Have you been bitten by the mountain bike bug? Have an uncontrollable urge to scroll the internet in search of the latest and greatest components for your bike? This list is for you. For the beginner to intermediate mountain biker, this list covers the best value upgrades you can do to get more out of your bike. Whether you’re on a 29er or old-school 26-inch, hardtail or full suspension, these upgrades will raise your riding.
As the only connection point your bike has to the terrain, tyres are undoubtedly the single best area to upgrade when chasing more from your bike. That said, choosing tyres can be a minefield of options, and so there are certain things to look for. Deciding what type of riding you do is the first and most critical step.
When shopping tyres for your cross country or trail bike, look for a ‘folding’ tyre with a kevlar bead. These are far lighter and more supple than non-folding cheaper tyres which feature a ‘wire bead’. If you’re running tubeless (more on that below), be sure to look for a tyre that’s marked as being compatible – options are plentiful these days.
Different tyres will offer different levels of puncture protection, typically the less puncture resistant a tyre is, the lighter it is. Depending on where and how you ride, the extra weight may be worth the peace of mind.
Also be familiar of different rubber compounds, most higher end tyres are available in a choice of rubber compounds or with multiple compounds in a single tyre. Generally speaking, softer rubber compounds offer improved traction but come at the cost of increased rolling resistance and reduced durability. Dual or triple compound tyres balance this by putting a faster and more durable compound in the tyre centre, with progressively softer compounds as you get toward the outer cornering edges of the tyre.