If you want to use your mountain bike well, not on a mountain trail, you’ll need road tires – here are the best of them.
Biking is something that so many truly enjoy. It’s a mode of transportation, a hobby, and a physical exercise all in one! It can be done on many different types of terrain, depending on what you’re looking for. However, most people usually want their bike to be versatile; capable of going on trails and also on roads. If you fall under this category, then it’s important that you find the best tires for a mountain bike on the road.
But how exactly do you know which set of tires to get? Which exactly are the best?
To help you out, we’ve put together this buying guide. The guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to find the right tires for you. Everything that you need to look for in a tire is right there too. And of course, we’ve put together five of the best – our recommendations in the review. Here they are below.
1. Kenda K838 Bicycle Tire (Slick Wire Bead)
If you ask us, we would definitely say that the tires from this brand are some of the best of the best for mountain bikes. Of course, it only makes sense that they would also offer the right tires for a mountain bike. The tire we would like to recommend first is the Kenda K838, a slick wire bead type bicycle tire by a company that is highly respected by cyclists the world over. These tires are often a regular pick by many, and here we will see why.
This model features hybrid construction and wire bead, and they are basically patterned from a motorcycle tire. They, of course, offer excellent performance.
The K838s offer you increased speed, with less resistance to rolling for both mountain bikes and even hybrid bikes alike. This is done without sacrificing any traction at all. These tires give you a reliable but smooth rolling surface, which allows the bike’s tires to not just maintain but to increase speed, whether on pavements or on rocky trails.
The Kenda K838s have a wider profile. They also have a directional groove, which is responsible for giving the tire the traction you need for riding all-terrain. The same grooves are what also channel any water on the surface of the terrain in order to give you a perfect grip even in rainy weather. There won’t be any skidding on the wet roads with these puppies!
The sides, which are Blackwall, reduce the weight of the tire overall. The pattern (wire bead) then boosts the tire’s durability and strength overall. So, if you want the best off-road AND on-road tire, check this tire out. You would be pleasantly surprised.
- Great on the road and off
- Patterned from motorbike tires
- Max 65lbs PSI minimum 40lbs PSI
- Easy and smooth to install
- 737 grams weight only
- Not the best in subtropic type weather
- Great for turning your MTB into a bike for the road
2. Schwinn Bicycle Tire – All Terrain
Are you more of a casual rider, rather than someone who lives and breathes biking? If you’re more of an average type rider than the type to be a pro, then the Schwinn mountain bike tire might be good for you. It’s an all-terrain tire that can work great for most of your needs. it’s actually one of the best tires for commuter bikes – but the best part is you can certainly still take your bike on the trails.
Schwinn’s tires have a built-in feature; a layer that is flat-resistant in order to give you safety in case you run over something sharp. This makes it safe for you to use your tires on both the trail and the roads. The steel bead is durable, and the traction is also great for riding on the trail. these tires offer you a resistance that is a bit lower, making them great for pavement and for trails. There are some tread blocks on the tires’ sides which form a great layer for the carving. They grip the road fantastically, giving you confidence that your bike won’t slip as you turn.
Although these tires aren’t the most aggressive when it comes to off-road, it’s suitable enough for it. We can say that the tire is balanced, offering you the ultimate versatility. We do want to point out that Schwinn is a company that has been around for eons. They’re a company that everybody knows about – Schwinn, the bike maker. Their bikes are considered amazing in quality, and many of them fetch high prices on the vintage/classic market.
- You are protected on any terrain with the flat-resistant built-in layer
- Durable construction, steel bead
- Only 2 lbs
- Very easily installed
- Made by a company called Innova, a Schwinn commissioned outsource factory
3. Kenda 163026 Bicycle Tire – Slick Wire Bead – Big City
If you’re an avid rider of mountain bikes but you’re in an urban landscape, you’ll need tires that can do both. Just the same, if you ride your bike and commute to your work by riding on roads, but you ride the bike on trails during your free time, you certainly need a tire that can handle both things. You’ll certainly need a hybrid tire that offers traction, but also has much less resistance to roll.
This tire is made by the same company as the first tire we’ve suggested above. However, this model uses a thick and sturdy construction with a rubber compound. The side walls are thin and light, made of course of rubber as well. They grip really well, even during a hard braking – and both on the rear tire and the front tire.
On the road, this model will feel quite light and nimble. It grips the sidewalk or pavement really well, even if you go into some tight corners. If you don’t want to spend hundreds on a separate road bike, or if you don’t want to spend tons on a road tire, 163026 is a great choice. They’re really quite a good tire, considering their price!
- Sturdy and durable
- Really easy to install
- Great for cruising
- Stable and doesn’t slip
- Low resistance
- Lower resistance to punctures
- Not the best tires when it comes to sharper turns
4. Maxxis Ardent Bicycle Tire
If you want a bit of a more aggressive tire, you might enjoy this one from Maxxis. This model is rather good when it comes to climbing. There are a bunch of options when it comes to sizes, so you can find one in the size that you need. It’s a company that many love and their products have captured many MTB rider’s hearts.
This tire features dynamic tread, in casings that are quite high in volume. The casings can grip pretty well on slicker rock, with no feeling or sensation of knobs. Through sand, they will float pretty perfectly.
Maxxis has designed the Ardent while keeping traction in mind, and so you can expect pretty good traction with this set. The tires have big side knobs, block-style, that offer plenty of edges for higher-speed corners. On the other hand, the center tread is made for braking and for giving traction while accelerating.
Note that these tires also feature knobs that are ramped in order to reduce the rolling resistance. There is pretty much no noise observed from rolling center knobs. You’ll also find that the shock as you ride along is pretty well absorbed. And of course, the tire grips the surfaces quite well, keeping you safe.
