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The best mountain bike tyres 2022

Joseph Delves
8 Aug 2020

A breakdown of the best mountain bike tyres of 2022 along with what to look for before you buy

Nothing will transform your mountain bike like a new set of tyres. The final interface between it and the ground you're rolling over, they affect everything from rolling resistance and grip to comfort and braking.

Tailored to different applications and styles of riding, each tyre’s volume, width, tread, compound and construction will play a part in its performance. When choosing which you want to clip onto your wheels, overall weight and durability are also key considerations.

As many riders have switched to tubeless, the ability to fend off different types of punctures has become less important. Yet it remains something to consider.

Think you’ve made your choice? Wait up one minute. Complicating things further is the fact some tyres are also better suited to use on either the front or back wheel. A faster rolling rear tyre paired to a grippier front tyre being a popular combination.

Finally, with lots of tyres coming in multiple versions, we’ve picked what we consider the superstar model as our favourite. Aiming to suit a broad swathe of the trail, aggressive XC and enduro crowd, here are our picks...

The best mountain bike tyres

Schwalbe Hans Dampf, Addix Speedgrip

Buy now from Tredz from £49.99

Able to hold its own on lift-accessed downhill courses, yet also happy blasting around trail centres. This tyre's broad skill-set means it’s well suited to everything from loam to rock and hardpack.

Available as wide as 2.8-inches, level it up with a SuperGravity carcass for gnarlier applications or go lighter for more balanced performance. Either way, it works well both front and rear.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: As aggressive a trail tyre as you can find, yet never a drag. Performs well solo up front

Buy now from Tredz from £49.99

Schwalbe Rock Razor, Addix Speedgrip

Buy now from Tredz from £42.99

A robust semi-slick rear tyre to cut weight and rolling resistance without giving away cornering grip. Paired to something beefier up front this is an ideal trailing option for dry and fast conditions.

As its name suggests it’s happy in among the rocks thanks to a tough construction and high volume. Leaning over, its side lugs provide excellent cornering, although the slick centre reduces braking power slightly. Generally excellent, just don’t rely on it in sloppy conditions.

Best suited: Rear  
Traits: Fast rolling rear tyre that retains enough braking bite in everything but sloppy mud

Buy now from Tredz from £42.99

WTB Vigilante, Tough High Grip

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles from £25.99

This thuggish tyre is great up front or when used as a pair. With big lugs, it’ll tear into the ground, while its softer compound versions boost grip and help stop the bike rebounding off the trail surface.

Available in a range of sizes from wide to tractor-compatible, these all come up pleasingly big thanks to a sizable internal volume. Clearing fairly well, they’ll do year-round service, although good weather may have you wishing for something a bit quicker on the rear.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: The last stop before you’re into downhill tyres. Very capable, maybe a bit slow when used as a pair

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles from £25.99

WTB Trail Boss, TCS Light Fast Rolling

Buy now from Wiggle from £29.99

A happy medium, the versatile Trail Boss is content on most routes that don’t require a chairlift to get at. Of a decent weight, and with a tread that’s closely enough spaced to be fast rolling, they’re good in everything except for sloppy mud.

The tipping point in the WTB range, aggressive riders can use them out back to increase speed, while XC heads can go the other way and speed things up by using in conjunction with the semi-slick Riddler.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: A safe choice that’s nowhere near being boring. Can mix and match as it plays well with others

Buy now from Wiggle from £29.99

WTB Riddler, TCS Light Fast Rolling

Buy now from Wiggle from £41.39

WTB’s version of an aggressive semi-slick. A perfect match to any of WTB’s more aggressive tyres when you want to inject some speed, just don't let yourself get caught in the mud.

Using the diddly knobbles of an XC tyre down the centre, but the casing, side lugs and volume of a much rowdier tyre, they’re fast in a straight line, will cling on through the corners and don’t give away too much braking power.

Best suited: Rear  
Traits: A speedy alternative to WTB’s more aggressive treads. Also suits use as a pair for dusty XC races

Buy now from Wiggle from £41.39

Continental Trail King, ProTection Apex Black Chili

Buy now from Wiggle from £43.99

Shell-out for the top flight Black Chilli compound and the Trail King still retains a claim to its crown. Light, flexible, yet robust, Continental knows how to make a tyre.

The grip is good, a trait seemingly imparted by both the tread and the rubber itself. Despite this, they still roll well enough to make them a good partner on longer rides. Not possessing the deepest tread, they’re better suited to dry or mixed conditions than greasy mud.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: Versatile. Ideal trail centre or adventure tyre. Doesn't like slippery conditions

Buy now from Wiggle from £43.99

Bontrager XR4, Team Issue TLR

Buy now from Trek from £39.99

Bontrager occasionally spits out a great tyre, and the XR4 is one of them. Aggressive without being ill-mannered, its flexible casing and low weight mean it rolls faster than you would expect given the look of it – a quality boosted by its dual-compound rubber construction.

This sees softer material employed on the tyre’s sides. With a tread pattern that’s wide enough to bite and clear well, yet still carries speed on flatter sections, it’s an excellent all-rounder.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: Burly but well mannered, you can take the XR4 anywhere

Buy now from Trek from £39.99

Maxxis High Roller II, Dual compound EXO

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles from £42.99

Formerly the tyre to have for aggressive riding, this medium weight EXO version is still a great choice for hard-charging trail riders. Speed it up with a slick rear, or double up for assured braking and full bar-to-the-floor cornering ability.

Also available in myriad versions, the soft compound options are a drag on the flat but stick like peanut butter to a shagpile rug when pointed downhill.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: A downhill tyre remade for enduro and aggressive trail riding. Loads of grip

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles from £42.99

Maxxis Ardent, EXO

Buy now from Wiggle from £33.49

As an all-around trail tyre, these won’t sell you short on most terrain. Broadly spaced, their tread is aggressive enough to grab most types of terrain, from loam to rocks.

At the same time, the knobbles are widely enough spaced to clear well in the mud, making for a great year-round option for UK conditions.

Working well both front and back, equally you could use the standard Ardent with the semi-slick Ardent Race on the rear for a more XC-orientated set-up.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: The more civilised Maxxis. Good in most situations from XC to enduro

Buy now from Wiggle from £33.49

Specialized Ground Control, 2BLISS

Buy now from Leisure Lakes from £40 

Specialized makes a range of excellent and keenly-priced tyres. Along with newer and more aggressive models, I still rate the trusty Ground Control. Sensible trail tyres, they’re cheap, easy to set up tubeless and tough while remaining quite light.

Gripping in the corners, yet rolling well on the straight bits, they also seem happy whatever the weather or trail throws at them. All in, I doubt anyone who’s bought them has regretted doing so.

Best suited: Front or pair  
Traits: A classic trail riding choice. Not too gnarly, but not wimpy either

Buy now from Leisure Lakes from £40 

See our list of best full suspension mountain bikes

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