How to Choose Mountain Bike Tires?

Tires of a mountain bike play a very important role for a bicyclist to ride with full power, confidence and efficiency. Hence, it is important that you have knowledge regarding how to choose mountain bike tires. For choosing mountain bike tires in a correct way there are some aspects that you will need to consider and keep in mind. And for enlightening you we have listed down all the essential information that you should know about.

01. Choosing mountain bike tires according to some features:

a. Choose a tire that has great traction:

Get a tire for your bike that will give you a boost of confidence because of letting you to progress in a faster way being a rider.  If you need to speed with your mountain bike there is a requirement for your tires to have lower rolling resistance. Without that you will notice your tires always trying to hold on a grip causing you to slow down.

b. Go tubeless: 

Select a tire that does not have a tube in them. Going tubeless helps you to eliminate the possibility of facing flat tires and you will not face a hard time. You will not feel bouncy while riding your bicycle as the tire will have much lower pressure. Furthermore, because of being tubeless, which means there is no tube at all, you will not face the issue of a pinched flat tire.

c. Go for tires that are light in weight:

The benefit of choosing tires that are lightweight provides a psychological benefit rather than a physical benefit. Tires occupy a very less amount of weight of the overall weight. Hence, having in your mind that they are light in weight will help you ride with even more power and efficiency that will help you in speeding up.

02. Considering the width of a tire:

a. Choose tires that are wide in diameter:

Wide tires help in accepting more air volume acting as a shock absorber for bumps on roads. Hence, if the routes down a mountain seems rocky you can go through it smoothly. For accommodation of wide tires, you can get yourself ride rims or if you want you can go for wider tires on the current rim that you have.

b. Verify about clearances:

You need to verify about the clearance within your frame for any new tire that you get and specially if it wide in diameter. This makes sure that the width of the tire is compatible with the frame that you have.

03. Choosing a mountain bike tire according to riding style:

a. Cross-country riding: 

During cross country riding, giving importance to climbing efficiency is essential more than giving it to traction and extra durability. If you are looking for tires that light in terms of weight and can roll fast enough you will need to look for tires that are smaller and have densely spaced lugs.

b. Trial Riding:

For such kind of riding there is a necessity of having tires with average level of traction, durability and as well as speed.

c. All mountain biking:

All mountain biking means that you will need to be reaching to the top. Hence, there is a requirement of your tires to hold a grip that is when enough when you will be taking turns at a good speed. You will need to have tires that can tolerate moderate impacts from bumps. For such causes you will need to mountain bike tires that have bigger side lugs.

d. Downhill riding:

For downhill riding, you will need tires that can handle impacts, tough landings and have the capability of clawing when you will be going around difficult turns. Furthermore, you will need a lift from the tire to the top. Hence, it is required that you tire have the capability of going down towards gravity by keeping you safe.

04. Having knowledge about how tire tread affects the riding performance:

Apart of what we have listed above there are certain tire features that you have to know. Knowing the functions of these features will help you choose you mountain bike tire according to your riding style.

a. Large and widely spaced lugs:

You will be going through soft and muddy roads, if that is what you choose. Hence, you will need to have tires that are large and have widely spaced lugs. Having so, lets the tire have a strong grip onto soft muddy ground.

b. Small and closely spaced lugs:

For having average grip and lower resistance so that you can ride your bike with high speed there is a necessity of your tire to have small and closely spaced lugs. The choice depends on your riding style for sure.

c. Lugs that slant rearward:

Tires with these kind of lugs reduce the rolling resistance in the center to help a rider speed up and go faster.

d. Bigger side lugs:

For having a grip on roads you will need these kind of tires. The lugs provide and extra grip in corners of a tire allowing you to have a control on your bike for the riding style that you choose.

d. Transition lugs: 

Transition lugs are situated between the center and the side lugs. They help in increasing the grip when you wish to go around turns by leaning forward. Having tires with transition lugs allows a smooth transition from center to side lugs.

e. Sipes:

Sipes do the job of slitting within the lugs to assist them for having a better grip on roads that have a hard and slick surface.

05. Additional features of mountain bike tires:

a. Rubber compounds: 

Two kind of rubber compounds are used by different brands while making mountain bike tires. Rubber compounds one is soft and the other one is hard. Tires that contain soft rubber compounds will help you get a better grip while riding the mountain bicycle on roads.

On the other hand, tires made up of hard rubber compounds increases the durability and longevity of the tires while offering you a lower rolling resistance. Mountain bikes that will be used for racing purposes use single rubber compounds that offer a very superior grip. However, such tires get worn out very easily and last up till very few rides.

The best tires are the ones that have both the soft and hard compounds combined together. Manufacturers situate the harder rubber compound in the center, which allows the tire to roll faster and stay durable. The soft rubber compound is situated on the sides of the tire for riders to go around corners easily. More traction is also provided with soft rubber compound.

b. Puncture resistance:

Being a mountain bike rider you should know that you will be crossing roads of thorns. Hence, for added protection from getting their tires punctured riders choose tires that are heavy in terms of weight. Riders also choose buying tires that have durable rubber compounds in them.

However, the actual key in protection from puncture is to look for tires that have a good casing. The tires must have overall protective casing. This is being said, as there are tires that have protective casing in just the sidewalls. Such tires have the high possibility of getting punctured very easily. hence, for mountain bikers it is essential that this aspect is kept in mind.


To sum up, if you are in search of a perfect guide that will feed you with enough knowledge regarding how to choose mountain bike tires, then you have found one. All the aspects that you should look in a tire according to your riding style have been listed above. Also, all the features of a tire that can affect the performance have been also highlighted.

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