Need a new mountain bike tire for your MTB bicycle?
We’ve gone through over 40 different models in the past 8 months, which means we have a pulse on which one is right for you. This review list includes 15 best mountain bike tires, with recommendations for road bikes, rocky trails, desert terrain, and more.
Whether you’re a beginner rider, intermediate, or pro, we’ve got the information that will help. Read on!
Best Mountain Bike Tires Comparison Chart 2020
In a hurry? Instead of reading through all the 15 best mountain bike tire reviews, this brief and quick comparison will help you save more time.
|Best Mountain Bike Tires||It’s Best For||Rating|
|Maxxis Ardent EXO||Best Overall 2020||4.8/ 5.0|
|Schwinn Replacement Mountain Bicycle Tires||Best for Road And Trail||4.4/ 5.0|
|Maxxis Minion DHF WT||Best for Colorado||4.4/ 5.0|
|WTB Velociraptor||Best for Climbing||4.8/ 5.0|
|WTB Trail Boss 2.25||Best for Arizona||4.5/ 5.0|
|Kenda City Slick||Best for Road Use||4.7/ 5.0|
|Maxxis Minion DHF 3C/EXO||Best for Pavement||4.5/ 5.0|
|Continental ShieldWall||Best for Desert Riding||4.7/ 5.0|
|Maxxis Minion DHR II||Best for Gravel Roads||4.7/ 5.0|
|Michelin Wild Enduro Front 2.4||Best 29” Mountain Bike Tire||4.5/ 5.0|
|Vittoria Martello 2.6||Best for Rock Terrain||4.6/ 5.0|
|Schwalbe Hans Dampf HS491 Addix||Best for Trail Riding||4.0/5.0|
|Maxxis Mammoth 26 x 4.0||Best for Southern California||4.7/5.0|
|Maxxis Minion FBF||Best 26” Mountain Bike Tire||4.3/5.0|
|Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO||Best 27.5” Mountain Bike Tire||4.5/5.0|
What Are The Best Mountain Bike Tires To Buy?
Whenever looking for the best mountain bike tire, always focus on 1) tread and 2) size and width. The two additional important features are types of tires and compounds. We’re going to talk more detail about these features but first, here are a brief list of our favorite products:
- Best Overall 2020: Maxxis Ardent EXO
- Best for Road And Trail: Schwinn Replacement Mountain Bicycle Tires
- Best for Colorado: Maxxis Minion DHF WT
- Best for Climbing: WTB Velociraptor
- Best for Arizona: WTB Trail Boss 2.25
- Best for Road Use: Kenda City Slick
- Best for Pavement: Maxxis Minion DHF 3C/EXO
- Best for Desert Riding: Continental ShieldWall
- Best for Gravel Roads: Maxxis Minion DHR II
- Best 29” Mountain Bike Tire: Michelin Wild Enduro Front 2.4
- Best for Rock Terrain: Vittoria Martello 2.6
- Best for Trail Riding: Schwalbe Hans Dampf HS491 Addix
- Best for Southern California: Maxxis Mammoth 26 x 4.0
- Best 26” Mountain Bike Tire: Maxxis Minion FBF
- Best 27.5” Mountain Bike Tire: Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO
Top 15 Best Mountain Bike Tires Reviews In 2020
Now, what you’ll get if spending time reading all the product reviews in the list below?
Our experts have spent days and months to carry out intensive testing on each option to finally come to these 15 best mountain bike tire for specific needs. So, in each review, we point out its biggest strength as well as who will suit it the most.
Let’s get started!
Maxxis Ardent EXO Mountain Bike Tires
We’re not going to argue this is an MTB tire that suits everyone, but if you care about brand name, reliability, and love conquering a variety of terrain, this is the best to go.
It is created by REI (stands for Recreational Equipment), a big brand in this industry with over 80 years’ experience in manufacturing different outdoor gears, including mountain bike tires.
This product line is one of their bestsellers, known for the tubeless-ready design that lets the tire itself roll without a tube once installed properly and with sealant. As using EXO protection, it is also abrasion- and cut-resistant effectively when running in the sidewall.
Besides, lots of customers praised its minimum rolling resistance capabilities, thanks to the added ramped knobs in the center.
- Made by REI – a dependable brand
- Feature tubeless-ready design
- Deliver decent abrasion and cut resistance when running in the sidewall
- Minimize rolling resistance
- A bit pricey
|Tire Size||29 x 2.25 inches|
|Highlight Features||tubeless-ready design; EXO protection; ramped knobs|
Schwinn Replacement Mountain Bike Tires
Although mountain bike tires come in numerous types and size options, one thing we can assure that at the price range of $15 to $40, you hardly beat this one for its versatility.
