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The 6 Best Mountain Bike Tires of 2021

Your mountain bike tires are quite literally where the rubber hits the road. They’re the one contact point between your bike, and whatever trail you’re riding. As such, your choice of tires is very important. The best bike in the world won’t feel good with poorly chosen tires on it. But there are so many tire options out in the world, each one boasting a unique combination of tread pattern, rubber compound, casing, and width. It can be difficult to figure out which are the best mountain bike tires for your bike.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best mountain bike tires out there, to remove the guesswork for you. These are our top choices for all-round mountain bike tires that are ready to take on a little of everything. From Colorado moon dust, to PNW loam, these tires will have you covered.

But even amongst this group of the “best” tires we’ve found, each tire still has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. So we’ve broken down what type of rider will prefer which tire, as well as including a table of diameters and widths available for each tire. So stop settling for inconsistent traction - your bike deserves the best bike tires for the trails you ride.


Maxxis Minion DHF

Best mountain bike tires of 2021
 
 

Maxxis’s “Minion” series of tires has become almost synonymous with the category of high-traction, aggressive tires that can handle everything from trail riding to full on DH racing. The DHF is designated as a front-specific tire, that’s what the “f” stands for. It’s a fast rolling, hard cornering tire, that works well on everything from hardpack flow trails, to loose loamers.

The Minion DHF might be the most versatile tire in this list. Plenty of folks love it as a front-only tire, however, an equal number of riders run a DHF front and rear. That’s because it rolls a little faster than the Minion DHR II, while only sacrificing a little bit of climbing and braking traction. A common combo is to run a 2.5” wide DHF on the front, with a 2.3” wide DHF on the rear. If you’re looking for the most versatile all-round tire you can find, the DHF is one of the best mountain bike tires you can choose.

Wheel SizeWidth Original Price
24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”2.3”, 2.35”, 2.5”, 2.6”$65-90

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Maxxis Minion DHR II

Best mountain bike tires of 2021
 
 

As its name suggests, the DHR II is the rear-specific tire from Maxxis’s lineup. This second iteration borrows some design cues from the also-popular High Roller II. It has very similar cornering characteristics to the DHF, and offers plenty of cornering traction on a wide variety of trail surfaces, but it doesn’t roll quite as quickly. That’s because it’s got more aggressive center knobs to aid in braking and technical climbing.

If rolling speed is less important to you than traction and control on steep ups or downs, the DHR II is the perfect rear tire option for you. It’s the kind of tire you can throw on your bike and not have to think about no matter what the weather does.

Wheel SizesWidths Original Price
24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”2.3”, 2.35”, 2.5”, 2.6”$68 - $90

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Schwalbe Magic Mary

Best mountain bike tires of 2021
 
 

Looking for an aggressive tire that sheds mud and dirt easily when conditions get moist? Look no further than the Schwalbe Magic Mary. The Magic Mary is all about traction, whether you’re cornering or braking, it hooks up strong. It doesn’t roll quite as smoothly as some of the other options out there, and that's not the point.

If you’re looking for quick, supple tires for mellow trail rides on hardpack singletrack, the Magic Mary isn’t the best choice. But if you want to push yourself, and your bike in steep, gnarly, inconsistent terrain, the Magic Mary delivers traction you can rely on.

Wheel SizeWidth Original Price
27.5”, 29”2.35"$98

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Schwalbe Nobby Nic

Best mountain bike tires of 2021
 
 

If you’ve only ever ridden the old Nobby Nic, you owe it to yourself to try the new one. And if you’ve never ridden a Nobby Nic, well, this latest version might just be the most versatile tire on the market. It’s rare to see racers all the way from XC to DH running the same tire on the front of their rigs, but the Nobby Nic’s tread pattern gets it done in a huge variety of conditions.

For riders focused more on efficiency, the Nobby Nic is a great option as a front tire, with a less aggressive tire on the rear. But Enduro and downhill riders who like to push their limits on the descents will appreciate the combo of Nobby Nic front and rear. The Nic excels in a wide variety of conditions and offers predictable traction for lap after lap.

Wheel SizeWidth Original Price
27.5”, 29”2.35"$89

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Vittoria Mazza Trail

Best mountain bike tires of 2021
 
 

Vittoria designed the Mazza as an aggressive do-everything tire that excels in a wide variety of conditions. And that design philosophy isn’t just evident in the chunky, heavily siped tread. In fact, much of what makes the Mazza so special isn’t visible to the naked eye. Vittoria actually uses four different rubber compounds in the Mazza to give it the perfect mix of grip and durability. And they use graphene-infused rubber that helps with lowering rolling resistance and improving durability.

That all adds up to a tire that’s confidence-inspiring on the front or rear of your bike, regardless of the trail conditions. Sure, there are better mud-specific tires and faster-rolling dry conditions tires, but if you want a set-it and forget it tire that offers tons of traction no matter what the trails throw at you, the Mazza is your best bet.

Wheel SizeWidth Original Price
27.5”, 29”2.4", 2.6"$74.99

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Maxxis Assegai

Best mountain bike tires of 2021
 
 

While the DHF and DHR II are nearly legendary tires that have been winning races for many years, the Assegai is a relative newcomer to Maxxis’s lineup. The Assegai isn’t designed to be some kind of jack of all trades, instead it’s got one focus: traction. Tons of traction. This is not the tire for folks trying to set uphill KOM’s. This is not the tire for people riding mellow, rolling terrain. This tire is meant to hold traction while you’re going fast in chunky, technical terrain.

The Assegai has one of the most aggressive knob patterns on the market. Much of its power comes from its cornering knobs, but it holds its own braking or climbing up loose terrain as well. For most folks the Assegai works best as a front tire, many riders don’t need the locked-in traction the Assegai provides as a rear tire. But for those looking for the most grip they can find, this is one of the best mtb tires you can choose.

Wheel SizeWidth Original Price
27.5”, 29”2.5", 2.6"$65 - $90

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