Tyres | Hammered

Mountain Biking Magazine


Wheels and Tyres

Tyres | Hammered

Bontrager Big Earl TLR ARC ‘Wet’ I’ve been a big fan of these tyres for a few years now, and thankfully Bontrager haven’t changed them. There are numerous different versions of this tyre, but this tubeless ready one with Abrasion Resistant Casing is by far my favourite thanks to its perfect balance of puncture resistance and low weight for a tyre of this size it’s a big 2.35”). I’d also recommend the Wet version over the Dry, as I’ve yet to find a condition/track where the dry performs better, and I love the highly predictable drift that you can get going when you push the wets past their limit. Traction as a whole isn’t quite up there with a dedicated DH tyre, but it’s not far off, and so for general blatting about I personally find the low weight and rolling resistance more than make up for any shortfalls. When I say low rolling resistance and weight I am of course talking comparatively, basically I haven’t yet found another tyre which provides this level of grip, volume and puncture resistance in such a light and fast package. I can also genuinely say that in over two years I haven’t had a single flat when using these tyres as part of a tubeless set up, despite using them at two Megavalanches and the like. I can’t think of any other tyre I can say that about which I’d be happy to go out all day on, and for that reason alone I’d highly recommend these. EH
Price: £39.99
Trek UK 01908 282 626

Hutchinson Toro
The search for the perfect trail tyre is never ending. Sure there are great dry tyres, and amazing mud tyres, but who wants to be changing tyres all the time? Not me. Add to that the fact that here in Britain it is sometimes dry and then sometimes it is wet…but mostly it is somewhere in the middle. You know the deal, nicely surfaced singletrack, onto greasy wet rock and roots, then through a swamp, then back into bone dry coniferous woods. British riding is a real mix, so trying to find rubber to match is difficult. What you need is a 50/50 tyre, something that will perform relatively well in the wet but not feel like a tractor tyre to drag around. Enter the Hutchinson Toro, the perfect ‘mixed conditions’ trail tyre. I rode the 2.35 and it has got widely spaced knobs that are not too tall (so you don’t feel like you are tottering around on roots and rocks), and they are shaped and positioned in such a way that mud is easily shed. They roll OK and you can get a drift–on with them safe in the knowledge that they will bite at some point! UK importers Extra UK bring in the three sizes (1.85, 2.15 and 2.35) and either a tubeless or standard version. You get Hutchinson’s Hardskin casing, which seems to be holding up alright, and their MRC medium compound. If you stick some on now you might find that you are still riding them in 12 months time. A great tyre. MR
Price: Standard £32.99, Tubeless £39.99
Extra UK 01933 672 170

Michelin DH Mud 3
OK, so you are covered head to toe in mud, your bike is stinkin’ but there is one thing that you can rely on to keep you upright…the Michelin DH Mud 3. Honestly, when it gets muddy, you can’t really get a better downhill mud tyre. Obviously it grips in wet, muddy and gloopy conditions (in fact it thrives), but what is great about the Mud 3 is that it stays true when you start to come across wet and slimy roots and rocks. Tread pattern and compound are perfect, the gummy little turrets are just the right length and dig into the loose stuff, but then mould themselves around everything else on the ground. Sidewall construction and
general build quality is way up there, just what you would expect from Michelin. These 2.2 tyres will inspire confidence and make tree dodging in the winter a lot easier. And if you fancy getting creative, try a bit of ‘cut down spike’ action to suit the conditions. Just don’t take them on a long cross country ride. I’ve just heard that these tyres are being discontinued so get them whilst you still can. MR
Price: £34.99
Hotlines 01313 191 444

Maxxis Medusa Exception Series
These were the tyres that came fitted to the Whyte E120 we featured in last month’s issue. We’ve had the bike for a while and these tyres have stayed put, which is saying something, as most of the bikes that come through the office have an almost immediate tyre, bar and stem overhaul to get them set–up more sensibly for the kind of riding we do. After riding the Whyte for the past three months I have come to regard these as an almost perfect all rounder. They hold on tight in wet muddy conditions, inspiring confidence and pace. They roll efficiently, they’re very lightweight and they shed the shit quickly. The square knobs are spaced wide apart to avoid any build up and they
have a more rounded profile than many other mud tyres which I found gave good cornering stability. With their mud bias however they are not perfect, and are only really ever out of their comfort zone when hammering down dry, rocky, dusty trails (the real gnar gnar grrrr kind of stuff broah!) where I was left wanting something more weighty and substantial. I’ve run the 2.1 around the 25psi mark and their resistance to punctures has been nothing short of astounding. Run them any harder and they do roll better, but the grip is less assured. Great tyres, and the tubeless version is most likely even better. JG
Price: £22.99 – £33.99
MMA Sports 01792 467 467


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