Tyres are your first point of contact with the trail. They have the biggest impact on your grip and, arguably, on the enjoyment of your ride.
But, there are probably hundreds of mountain bike tyres available, to suit all different situations. At Emerald MTB we are self proclaimed bike geeks and we like to try different gear as much as possible. With such a wide range, tyres are an obvious target for experimentation.
While there are numerous articles in print mountain bike magazines, websites and discussions on forums, the terrain you ride is a vital factor when it comes to choosing the tyres you use. Therefore, we’ve compiled this list of recommendations of tyres that work in Ireland, on our sometimes loamy sometimes sloppy trails.
To get as large a cross section of views we asked our Emerald MTB friends on both sides of the country as well as those at Tralee Bay MTB what their personal favourites are, and what other combinations they’ve tried that may or may not have worked for them.
Jason: Maxxis Minion, I find them to be the best tyres I’ve had in 8 years.
Mick: Schwalbe Magic Mary up front and a Hans Dampf out back.
Anluan: Maxxis HR II and Maxxis Minion on the big bike, Onza tyres on the XC for pure schpeeeeeeed
Sean Mc: Michelin Wild Enduro front and Michelin Grip R back. Crazy grip in the mud. I will be changing come summer time to something faster rolling.
Dave: Schwalbe Magic Mary front and Minion DHR out back. It’s like pushing a boulder uphill for any pedalling but a great combo for Torc (steep, natural, tight and very loamy trails.)
Trailflow Jay: Maxxis High Roller 2 or a Maxxis Shorty.
Sean Fitz: I’ve used a Schwalbe Magic Mary on the front and a Nobby Nic on the back which is a good combo. I do find the Nobby nick a bit slidey in the wet though.
Logan: Had a 2.5 Magic Mary, prefered a 2.3 Maxxis Shorty as it has more grip and digs better, and am now using a 2.5” Shorty.
Stead: Used to have a DHR & 2.5” DHF, the DHR had good bite and was predictable, the DHF was good at everything bar loam and mud, not as confident leaned over but rolled fairly well. Now I’ve switched to a Michelin Wild Enduro & Michelin Gum X combo and wouldn’t go back.
Jet: I’ve found the Maxxis HR2 and the Shorty really needed to be thrown through the corners or they were a bit vague between the middle and side knobs. I have been fully impressed by my Vittoria Morza 2.5 and have really got on with the Maxxis Aggressor 2.4” out back which has been pretty solid all year round. But I am tempted by the Michelin tyres.
Gary: Maxxis High Roller 2 3c semi-slick and a Maxxis Shorty.
Owen: I’ve used a Nobby Nic 2.25 & Hans Dampf 2.35 combo in the past which was fine in drier weather but struggled in the mud. This year I’ve used a Maxxis Shorty 2.3 on the front all year round, including the dry summer we had, and its been impressive, if possibly a little slow rolling. On the rear I used a DHR2 for the wetter seasons and an Aggressor during the summer and autumn. The Aggressor has only really begun to struggle since the wet winter season started. On my hardtail I’m using Maxxis Ardent 2.4” tyres which hold up surprisingly well.