- Great cornering, traction, and rolling
- Less than 1 lb in weight
- Made in Taiwan
- Not very great for a trail that is very rocky, take head and be careful
- Jack of all trades, great for most terrain…but not perfect for them, either – but in most cases, good enough
5. Hans Dampf – Schwalbe
Although the name is pretty hard to pronounce or even read, this model is actually one of the best tires for mountain bikes. This tire, in particular, is available in 2 different versions – the Pacestar Compound, and the TrailStar compound. In today’s review, we’re talking about the TrailStar model in particular. This model offers really high resistance to rolling, while also offering a great amount of sturdiness and grip. Quite a comfortable tire to run on the road, or even on most other trails.
This tire is ready for tubeless. There is a version (Snakeskin) which has sidewalls that have 67 count thread per inch. It weighs roughly 680g, while the other version (Super Gravity) weighs 1040g. You can choose to put the TrailStar on your front wheel, it might just be the ideal choice.
Schwalbe’s offering is rather tough – tough enough for people who love riding on trails, especially when they like to ride over rooted or rocky topography. It’s a bike that’s also pretty good for terrain that is slightly softer. There is also quite a bit of grip for cornering.
Overall, you might enjoy this set of tires since they are great if you want a semi-aggressive set on your mountain bike. If you have wider rims, the Trailstar might just be perfect, since they’re really rather stable without much carcass flex.
- Ready for tubeless
- Available in many different styles and colors
- Not ideal when it comes to muddy conditions
- Also not great for turning corners while biking fast
Your Buying Guide for the Best Tires for Mountain Bike on Road
Quite honestly, there are a ton of tires available for purchase on the market – whether you walk into a shop or you look for a set online. But how exactly do you know which tire is the best set for you? In today’s buying guide, we’ve put together a list of the things you need to look for in a tire. This should help you make a better decision when you look to purchase your new on-road tires.
Types of Tires
There are a ton of different kinds of tires, each of them classified by their specific use. On your search for the perfect set you’ll likely come across:
- Dirt jumps
Most of the types of tires are available in tubular or tubeless versions.
Cross-country tires are the lightest out of all of them. They have skinny sidewalls, and they also have small knobs, giving them quick-rolling characteristics. This type of tire reduces weight by using a folding bead. They are available in widths between 1.8 inches to 2.25 inches.
Downhill tires use rubber compounds that are softer. They have large knobs to offer more traction. Also, thicker sidewalls are used in order to prevent punctures. Out of all of the tires, this one is the biggest, and also the widest. These are about 2.3 to 2.7 inches wide.
All-mountain tires come in widths from 2 inches to 2.4 inches. They usually have a lot of different patterns of tread, and also come in a lot of different styles – just depends on the bike rider’s preference.
Dirt jump tires were made for terrain that is a bit smoother. The tread patterns are less extreme, in order to lessen resistance to rolling, as well as to help with carrying speed.
The next thing for you to consider on your search for the best tires for a mountain bike on the road is the compound used. The choice of a compound also influences the mountain bike tires’ traction, longevity, and also their rolling resistance. Some manufacturers might choose only one kind of compound for the entire tire. However, other tires may also be made using many different compounds. For example, sometimes manufacturers will use a harder compound as a base, then a softer one to give the tire a lot more traction.
Hard rubber is often used on the tread pattern in the center. This increases the resistance to wear, as well as the rolling speed. The softer rubbers are used for providing more grip as you turn.
Cross-country type tires make use of hard compounds. Trail tires and also all-mountain type tires use medium rubber compounds or softer rubber compounds. Downhill tires use a softer compound.
Size of the Tire
Next thing for you to consider is the tire’s size. You want to make sure that your choice of set will fit your rims. Mountain bikes have tires that come in 3 diameter options – the 26 inch one, the 27.5 inch one, and the 29 inch one.
However, the diameter of the tire isn’t the only thing to consider here. You also want to look at its width. It’s the width that makes a huge difference in a mountain bike’s performance. Wider tires offer you more steadiness as you move fast and as you corner.
Wider tires also reduce the clearance of the mud in between the frame and the tire, so keep that in mind.
Cross country bikes use 1.9-2.25 inch wide tires. Downhill bikes can get all the way up to 2.5 inches in width.
Weight of the Tire
One of the most important things for you to look at when it comes to a bike’s tire is its weight. Lighter tires will make it much easier to change your direction. It also makes it much easier for you to stop, or even speed up. However, bigger and heavier tires will make it possible for the set to resist getting punctured. Heavier tires also happen to be much lighter and more stable than those that are lighter in weight.
TPI & Carcass
If you don’t know what the carcass is, we don’t mean anything dead, of course – we mean the skeleton or fabric body of the tire. TPI means thread per inch – the count of the threads in every inch of the tire’s carcass. The higher the TPI, the more delicate the tire feels, and the higher it’s quality usually is. Lighter carcasses are quite likely to suffer a puncture, while reinforced carcasses are protective – but not very comfy.
The beads will keep your tire from getting blown off the rim at pressure. The bead isn’t what you’d think – it’s actually the Kevlar or steel cables that are folded into the tire case’s inside edges. Kevlar makes the tire much lighter, floppier, and more flexible. It also allows the tire to be foldable so you can transport it more easily. However, they’re also very pricey and quite hard to install.
Steel beads, on the other hand, are much easier to mount. They hold their shape better, and are more affordable. These are also known as steel beads.
If you really need to use your bike on your commute, but you still want to be able to go riding trail on the weekends, truly finding the right set of tires can help. With the best tires for a mountain bike on road, you get the best of both worlds – and you’ll remain safe as you do it!