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.”
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 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.