Choosing the right tyres is essential when mountain biking, as it is the only point of contact which the rider has to the ground. Whilst this is also true for road racing tyres, different demands exist for MTBs. The optimal tyre offers the perfect grip and cornering stability on any surface, where even moist roots and wet limestone cannot slow the tyres down. At the same time, they offer perfect puncture protection and weigh practically nothing. The attentive observer realizes quickly, that a tire can never meet all the requirements at the same time and thus true specialists in various disciplines have emerged. As such, the tread and rubber compound must fit to the respective surface and it is important to measure rolling resistance against the optimal grip. The difference between wire and folding tyre on the other hand, is affected by the tyre construction: Clincher tyres are more affordable models that often come into use as OEM parts and which are a little heavier due to the wire on the edge. Folding tyres on the other hand are high quality processed and foldable, as such they fit easily into a backpack when on tour.
Light and fast - tyres for Cross-country MTB
In the racing and competition disciplines, the focus is on the tyres' low weight and good rolling layer. The tread and hardness of the rubber compound can however differ slightly from what is originally stated. This is because for what ultimately counts in the race is the sum provided from wattage capacity when pedaling. The optimal tyre changes as much as possible of the pedaling energy into propulsion. Even though competition tyres may not always have the most thick puncture protection, a tubeless-setup can compensate for this.
The balancing act - All Mountain and Enduro
Both disciplines - All Mountain and Enduro - are distinguished by the fact that the rider of the bike must pedal to the highest point of the tour by himself/herself. In this phase of the journey, the rider benefits from light and fast tyres. Once at the top, the rider wants a completely contradictory characteristic. On the downhill, the tyres should provide a lot of grip and pinch flat protection, remain stable on the track and offer maximum control and braking performance in any situation. To unite these two extremes is not easy, but the manufacturer Schwalbe offers different products in exactly this niche. Often different rubber mixtures come into play in the front and rear tyre. The front receives a soft grip in order to improve safety, whilst the rear receives a hard grip for less rolling resistance.
These monsters flatten everything - Freeride and Downhill
Downhill and Freeriders usually move their bikes upwards via a lift or shuttle. Thus in these disciplines, heavy tyres with soft rubber mixtures and high pinch flat protection can be used. As the tyres are tubeless, the air pressure may also be lowered to 1.5 bar for traction benefits. As such, these profiles are wide, anti-skidding and simply just elevated.
In addition to a perfect tyre belongs a suitable pump with pressure gauge, spare tubes and puncture repair kit. The regular inspection of the tire is part of the routine of bike care, and even on tour you should always carry a bike pump.