best mountain bike mud tyres

Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Mud Tyres

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Although we are entering autumn winter time, filth is a year-round issue in the UK. With that in mind, here are the best mountain bike mud tyres to help you stay rubber side down.

Our favourite five mud tyres

  • Maxxis Shorty (Gen 1 or Gen 2)
  • Michelin Mud Enduro
  • Schwalbe Magic Mary
  • Specialized Butcher
  • WTB Verdict (or Verdict Wet)
Best Mountain Bike Mud Tyres
No more of this

There’s no getting away from it: if you want a capable mud tyre you’re going to have to accept some compromises in terms of rolling resistance. Perhaps the best advice we can give is to ’embrace the filth’, as they say.

It’s no longer firm and dry out there. You have to change more than your tyres. You perhaps need to change where you ride. And even why you ride. Go and find some sketchy slippery things and muck about, literally.

The five tyres we have here run the spectrum of genuine mud performers. From skinny slicers, through to gravity grabbers, via decent loose-condition all-rounders.

Best Mountain Bike Mud Tyres
If you’re racing, mud tyres are a clear advantage

One piece of advice we’d advice is don’t forget your rear tyre. Although it’s tempting – and makes logical sense – to prioritise front tyre performance in the mud, you’re asking a lot of one tyre if you’re expecting it to do cornering AND braking at the same time in mud. Let the front do the steering, get the rear to slow you down. A quick solution is to put your summer front tyre on the rear and slap a mud tyre up front.

A good combo is a softer compound, bigger/gappier knobbed front tyre combined with a firmer compound, tighter paddle-treaded rear tyre.

Volume size wise, we’d advise against very large volume tyres in mud. 2.4in at absolute most. Anything bigger will just smear and surf about. By all means go down to 2.0in if your terrain is sticky and/or your body is able to deal with the potential harshness.

Best Mountain Bike Mud Tyres
Make sure your back end has the clearance, as it were

What about weight? We say don’t worry about it. You and your bike are going to be coated in kgs of soil. Traction and control are your priorities in mud. Not gram counting. The key thing to get correct is the casing/carcass type.

Mud season is a good time to come down in tyre pressure and up in sidewall strength. You will be amazed at the difference it makes. Again, feel free to only chunk-up the front tyre if you’re concerned about rolling resistance. A thin casing rear tyre is actually okay in the mud, where speeds are slower and rough rocks etc are less of an issue.

Tyre pressure wise, we have good results going below 20psi but YMMV. Experiment. You can always go too far and then put some back in. Leave the 35psi habit behind.

Best Mountain Bike Mud Tyres:

Best Mountain Bike Mud Tyres
Maxxis Shorty Gen 2

Maxxis Shorty (Gen 1 or Gen 2)

Price: £69.99 (Shorty Gen 2)

Overall: The Maxxis Shorty Gen 2 is one of the best. It’s consistent, predictable and offers bucket loads of grip. For natural style trails, in a mix conditions, it’s pretty hard to beat yet can also hold its own in more mixed terrain. While it’s not a particularly light or fast rolling tyre it’s certainly manageable for the performance that’s on offer. Only you can decide if it’s right for your local trails but – if it is – give it a go and you won’t be disappointed. The original/Gen 1 Shorty is also still one of the best mountain bike mud tyres of all time, if you can find it! Read our review.

Michelin Mud Enduro

Michelin Mud Enduro

Price: £64.99

Overall: Something of a unique proposition in that the MIchelin Mud Enduro has the tread, casing and compound of big burly tyres but all wrapped up on a modest 2.25in volume size carcass. In this sense it makes for a great tyre for conditions and riders who want a slicey cutting-through tyre but need the sidewall support and softer compound grip that is lacking in other skinny volume mud tyres. Once you’ve worn it down a bit over a couple of winters, it makes for a surprisingly okay rear tyre too.

Schwalbe Magic Mary

Schwalbe Magic Mary

Price: £62.00

Overall: Oh hail to the Mary! Personally speaking, I [Benji] ride a Schwalbe Magic Mary as a front tyre all year round. Sometimes I stick an orange Soft Addix compound version on if it’s really dry out there, but typically I have the purple Ultra Soft Addix compound up front. It’s not a tyre that can deal with super loose or stickier types of clag, but as a safe bet – that also feels like more of a value for money proposition – the Magic Mary is exactly that. Magic.

