Welcome to the Tire Guide
Whether you want to know more about the key considerations in tire design or you simply want a few well vetted suggestions, our Tire Guide is here to steer you in the right direction.
Trail: Versatile tread patterns and durable construction make these tires the right choice for most riders. Most tires are 2.3 inches or wider and weigh between 650g to 900g, with the heavier options typically employing flat-resistant construction.
Cross Country: Fast-rolling tread designs and lightweight construction make these tires ideal for racing and training, where durability and flat resistance are less important. The contenders are 2.1 to 2.3 inches wide and usually weigh less than 650g.
Enduro: Aggressive tread designs, high-grip rubber compounds, and reinforced construction make these tires ideal for gravity-focused riders willing to trade accelerated wear and additional weight for enhanced traction and flat resistance. Look for widths in the 2.3-2.6 inch range, and expect tires in this category to weigh more than 900g.
2. What’s The
Dry: Tightly spaced knobs for faster rolling speed on compacted surfaces.
Mixed: Versatile tread pattern for traction across a wide range of conditions.
Wet: Open tread pattern and tall knobs for grip in wet and loose soil.
Cross Country - Top Pick
Vittoria Mezcal III G2.0 XCR
The unbroken centerline of the Mezcal's tread makes it obvious that this tire is built with rolling speed in mind, but it's proven to be exceedingly trustworthy on more technical racetracks as well. The tread design opens up towards the side knobs, which helps the Mezcal dig into corners, especially at higher lean angles. And the updated Graphene 2.0 rubber compound blends impressive durability with outstanding grip on wet surfaces, while the feathery XCR casing makes this a truly world-class race tire. We find that it works best on a 25mm wide rim, although it’s equally effective on rims a few millimeters narrower. These key updates have led to wider adoption of the Mezcal on the world stage, and at this point, we think it’s fair to consider the Mezcal III a class leader.
Cross Country - Honorable Mention
Continental Race King
A handful of recent updates to both construction and tread design have brought the long-trusted Race King to the front of the pack among cross country race rubber. Continental added reinforcement to the tire to combat flats, while the tread design now features a more open pattern towards the side knobs, which makes the updated Race King much more predictable in corners than its predecessor. The updated casing plays nicely with rims in the 25mm range, making these a perfect match for the latest race wheels. For cross country racing and training in everything short of truly wet conditions, this tire has more than earned its place as a benchmark in its field.
Trail - Top Pick
WTB Vigilante/Trail Boss
For a sweet spot between rolling speed, longevity, and traction in variable conditions, this pairing from WTB is hard to beat. The Vigilante's open tread pattern offers serious grip when it's loose and dusty, while the Trail Boss's tightly spaced knobs maintain a high degree of rolling speed. The 2.3-inch size works best on rims up to 30mm wide, although we’ve found this combo to be extremely effective on rims as narrow as 25mm. Both tires are available in a heavier duty casing, also known as the "Tough" version, which is great for riders who suffer frequent flats. The stickier HG rubber compound is worth considering for those demanding more traction.
Trail - Honorable Mention
Although just released this season, we’re extremely encouraged by the early feedback we’ve been hearing about this cross country-inspired trail tire from Vittoria. Designed to mimic the rolling speed of an elite endurance race tire, the Agarro’s tread patterns uses stepped knobs for greater predictability on technical climbs. The painstakingly placed knob sipes deliver impressive compliance and trail feel, while the intermediate and side knobs work in concert to deliver stunning cornering grip with a smoother transition to the edge than designs with a more pronounced channel between the center and side knobs. The 2.3 size is designed for rims up to 30mm wide, while the 2.6 size is optimized for rims 30mm or wider.
Enduro - Top Pick
Maxxis Assegai WT Double Down
When the world’s fastest gravity racers switch tires en masse, we take note, and that’s precisely what happened when Maxxis released the Assegai. Designed in collaboration with World Cup Downhill racing’s GOAT, Greg Minaar, the Assegai blends the rolling speed of the Highroller II, the predictable cornering of the Minion DHF, and the versatility of the Minion DHR II into a package that has become a one-tire solution to every problem short of torrential rain. We’ve chosen to highlight the Double Down version, which represents the sweet spot between the heavier downhill spec dual ply version, and the lighter yet less flat-resistant EXO+ version. The WT designation indicates that these tires are designed for rims 30-35mm wide. When you want to be ready for absolutely anything, the Assegai is the preferred tool for the job.
Enduro - Honorable Mention
Schwalbe Magic Mary/Hans Dampf
Schwalbe's Magic Mary has become a go-to option for riders faced with loose and steep terrain, and the latest Addix version lends an updated rubber compound that's both softer and longer lasting than the previous options. Although this loose conditions specialist works very well as a rear tire when traction is the only concern, we prefer to pair it with the new Hans Dampf, which rolls significantly faster. Although these tires are listed at 2.35 inches wide, they measure much wider than many other tires in this size range, and we’ve found that they work best on a 30mm wide rim. Like the Magic Mary, the Hans Dampf is available in Schwalbe's reinforced Super Gravity casing.This adds much needed flat protection for race use, and makes the tire equally appealing to heavier riders and those heading into extremely rocky terrain.