With the rise of arguably the most popular discipline in mountain biking, the quest for perfect tires light enough to pedal up a hill and strong enough to withstand the battering on the trail continues. We took a look into some of the best tires on the market for the enduro discipline and figure we’d throw our two cents in….
Whether you are a pedal-mad racer or a shuttle-friendly gravity rider, there’s no denying that when the rubber hits the dirt, the tread matters. We all have differing tastes and opinions when it comes to rubber and there is no doubt that if you put a dozen riders in a room, there will be a dozen opinions on which rubber to wrap on your steed. The big players in the market are definitely Maxxis and Schwalbe with a few other runners making a name in the gravity market, Michelin have a world champ behind them, Continental are making waves in all the right places and have recently made a push on the Australian market.
Maxxis DHF / Aggressor
Maxxis Minion DHF AUD$79.99 RRP
Maxxis Aggressor AUD $69.99 RRP
A tried and true combination that not only provides excellent traction but allows decreased rolling resistance on the rear wheel care of the Maxxis aggressor. DHF is probably the most well known and used tire across DH and enduro and it’s performance is second to none, great as a front wheel option and also great as a rear wheel option, the minion is truely one of the best tires on the market. Maxxis aggressor is designed for high speed trails and is equally as good on the dry loose conditions of Australia to the loamy conditions of Europe, probably it’s only downfall is it’s poor performance in the wet. In wetter conditions opt for a DHR on the rear or DHF on both wheels.
Maxxis tires are well known for their ability to perform on the world stage in both DH and Enduro, the minion has been around for a long time and it’s easy to see why. Available in EXO and double down, both these tires weigh in at just under 1kg in EXO 27.5 and slightly more with DD and 29er. Durable, dependable but a little hefty if you are worried about weight. If you are anything like us at Brakes Wide Open, we sacrifice weight for performance hands down every time.
Schwalbe Magic Mary
Magic Mary TLE Snakeskin AUD $119 RRP
Schwalbe’s offering of the Magic Mary is a worthy choice when seeking the best Enduro tire combination and whilst they also offer the the Hans Dampf, we think that Magic Mary front and rear is a better combination. Hans Dampf tends to wear too quickly and not provide enough grip for our liking, whilst Magic Mary provides consistent grip no matter what the conditions. Very similar to DHF in tread pattern Schwalbe Magic Mary is a great tire that provides good grip, good sidewall integrity and a lighter weight option than Maxxis Tires. Does this come at a price?
Whilst the Magic Mary performs extremely well, it does wear a little quicker than Maxxis Minions and this can be attributed to the grippy tire compound used. Whilst durability is slightly less, the weight reduction is significant when using 27.5 x 2.35 at only 835g and 885 for the 29er in the same size. The biggest draw back from these tires is the price point at AUD$119 RRP, but they can be picked up on sale for cheaper.
Michelin Wild Enduro
Michelin Wild Enduro AUD $121 RRP
Sam Hill has won three consecutive Enduro World Series Overall titles running these tires front and rear, it’s hard to argue with that. With front and rear specific tires and a mix of compounds available for differing conditions, Michelin have certainly thought about providing great tires for the Enduro market. Available in two compounds, Magi-X and Gum-x, with the Magi-X being the tackier more grippy tire compound and only available on the front wheel, both are made of the same durometer rubber.
Whilst these tires have been proven by precision riders like Sam Hill, for the average Joe they may not perform as well (Let’s face it we aren’t all Sam Hill). Less conformation to the ground leads to a little less traction than Magic Mary’s and Minions, for the right rider they certainly can deliver though. There has been some mixed reports from riders about the durability of the Wild Enduro tires with some riders destroying a few sets in a short period of time, that being said, there’s a reason the World Champ is on them.
Continental Der Baron
Continental Der Baron Projekt AUD $120 RRP
Recently striking into the Australian market with their do it all Enduro setup, Continental have brought a great package to the market. Aussie conditions can be harsh on tires and dry, loose terrain is for the most part, our bread and butter. Continental Der Baron Tires are billeted as the Enduro Baron, a tire designed specifically for the needs of any enduro racer and designed to deliver in all conditions. Made from ‘Black Chili’ compound which is promised to deliver unquestionable traction and with 180 tpi sidewalls, Continental have both wheels covered with this beast of a tire.
The Der Kaiser on offer from Continental looks like another contender when looking for gravity tires but it looks more destined to don the wheels of a downhill bike as opposed to the long travel climbing machines of the Enduro circuit. Either way, Continental have made waves across Europe with some quality products and they look to storm the Australian market aswell.
At Brakes Wide Open we believe that variety is the spice of life and we will always be willing to test new tires and see if they work for us. Maxxis Tires are tried and tested, after all there’s a reason why they dominate the market. For us we will always go back to a DHF and aggressor or DHR, but the reality is that all of these tires are great tires in the right hands. Every rider has a different weight, a different ride style, rides different trails, in different conditions. What works for one might not work for another and it’s best to test them out for yourself and find what works for you…….