The tire highlights ultra-durable steel beaded design to hence provide superior traction regardless of the terrain you’re going to ride through. That means whether road or trail use, it will run like a champ.
While it is perfect for any freestyle MTB rider, it provides great grips for trick performance.
The tire doesn’t have cleats on it so you can make a smoother turn – something that other counterparts at the same price range are unable to do. Besides, we find it to roll easily on soft and sandy terrain, as well as paved trails.
- Able to ride through paved trails, soft and sandy roads
- Able to make smooth turns
- Provide great grips for trick performance
- A bit small
- The tread pattern is tight
- Unable to go downhill
|Tire Size||16” X 1.95″|
|Highlight Features||ultra-durable steel beaded design; great grips;|
Maxxis Minion DHF WT Mountain Bike Tires
The Minion DHF WT 29er mountain bike tire features quite similar construction to the previous Maxxis sibling, such as tubeless-ready design and EXO protection.
The biggest difference between them is this has a smaller diameter yet expanded width than the other, which is perfect for 35mm inner width rims, and the weight is up to 945 grams. Additionally, it has a folding bead, 60 TPI, and dual compound material.
What we appreciate the most is the channel-cut knobs which help enhance gripping edges for extra-accurate cornering and straight-line control.
If compared to other similar counterparts, this lasts hugely longer and offers up to 90% of the traction
And the ramped knobs to resist low rolling. As a result, it gives you a superb performance on loose and muddy terrain, like Colorado.
- Perfect for 35mm inner width rims
- Provide extra-accurate cornering and straight-line control
- Offer up to 90% of the traction
- Resist low rolling
- A bit overpriced
|Tire Size||29-Inch x 2.5-Inch|
|Highlight Features||60 TPI; Dual compound; optimized for 35mm inner width rims; channel-cut knobs; ramped knobs|
WTB Velociraptor Mountain Bike Tires
Aside from its flawless all-around use, we will definitely recommend it for any rider who wants something to help them on the more technical uphill climbs because of its excellent traction.
This tube-type wire-bead tire may be an older style/model but it is heavy-duty. By emphasizing durable steering design, it improves significantly cornering traction.
In other words, this MTB tire holds phenomenally tight so whether on dirt loose, wet, muddy, and rocky terrain or cross-country trails, you’re all able to get a quick start from a stand-still – just as legendary as the description says.
The ease of installation also adds to its advantage collection.
- Improve cornering traction
- Easy to install
- The sidewalls seem lower profile than the tire of the same dimensions
|Tire Size||26-inch x 2.10-inch|
|Highlight Features||tube-type wire-bead design; the simple installation process|
WTB Trail Boss 2.25 27.5″ Mountain Bike Tires
Of all the potential contenders for the hard rock dry trails, like Alpine and Arizona, we like this MTB tire the most. It is specifically designed for aggressive riding, clearly shown through the supportive side knobs, tightly-spaced, blocky treads, and durable casing material.
This casing is made of signature 60A durometer rubber compound, which is complimented for extraordinarily substantial and robust properties along with wonderful rolling efficiency.
Aside from delivering a forever longevity, it protects threads against urban unpleasantries and threats of Cross-Country or trail riding applications.
Although it is a bit heavy – 840 grams, the tire gives unmatched traction to keep your bike upright phenomenally well on off-camber terrain with great rolling resistance until braking.
Our most favorite thing about this product is its thin, woven wire throughout the bead length. For the price, you can’t go wrong with this product!
- Optimize rolling efficiency and deliver substantial and robust performance
- Protect threads against urban unpleasantries and trail threats
- Keep the bike upright on off-camber terrain
- Unable to be folded, which is a bit cumbersome if you want to carry one or two more tires for a backup plan
- The white lettering is only on one side
|Tire Size||27.5″ x 2.25”|
|Highlight Features||a thin, woven wire throughout the bead length; durable casing; Supportive side knobs; Tightly spaced, blocky tread|
Kenda City Slick Mountain Bike Tires
Another trustworthy bike tire manufacturer in this realm is Kenda, a Taiwan-based company founded in 1962. As the name implies, this fast-rolling MTB tire is for road bikes.
It is measured by 26” diameter with a recommended maximum PSI range of 40 to 65.
In comparison to others, this gives a higher-level performance when riding on roads, especially in terms of low-rolling resistance and speed, all thanks to the directional grooves, patterned design, and slick center.
As giving high stability, it rides through wet surfaces puddles with great control and absolutely no slippage.
