Selecting Mountain Bike Tires: Sorts & Sizes

by jpc_touring-bicycle

For those who’ve been mountain biking for some time and are feeling prefer it’s time to up your recreation, a tire improve affords a number of bang for the buck. How, you ask?

Achieve traction or decrease rolling resistance: Getting a tire with larger traction brings larger confidence, which interprets to extra enjoyable and sooner development as a rider. When you’ve got a necessity for velocity, although, think about sacrificing somewhat grip to achieve rolling effectivity.

Going tubeless means fewer flats: It received’t finish all flats, however tubeless sealant fixes some flats on the fly and also you’ll by no means have the dreaded pinch flat (no tube to pinch!). You may also journey with a a lot decrease tire strain, supplying you with a much less bouncy journey and a greater really feel for the path. Learn extra about the advantages of going tubeless.

Avoid wasting weight: Typically the good thing about going lighter is extra psychological than bodily—tires are a small share of general bike weight. That stated, grams add up and decreasing mass in rotational parts (wheels, tires, cranks) can repay since you expend much less vitality to maneuver them.

Earlier than you begin purchasing, try our Bike Tires: Find out how to Select article to study extra about tire specs and terminology.


Mountain Bike Tire Measurement and Width

When you’ve recognized your tire diameter (29”, 27.5” or 26”), you’ll need to dial in your width:

A cross-country bike can have tires within the 1.9″ to 2.25″ width vary.
Path and all-mountain bikes can have tires within the 2.25″ to 2.4″ width vary.
Downhill bikes, which are supposed to face up to the abuse of drops and rock gardens, are sometimes outfitted with tires as much as 2.5″ extensive.
Fats-tire bikes, which can be utilized for all-season path driving, have tire widths of three.7″ to five” or extra.

Contemplate wider tires: Although heavier, wider tires provide higher traction (a plus for sand) for a extra assured really feel. In addition they settle for extra air quantity to soak up bumps. You possibly can go along with a wider tire on a present rim or get wider rims to accommodate even wider tires.

All the time confirm clearances: With any new tire, particularly a wider one, you’ll want to be certain it has sufficient clearance inside your body. For extra particulars about wheel, tire and body compatibility, see our Bike Wheels: Find out how to Select article.


Selecting Mountain Bike Tires by Driving Fashion

For those who’re not sure the way you’d classify your driving type, try our introductory mountain biking article. As a result of no tire excels at all the things, it’s best to concentrate on attributes which can be most vital to your driving type.

For cross-country driving, climbing effectivity is extra vital than traction or further sturdiness, so that you need to take a look at tires which can be light-weight and roll quick (search for smaller, extra densely spaced lugs).

For path driving, an all-around tire is smart. You desire a reasonable degree of traction, sturdiness and velocity.

Although you need to journey to the highest, the main target for all-mountain biking is on descents. You want tires that grip nicely while you take turns at velocity and tires that may face up to reasonable impacts (search for larger facet lugs).

For downhill driving, you’re getting a raise to the highest, so that you want a burly, tenacious set of tires for gravity-fueled enjoyable. You want tires that may deal with some abuse, stick landings and claw their approach round turns.


How Tire Tread Impacts Efficiency

The design of the knobs—or lugs—on a set of knobby mountain bike tires varies extensively. Understanding how these and different tire options have an effect on efficiency will provide help to match your tires to your driving type.

Large, extensively spaced lugs chunk into comfortable, muddy floor; extensive channels do a great job of releasing the muck.
Small, carefully spaced lugs provide modest grip with low rolling resistance (extra velocity).
Ramped lugs (slanting rearward): Usually within the middle, they decrease rolling resistance that can assist you go sooner.
Aspect lugs: Usually larger, they supply further grip in corners.
Transition lugs: Positioned between the middle and facet lugs, they enhance grip as you lean right into a flip; the result’s a smoother transition from middle lugs to facet lugs.
Sipes: These slits throughout the lugs assist them have higher grip on arduous, slick surfaces.

Notice: Many manufacturers additionally classify or describe their tires in response to the supposed terrain.


Further Mountain Bike Tire Options


Rubber Compounds

Manufacturers dedicate a number of analysis and improvement to their rubber compounds. They attempt to stability contradictory objectives: good grip, lengthy put on and low rolling resistance. Comfortable compounds gives you higher grip, whereas a more durable rubber will last more and give you decrease rolling resistance.

Race tires typically use a single compound that provides superior grip. However these single compound tires are normally worn out after just a few rides.

One widespread design answer for nonracing tires is a dual-compound rubber. They’ve more durable rubber within the middle to assist the tire roll sooner and last more. On the perimeters of the tire, the realm of the tire most important for cornering, is a softer rubber to supply extra traction.


Puncture Resistance

Loads of alluring trails have jagged edges and thorns mendacity in wait. That’s why so many riders gladly commerce somewhat added weight for lots of added safety.

Sturdy rubber helps, however the important thing to puncture safety lies throughout the casing. Having a 2-ply tire is one tactic. Reinforcements product of Kevlar® and different protecting supplies is one other. Some tires place safety in simply the sidewalls, that are particularly susceptible, whereas different tires are beefed up from bead to bead.


Mountain Bike Tire Purchasing Ideas

Begin with one set of tires: Whereas racers have tires for a number of conditions, you can begin with a single set of recent tires. Take into consideration how and the place you normally journey. Then concentrate on probably the most difficult varieties of driving and terrain you propose to sort out.

Resolve if you wish to combine and match: It comes down to private choice. Some riders want a tire with extra traction up entrance and one with much less rolling resistance in again. Some riders like the identical surefootedness in every single place. Strive it a method now and experiment with the opposite method subsequent time.

Speak with an REI bike specialist at REI: The consultants there know the terrain in your space and might make suggestions or particular order tires to satisfy your wants.


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Selecting Mountain Bike Tires: Sorts & Sizes  
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