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How to choose your Mountain Bike Tyres

Your mountain bike tyres should be chosen wisely so that you can enjoy the best performance and have a great time on your rides. How? We'll explain it all in detail. But before we get to the heart of the matter, it is important to point out that there are two main criteria for choosing your mountain bike tyres.

Two criteria to choose the right mountain bike tyres

Be sure to pick the right MTB tyre size

As mentioned in MICHELIN guide to understanding bike tyre size , MTB tyres should be sized correctly for your bicycle's wheels. Tyre size is important in tyre choice and is indicated on the tyre wall. The documents provided by the manufacturer of your bike will also give you the recommended tyre sizes and maximum tyre widths. To make sure your tyre fits well, only choose MICHELIN MTB tyres with the corresponding specific diameter. 

Choose the right MTB tyre for the right usage

Picking the right tyre size is only a part of the story. Casual mountain bikers and cyclists who take part in competitive events expect different performance from the tyres they select. While some just want to cycle on soft trail, others aspire to more advanced uses.

The good news is that MICHELIN has produced a selection of mountain bike tyres subdivided into different ranges for the various MTB activities. Whatever kind of cycling you plan to do, we have the right range for you.

For example, if you want high-performance MTB tyres built for enduro, our MICHELIN Enduro range. will meet your needs. If you are involved in other disciplines, we also offer tyres for Cross Country, E-Bike tyres, and a Downhill range. You can also find Freestyle tyres within the MTB range of products as well as an Everyday tyre range designed for general use.

Some of our tyres, such as those in the MICHELIN Cross Country range, offer a low-profile tread, which makes them suitable for hard surfaces and provides better performance in terms of rolling resistance than a downhill tyre (which is more focused on grip).  Others, such as the MICHELIN mud tyres, provide specific tread blocks. This feature helps to provide better grip and stability on wet or soft ground, yet gives a good all-round performance in dry conditions, too. 

What are the best MICHELIN mountain bike tyres?

No single range of mountain bike tyres can be said to be the best – because they are all designed for different purposes.

For example, even if you feel you have chosen the best MTB mud tyres, they may not perform as well on hard surfaces as tyres specifically designed for them. It is therefore important to choose your tyres according to their intended use.

Identifying the best MTB tyres for your use should be fairly simple as all the MICHELIN mountain bike tyres ranges are logically named according to a their discipline. For example: Force XC is for Cross Country, Force or Wild AM for All Mountain, Wild ENDURO for Enduro, DH for DownHill…

Don’t forget that the performance of all mountain bike tyres can be adjusted and fine-tuned by carefully altering the air pressure level.

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Can you use road tyres on a mountain bike?

Using road tyres for mountain biking is not recommended.

Why? Simply because slick treads and compound of road tyres are not designed for off-road uses. Road and city tyres are only compatible with asphalt or gravel paths. And as we shall see, there is also a question of wheel size. 

Why road bike tyres are not suitable for MTB wheels

There are several differences between road and MTB wheels. To begin with, on road bikes the wheel size is expressed in millimetres, while on mountain bikes it is expressed in inches. But the main difference is that their width is different. 

Even though it’s now fashionable to have slightly wider road bike wheels, the vast majority of MTBs still have far wider wheels. Even on hybrid and city bicycles, which usually have wider wheels than road bikes, the rims are not wide enough for mountain biking. The tyre could come off the rim and affect your safety during the ride. 

Find out more about tyre/rim compatibility

Mountain bikes have wider rims to accommodate wider tyres because they provide the greater stability, traction and handling that’s needed when riding across rough terrain. Even if you found a matching set and fitted road bike tyres to your MTB, the resultant lack of grip and poor handling ability would be very disappointing – as well as dangerous.

If you are wondering how to ride your mountain bike safely on the road with a better rolling efficiency, the best way is to get another set of wheels with road tyres and put them on your MTB for your road trips. Otherwise, you should choose mountain bike tyres that are also suitable for road use.

What Mountain bike tyres are suitable for the road?

The best MTB tyres for road use are ones with slick surfaces and fewer knobbly sections. For example, tyres from MICHELIN cross country ranges fall into the category of suitable mountain bike tyres for road and trail and will allow cyclists to ride faster on harder surfaces. So, if you plan to use your mountain bike on the road, these are the tyres to go for. In addition, they will also continue to perform well if you ride on off-road trails.

Can I put wider tyres on my mountain bike?

Fitting wider tyres on a mountain bike is possible if there is sufficient clearance to do so. It depends on the frame specifications. The maximum tyre widths are defined by the bicycle manufacturers. It is usually not hard to fit wider mountain bike tires to a mountain bike wheel, provided you buy the right diameter.

Wider MTB tyres provide better traction and improved handling
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