All-in-all, if your biggest concerns when looking for the best mountain bike tire are fast and smooth mountain biking experience on lite trails or urban roads, this won’t let you down.
- Made by a renowned company
- Offer top-notch low-rolling resistance and fast speed ranges
- Just sale in a pair
- Not fit opened brake pads
|Tire Size||26 x 1.95″|
|Highlight Features||Directional grooves; Wire beads|
Maxxis Minion DHF 3C/EXO Mountain Bike Tires
The reason why we decided to add Maxxis Minion DHF 3C/EXO into this review list is its angled tread pattern and wider casing design than previous siblings.
The best part is it lessens rolling resistance whereas increasing stability, which results in far better cornering performance but you still can run higher pressure in the front, even on pavements.
Our testers are also impressed on how well it sheds and clear mud out of thread knobs.
So rest assured if unfortunately, you have to face heavy muddy terrain, just a few rolls on clean trail dirt, it will be virtually clean. Besides, we appreciate its great grips on such slippery surfaces, even superior to those mid-tier options like High Roller II’s.
Overall, this is another ideal option for 35mm inner width rims but don’t worry, the tire does fit on a narrow rim so don’t let that hold you back.
- Enhance cornering performance
- Clear mud fast
- Provide lots of grips
- The tread doesn’t last too long
|Tire Size||27.5 x 2.5 in|
|Highlight Features||3C Maxx Terra compound; channel-cut knobs; ramped knobs; Wide trail (WT) casing|
Continental ShieldWall Mountain Bike Tires
Continental ShieldWall Mountain Bike Tires are a great tire option for the price if you intend to ride it in a rocky desert mountain area, like Arizona.
It is designed to match “all-mountain” bikes or Enduro bikes with a suspension journey of over 140mm, which is a big thank you to the 180×3 TPI casing. It adapts nicely to the ground by featuring high-degree flexibility plus an excellent damping property, regardless of its fly.
Out of many high-quality parts, the most outstanding is its Pure Grip Compound that helps improve the tire’s traction and mileage (up to 25 km/h, amazing!).
It also boasts a high damage and puncture resistance capabilities, consisting of a finely woven cross fabric for extended longevity.
- Great damage and puncture resistance
- Improve the tire’s traction and mileage
- Adapt nicely to the ground
- A bit struggling to install it
|Tire Size||26″, 27.5″, and 29″|
|Weight||795 grams, 815 grams, and 865 grams|
|Highlight Features||E-Bike Rated up to 25 km/h; Pure Grip Compound; three-layer Tubeless Ready-enabled casing;|
Maxxis Minion DHR II Mountain Bike Tires
We love the great feel and traction that this mountain bike tire delivers while rolling on gravel roads.
Compared it to the downhill tire line of Maxxis, it features the same tread pattern but way more lightweight because of the single-ply casing application.
If you pair it with a Minion DHF up front, this perfect combination will give you an exceptional aggressive riding experience on trails. It is controllable, smooth if ride over uneven surfaces, and easy to install.
When leaning the bike, we don’t feel wobbling or unstable. Undeniably that it has great acceleration and sipes based on the added center tread with ramped knobs for digging in under hard braking.
It also has an incredibly stiff sidewall so we can run a few psi less than usual.
- Lightweight with the same tread pattern as the Maxxis downhill tire line
- Give you exceptional aggressive riding experience on trails
- Feature great acceleration and sipes
- Allow you to run a few psi less than usual
- The tire casing is prone to be warped
|Tire Size||27.5” & 29”|
|Highlight Features||Paddle-like knobs; ramped knobs; a single-ply casing|
Michelin Wild Enduro Front 2.4 Mountain Bike Tires
Michelin Wild Enduro is our best pick for those who are in need of a good 29” mountain bike tire.
We picked it because first, Michelin themselves are a famous France multinational type manufacturer (the second largest in the world). Secondly, it was ridden by EWs 2018 World Champions, meaning that it specializes in Enduro riding.
Making it different from others is the high-density reinforcement of “Gravity Shield” TPII casing, making the tire lighter yet a lot stronger.
It also stands out for exceptional cornering grips and maximum braking regardless of the temperatures or weather conditions. The secret is it’s made from the MAGI-X² rubber compound.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for the best overall 29” mountain bike tire with upgraded terrain versatility and progressivity, this is it.
