continental ShieldWall Mountain Bike All Terrain Tire
- 3. Continental Mountain Bike ProTection Performance Tire
- 4. Kenda City K838 Slick Black Mountain Tire Pair
- 5. Maxxis Minion DHF Mountain Bike Tire
- 6. Maxxis Aggressor EXO/TR Tire – 29in Dual Compound
- 7. WTB Slick 2.2 Comp Tube-Type Tire with Wire Bead
- 8. WTB Trail Boss 2.25 26″ Comp Tire Black
- 9. Continental Mountain Bike All Terrain Wire Bead Tires
- 10. SUNLITE MTB Alpha Bite Tire
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. SCHWALBE Black Jack Active Line Tire
Checking out what the market has to offer regarding tires, you will definitely come across this model from Schwalbe, which has a series of features that make it stand out in the crowd, making it a popular choice with many people today. This product has a lower weight, a lower rolling resistance, but also a better grip.
All of these three factors work together so that your experience of riding a bike should be a better one. The lower weight aspect, for example, means that the bike can go faster, a feature that is brought to the front even more as a result of the lower rolling resistance that this mountain bike tire has.
A better grip is clearly an important feature, as it allows you to control the direction and the speed of the bike better. All of these features, and many others, make this option a really interesting one that you should keep your eyes on.
The lower weight aspect of this mountain bike tire gives it an edge over other models since it allows for your bike to be able to go much faster as it will weigh less.
The lower rolling resistance means that the total energy loss, as the tire is rolling, will decrease, meaning you will have to put in less effort.
The better grip of this model plays an important part in making sure that the bike can go faster and that you can control the directions better.
It can slice through difficult terrain thanks to the shark-tooth U-blocks that contribute to making the grip much stronger, especially when dealing with curves.
The tire compound can be a bit soft, which means that it is not the most recommended rear tire in the case that you are used to braking hard and then sliding, but it should do the job in all other scenarios.Buy from Amazon.com for ($27.99)
2. Continental ShieldWall Mountain Bike All Terrain Tire
This model falls into the classic competition tire category, which should make it feel a good choice for various marathons, cross country championships, and many more, as history has proven. The low rolling resistance means that you needn’t put as much effort into pedaling as you would with other models.
Other features, such as a good self-damping and the low weight make it a good option for you to consider this mountain bike tire if you are into racing, as they make riding the bike much easier. It also has a three-layer Tubeless Ready-enabled casing of superior quality, so you will get much better puncture protection than with other models.
Also worth mentioning is the Pure Grip Compound, which plays an important role in having a better grip over the bike and high mileage.
The tire has a low rolling resistance feature, which means that you will not have to put in as much effort into pedaling to get superior, faster results.
The self-damping plays a big role in making sure that the bike will be able to ride faster, without you having to do anything special about it.
The three-layer Tubeless Ready-enabled casing, which is of superior quality, makes sure that you will enjoy high-quality puncture protection all the time.
The Pure Grip Compound is also very important as it lets you have a better grip over the bicycle, while also directly influencing the high mileage.
While this may not be true for everybody, installing these mountain bike tires can be a bit difficult for some people, probably being directly influenced by how much experience you have with this activity, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem for a large number of people.Buy from Amazon.com for ($68.2)
3. Continental Mountain Bike ProTection Performance Tire
If you are searching for a type of a mountain bike tire that can be used properly for various types of races, you could try out this model from Continental as it comes with several features that make it a stand out, such as the low rolling resistance, the good self-damping, plus a low weight.
For example, the low rolling resistance is very important as you have to put in less effort because the total energy loss will go down as the tire is rolling. Other features, like the self-damping and the low weight, make the product easier to control, you don’t have to worry as much about the controls, and you can reach a higher speed with greater ease.
We can’t help but also mention another cool feature, the superior puncture resistance that is part of this mountain bike tire, thanks to the ProTection Tubeless Ready insert that is from end to end.
The low rolling resistance is a big plus when it comes to this mountain bike tire, as it means you have to put in less effort, as the total energy loss goes down when the tire is rolling.
The ProTection Tubeless Ready insert from end to end is another plus that you have to take into consideration since it offers a better puncture resistance overall.
The Black Chili Compound plays another important part, that of managing to make the grip better, while also improving how the rolling takes place.
Also, the Black Chili Compound has the role of improving the rolling resistance by 26%, while improving the grip by 30%, when compared to activated silica compounds.
