Winter mountain bike tyres - 9 of the best

We rate the pick of mud plugging rubber

Goin' to a gloopfest? You'll be needin' some special rubber then. Here's a few suggestions...

Geax Barro: They might be part of a premier road brand, but Geax aren't afraid of a bit of muck. Big open tread on a super skinny carcass means the Barro winter racer sinks its teeth right down to where it counts. Sealant assisted TNT versions add low pressure tubeless advantages without stiffness or increased weight.

Verdict:

WTB Raijin: Another new face from the WTB dynasty, the Raijin eye is named after the Japanese Gods of thunder and rain. Wide spaced tread slices through sticky stuff like a samurai sword while reasonable rolling resistance means this Ronin isn't adverse to a bit of general roaming either.

Verdict:

Michelin DH Mud 3: This the serious wet weather weapon in the quiver of Michelin's DH specific tyres. A shock of centre spikes, plus a serious set of fangs on the shoulders means this nails traction in the deepest mire. Plus, unlike most spikes, super soft compound rubber sticks it to anything hard in muddy mixtures. But, possibly the slowest rolling tyre ever made, and not cheap.

Verdict:

Maxxis Medusa: Maxxis might have their most loyal fans among the lairy and loony, but they've got a big selection of excellent XC tyres for Brit bogs. The wide spaced square studs of the Medusa really come into their own when the rain comes down on the race track with impressive grip and speed however gloopy it gets.

Verdict:

Continental Cross Country: Want to know what the old school racers swear by for winter grip and off-season speed? Continental's super skinny Cross Country 1.5in might be ancient but it's still the choice of many racers for cutting right through the crap. You can forget about any mud clearance issues too, although you'll have to watch its sketchy handling on hardpack very carefully.

Verdict:

Panaracer Trailraker: Designed in Yorkshire and made by the Japanese, Trailrakeris a truly global gloop beater. Deep centre spikes and tall, aggressive shoulder tread in Panaracer's patented ZSG rubber help it claw its way up or through pretty much anything however filthy and evil the recent weather. Probably the ultimate winter grip trail tyre.

Verdict:

Bontrager Mud-X: He might live in Santa Cruz but Keith Bontrager spends enough time racing over here to be a UK citizen. His unnatural obsession with beating UK mud has created our unanimous winter and wet weather favourite. The Mud-Xsurfs the fine line between fast clearing in the claggiest clay, predictable on rocks and roots yet spikey enough to spear the slipperiest fishtailing traction. TR versions add low pressure bonuses and pricing is excellent.

Verdict:

Specialized Storm: Another fresh rubber option we were lucky enough to run pre-release is the all-winter Specialized Storm. Designed as a fast, foul weather tyre rather than an ultimate gripper, they make an excellent wet racer or winter trailster if you don't mind surfing a slide. Low weight and price certainly makes them a smart 'Stormy' option.

Verdict:

Maxxis Swamp Thing 2: The Maxxis Swamp Thing 2is the resident rubber on the front of our freeride/hardcore bikes whenever the days get short and the skies get dark. It's no fast roller, but it's perfect for nailing the sketchiest winter lines that'll leave other tyres sliding and the Swamp Thing's tough as teak too. For real monsoon conditions try the Wet Scream though.

Verdict:

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