5 trail taming mountain bike mud tires

With 2017's near record-setting rain and snowfall, best get ready to ride slop

Tires
Danny Hart whip. Photo courtesy of Art's Cyclery

Mud or no mud, Danny Hart is a Jedi. Photo courtesy of Art’s Cyclery

Editor’s Note: This article is courtesy of the team at Art’s Cyclery. The original post can be found here.

Last year was supposed to be an El Nino of epic proportions, flooding the West Coast of the U.S. off the map and burying the mountains with snow. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a dud. But the winter of 2017 has delivered near record-setting rain and snowfall thus far. That means one thing: muddy tracks. While you should never ride multi-use or sensitive trails when they are wet, you might as well get ready for a wet, lift-accessed spring with a good mud tire set-up. Here are some of our favorites. But first, press play to see the greatest mud ride of all time.

Schwalbe Dirty Dan Super Gravity/Downhill Casing

There’s really nothing we can say about this tire that the video of Danny Hart’s 2011 legendary World Champs run doesn’t convey. Was it the Dirty Dan’s ultra-grippy and slow rebounding VertStar compound that enabled Hart to rail through the mud like he was driving a Formula 1 car on a dry track? It definitely had something to do with the advanced tread block design, featuring alternating angles and offset auxiliary cornering “nubs.”

The WTB Warden digs in and doesn’t let go. Photo courtesy of Art's Cyclery

The WTB Warden digs in and doesn’t let go. Photo courtesy of Art’s Cyclery

WTB Warden TCS Tough High Grip

Unabashedly made for the nastiest, loosest, most slippery conditions you could encounter, the WTB Warden is topped with a 60A base and 45A cap layer. When traction is the deciding factor between winning and losing on steep and deep tracks, put some Wardens on your wheels. While it’s not going to get you a respectable XC placing, it rolls faster than a tire of this weight and wet-condition capability should.

Specialized Hillbilly

Specialized’s Hillbilly has flatter knobs and wide spacing to clear debris quickly. Photo courtesy of Art’s Cyclery

Specialized Hillbilly Grid 2Bilss

More of a mixed condition tread that favors mud, the 42a over a 70a base compound grips on soft, wet, or hard surfaces. Both the height of the tread blocks (not super-tall) and firm base rubber provide traction in mud but aren’t as squirmy as taller mud spikes. The 60TPI carcass and Grid casing’s butyl inserts allow for confident, rock-smashing fun.

Honorable Mention Tires

Maxxis’ Shorty is a “3/4-spike,” with flatter knob tops and buttressed cornering knobs for stability on terrain drier than mud.

Not really a classic mud tire, the Schwalbe Magic Mary has cornering knobs packed a little too closely for thicker mud, or deep wet mud. However, the versatile tread will serve you well in most wet conditions, and absolutely shines in loam and loose conditions, too.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Arts Cyclery

This article was originally published on the Art's Cyclery Blog. Art's Cyclery is dedicated to offering free expert advice, how-to videos, and in-depth product reviews on ArtsCyclery.com to help riders make an educated decision when selecting cycling gear.


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  • Adam says:

    I’ve been running the Hillbilly on the front of my Enduro 29er and it’s the best front tire i’ve ever rode. It rocks in all the conditions we get up here in Washington State, dusty dry blown out to super sloppy mud and all the loam in between.

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