An update to my original MTB tyre review post back in 2014 has shaken out some new upgrades, but also confirmed some family favourites – MTB tyres (tires) that deliver for Enduro racers and All Mountain explorers.
Searching the net to find what combinations work can be arduous, but the consensus seems to come back to a handful of combinations that tested by racers, media and weekend warriors alike.
For the uninitiated, the premise around tyre selection, at its most basic level, is to have your high gripping, larger knobbied tyre upfront (FT – Front Tyre) and a faster rolling, smaller knobbied tyre at the back (RT – Rear Tyre).
Yes there are a number of variables that can affect this, but in general start there and then adjust depending on the terrain, conditions, riding style, weight etc.
Just like trying to pick that one bike that can ‘do all’ in the All Mountain category, there will be some compromises with selecting a front and rear mtb tyre combo, so the below will help to get that tyre combination dialed for most riding situations.
Best MTB Tyre Combinations – Enduro & All Mountain
An ‘oldie, but a goodie’ and excellent value choice, especially in the dry, running a Hi Roller II up front will ensure a confidence in cornering and a stable feel, even in the more sketchy sections of trail. Team this with an Ardent on the back for aggressive trail set up. If you need a more alpine, All Mountain combination from Maxxis, check out the below.
The new choice of many and one of the staples on entrants in the Enduro World Series, including the Canyon Team, the DHF. The fast rolling semi slick has the elevated Minion side knobbies, with a fast yet grippy, rolling centre. As suggested by Maxxis, they developed the semi-slick to bridge the gap between an XC and DH tire, combining the good (side knobs) with the fast (semi-slick centre).
The Magic Mary is a beast of a tyre and leans heavy towards the DH ride conditions. Couple this with the Hans Dampf, you have an aggressive All Mountain combination. The Magic Mary is described as having a intermediate tread profile for excellent cornering and high performance braking. The Hans Dampf was launched a couple of years ago and is know as the All Rounder, ideal for All Mountain conditions. Schwalbe offer their tyres in both the EVO line (high end) and the Performance Line (mid range – high value) for budget conscious riders.
The WTB range of Tyres have been proven on the Enduro circuit, used by the worlds best, including veteran rider and Enduro racer Mark Weir from team Cannondale. The Vigilante has been pitched by WTB as their Enduro specific tyre, calling out the key features that all riders are looking for – stability in loose, wet & muddy conditions, while the tread pattern allows for surety in its cornering. The trail boss is its fast rolling partner, while the tread pattern may not be as fast as others, it provides a solid combination on the trail.
For something a little out of left field, the french hardware and soft goods maker have range of tyres in their Crossmax range, which suits their product offering of aligning with Enduro racing, of which they are heavily invested in. The Charge needs to live up to the reputation of Mavic’s Crossmax platform as ‘Enduro Tough’ and by all reports the Charge & Quest nail it. With super stability through the corners and a noticeable acceleration courtesy of the Quest rear tyre, this combination has been purpose built for Enduro racers and All Mountain riders.
At the end of the day, if you can get one mtb tyre combo for Enduro and AM riding, then this is essentially the holy grail. Ideally a tyre combination that can handle most conditions well (or very well) – confident cornering, fast rolling and a feeling of being ‘connected’ to the trail.
No requirement to change up tyres for every condition imaginable – we don’t have time for that or the budget.
If you are looking for something different from the stock tyres you get on your bike, any of the combinations above (especially the Maxxis ones) will be well worth the investment.