Mountain Bike Tyre Tread And Pattern Guide

Mountain Bike Tyre Tread And Pattern Guide


If you go into a local bike shop nowadays,
you’ll find this huge selection of tires. We got tires for different conditions,
different bikes. Also, we’ve got three popular wheel sizes nowadays, so
we’re not going to get into that. We’re just going to look at the
performance of the tire. There’s three things that affect that, really. That
comes down to the tread pattern, the rubber compound, and the carcass of
that tire, but let’s just look at how that tread pattern affects the
ride of your bike. First, we’ll talk about knob size. I’m
talking about the rubber knobs on here, nothing else. This is what I’d call a low
profile tyre. You see the rubber knobs are really small, quite low to the tire. So
that’s going to work really well on hard-packed surfaces, and that will roll
really well. That isn’t going to stop you as well as something with bigger knobs on
there though, but on a hard-packed surface, maybe cross-country, that’s going
to roll really fast and that should grip really well. Move on up to something somewhere in the
middle, you see how they’re getting tall and now these rubber knobs are going to
bite better into the soft stuff, also offer you more breaking but maybe
not grip quite so well on the hard-packed stuff. Going up, right to the top-end
with a downhill tire. These knobs are much taller. That’s going to get more rubber on
the floor, gonna bite into soft ground really well, offer you really good
braking sitting nice and tall. Also, you’ve got a big pronounced side
knob on there for really good grip in the turns. After the size of the knobs, the next
thing that’s really important is the spacing in the tread pattern. The general
rule of thumb is the closer they are together, like this, they’re really jammed
in in the middle tire, the better that’s going to be in hard-packed conditions. As
you move on to this tire, see, there are much larger spacing in between the knobs.
That’s going to work better in the mud because it’s going to clear much better,
meaning the mud isn’t going to stick in that tire, but also, you’ll find more
edges in here to grip into that mud. Tire width is quite similar to that.
Conditions-wise, a thin tire is going to cut through mud nicely whereas a big wider
tire is going to suit more aggressive dry conditions. A big wide tire might
float across the top of the mud in really bad conditions. So let’s actually look at the tread on the
tire. You’ve got the centre knobs and the side knobs. These are the ones that you’re
going to use when the bike’s lent over, really useful for cornering, obviously.
This is a downhill tire with a big raised side knob, consistent spacing. That’s
going to give you really good grip once you’ve got that bike lent over. Going down to a cross-country tire,
obviously much smaller, less pronounced side knob. It’s going to roll much faster,
but it’s going to have much less grip in the corners. Looking at the centre
knobs, starting with this downhill tire, again, big knobs in the middle
of there. They’re also directional, as you see. This front edge is ramped so
that tire’s going to roll quite quickly, but on the back of it, you’ve got a 90
degree angle so that’s your braking edge. You’ve got really powerful braking with
this tire. Obviously, the payoff of that is it’s not going to
roll as fast as a lower profile in the middle. Occasionally, you see downhillers
actually cut these middle knobs if that track doesn’t have quite so much braking
and it’s a faster…more important to have a fast-rolling tire on there. Going down to the cross-country tire, you
see much more regular tread pattern in the middle, much lower, super
fast-rolling, but for extreme braking, you’re just not going to slow down as
quickly as you would with a big raised edge in the middle. A lot of tires are also directional. By
that, I mean there’ll be a little arrow on the side of the tire, and it’ll show you
which way to run that tire. They can sometimes be different front to
rear. Sometimes you want that front tire to grip a little bit better, and you want
the characteristics of the tire on the back to maybe roll a little bit better.
There are also some tires that are front- or rear-specific. The one that comes to
mind for me is the old Maxxis Minions. Front and rear tires are different tread
patterns, but I know a lot of the old downhill guys used to just like the
characteristics of the front one, and just use that on the front and back. Looking at the different riding
disciplines, it’s fair to say that the cross-country guys and girls tend to go
for a tire that’s going to roll faster and be light rather than a big heavyweight
tire that might offer a load of grip but be slow. So there’s a tire that’s
going to be nice and fast, lightweight, but could puncture quite
easily and isn’t going to work in extreme cases of steep and muddy
trails quite so well. Downhill, the opposite end of the scale,
you go for a bigger, heavier tire, much more rubber on there where grip is
really, really important. Some tracks, maybe rolling resistance might be
important and you might think about going a little bit lower on the middle, but
generally, you need a bigger, stronger tire with much
bigger knobs on there. Enduro sits somewhere in the middle,
maybe it erring towards downhill a little bit, but you really
can’t run a super heavyweight tire because you might be riding big distances
and you need a fast-rolling tire. Also, you might be riding five stages with
all different types of conditions. You can’t stick a mud tire on or a dry
tire. You might go for an intermediate tire and just run something in the middle
and hope it works for all those stages. So there’s tire tread pattern explained.
As you can see, there’s loads of variables there. For more videos from GMBN,
you can click up here where myself, Marc, and Si talk about what tire
pressures we use. We’re across the board, from cross-country, enduro, and downhill.
So click up there if you want to see that video or click down here if you want to
see Marc describe and explain suspension forks. Also, if you’ve liked this video
and you found it useful, click “like” down below, and you can also click on me if you
don’t want to miss any videos from GMBN.