Mounting this model of mountain bike tire from Continental can be a tad more difficult than you would like; it is not a widespread problem, so if you are a pro, you may not have this issue, but beginners may.Buy from Amazon.com for ($43.95)
4. Kenda City K838 Slick Black Mountain Tire Pair
If you are looking for some quality, but also a bit of a bargain, you could pick this offer from Kenda, which, instead of offering you only one mountain bike tire, it offers you a pair of them, at a price that is rather affordable so that a lot of people will surely be interested in making this investment as it is a pretty good offer, after all.
One of the cool features that this product has is the presence of wire beads, which play the role of increasing the overall durability of the tires, so you can use them for a long time from now on. Also interesting is the presence of directional grooves that have the role of channeling the water to the outer tire edge.
This product was modeled after a classic motorcycle tire, which means that it was created so that the speed you get from pedaling is increased.
The product represents a pair of mountain bike tires, not just only one, so it is a more affordable option that you can take into consideration.
The mountain bike tires have wire beads, which are very important, as they will increase the overall durability the tires will enjoy over the years.
Another cool feature is the presence of directional groves that have the role of channeling the water to the outer tire edge, so you won’t have any problems in that department.
As the inspiration for these tires were motorcycle tires, the product was made so that it will allow you to reach a higher speed, without much effort.
The rubber used in these tires may displease some people, as it is a bit heavy, and sometimes it has a smell that can give it a cheap feel, but it doesn’t seem to actually affect the quality of the product.Buy from Amazon.com for ($74.99)
5. Maxxis Minion DHF Mountain Bike Tire
If you are thinking it’s hard to find a mountain bike tire that can ride with no problems even in challenging conditions, well, that may be true, but a model that can do that with ease is this one from Maxxis. This is a burly mountain bike tire that was created so that it can deal with sand, gravel, mud, and even loose terrain, signaling a big change in the game.
The product has ramped knobs for low rolling resistance, which means that you don’t have to put in as much effort as the total energy loss goes down when the tire is rolling. Also worth mentioning is the channel-cut knobs included in this tire, which play the role of increasing the gripping edges.
On top of all of that, the product has a straight-line control, and that means you will encounter new ease in precise cornering.
The burly mountain bike tire was made so that it can ride with no problems on different surfaces, from sand and gravel to mud and loose terrain.
The bike tire has ramped knobs, which lead to low rolling resistance, meaning you lose less energy as the tire is rolling when you are pedaling.
The channel-cub knobs that are part of this mountain bike tire are also very important as they play a role in increasing the gripping edges.
The straight-line control that is part of this tire is another pro worth mentioning because it means you will have a better and more precise cornering ability.
The tire is a bit heavy; even if not by much, it does make riding uphill a bit harder, as a result of its weight, so you should keep that in mind as well if you are thinking of making this purchase, as this can be a make or break decision for some people.Buy from Amazon.com for ($68)
6. Maxxis Aggressor EXO/TR Tire – 29in Dual Compound
Products from the Taiwanese company Maxxis tend to have a good reputation, as they seem to be of good quality, in general, and this model of a tire is no exception. Checking out the pros and cons of this product is really easy, as there are plenty of things that are right with it, although it is a bit harder to find the bad.
This product was created for superior endurance, which is basically an obligatory feature when we talk about mountain bike tires. The tires were created so that they can offer you high-speed without having to let go of the equally necessary safety levels. The knob shaping created more gripping edges.
Overall, taking a look at this product, you will notice plenty of pros and really make it worth your while, like the reinforced side knobs that will offer you a superior level of stability when you take on a corner.
One of the things that you will notice regarding this tire is the fact that it was built for endurance, a mandatory feature for mountain bike tires.
You will enjoy high-speed using this tire, but without having to let go of other important features, such as your overall safety when you ride the bike.
The reinforced side knobs will give you a superior level of stability when you take on a corner, so that is clearly a big pro for this product.
You can easily use this tire on a variety of areas and surfaces, from loose cross country courses to heavy all-mountain riding, making it basically universal.
There is a rare instance in which the tire has developed a wobble, which made it rub on the frame; while that is certainly unpleasant and a problem, it seems more like an unfortunate and isolated incident than something that is common for this mountain bike tire.Buy from Amazon.com for ($58)
7. WTB Slick 2.2 Comp Tube-Type Tire with Wire Bead
This model was created so that you can use it all year-round, regardless of the weather, and in plenty of different terrain conditions. It may be a simple model, but it is for sure one you can depend on if you want the job to be done without you having to hassle too much about it. Of course, it has many modern features that help sell the product.
One of them is the smooth centerline that was included in the design that has the role of minimizing the rolling resistance. The product also has outer grooves that offer better cornering traction, plus it evacuates the water much better when it is compared to other models. This makes the product good for commuting all year-round.
