Mountain Bike Tires Explained! A Complete Guide (With Pictures)


Finest mountain bike tyres, as rated by our skilled testers

  • Maxxis Minion DHF Extensive Path 3C TR EXO
  • Maxxis Shorty 3C Max Terra EXO
  • Michelin Wild Enduro Entrance Gum-X / Magi-X
  • Schwalbe Hans Dampf SuperGravity ADDIX Delicate
  • Schwalbe Magic Mary SuperGravity ADDIX Delicate
  • Vee Tire Co SNAP WCE Prime 40
  • Michelin Wild Enduro Rear Gum-X
  • Specialised Eliminator BLCK DMND
  • Specialised Hillbilly BLCK DMND
  • WTB Verdict 2.5 TCS Robust Excessive Grip



Q1. What’s the finest psi for cross nation MTB racing?

Ans.: For XC using, place to start out could be with 20 psi on the entrance and 23 psi on the again. In fact, there are a whole lot of components you must have in mind. Your weight, the form of tires and rims you utilize, and your using model all play a component in figuring out the right stress for optimum efficiency. After making an attempt the values now we have talked about, you may regulate the stress a bit of bit at a time to fine-tune your setup. Simply keep in mind, no matter stress you run for the entrance tire, merely add 3 for the rear tire.

Q2. What’s the finest tire width for XC?

Ans.: The best vary for cross-country bike tires is round 2.1-2.4 inches. Though, again within the day individuals used to run tires as skinny as 1.8 inches. Conventionally, riders thought that XC tires ought to be as slender as attainable, which is smart since thinner tires are lighter and extra aerodynamic. Nevertheless, it has now been confirmed that wider tires even have decrease rolling resistance. It is because the contact space for a large tire is wider however shorter. Additionally, since higher traction is obtainable, most XC racers want to run 2.2” or 2.3” tires.

2 inch vs 2.35-inch tire

Q3. Which is one of the best mountain bike tire mixture?

Ans.: The proper tire mixture on a mountain bike largely depends upon private choice. Nonetheless, there are just a few options that make a tire both front- or rear-specific. Most mountain bikers want utilizing wider tires with extra aggressive shoulder tread lugs on the entrance. Entrance tires are additionally run at decrease pressures to maximise grip and luxury. That is so that there’s extra management for steering. Rolling resistance will not be a lot of a fear as a result of nearly all of the load is supported by the rear tire.

In distinction, it’s higher to have smaller knobs and run greater pressures on rear tires to cut back a number of the rolling resistance. Rear-specific tires emphasize extra on climbing and pedaling traction, fairly than cornering traction. They’ve horizontal knobs that preserve the sides at proper angles to the course of movement.

Entrance vs rear tire

This autumn. When ought to XC tires get replaced?

Ans.: Cross-country tires normally final wherever between 3000 and 8000 miles relying on the terrain, depth of use, and tire high quality. Regardless, preserve a watch out for a number of the following to know when it’s time to get new tires.

  • The knobs have clean edges and are usually not as tall as once they had been new.
  • Threads from the casing material are seen in some locations on the rubber.
  • Blisters and bulges develop in elements of the tire.
  • A number of gashes or cracks on the tread.

Michelin Wild Enduro Rear Gum-X

4.0 out of 5 star score

It’s on slippery, muddy and free tracks the place this tyre actually excels.
William Poole

Finest for… Downhill and enduro All terrain sorts from mud by way of to hardpack, rocks and roots Rear tyre

With good turning grip, particularly when the circumstances are free – because of its cumbersome facet knobs – the Wild Enduro additionally grips properly on moist roots and rocks.

As a result of it’s a rear-specific tyre, the sidewall is pretty thick, so it presents resistance towards punctures and tears.

It’s additionally bought tightly-spaced centre tread blocks to assist enhance rolling resistance, making it much less suited to path using.

