Because those rubber casings are the only point of contact between your bike and the ground, choosing the ideal mountain bike tire for your bike is crucial. Get it properly, and you’ll be able to glide over and through anything, nature throws at you. Get it wrong, and you could be left with a slow ride or worse, no grip when you need it most.
Though there are a huge number of possibilities available, each distinct tread design has a unique set of qualities, from the type of bead to the degree of puncture protection. It can be confusing to choose the right tires for this reason. However, things don’t have to be that way.
Best Mountain Bike Tires 2023
A mountain bike is an interface collection. Your body can interact with the bike through your grips, pedals, and saddle. Your brakes interact with their rotors, but most significantly, your tires interact with the trail. In an ideal situation, they serve as the only physical link between your body and the route, enabling you to climb, turn, descend, and jump.
Therefore, choosing the proper mountain bike tires is crucial. The distinction between the greatest mountain bike tires and less-than-ideal options cannot be overstated. However, there isn’t a tire that will work for everyone, so you should consider your trails and objectives and hunt for tires that are designed for them.
Every sort of rider can find a tire on this list of the top mountain bike tires, which features a large selection of tread patterns, casing designs, and rubber compounds. The sum of these factors determines a tire’s performance. As a result, we’ve included a wide range of tires, from sturdy tires that are appropriate for bike parks to lightweight rubber that is ready for XC races. It’s now up to you to get fresh tires and start riding!
Read on to learn more about the best mountain bike tires to buy in 2023:
Maxxis Minion DHF 3C/EXO
- Excellent Cornering Grip
- The Dual-Compound Increases Longevity
- EXO Casing is Durable and Lightweight
- Works Well Front or Rear
Our top suggestion for a robust and aggressive front tire is the Maxxis Minion DHF. One of the most well-known tires of all time, this robust model is regarded as the standard by which all other tires are measured. It exudes a strong sense of confidence and is most comfortable when aggressively leaning into a turn with a significant row of big side knobs that grip through turns. Some people might need a little time to get acclimated to the feel of this tire, but once you’ve felt it lock into a turn, you won’t want to use anything else again. Even at lower pressures, its strong EXO casing and combination of tread materials offer generous sidewall support and great grip. This tire’s overall quality and performance are enhanced by its somewhat square profile, squared-off edges, side knobs, and sidewalls.
The DHF is a fantastic front tire but can also be used as a rear tire. Although it has a rather high amount of rolling resistance for a rear tire, it provides great pedal and braking traction. On very buff and hardpack soil, the Minion DHF’s aggressive tread may seem a touch excessive, but that is not the environment in which this beast was intended to battle. To accommodate a wide range of user preferences, the DHF is available in all-wheel sizes and a great selection of widths, casings, and rubber compounds.
Specialized Eliminator GRID Trail T7
- Semi-Aggressive and Versatile Tread
- Good, Predictable Performance as a Rear Tire
- Relatively Fast-Rolling
We believe that the semi-aggressive Specialized Eliminator T7 rear tire is a fantastic, cost-effective alternative for trail riders. It complements the Specialized Butcher in the front quite well as a rear tire. The T7 rubber composition used in this tire by Specialized prioritizes rolling speed and durability above total grip and the medium height center tread with moderate spacing further aids to lower rolling resistance. While pedaling and braking, the sharp edges of the tread knobs bite well into firm to slightly loose, dry surfaces. Up until things get really loose, a tightly packed series of higher shoulder lugs offers superb cornering traction and a predictable feel. The Grid Trail casing held up to our assault during testing, and the T7 rubber proved to be durable with even wear.
Although the Eliminator T7 is a well-rounded and adaptable tire, it makes a little amount of braking traction concessions in favor of rolling speed. When the going gets extremely sloppy, it is simple to skid this tire, drift through turns, and spin out while climbing. In order to avoid burping the Grid Trail casing, we also discovered that it could be a little squirmy under strong cornering pressures. For extremely active riders, this casing might not be supportive enough. Having said that, we think this is an excellent rear tire option that is also reasonably priced when matched with a front tire that is a little more aggressive.
Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO
- Great All-Around Performance
- Relatively Fast Rolling
The Maxxis Aggressor is a great rear tire that performs well in a variety of settings thanks to its adaptable tread design. A well-planned pattern of medium-height knobs with sharp, unramped front edges makes up the center tread, offering remarkably low rolling resistance and plenty of bite and traction. With a strong and long-lasting EXO casing, a wide row of side knobs manages well when tipped on edge around corners. In our opinion, this tire gave the best overall performance throughout the test regarding rolling resistance, grip, and traction. The weight of our test tire was less than the specified 950 grams, and if you want even more security, it is also offered in Maxxis’s stronger casing variants.
The most aggressive tire on the market isn’t this one, though. If you frequently ride in muddy or slippery terrain, you might prefer another alternative. Even while the medium-height tread is effective and capable in most circumstances, superior solutions are available for braking traction when the ground becomes too loose. Despite everything, we continue to believe that the Aggressor is the most adaptable rear tire.
Specialized Butcher GRID Trail T9
- Super Damp Ride Quality
- Great Cornering and Braking Traction
Recently, Specialized added a brand-new T9 rubber compound to their enduringly famous Butcher tire. While the tread design hasn’t changed, the Butcher Grid Trail T9 feels like a new tire. We tested it in both 2.3″ and 2.6″ widths. Although it’s not exactly extremely soft, Specialized’s T9 rubber is their most sticky, and it’s been engineered to bounce slowly to lessen deflection and increase grip. As a result, the ride feels well-damped and strongly connected to the trail. Excellent braking traction is provided by the tall, open-spaced center tread lugs, and the wide row of shoulder knobs provides excellent cornering traction. The Grid Trail casing from Specialized is remarkably resilient to tears and punctures while still feeling sufficiently supportive. It is also one of the most affordable tires we examined, and we think it offers great value.