The wire bread means that a thin wire out of woven goes through the length of the bead so that it improves the strength and the proper tire retention.
It is a tire that was created so that you can use it for commuting, all year-long, without having to suffer from different weather conditions.
A big plus for you is certainly the fact that the tire has a smooth centerline that has a really important role, that of minimizing the rolling resistance.
On top of that, another cool feature is the presence of outer grooves; this feature is good as it offers higher cornering traction, and it also evacuates the water faster.
The wire bread has a thin woven wire that goes through the length of the bead with the aim of improving the strength and the proper tire retention.
As the tire is a bit on the thick side, similar to a beach cruiser tire, it makes it less ideal for a long ride, as there is too much tread on the ground, making the tire drag.Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.95)
8. WTB Trail Boss 2.25 26″ Comp Tire Black
It’s all in the name when it comes to a product that is called “Trail Boss”. It is of no surprise, then, that it is the choice of many people who want Wilderness Trail Bikes. The product comes with several features that surely make your while, such as the fact that it has a tightly spaced, blocky tread to downplay the rolling resistance.
The supportive side knobs of this product can deliver a superior level of traction when you are working to keep the bicycle upright on off-camber surfaces, which is a big plus to have on any such product. The product is also a good choice for people who want a Wilderness Trail Bike for a more aggressive style of riding.
Of course, there are other features that manage to stand out as well, aside from what we have already mentioned, such as the comp level and the durable casing.
The tire has a tightly spaced, blocky tread that aims to reduce the rolling resistance until braking allows for the knobs to dig in properly.
It has a supportive side knob on each side, which will let you deliver a superior level of traction when you are working on keeping the bike upright on off-camber surfaces.
It is a good choice for aggressive riding, which is why people who want a Wilderness Trail Bike can depend on this choice 100%.
The comp level has grippy DNA rubber, making impervious casings more resistant, and the wire beads better prepared for their use with a tube.
Because the tires can puncture rather easily, it is our recommendation that you should use tubes that have removable stems and place Stan’s tubeless inside of them so that you can solve the issue.Buy from Amazon.com for ($37.57)
9. Continental Mountain Bike All Terrain Wire Bead Tires
If you are looking for a mountain bike tire that seems like it can do its job with ease, you can try this model from Continental that has plenty of features you are sure to enjoy. This is a first-class competition and trail tire that makes sure to combine the necessary safe cornering grip with some easy rolling characteristics.
The product has a mesh sidewall that also plays an important role, as it gives the tire superior puncture protection, so you will not run into such problems. The trail-specific traction is represented by the knob design that has a clear placement for making the traction more versatile.
On top of all of that, the tire has a durable casing and a long-lasting tread that is pretty fitting for those sporty amateur riders that are looking for something that can help them adjust to this new way of riding.
It’s a first-class competition and trail tire that combines with success the obligatory safe cornering grip with the easy-rolling characteristics that you require.
Also important, and a big pro, is the mesh sidewall since it plays the role of giving the tire a superior level of puncture protection.
The trail-specific traction, in this case, is represented by the knob design that comes with a clear placement for making the traction more versatile at all times.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that the tire has a durable casing and a long-lasting tread that should work just fine for sporty amateur riders.
The only real downside that we have managed to find is pretty common with mountain bike tires, which is the fact that the product only includes one tire so that you have to buy two of them; obviously, since this is the norm, it is not such a huge disadvantage.Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.95)
10. SUNLITE MTB Alpha Bite Tire
This model of mountain bike tire from Sunlite is sure to please at least some people, as it is basically a classic mountain bike tire that comes with large and widely spaced knobs. The tire can be used without a problem on hardpack, mud, or loose sand, which is good news, as you are bound to come across such terrain on your trips.
The product does not come with a valve stem, so you will need to invest separately in a tube for the tire. Installing this mountain bike tire should not be a problem, even for beginners, as everything was built to be rather user-friendly and intuitive so that you will not encounter parts on which you are stuck while you try to put the tire on.
This model should be able to work on various models of bikes as well, not just the ones that are recommended, but be sure to check the details before.
This is basically a classic mountain bike tire with large and widely spaced knobs, so you will get superior results from this product, as you ride the bike.
You can use the tire without any problems on various types of terrains, including loose sand, hardpack, and even mud, so that is clearly a big plus for you to keep in mind.
Installing the tire should be done pretty easily, even if you are not an expert in this domain, as it has pretty user-friendly and intuitive features.
You can use this tire on more than just one type of bike model, which means that it has a sort of universal appeal, compared to other models available.