Extra Suggestions for Making Your MTB Highway Worthy

One thing you could wish to think about if you’ll be doing a considerable quantity of highway biking in your mountain bike is to decrease your handlebars. Decreasing your handlebars helps preserve the wind resistance extra minimal, and as you’re most likely already conscious, is a essential design function of highway bikes, in distinction to greater bar settings to help in management and dealing with when off-road using.

This transformation could be made in minutes, permitting you to regulate the bars decrease or greater every time that you must.

Your seat peak will most probably want adjustment as properly. Usually, you’ll have to increase your seat for optimum consolation and efficiency. Do that by making quick increments till you’re glad; simply ensure to not go too excessive, or your hips will rock.

Add a rearview mirror to assist see the oncoming rear site visitors. This may occasionally appear cringy to off-road mountain bike individuals, but when your commuting along with your bike every day, you ought to be contemplating security and making it a high precedence.

Mud flaps and fenders could also be an awesome concept to fight adversarial climate circumstances, particularly when you’re going someplace and wish to stay considerably presentable. In any other case, you may arrive at your vacation spot with a strip of mud in your again. There are many aftermarket mudflaps and fenders on the market that you may simply add or take away when wanted.

Learn this text: 11 Ways to Make Your MTB More Road Friendly

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What are the primary varieties of mountain bike chains?

The fundamental perform of all types of mountain bike chains is to switch power from the paddles to the rear wheels to make the bike transfer. Nearly all bike chains encompass metal plates which might be related with the assistance of rivets. However the main distinction lies in what sort of transmission the chain goes for use in. Two main varieties of chains are; one-speed chains and Derailleur chains. Each of them can solely be used for the kind of transmission they’re designed for.

● One velocity chains:

Because the identify suggests one-speed chains are designed to suit a motorcycle with only one gear. One velocity bikes comprise just one large sprocket within the entrance that’s hooked up to the paddle and a smaller one hooked up within the hub of the rear wheel. The size of a hyperlink in a one-speed chain is 9 millimeters from rivet to rivet and they’re 3.3 millimeters in width. However some single-speed chains which were designed for use in additional excessive circumstances could be wider than 3.3 millimeters to cut back the friction that’s produced between the chain and the sprockets throughout tough paddling.

● Derailleur Chains (Multi-gear chains):

Most fashionable bikes include Derailleur transmission which permits the biker to shift from one gear to a different in accordance with the requirement of the trip. However the factor with derailleur chains is that for the reason that chain has to shift from one gear to a different there’s little or no spacing between the totally different gears and the chains for derailleur transmission are narrower in comparison with one-speed chains. Hyperlinks of a derailleur chain are longer than the hyperlinks of a single-speed chain and every hyperlink is half an inch or round 12.7 mm in size and this size is commonplace in all derailleur chains as a result of a majority of producers make their transmission to suit this commonplace chain dimension. With the rise within the variety of gears, the width of the chain reduces considerably as you may see under:

  • 12 gears: A mountain bike with 12 gears can have the narrowest chain of all at 5.3 mm.
  • 11 gears: A mountain bike with 11 gears can have a sequence width of 5.5 mm.
  • 10 gears: A mountain bike with 10 gears can have a sequence width of 6 mm.
  • 9 gears: A mountain bike with 9 gears can have a sequence width of round 7 mm.
  • Lower than 8 gears: Any bike with lower than 8 gears will normally have a 7mm huge chain since there’s not a whole lot of spacing between the gears under the 9-speed transmission.

When selecting the right width chain in your mountain, bike you also needs to take note of the entrance sprocket that’s hooked up to the paddle together with the rear cassette. The chain can even shift from one sprocket to the opposite within the entrance crankset when the gears are shifted, so the chain’s width ought to be in accordance with the spacing between the sprockets on the entrance crankset to stop the chain from getting caught within the area between the sprockets. Identical to the spacing between the rear sprockets in a derailleur drivetrain reduces with the rise in gears, the identical occurs on the entrance crankset as properly.  

