Grip or speed? MTB tyre advice from Endurotyres.com
It’s one of those questions that you will need to consider when grabbing tyres for your next ride, are you looking for grip or speed? At Endurotyres, we have Michelin mountain bike tyres to suit everyone so we thought we would give you a breakdown of what each tyre is best suited for, and why this question can be vital for your performance.
Firstly, look at your terrain
There are certain terrains which will require you to have one or the other when it comes down to grip or speed. You will need to take seasonality into consideration, as the conditions throughout the year will drastically impact what tyres you will want to opt for. It’s a bit of a balancing act really!
During winter, when you’re experiencing a lot of mud, or slippery tracks and trails you will need to go for something a bit more grippy, especially if you’re brave enough to attempt the trails during the freezing temperatures we’re seeing at the moment. It’s all about riding, not sliding in this instance.
Throughout spring and summer, speed can be your friend, when the ground is far more dry and hard, you will have a bit more flexibility to hit the trails faster, as there will be fewer obstacles in your way stopping your tyres from running quickly.
What type of riding are you doing?
Are you a hobby rider or a competitive rider? Not all trails require you to just bomb it down a hill as fast as possible, some need you to be a bit more technical, gripping onto tricky rocky obstacles and challenging downhill stints.
In short, there are four main mountain bike racing disciplines:
- Cross-country – you’ll see a bit of everything during a cross-country race and will need all-rounder tyres that can cope well in a variety of terrains for a long period of time.
- Enduro – climbing, descending and jumping, with enduro riding, you will see it all and it requires a whole load of different skills. Our personal favourite of the mountain bike disciplines.
- Downhill – as the name suggests, the aim of the game here is to get down that hill quickly, depending on the level of downhill racing you’re doing, there will be jumps, large gaps and steep descents to tackle.
- 4X racing (four-cross) – this involves going head-to-head with other riders. You will be challenged with a variety of jumps and berms during the relatively short race.
What tyres are best for grip?
Downhill tyres are the most aggressive/grippiest tyres in the Michelin bicycle range. These offer ultimate traction when things get steep and gnarly. These tyres also contain the stiffest and strongest sidewall casing meaning maximum puncture protection and support in cornering.
The trade-off to all that grip is rolling resistance. The stiffer sidewalls also make the tyres heavier. This resistance and weight mean that these are probably not the tyres to choose if big days in the saddle are your thing as climbing will require more effort.
What tyres are best for speed?
If beating your mates to the top of the hill is more your idea of fun then you’re going to want something a little less aggressive with less rolling resistance. Michelin offers a range of cross-country tyres with tyres for various different terrains and conditions but all with the focus of getting you to the top first! The trade-off of the low rolling resistance and lighter casings is that these tyres won’t offer as much grip and protection on the downhills.
What are the best ‘all-rounder’ tyres?
At Endurotyres we’d say that the best all-rounder tyres would be the Michelin Enduro Range. Specifically the Michelin Wild Enduro MTB tyre. This tyre offers the sweet spot between Downhill and cross-country. This means you can climb to the top of the hill with confidence that you’ll have plenty in the tank to attack the downhill and the tyre will take everything you throw at it. The perfect balance of grip, rolling resistance, puncture protection and weight.
Other factors to consider
There are obviously various factors that you need to consider to get the ideal combination of grip and speed:
- Are you using a hard or soft tyre?
- What is your tyre pressure?
- How’s your suspension?
Rolling resistance means a slower rolling MTB tyre. For example, a downhill tyre has loads of grip but more rolling resistance compared to a cross-country tyre that has less grip and lower rolling resistance.
(Harder compound = lower rolling resistance but less grip)
(Lower tyre pressure = more rolling resistance but more grip)
Order your tyres online from Endurotyres.com
We stock a wide range of mountain bike tyres for all kinds of riders, so whether you are looking for grip or speed for your next rider, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some quick links to take you to the MTB tyre you may want to ‘add to your basket’: