Wheels and tyres are without doubt oneof the most important parts on any bike, swapping from one set to another can completely transform a bike. out of the two, tyres are possibly the simplest choice, but even hen you’ve got a whole load of decisions to make. Every tyre is compromised in some way, whether it be low weight vx. puncture resistance, or grip vs. rolling resistance. making that decision about where to draw the line is a bit of a personal one, but the following tyres are ones that we feel get that balance right in certain conditions.
As for wheels you again have to decide about weight vs. durability, but then you also have to choose between soe off-the-peg ones…or building a custom wheelset. It’s difficult to say which is better, as you can get good and bad examples of both, but what we can tell you is that if you choose any of the following products you won’t be disappointed.
Panaracer’s Trailraker was the biggest tyre revelation we’ve had in the past 12 months. These things just provide an unbelievable amount of grip in muddy conditions, so much so that it’s almost impossible to slide these even when you want to. The only drawback to them is that you have to take them off as soon as the trails start to dry up,
there’s just too much rolling resistance to keep them on. These really are incredible mud tyres, they totally change your perception of what’s possible when it’s muddy. We just wish they’d start making a downhill version, but in the mean time you’ll just have to choose between a cheap wire bead version (£19.99), a folding one (£27.99), a puncture proof one (£29.99), or a UST tubeless version (£34.99).
Price: From £19.99
Zyro 01423 325 325
The CrossMark is our ultimate trail centre tyre. It was originally designed as a full on XC race tyre, but that seems to lend itself perfectly to the hard packed surface that you find at the majority of trail centres. Because of the almost continuous centre ridge it flies along at an unbelievable pace, and yet it’s still got enough tread on those shoulders to hold things together in the corners. We have used some other tyres that have offered similar speed and grip, but the thing that gets the CrossMark into our Dirt 100 is that unlike those other similar weight tyres this one doesn’t puncture the first time it sees something rough.
Price: £19.99 wire £28.99 kevlar
MMA Sports 01792 467 467
We reckon ‘Jack Of All Trades’ would be a more appropriate name for Hutchinson’s Toro, simply because it’s easily the best 50/50 all–round trail tyre that we’ve found. It’s fast and grippy on hardpack, and yet somehow it still manages to work a treat when you’re out in the brown stuff. It does drift a little when pushed hard, but that’s not really a problem in our eyes as it drifts in a predictable manner and you soon get used to it. If you’ve got a trail bike you should definitely own a pair of these.
Price: From £29.99
Extra UK 01933 672 170