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Methods to make your mountain bike’s chain last more

● Preserve the chain of your mountain bike clear

Retaining the chain clear is a good way to cut back put on and tear of the chain in addition to your bike’s shifting mechanism.

● Preserve the chain of your mountain bike properly lubricated

A well-lubricated chain will preserve your trip clean to not point out it’s going to scale back friction between the chain and the sprockets. So it’s a good suggestion to make use of any good high quality bike chain lube to maintain your chain lubricated and ensure to wipe the surplus lube off to keep away from accumulating filth on the chain after you’re completed lubricating.

● Changing the Cassette and the crankset of the drivetrain repeatedly

Identical to a worn-out chain can injury the drive practice elements of your mountain bike, a worn-out shifting mechanism can even put on out your bike’s chain shortly. So if the enamel of your mountain bike’s entrance or rear sprocket have began to seem much less pointy or they’ve began to look hook-shaped then it’s a signal that that you must change them.

Getting Extra Velocity Out of Your MTB

Have a look at locking out your suspension to get extra velocity. Absolutely suspension is nice for absorbing drops and rocks, however the identical motion absorbs a few of your pedal stroke energy. One other trick is to infalte your tire stress a bit greater. I can safely put 50 psi in my heavy tread mountain bike tires. That is going to cut back traction off highway so watch out.

Bike Grips

It’s your arms that stabilize the bike on tough terrain.  So to maintain management of the bike bike grips are an important improve.

Each hand is totally different and thus bike grips are a really private and customised selection. Test our most common and finest reviewed bike grips.

How Do You Forestall Your Mountain Bike Chain From Breaking

The very first thing you are able to do is to vary your using model a bit. Ensure that you shift into the fitting gear earlier than you get to the hill you’ll climb. Subsequent if you’re in the midst of climbing a tricky hill and also you wish to shift, ease up on pedaling then shift.

Each of those techniques will stop you from braking the chain due to shifting with a heavy load. Additionally, by no means stomp on the pedals when the chain will not be totally in gear. This will increase the danger of snapping the chain.

Use a sequence put on indicator and examine how a lot your chain has stretched on a constant foundation. Be sure to examine totally different sections of the chain, not only one part and that’s it. Utilizing a Rohloff gauge, if the curved tooth with the S goes utterly into the chain, change the chain.

There are 12 chain hyperlinks of a sequence which ought to measure 1 foot. If you happen to measure it and it doesn’t measure precisely 1 foot then it’s higher to exchange the chain.

Everytime you change a sequence, be certain to make use of a brand new grasp hyperlink. If you happen to don’t that defeats the aim of getting a brand new chain as a result of that outdated grasp hyperlink would be the weakest hyperlink. Additionally ensure you put in the grasp hyperlink accurately.

Once you wish to clear your chain don’t disconnect and reconnect the chain. This steady breaking and reconnecting your chain will make that hyperlink weaker. Use a sequence scrubber and or wipe off the chain with a rag.

When shifting gears don’t use excessive gear combos corresponding to large entrance large again and little entrance little again. This causes the stress to be erratically balanced out to these hyperlinks at excessive bending angles.

If you find yourself in a single gear the few hyperlinks curved across the sprocket are in a weaker place than the opposite hyperlinks that are straight. Skipping over some gears when shifting provides further stress to these hyperlinks which might be already bent.

Once you change your chain it’s a good suggestion to exchange the cassette. The chain and the cassette put on out on the similar fee. In case your chain is worn out then so is your cassette. If you happen to change your chain and never the cassette, this can trigger your chain to wear down sooner and presumably break sooner.

Be sure your change will not be free. Particularly when mountain biking you wish to have a decent chain. A free chain relying on how free it’s might hit the bottom and hit rocks or roots. Plus you don’t need the chain whipping round or slapping into the body.

What tire tread ought to I select?

