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Best Winter MTB Tyres

When the weather closes in, the temperature drops and the heavens open, you’ll need rubber that’s up to the job. We’ve chosen what we think are the best winter mountain bike tyres and put them here to help you decide which are right for you.

These tyres can make a big difference to your enjoyment, performance and control in the wet. All the tyres in this list are good for UK trail conditions and will perform well on rocky and muddy conditions. You can leave these tyres on all winter with no worries.

In our list we’ve chosen the best winter MTB tyre from each of the major brands to get a good spread of what’s available on the market. There are DH tyres with thicker sidewalls to run lower pressures and improve grip, as well as reducing the chance of flats. For less aggressive riding there are also lighter, faster rolling trail tyres which are great for acceleration and climbing.

We’ve picked tubeless ready tyres so you can run lower pressures to improve traction, have less chance of flatting and lower rolling resistance. When setting up for winter most mountain bikers will fit a winter tyre to the front wheel for grip and control where it’s needed and then run a regular tyre at the rear.

All these tyres use different compounds to maximise performance on a range of conditions. Often you’ll find harder rubber in the centre to reduce rolling resistance and softer edges for cornering grip. In terms of tread these MTB tyres have cut down full-mud spikes with widely spaced tread. These tyres clear mud well and offer good grip but stay predictable on the hard stuff. It’s this combination of characteristics that make these MTB tyres so good for winter riding.


Continental Mud King Tyres

Continental Mud King
continental

£49.95 - £59.95



Quick look

Wheel Sizes  26”, 27.5”, 29”


Disciplines  DH, Enduro, Trail


Compound  Black Chilli


Tyre Widths:  1.8” – 2.3”


Tyre Weights:  700g – 1,100g


Review

Conti’s Mud King tyres are a super aggressive tyre with wide open tread spacing to help shed slop quickly. These tyres were developed in conjunction with Atherton Racing. The narrow profile of these tyres helps to clear mud while rolling pretty fast for such a knobbly tyre. Lugs on the edges bite well for confident handling.

You can get the Mud King in super durable DH options or a lighter weight trail option. Key to these tyres is Continental’s Black Chilli compound which blends grip, low rolling resistance and longevity for great all-round usage.

The sidewalls feature an apex layer made of soft elastomer rubber sandwiched between the casing plies to protect against impact damage.



Fast rolling winter tyres developed in conjunction with Atherton Racing.


Maxxis Shorty Tyres

Maxxis Shorty Tyres
maxxis

£63.99 - £74.99



Quick look

Wheel Sizes  26”, 27.5”, 29”


Disciplines  DH, Enduro, Trail


Compound  3C Maxx Tera, SuperTacky, EXO protection


Tyre Widths:  2.3” – 2.5”


Tyre Weights:  1,210g – 1,270g


Review

Maxxis Shorty MTB tyres are very capable for aggressive descents and riding natural conditions. These are more versatile than you’d expect from a mud specific tyre and are good on dry trails too.

Maxxis 3C rubber formula is predictable on loose conditions and withstands abuse well. If you plan on riding gnarly conditions then look for Shorty tyres with EXO sidewall protection. This offers very good cut and abrasion resistance whilst being lightweight and flexible. EXO tyres are ideal for rocky conditions where the chance of damage is high.

Shorty tyres with SuperTacky (ST) compound is a special low rebound, high traction compound. 3C Maxx Terra models use a softer compound that offers more traction than their 3C Maxx Speed, and lower rolling resistance than Maxx Grip.

With a wide range of disciplines, styles and sizes on offer the Shorty is a great choice for most enduro riders (with some trail specific lightweight options too).



Highly versatile tyre for aggressive descents and natural conditions.


Specialized Hillbilly Tyres

Specialized Hillbilly Tyres
specialized

£45.00



Quick look

Wheel Sizes  26”, 27.5”


Disciplines  DH


Compound  Base 70a/Top 42a


Tyre Widths:  2.3” – 2.5”


Tyre Weights:  1,250g – 1,290g


Review

Maxxis Shorty MTB tyres are very capable for aggressive descents and riding natural conditions. These are more versatile than you’d expect from a mud specific tyre and are good on dry trails too.

Specialized Hillbilly MTB tyres are much like the Magic Mary’s, they’re great in the mud as well as other conditions. Their versatility is what put them in the 2016 Dirt 100 – so you can be sure of their quality.

First thing you’ll notice is the moto-inspired knob pattern that’s ideal for moist and dry conditions. This is a DH specific winter tyre with knurled knob tops for improved traction on roots, rocks, logs and pretty much anything else.

Butyl inserts at the tyre bead help cover you against pinch flats when the trail gets particularly rowdy. Excellent mud clearance performance and surefooted handling on intermediate surfaces are what put this winter tyre in our list.



Moto-inspired DH tyre that takes on pretty much anything.


Schwalbe Magic Mary Tyres

Schwalbe Magic Mary Tyres
schwalbe

£34.99 - £64.99



Quick look

Wheel Sizes  26”, 27.5”, 29"


Disciplines  DH, Enduro


Compound  Vertstar / Trailstar


Tyre Widths:  2.3” – 2.5”


Tyre Weights:  Not Stated


Review

You simply can’t have a list of the best winter MTB tyres without including Schwalbe’s Magic Mary tyres. These are one of the most popular intermediate tyres on the market, and have been for some time. They’re favoured by pro DH and enduro riders.

The tread pattern and size inspires aggressive riding in most conditions you’ll encounter in UK trail centres. Like Specialized’s Hillbilly’s these tyres also feature in the 2016 Dirt 100 because of their all-year-round performance.

These tyres come in a range of casings. Super Gravity use a quad ply carcass for stable and safe sidewalls. Tread remains very flexible and grippy with 2 carcass plies and snakeskin protection improves durability. DH Mary’s are super durable tyres with a double carcass and snake-bite protection with a snakeskin side wall and a wire bead. Then you have Bikepark which are very robust and durable but at half the cost. You get a lot of rubber for your money with these.

Schwalbe also offer two compound options – Vertstar and Trailstar. Vertstar is softer and DH orientated while the Trailstar is harder and faster-rolling. With such a wide range of sizes, carcasses and compounds you’re sure to find an option that suits you. These MTB tyres are widely considered to be the benchmark – we agree.



Class leading winter tyres favoured by the pros.