Looking for the BEST enduro tires for mountain biking?
And no, I don’t mean “some” of the best. I mean the ACTUAL best.
Whether you’re junking the stock tires on your brand-new bike, or replacing hard-ridden rubber; this guide will help you choose the best combo that provides:
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Summary/At A Glance
There’s a ton of choice, and some truly excellent tires available this year. But 2 stood out for us. And we feel that together they are the best MTB combo in 2020: the Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin for front, and the Maxxis Ardent TR EXO for rear. Read on to find out why we picked these 2 tires, and also why you don’t need to go for the same brand front and rear.
Enduro MTB Tire Performance
The first thing you’ll need to decide, is what you want from your tire.
Typically, we want a fast rolling rear, and a super grippy front.
And, as we don’t have the benefit of spare bikes and wheels, we’ll want a good all-rounder that suits all types of AM and enduro trails.
But, if you’re riding on specific surfaces regularly, there are tire combinations that lean towards offering extra grip on different types of trails such as:
- Dry and hardpacked
- Soft and muddy
- Muddy and slick (i.e. wet rocks and roots)
- Dry trails with rocks and roots
- Trails with a loose sandy base
What we’ve recommended below are the best enduro MTB tire combos, that can be used in all these conditions.
The Best Enduro MTB Front Tire
Schwalbe Magic Mary Snakeskin Trailstar
If you’ve been hitting up enduro trails for a while, Schwalbe is a brand that’s going to need no introduction.
And as an all-rounder, the Magic Mary Snakeskin Trailstar is seriously worth considering.
Now, a lot of mountain bikers don’t consider weight when buying new rubber. Weight is important. And, even more so with the front tire.
A lightweight front tire helps to provide agility.
And that’s exactly what the Magic Mary Snakeskin Trailstar is going to give you.
Comparable tires will be in the 950g-1000g range (for example, the Mavic Crossmax Charge XL front tire is 987g).
It’s a small weight saving, but one that makes a huge difference to the control you’ve got on the trail.
Although we’d consider this one of the best front enduro tires, it’s reasonably priced.
You’ll only get cheaper when you go for lower quality own-brand rubber, like the Specialized Butcher and Slaughter.
And, Specialized blow pretty-much every one of the top tires out of the water, when considering cost alone.
We’ve picked this as part of our combo and the best front MTB tire for one reason; it’s a quality all-rounder.
You’ll get that initial bite on rocks and roots. But, it also provides durability in hardpack conditions.
More importantly, it’s got the tread depth to provide outright grip in loose, wet and muddy terrain.
So much so, that this is also the perfect tire for those that do hardcore enduro riding; trails that border being better suited to a DH bike.
With extra-durable sidewalls, you’ll get better puncture protection here than most front tires. But, it’s also tubeless ready.
So, if you’re riding on sharp and rocky terrain, and constantly get punctures, this is going to be the perfect front tire for you.
When I look at buying any new part for my bike, I like to check out online reviews.
There aren’t a tonne of reviews for the Magic Mary (around 20 online reviews), but they’re positive.
It’s a true all-rounder suitable for FR/AM/Enduro/DH riding.
Who Should Buy It?
If you’re looking for the best all-round front enduro tire, this one’s for you.
There’s a slight lean towards softer terrain, but it holds up; whatever the weather.
If a lightweight tire that offers grip and stability is your thing, the Magic Mary Trailstar should be at the top of your wish list.
The Best Enduro MTB Rear Tire
Maxxis Ardent TR EXO
OK, so this is where we are going to mix things up a little.
Most MTB tire combinations come from the same brand; front and rear.
But, just because our top pick for the front is from Schwalbe, doesn’t mean the rear has to be.
If you’re set on a “same-brand” setup, then you’ll want to head straight for the Schwalbe Nobby Nic.
Or, if you really want the best rear tire for enduro trails – keep reading…
The weight of rear MTB tires certainly isn’t as important as the front. The rear tracks rather than turns; but that doesn’t mean we want to fit a lump of lead.
A good comparison would be the weight of the Maxxis Minion DHF rear; 946g.
That’s an enormous difference, and you’ll notice it on the trail.
Is this a cheap MTB tire? Not really.
But, it’s definitely no more expensive than the other “best-in-class” enduro tires out there.
If anything, you’ll be saving 10% or so when compared to the top tires, from brands like Schwalbe and Mavic.
Like our Magic Mary pick, we’ve added this to the combo as it’s an all-rounder.
However, Maxxis themselves suggested it’s most at home in:
- Loose over hard
Pretty-much everything then, Maxxis?
It’s lightweight, but that doesn’t mean it offers no puncture protection.
The big side-knobblies are there for grip. But, they help to stop pinching tubes on rocks.
And like the Magic Mary, the Ardent EXO is tubeless ready.
If you’ve been searching reviews to decide on the best enduro MTB tire combo, you’ll soon see how good the Maxxis Ardent is.
There’s over 100 product reviews online, and they are mostly positive.
And, the praise comes in pretty much every direction. From being suitable for hardpack to soft, and AM to DH.
Who Should Buy It?
Sure, there are cheaper enduro tires out there. But, will they last? Do they have the all-round ability that the Maxxis Ardent does?
If you want the best enduro tire combi, and want something fast-rolling but lightweight at the rear; the Maxxis Ardent FR EXO is for you.
Thanks for reading our guide to the best mountain bike tires for AM, FR and enduro riding.
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