A tire’s efficiency is instantly associated to the tread sample, the form, spacing and dimension of the tread, which can all decide the circumstances and magnificence of using that it’ll excel at. Smoother low profile tread patterns will roll shortly in dry circumstances whereas wider spaced spiked model tread will dig into muddy trails for moist climate grip. Some tires will even are available entrance and rear-specific patterns with angled entrance knobs providing higher cornering and block knobs for braking.

Finally the tire tread that works finest for you’ll be decided by the path circumstances when using in addition to private choice.

Rims and wheels

This part is retained for historic causes – and earlier than you exit and spend your cash, let me say you DON’T usually want particular rims for normal commuter icebiking or leisure winter using.

Nevertheless, for the leisure icebiker the huge rims described right here open up important new alternatives for exploration and enjoyable in areas you could have by no means ventured, maybe not even in summer season.

Why particular rims?

A part of the issue is kilos per sq. inch (kg per sq. cm). Using on semi-frozen snowmobile trails or single observe, or crusted-over lakes, you’ll break by way of the softer parts, your entrance wheel will sink, and you could do an Endo. The floor merely cannot assist the quantity of weight you and your bike apply.

At 40 PSI, 200 kilos of motorcycle and rider will we carried on 5 sq. inches on the underside of your bike tires. This shall be cut up roughly evenly between the 2 tires. The difficulty is, the snow cannot bear 100 kilos on simply 2.5 sq. inches. So that you sink. You retain on sinking till the quantity of tire involved with the snow spreads the identical quantity of weight to increasingly sq. inches of snow. After you have sufficient inches of tire on (beneath) the snow, you cease sinking.

Extra sq. inches on the bottom helps

The opposite a part of the issue is the form of the tire. In cross part, the largely rounded form of the standard bike tire causes it to slide sideways fairly than simply straight down. Down could be unhealthy sufficient. Sideways requires steering enter on the very least, could trigger falls, and is in the end unmanageable. Snow tends to “squirt” out in the direction of the sides of the tire, fairly then being packed down because the tire rolls over it.

A flatter tire cross part helps

Lastly, when on actually bumpy hardpack, or different uneven surfaces, excessive stress tires can are likely to comply with ridges, (diverting you out of your meant course), and bounce, breaking contact with the bottom, lowering your traction, and permitting sideways momentum to be constructed up whereas the tire is in lowered contact with the bottom. Softer tires are likely to roll over small ridges and bumps, absorbing the bumps by deforming, whereas as the identical time sustaining contact with the bottom.

Decrease tire stress helps

Every of the above aids to off-road winter biking has its personal place. On rutted ice, decrease stress and a flat cross part are higher. Glare ice requires greater stress. All three without delay could be perfect for a lot of off highway conditions in winter.

The one method to get all three on the similar time is to run huge tires with a flat cross part at low stress.

The issue is that is nearly unattainable with a slender rim, as a result of when you decrease the stress sufficient to get a flat cross part you run the danger of snake chunk (pinch flats) because the rim will backside out contained in the tire.

Moreover, a lot of the tires potential width it “consumed” by having the tire type a circle (in cross part). If the tire solely needed to type half of a circle, it will be a a lot wider circle. You probably have ever unfold a motorcycle tire flat (pulling the beads away from one another) you had been most likely amazed how huge it was.

The Extensive Rim Resolution

There are several other companies making wide rimsThese are precisely the circumstances that Snow Cat rims had been designed to fulfill. Designed by Simon Rakower of All Climate Sports activities in Fairbanks Alaska, the Snow Cat rim is 44mm huge, in comparison with 22mm or 32mm for regular mountain bike rims.

There are a number of different corporations making huge rims for downhill races. Not like Snow Cats, these weren’t designed with winter biking in thoughts, and could also be heavier. They’re, nonetheless designed to take a beating and have comparable width.

This further width of huge rims supplies for a flatter cross part to any tire mounted. This widens the contact patch, places extra sq. inches on the bottom, that means you may scale back stress and nonetheless carry the identical weight.

