How to Select Mountain Bike Tires

Get a Grip: Choosing the Mountain Bike Tires

When it comes to riding off road, your tires play a huge role in performance. Having the right tire can be the difference between ripping corners and sliding out. It’s all about finding the perfect combination of traction, weight and durability, so let’s get started!

Parts of a Tire:

Selecting Mountain Bike Tires

Are you riding on dirt, sand, mud, or snow? Good, then this is the right category for you. If you’re riding on paved surfaces, make sure to check out our guide to road bike tires. The first question you need to ask yourself when selecting tires is where will I be riding? Deep dust, mud, lots of rocks, slippery roots, hard pack, gravel/ dirt road? The type of dirt and the conditions play a key role in the type of tire you’ll want to use. Next, you’ll want to consider your goal while riding. If you’re a recreational rider looking to have a good time and be safe, your tire choice may be different from an XC racer riding the same trail. When you’re making tire selection decisions here are some of the things you want to think about:

Wheel Size

First thing’s first, know your wheel size when you’re looking for new tires: 26, 27.5 or 29!

Tire Width

Tire Tread

Type of Tire


Remember, tread and compounds will vary widely from brand to brand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your local bike shop to ensure you are getting a tire which meets your needs. All tire decisions start with simple questions: Where am I riding? What are my goals? What am I willing to spend (and how often am I willing to replace my tires)?

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