One con that we have managed to find in this product, which, otherwise, has plenty of cool features, is the fact that it does not have a valve stem, which, obviously, means that you have to buy a tube for the tire separately.Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.48)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
The best mountain bike tires are not hard to find if you know what you should be looking for. Unfortunately, many of us just look for a cheap mountain bike tire and pay less attention to the things that are actually of interest when checking out quality. So what should you be looking for?
What should you check out?
If you are looking for some cheap mountain bike tires, make sure that you choose one with greater traction, as that is the key to having fun while on a mountain bike! If you are looking for speed, on the other hand, you may have to let go of some of the grip and focus on a model that features rolling efficiency instead.
You can find some models of mountain bicycle tires that are able to give you both, such as Continental mountain bike tires, but they may be a bit more expensive than what you have planned to spend initially. Still, that extra buck is worth it as you will plainly see when you take the bike out.
If you decide to go tubeless, the benefit is that you are going to encounter fewer flats. That won’t stop all flats from happening, but tubeless mountain bike tires take care of some flats on the spot, and you won’t have to pinch any tube. This also lets you ride having a lower pressure, meaning a less bouncy ride.
Lose the weight?
Even if you choose to focus on slick mountain bike tires or not, one feature that you should keep in mind is how lightweight the tire is. Lightweight mountain bike tubeless tires will let you ride faster, especially when going uphill, which is why heavy tires are not great for speed, but that’s not to say that heavy tires don’t have their own benefits.
24 inch mountain bike tires can be heavier, but they also have a lower chance of getting a flat, so you should obviously keep that in mind if you plan on riding on some difficult terrain.
The diameter and width
There are basically three types of diameters that you can choose from: 26″ mountain bike tires, 27.5″, and 29″ ones. They all have their purpose, but it’s often the width that determines exactly where you will be able to use the tires as they were meant to.
A cross-country bike should have tires with a width below 2.25″, a trail and all-mountain bike between 2.25″ and 2.4″ width range, downhill bikes go up to 2.5″, while fat bikes go between 3.7″ and 5″ – or, sometimes, even more.
Check out any mountain bike tires review that you can get your hands on, as it will let you know if the best mountain bike tires 26 really go well with your usual plan of riding or if you should focus on other numbers. It looks like a lot of work, but, truthfully, it is not.
Does the price matter?
You will notice there is a difference in price between specialized mountain bike tires and wide mountain bike tires. These differences usually appear because there are different types of bikes that have different features, but, sometimes, the price can reflect the overall quality.
For example, Kenda mountain bike tires don’t go into the affordable mountain bike tire category, but that is because you are sure of the guarantee you will get. So, if you decide to go for cheap mountain bike tires, the risk is yours to take.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How long do bike tires last?
Of course, bike tires don’t last forever, but just because you have a flat, doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. So, how much can a bike tire last and what are the signs that you need to change it? Generally speaking, a bike tire can last anywhere between 1,000 to 4,000 miles.
A racing bike, made for speed, may need to have its tires replaced after 1,000 miles, while more expensive ones should be changed after about 2,500 miles. Tougher tires, like the ones for mountain bikes, can last up to 4,000 miles. This is without taking into consideration the terrain, which can also play an important part in when the change should happen.
You will surely notice that it is time to change the tire when you realize that you have gone through a long series of flats, indicating the need for the product to finally be replaced.
Q: Is it bad to ride a mountain bike on the road?
This is a very common question, since, after all, the differences between the products for mountains and the ones for the road can be quite small at times, which would indicate that there is no need for you to stick to only one surface at all times.
So, can you ride a mountain bike on the road? Without making the story too long and getting into too many details, yes, you can do that, and there won’t be as many consequences as you would think or would be led to believe based on the fact that these bikes and tires have names that point to certain areas-only.
As a result, there are actually quite a lot of people who prefer to use a mountain bike on the road, as opposed to any other kind of bike out there, since, at the very least, you know that this is a resistant one.
Q: Can I put smaller tires on my mountain bike?
Yes, you can, and there are actually several advantages that come with this decision, such as the fact that it lowers the height of the bike and rider, overall, with about 1 or 2 inches, so it makes it less dangerous, especially if you are riding the bike in an area with a lot of trees and branches.
While a smaller tire doesn’t have the same capacity of absorbing the shock that comes from cracks in the pavement or curbs, it can be more flexible, which, in turn, makes it highly likely that it could absorb the small vibrations much better.
Of course, it isn’t all just sunshine, since, using smaller tires can have different results when it comes to quick steering. If you go with smaller tires, the bike can become more agile, which is good, but it can also feel more restless under your guidance, which is bad.