Additional, with huge rims, the rim edges sits instantly above the facet wall, or, in some instances, outboard of the tire altogether. This reduces the danger that the your rim will backside out contained in the tire. As an alternative will probably be using above the sidewall of the tire. Hitting a bump with huge rims is much much less prone to trigger a pinch flat.

This implies you may scale back air stress even additional. Diminished air stress brings extra tire involved with the snow, because the contact patch is elongated (entrance to again).

Extensive rim spreads tire, flattening it’s profile and positioning rims instantly above facet wall. Snake chunk (pinch flat) is much less probably.

With regular rim, tire bulges out from both sides

With common rim, tire bulges out from either side of rim. Exhausting bumps will drive rim down “inside” tire when run at low stress. This could trigger snake chunk.

With more inches in contact with the snow, you are

With extra inches involved with the snow, you’ll be able to unfold that very same 100 kilos per tire over a higher space. At 10 PSI, the contact patch could be virtually 10 sq. inches per tire. That is properly throughout the load bearing capabilities of some snow surfaces, corresponding to snowmobile trails, and barely packed areas. With decrease stress, down to five PSI you may come shut to twenty sq. inches per tire. Though you may scale back air stress to as little as 5 PSI with trip rims, most riders preserve nearer to 12 PSI as their minimal.

A Temporary Historical past of the Snow Cat Rim

I designed the Snow Cat for snow using however there had been hints of curiosity in them for downhill racing from the start, so I didn’t go ultra-light on the cross part.

That turned out to be a good suggestion. For just a few years DH gross sales exceeded winter gross sales. I began doing critical promotion at main DH occasions about 5 years in the past and spent the following few years watching over my shoulder for the massive corporations to select up on the thought and crush me. It took a surprisingly very long time.

The bike business is money starved and really conservative. DH rim widths crept upward for just a few years with Solar, Mavic and some others watching one another and giving out BS explanation why actually huge was a mistake.

But, individuals from the massive rim corporations would inform me they had been glad I used to be making such huge rims as a result of it took stress off them to do it. I bought fortunate when Solar’s first actually huge rim (Fats Albert) flopped. It was enjoyable being on the fitting facet of the rumor machine.

My product labored, the massive firm’s knockoff didn’t, client accounts about why it was unhealthy had been wild and widespread.

Nokian tire designer Jorma Tikka bought eager about DH and got here up with the thought of a tire sized to essentially match on the Snow Cat.

Nokian took an even bigger likelihood than I’ve seen some other giant firm do within the bike business. They made a 3 inch tire (the Gazzalodi) when there was just one rim and NO BIKES to suit it.

They launched it on the ’98 Winter X-treme Video games. Inside just a few weeks there have been loads of bikes to suit it. I used to be swamped with calls from small DH body builders eager to know dimensions. The usual modified in a single day.

So the little kitty led the DH world onto large rims and large tires. Finally they bought it proper and there at the moment are huge rims extra appropriate for DH than the Snow Cat.

However the monster rolled proper previous me and I didn’t get crushed. DH rims are very heavy, so the Snow Cat is the lightest of the massive rims. Disc brakes are the usual for DH so only a few of the huge rims have brake surfaces.

The market isn’t large enough for even one winter rim. I might solely get it in manufacturing by doing foolish, egotistical issues with bigger lumps of cash than I ought to have. God bless the oil financial system.

Rim producers are smarter than I’m and don’t appear to wish to waste capital on a product with such restricted attraction. In order that they attempt to do double responsibility with a DH rim. We’ll see the place all of it goes however I’m not afraid of competitors. I took final winter off; went away and did no advertising and marketing and had no product. It could be wonderful if nobody tried to maneuver into the (small) void.

Another factor I like about Snow Cats: I can drill them in any loopy method anybody needs even, (gasp), dishless rears. I imply actually dishless, with an identical spoke angles and tensions on either side.

That is how Charlie Beristain simply bought his (you may see the offset spoke holes within the side-by-side footage above). Ritchey could have “invented” OCR however I’d been making 0-dish Snow Cats for years earlier than he did. Normal width rims can appropriate for dish by just a few mm. Solely an enormous flat rim allows you to shift the (w)gap sample the ten mm wanted to utterly compensate for eight or 9 gears.

Simon Rakower, All Climate Sports activities

The Disadvantages

Some riders report much less management on glare ice surfaces when using with actual low stress. This isn’t an issue attributable to huge rims, only one you aren’t prone to run into till you could have huge rims.

Once you decrease tire stress, you additionally decrease the quantity of stress on the studs. That is offset by bringing extra studs into contact with the ice. Nevertheless, in some unspecified time in the future (round 5 or 7 kilos from all stories) you get so little weight on the studs that they don’t dig into the ice in any respect. They merely skate on high of the ice, offering much less traction than rubber tires.

On naked ice, it has been discovered that studded tires ought to be run at close to their sidewall stress, however you wish to nonetheless present some sidewall flex whereas using to cut back tire-bounce. Tire bounce can occur by hitting even small bumps with tires inflated fairly arduous. Usually not an issue in summer season, however in winter when the wheel loses contact with the bottom it could come down with a slight sideways momentum and slip out from beneath you.

Match In addition, it is hard to build a wheel with a wiMoreover, there could be issues getting huge rims to suit in your bike. The entrance is seldom an issue, however the rear could be too slender the place the chain stays be part of the underside bracket, or close to the bridge on the seat stays.

As well as, it’s arduous to construct a wheel with a large rim and never find yourself with an extreme quantity of “dish” within the rear wheel whereas making an attempt to suit the gear cluster and the wheel contained in the chainstays. Many Snow Cat rims are drilled for off middle spoke holes for the again wheel. This enables development of a wheel with much less “dish” than would in any other case be obligatory, and supplies the wanted clearance and centering of the rear wheel.

Be aware that since these rims are normally used with fairly low preasure, the plastic liner is all that’s wanted to maintain the tube from protruding by way of the holes proven on this shot of the Snow Cal “SL” mannequin These holes save over 600 grams per set of wheels.

Brakes There are additionally issues with getting brakes to work accurately. The rim is so huge that modification of the brake arm mounting and or the brake pads could also be obligatory. Some brake arms can really give higher clearance when mounted backwards, as carefull examine of the image under exhibits. These brake arms are designed to have that curved portion of the lever faceing the tire. By reversing every lever, extra clearance is supplied.

For this reason Disk Brakes and wide rims are ofte

Because of this Disk Brakes and huge rims are sometimes discovered on the identical icebike.

 Finally, wide rims and studded tired can

Weight Lastly, huge rims and studded drained can add as a lot as 4 kilos to your bike over the load of your common rims and tires, particularly if you find yourself utilizing down-hill rims. A lot of this weight is attributed to the studded tires. If using of packed snow, you could not want them.



Extensive rims present all three of the fascinating attributes wanted for winter snow journey. They nonetheless don’t present sufficient “flotation” to let you trip on high of powder snow and even heavy moist snow. Nevertheless, snow that has thawed and refrozen, or been rained on is commonly agency sufficient to trip with huge rims and the right tires. Winter snowmobile trails usually show fairly navigable with huge rims.

Moreover, in free snow, huge rims present a higher measure of management, because the tires are likely to wallow much less with a flatter profile, and the lowered stress retains extra tire involved with the bottom, (and extra studs involved with the ice). Dealing with is significantly improved, as is your velocity over the bottom. Some snow terrain is solely unattainable with out huge rims.

If you happen to spend a lot day without work highway in winter you’ll probably in the end discover your self on huge rims. They’re nearly required gear in some off-road races such because the Alaskan Iditasport, and add significantly to the capabilities of your bike on winter trails.

Picture Credit: Charlie Beristain, John Andersen, and Simon Rakower.

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