- Reliable – made by Michelin & ridden by EWs 2018 World Champions
- Lighter yet a lot stronger
- Exceptional cornering grips and maximum braking in various weather conditions
- Wish there were more styles and color options
|Tire Size||29 x 2.4 inches|
|Highlight Features||“Gravity Shield” 3×60 TPII casing; new MAGI-X² rubber compound; tread pattern designed for the front wheel|
Vittoria Martello 2.6 Mountain Bike Tires
Not only offering smoother running experience, but the Vittoria Martello 2.6 is also impressed by its extra fending capabilities of punctures and rock slices. Want to know the secret? Well, it’s all thanks to the heavy-duty 2-ply Enduro casing.
Vittoria Martello 2.6 is praised a lot for the best combination of longevity, grips, cornering stability, and low rolling resistance while the price is only around $40 to $70. We think it is due to the four strategically-placed rubber durometers in the tread.
We also realize that its wet-weather performance is improved significantly because of the additional Vittoria’s original Graphene-infused compound.
Combining all those strengths, we decide to give this tire the highest scoring and pick it as the best buy to be used on high-speed gravity trails, enduro courses, or rocky terrain.
- Fend of punctures and rock slices
- Give a good combination of longevity, grips, cornering stability, and low rolling resistance
- Perform well on wet weather
- Color options could be more various
|Tire Size||27.5” and 29”|
|Highlight Features||4 different durometer rubbers; Moto-block knobs; 2-ply Enduro casing; 4C Graphene 2.0 compound|
Schwalbe Hans Dampf HS491 Addix Mountain Bike Tires
Next up, the Schwalbe Hans Dampf HS491 is our suggestion for those people who want to upgrade their mountain riding experience to a new level.
Because of combining the proven ADDIX COMPOUNDS and the radically innovative tread, it gives you a leveraged performance with better control no matter on trails, kickers, berms, or corners. The best thing is it doesn’t wobbly or lose stability during the ride.
The semi-open block design enhances the tire’s low-rolling-resistance hugely while delivering great self-cleaning capability.
Take note that Hans Dampf HS491 is not front or rear specific. It’s multifunctional and versatile.
- Upgrade mountain riding experience to the next level
- Offer good control with high stability
- Enhance low-rolling-resistance & self-cleaning capability
- A bit costly
|Tire Size||27.5” and 29”|
|Highlight Features||Semi-open block arrangement; proven ADDIX COMPOUNDS and the radically innovative tread|
Maxxis Mammoth 26 x 4.0 Mountain Bike Tires
For those high desert terrains like southern California, we highly recommend the Maxxis Mammoth.
This is one of the very first fat bike tires from Maxxis, featuring low center 120 tread and large side knobs. During our tests, we find out that it digs into the dirt to pull the bike around turns pretty well, which makes it easier to go rover snowy or sandy surfaces.
Another notable feature is its 4” wide rim for extra traction and smooth, quiet riding experience. So, it is not only perfect to ride on trails but also pavements.
Compared to other similar counterparts for high desert terrain, it is much lighter yet extra protective for the sidewalls. Besides, the mess carrying bag is a nice bonus.
- Ride on sandy or snowy surfaces excellently
- Provide extra traction and smooth, quiet riding experience
- Offer more protection for the sidewalls
- Wear down quickly
- Heavy if you run under 12psi
|Tire Size||26 x 4.0 inches|
|Highlight Features||4 inch wide; large side knobs; Relatively low center tread|
Maxxis Minion FBF Mountain Bike Tires
Maxxis Minion FBF inherits the tested-and-proven Minion DHF tread block arrangement. Combined with a 4.8” ultra-wide rim, it is our recommendation for those MTB riders who usually ride over uneven and loose surfaces.
In other words, it is the best 26” fat bike tire at the price point for unmatched grips and low-rolling resistance.
Just like other Maxxis tire product lines, it has a tubeless-ready construction, which makes the installation much easier. Plus, it is foldable to not take much space in your repair kit in case you want to bring one or two alongside for backup.
Although it is quite heavy, around 1650 grams, we really love its extraordinary quality and performance.
- Perfect for uneven and loose surfaces
- Offer unmatched grips and low-rolling resistance
- Easy to install/replace
- Compact enough to pack along
|Tire Size||26 x 4.8 inches|
|Highlight Features||Foldable Tire design; Tubeless-ready; tested-and-proven Minion DHF tread block arrangement; a 4.8” ultra-wide rim|
Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO Mountain Bike Tires
On those days when you’re going to take on giant descents or blast through technical singletrack, the Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 will definitely be your best companion.
It is rugged, high-quality, versatile, and designed to be more on the training side rather than racing. Therefore, the tire wards off flats efficiently, all thanks to the brilliant combo of Maxxis’ EXO sidewall protection, 60 TPI casing, and tubeless-ready Aggressor.
When riding downhills, you don’t need to hold back just like when using others to hence allow for the most thrilling feeling and riding experience.
