It's time to change your tyres for winter

Richard Allin | Tuesday, 17 May 2016

With the change of seasons imminently upon us, it's now time to change your mountain bike tyres.



There is a significant difference between a summer and winter tyre, which we have summed up below for you. What you need depends very much on how and where you're riding.

There’s a huge variety of tyre options on the market, each designed for different platforms from trail, enduro, downhill, cross country or just riding recreatinally.

So what are the differences?

Compound

The compound is how hard or soft the rubber tread is on a tyre. Having the correct rubber compound is critical to performance, both for summer and winter months. A softer compound tyre is the best option for winter, providing more grip and giving you masses of traction in wet conditions. Be careful though as if you plan to do any milage on the road a softer compound will wear a little quicker and drag slightly more. We recommend using a softer front tyre, like Maxxis's 3C compounds (triple compounds, which has softer edge knobs and a firmer centre tread), with a harder rear tyre.

Tread

The most obvious difference with a winter tyre is the tread. Enlarged knobs will dig down and maximise grip in loose conditions. Increased spacing between the knobs will also allow to mud to clear. Summer tyres often have ramped tread, meaning the front of the knob is angled giving less resistance when this contacts the ground verses a winter tyre which has a sharper profile.

Casing

Another final peace of consideration is the casing of a tyre. A heavier casing means better protection but offers less rolling resistance. The thickness depends on how many layers were used to make it. As a general rule downhill or enduro riders will use a 2 ply or double casing and trail through recreational riders opt for a single casing. Maxxis offers a reinforced lightweight casing called EXO which is a great all round option.