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17 MIN READ TIME

VERDICT

We tested ten set of tyres and these are our favourites (the rest of the reviews will appear online, soon). As we suspected before starting this test, there was no one tyre that stood head and shoulders above the rest. There were tyres that excelled in softer loamier conditions, tyres that flew up the climbs, and those that were indestructible on sharp rock. However, every tyre was compromised in some small way, and, therefore, finding the right tyre for you is a question of striking that balance between the riding characteristics you find important. Likewise, the terrain you spend most of your time on has a huge part to play – if your local trails are predominantly steep and rocky, with less emphasis on the climbs, then you’re naturally going to favour a tougher tyre that’s more resistant to pinches and cuts. Conversely, if your trails are more undulating you’ll be after something with less heft or with a lower profile tread so you can focus on maintaining speed. This goes some way to explain why you often find cliques of riders in an area all rocking the same tyre – once someone lands on a winning combination, word soon spreads and it can be hard to branch out and try something new.

However, don’t be completely swayed by what your riding buddies say. One huge factor that revealed itself through our testing, was how different riders prefer different shaped tyres – even for tackling the same terrain. Now this might sound obvious, but bear with us… some riders responded better to a tyre with a rounder profile – the more gradual transition to the cornering knobs helps to build confidence and gives a more consistent grip on a range of terrain. On the other hand, some riders prefer a much squarer tyre with a definite transition to the cornering edges. This type of tyre rewards a more aggressive riding style, but it can be harder to get the most out of them and it can be unnerving if you aren’t used to it (and we’re not even going to start on how different rim widths can affect tyre profiles).

There’s no getting away from it, we’ve had a lot of punctures in this test, but, interestingly, they weren’t restricted to the lighter tyres. A few of the flats were due to a combination of rider error and bad luck, but some were most definitely down to the tyres.

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