We also realize that it grips through unpredictable, loose stretches of trails like a champ, and the secret all lies in its reinforced side knobs and hard edge knobby tread design.
As a result, you’re well-protected against washing out on narrow corners.
- Rugged, high-quality, and versatile
- Ward off flats efficiently
- Grip through unpredictable, loose stretches of trails
|Tire Size||27.5 IN x 2.5 IN|
|Highlight Features||Maxxis’ EXO sidewall protection, 60 TPI casing, and tubeless-ready Aggressor; reinforced side knobs and hard edge knobby tread design|
The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Best Mountain Bike Tires In 2020
Tire treads and your riding style have a super-close connection, therefore, it’s important to consider this feature carefully.
|Type of tire tread||Highlight Features||Best For|
|Sipes||– slit within the lugs|
|hard, slick surfaces|
|Transition lugs||-positioned between the center and side lugs|
-enhance grips when leaning into a turn
|Smoother riding experience|
|Side lugs||– bigger than others||If you want extra grip in corners|
|Ramped lugs||-usually located in the center|
– lower rolling resistance
|If you want to go faster|
|Small, closely spaced lugs||-low rolling resistance|
|If you want to go faster|
|Big, widely spaced lugs||-Feature wide channels|
-releasing the muck better
|soft, muddy ground|
Tire size and width
Whenever buying a new set of MTB tires, one of the very first questions to ask yourself is what they are for because it is the premise to help you figure out the right diameter for your wheelset.
On the market, there are three main options – 26”, 27.5”, and 29”.
If you haven’t found out your answer, a simpler way is to look at your current tire sidewall or rim. The next step is choosing the tire width. Here are some easy ideas to help you make a quicker decision:
- 1.9″ to 2.25″ tire width range – cross-country bikes
- 2.25″ to 2.4″ width range – all-mountain and trail bikes
- 2.5” wide – downhill bikes
- 3.7″ to 5″ or more – fat bikes
As a basic rule of thumb, the wider the tire, the heavier but at the same time, the better the traction, especially when riding over sandy or snowy surfaces.
Not to say that it delivers better shock absorption capabilities to go through bumps and rocks with a smoother experience.
This feature is chosen based on some elements, such as what is the most economical for you, performance needs, and trail conditions.
Keep in mind that the harder the compounds, the less grip. But at the same time, they are more durable and allow the tire to roll faster while wearing out slower.
Type of tire
Finally, it is the tire type!
You’ve two options to choose from – the wire vs folding bead and the tubeless.
Wire vs folding bead
The biggest difference between them is price tags (wire bead is more inexpensive). Regardless, it refers to the material of the edge of the bead/tire is crafted from. Wired bead tires are unable to be folded as they are made of metal. Besides, they’re heftier yet more durable to last longer.
Folding tubes, as their name implies, are foldable and lightweight for ease of packing but they won’t be as durable as the other.
Many downhill casing tires aren’t offered in this tire type, too.
This is the most popular at the current. Tubeless – after pairing with a tubeless sealant and rim, will keep air, making it suitable for mountain biking as the rider can run lower tire pressure. That also means for the less risk of pinch flats as well as extra traction.
What are the best tires for mountain biking?
Our recommendation is:
- Maxxis Ardent EXO Mountain Bike Tires
- Schwinn Replacement Mountain Bike Tires
- Maxxis Minion DHF WT Mountain Bike Tires
- WTB Velociraptor Mountain Bike Tires
- WTB Trail Boss 2.25 27.5″ Mountain Bike Tires
Can I put smaller tires on my mountain bike?
Yes, you can, depending on the purpose for which you need a bike. But take note that there’s a minimum size for your bike rim
How do I choose the right mountain bike tire?
To choose the right mountain bike tire, you should determine what it is used to figure out the right tire size and width. Next, consider the tread styles which are relative to your riding style.
Finally, choose the tire types and compounds. That’s it!
What width mountain bike tire should I use?
- 3.7″ to 5″ for fat bikes on all-season trails
- Up to 2.5″ wide for downhill bikes on rock gardens
- 2.25″ to 2.4″ for trail and all-mountain bikes
Do wider tires give more grip?
Yes, they do.
Wider tires offer even pressure throughout its design, meaning for better grips delivered.
We tested many mountain bike tires in many settings over many months. In such a simple category, our testers found out a noticeable gap in performance. We made this list not to point out a universal tire for all situations but more on the side that helps steer you towards the most suitable option for each use.
Hopefully, the provided review above is useful in your making-decision process and find out quickly the best mountain bike tire. Happy riding!