Having a mountain bike (or electric mountain bike) that’s a beast on the trails is all well and good, but many of us also need to ride in urban areas from time to time, or to connect between trails using the roads. So, finding good mountain bike tyres that work for both the road and trail, therefore, is incredibly useful.
There are a lot of MTB tyre options out there and some, quite frankly, aren’t any good at doing both, and certainly couldn’t claim to be hybrid tyres on mountain bikes.
But with a bit of digging, you can find some real gems out there; tyres which operate seamlessly in the tricky off-road areas, but that also manage to do a good job on roads and pavements, too. We’ve looked at the best and worst on the market, selecting our cream of the crop. So, without further ado – let’s get at it.
What Makes a Good Mountain Bike for Both Road and Trail?
If you are trying to decide whether you can use a mountain bike on road, then short answer is yes. However, many MTB tyres won’t operate well on a road surface, feeling slow and cumbersome whilst riding.
When you’re selecting the best mountain bike tyre for street and trail you need to consider a number of factors. You want a tyre that has a decent tread size so you can grip the ground, off-road, and that provides you with a decent level of traction.
But you don’t want a MTB tyre which holds on so tightly that you find yourself exerting silly levels of energy. In other words, when it comes to finding the best MTB tyres for the road, it’s a balancing act.
The best all-round MTBs tyres provide a decent level of grip, whilst at the same time making sure they don’t compensate on speed too much.
Our 10 Best Mountain Bike Tyres for Road and Trail
1. Continental Ride Tour – Our Best 26 Inch Tyre for Road and Trail (and Our Best Budget Tyre for Road and Trail)
Size: 26 x 1.75in
It doesn’t have an aggressive tread, which means it’s very efficient on the road and you’ll be moving at a decent pace. It also has enough tread, however, to ensure that you feel comfortable off-road, and that you can both brake and take corners confidently.
As the name suggests, this tyre is perfect for touring cyclists, however, if you’re looking to fly at pace on tricky, twisty, downhill sections, then this isn’t the tyre for you. However, if it’s general trail riding you’re doing – cross-country routes, touring and general day to day use – then these are the best MTB road tyres for you.
2. Kenda Kwick Drumlin – Our Best 27.5 Inch Tyre for Road and Trail
Size: 27.5 x 2.20in
This is a really reliable tyre for both road and trail. Its K-Shield protection and durable compound means that it can take a real beating and still come out the other side glowingly.
Its sizable shoulder knobs provide decent protection when you’re cornering off-road and it can handle the wet and loose conditions well.
However, the medium sized central tread means it also copes well on the road.
It may come unstuck in the seriously muddy conditions, due to that lack of aggressive tread, but overall it’s a beauty.
3. Schwalbe Racing Ray Addix Speed – Our Best 29er Tyres for Road and Trail
Size: 29 x 2.25in
First and foremost, we have to admire the weight of this 29er – it’s incredibly light and that, coupled with its fairly modest tread, allows it to roll at pace on the roads and hard-packed trails.
That’s not to say it’s naked, tread-wise; its Addix Speed Rubber compound allows it grip well, but without compensating too much on speed, plus it has the added benefit in that it’s very durable.
And whilst it isn’t going to cope well with the seriously aggressive riding, it’s perfect for cross-country riding and for daily road/trail use.
4. Schwalbe Marathon Touring – Best Road and Trail Tyre for e-MTBs
Size: 29 x 2.25in
This is a cracking tyre and the most puncture-resistant in our list. Its complex compound makes it very durable and that’s absolutely ideal for the e-MTB riders out there. This one is a winner on those more bobbly trails, too.
Schwalbe has been clever here and built up the tread on the edges to help provide confidence going into the corners, and with braking off-road, At the same time, though, the tyre features a smoother central tread, meaning you can move at pace on the roads and flats.
The marathon can handle some pretty feisty terrain and due to its durability, it’s likely to be reliable for some time. That reliability, however, comes with a hefty price tag and extra weight.
5. Terrene Tires Johnny 5 – Best Fat Tyre for Road and Trail
Size: 26 x 5in
A fat mountain bike tyre is never going to be the most agile or quickest on the market, but the Johnny manages everything pretty well.
Naturally with the fat tyre it’s going to weigh a lot, but this tyre is as agile as fat bike tyres get.
It’s an all-season and all-surface tyre – managing the really mucky trails and even snow, but is fairly fast moving on the road too.
It isn’t ever going to handle wild downhill routes due to its cumbersome size, but it can take on all manner of trail riding and keep you moving on the road.
Best of the Rest
6. Michelin Force AM2
Size: 29 x 2.4in
7. Vittoria Barzo TNT
Size: 29 x 2.2in
8. Michelin Wild AM2 Competition Line
Size: 27.5 x 2.4in
9. Specialized Eliminator T7 Grid Trail
Size: 29 x 2.3in
10. MAXXIS Tire Dissector
Size: 29 x 2.4in
There you have it – our shouts for the best mountain bike tyres for road and trail. We’ve tried to cover all bases here from your 26 inch, 27 inch and 29ers, along with the best road and trail tyres for e-MTBs and fat bikes.
We’ve also looked at cost and selected the best budget tyre on the market. Mountain bike tyres are never going to be as good as road bike tyres on the asphalt and it will always be a balancing act when searching for the best tyre for MTB on the road.
But there are some really decent options out there which offer you a good quality of ride on both trail and on the street. So, you’re now armed with the best all-round MTB tyre facts, and the question is – what are you waiting for?