The Butcher Grid Trail T9 is not the fastest rolling tire, even though we liked most of its performance elements. It weighs 1,123 grams in the 29″ x 2.6″ we tried, which is relatively heavy, and the aggressive tread, open spacing, and sticky rubber add some rolling resistance. Beyond that, trail and all-mountain riders will appreciate this reasonably priced tire as a front tire or both. The trade-off for its otherwise great traction and incredibly smooth feel is that it’s not much worse than other tires of a similar size.
- Long Tread Life
- Great Cornering and Braking Traction
- Works Well in a Range of Conditions
- Reasonable Price
The outstanding, aggressive Vittoria Mazza tire rivals the performance of the most well-liked tires on the market. Although Vittoria may not have the same amount of brand recognition as some other producers, we think that will change if they continue to produce incredible tires like these. With a strong row of well-supported side knobs that grip well in a wide range of circumstances, the Mazza is a front tire that we adored. Smoothly switching from the middle tread to the side knobs, it bites and holds with assurance and predictability once it is turned.
A decent balance of support and suppleness can be found in the Trail casing we tried, while Vittoria’s 4C Graphene rubber surprised us with its unexpected resilience and long tread life. Another plus is the traction provided by the brakes, which work well on most surfaces because to their size and broad spacing. All of the knobs have extensive lengthwise sipping, allowing them to adapt to the trail surface and hold securely on hard surfaces, off-camber terrain, and rock slabs.
The Mazza has a little bit more rolling resistance due to its tread pattern than tires with a softer tread. When compared to comparably aggressive tires of the same size, we also thought it was a little hefty. Beyond these issues, we believe the Mazza is a great tire that can compete with the best of the best. It is an excellent choice for front tires for hard-charging trail riders who want to try something new.
- Braking Traction
- Incredible Cornering Traction
- Durable Supportive Sidewalls
- Great Grip
A gravity-focused tire from Maxxis, the Assegai, was developed in association with World Cup DH racing legend Greg Minaar. One of the top cornering tyres ever tested by our testers. It has a square form, but because to the tall row of robust side knobs, it rolls effortlessly into corners and hooks up and grips in every situation. Additionally, it offers a ton of braking traction, giving you some of the greatest control possible. It comes in a variety of casings, such as DH, EXO, and EXO+. It was initially only offered in the extremely heavy DH case, but now that lighter choices are available, its adaptability has been extended to the rest of the market.
This tire performs amazingly well in both the front and the back of the bike, where it has been tested. The sticky rubber and towering tread knobs also produce some significant rolling resistance, which comes at a modest weight penalty for this type of traction, cornering performance, and longevity. Having said that, this tire rewards the rider with incredible amounts of grip when pointing down the hill.
Continental Kryptotal Front 2.4
- Great Braking Traction
- Unmatched Cornering Performance
- Highly Durable
- Good for Aggressive Riding
Our testers were thrilled by the Kryptotal Fr, which demonstrated Continental’s return to the top of the tire industry. The Kryptotal, one of several new models in Continental’s inventory, is designed to be the all-rounder for aggressive riding in a variety of terrain and circumstances. On the front wheel, the 2.4″ Trail casing, endurance compound tire was genuinely inspirational; it held steadily through turns and provided excellent braking capability under a variety of circumstances. Because of its outstanding cornering traction and longevity, this is one of our top front tires for hard trail riding.
Despite having the purpose of doing it all, the tire has a very aggressive tread pattern with tall, stout side knobs and similarly tall and aggressive tread in the center and intermediate zones that provide drivers confidence when cornering and using the brakes.
We don’t have many issues with this robust front tread, save for one installation issue that could be put down to an isolated occurrence. The Kryptotal Fr and Kryptotal Re’s trail casings made it difficult for us to get to seat, so we might not suggest them to anyone who prefers a convenience-first, laissez-faire attitude toward bike maintenance. It’s possible that your neighborhood store will regret inflating these.
When looking at tires, there are several things to think about. Things can rapidly become confusing when a ton of jargon and technical phrases are used. One thing is for certain: upgrading your bike’s tires is a reasonably affordable approach to enhance its handling and general performance. We believe this guide on the top 10 best mountain bike tires will enable you to locate the perfect tires for your requirements, budget, and riding style.
What Tires Should I Run on My MTB?
In general, bigger tires should offer better trail traction and control. While trail, enduro, and downhill riders prefer tires 2.3 inches wide and wider, most XC racers will use 1.6 to 2.2 inch tires! On easy trails, narrower tires might go a little more quickly.
How Long Should Mountain Bike Tires Last?
Your grip will start to deteriorate after 500 to 1000 miles, especially while cornering and on steep or loose terrain. Although this wear level can be pushed, many riders choose just to replace the tires at this stage.
Why are Tubeless MTB Tires Better?
Expect a smoother ride and the ability to maintain a grip on challenging terrain with tubeless MTB tires. Biking is intended to keep the tire as much as possible on the ground and away from obstacles.
Is 40 psi Too Much for an MTB?
Lower pressure improves shock absorption and increases traction by allowing more of the tire to make contact with the ground. Since this is a good compromise between riding off-road (closer to 30 psi) and on-road (near to 50 psi), MTB manufacturers generally recommend between 30 and 50 psi on most of their bikes.