Specialized Butcher

Specialized Butcher

Price: £37.50

Overall: One for the more XC-mixed terrain crew and/or as a rear mud tyre. In a mix of wet and very wet intermediate trails and mud, the Butchers hook up much, much better than you might expect, and we find that they offer a consistent level of grip across rocks, roots, hardpack and slop, even when the lean angles got more extreme. They do wear out a bit faster than others when riding firm tracks so it’s wise to remove them once the drier times return.

WTB Verdict

WTB Verdict (and Verdict Wet)

Price: £55.00

Overall: The Verdict Wet essentially has bigger knobs. Stop it. The centre tread is 1mm taller and the side knobs are 1.6mm taller (compared to the regular Verdict). The Verdict Wet is perhaps OTT for a lot of folk. The ground has to be pretty loose, not to mention devoid of rock, for the Wet to really make the most sense. But as a specialist loam slayer, the Verdict Wet is amazeballs. The regular Verdict is no slouch mind you, and works better as the mixed terrain winter all-rounder. It’s also not too expensive either, which is nice.

While you’re here…

Review Info

Brand: N/A
Product: N/A
From: N/A
Price: N/A
Tested: by N/A for N/A

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Mud Tyres
  • doomanic
    Full Member

    No Hill Billy?

    Full Member

    No Hill Billy?

    I think theyve got it mixed up with the butcher, because thats rubbish in the wet. Tread is good but compound is poor

    Full Member

    Summary says “nothing bigger than 2.4” but the best gen 1 shorty by far is the 2.5 maxxgrip.

    The article definitely has a picture of the butcher, but yeah, makes more sense to test the hillbilly and throw in something minioney like the butcher for “not a mud tyre but does pretty well”. But at that point, you’d still not choose a butcher because it lacks the sticky compound for mixed-mud. DHR2 is better at literally everything ime

    Full Member

    To the person who discontinued the Bontrager Muds… are a knob.

    Full Member

    To the person who discontinued the Bontrager Muds… are a knob.


    Full Member

    There is only Wetscream.

    Full Member

    Having ridden Butcher’s they are fair to middlin in the wet, I’m not convinced they are any better than a High Roller 2, DHF, Nobby Nic, or many other trail bike tyres designed for a mix of conditions though.

    As has already been mentioned the omission of the Hill Billy is a bit weird as it’s designed for wet and or loose conditions, it’s also really good. If you can still find them the Spesh Storms are pretty good if a bit undersized (29 x 2.00) for modern trail bikes.

    The Wet Scream is a beast of a wet conditions tyre but is only really for the muddiest conditions when going downhill and is too much as a general winter trail tyre.

    So for general winter trail riding I would add to the list in the article Spesh Hill Billy, pretty light (about a 1KG) and can be had in the new T9 compound as well. Vittoria Mota, I rate these really highly, grippier in the wet than a Magic Mary but not heavier and not noticeably more draggy.

    Full Member

    Agree with @zippykona! They’re awesome

    Full Member

    I’ve not tried them, but Bontrager fans may like this review:-

    Full Member

    I have to say I’m really impressed with the V1 (ie not the fancy new version) of the Maxxis Forekaster I have. I have it as a rear with a DHF up front. Things are still mostly/relatively dryish but for the perma-mud and general forestry trail muck that stays all year, they’re really holding up well. I got it 2nd hand online from a lad who took them off a brand new bike too for a great deal which makes them even better. Going to leave it on for as long as possible to see how it holds up in the proper muck.

    Free Member

    Last winter I finally got to properly test my Surly Dirt Wizards, 3 inch but come up about 2.8, panicked and fitted them in November,should have waited until the filth really started as they are heavy and VERY hard work without mud or on tarmac. But when in the slop they really come into their own. Still have some control and traction when the pedals are full in the mud. Run them with 1 psi more than my fair weather maxxi chronicle, 11 in the front and 15 in the rear. One winter of dirty commuting and I think I’d burned about 1/2 off the rear. They surfaced the really filthy bit of the tow path this year so won’t be putting them on early.

    Full Member

    Summary says “nothing bigger than 2.4” but the best gen 1 shorty by far is the 2.5 maxxgrip.

    Agreed. The 2.5 maxxgrip is an entirely different beast to the so called 2.3 maxxterra. The “2.3” is more akin to an old school narrow mud tyre while the 2.5 works in a much broader range of conditions. The smaller one is lethal on wet roots while the 2.5 is brilliant.

    I also mourn the old Mud X. Was much more versatile than a pure mud tyre. Was three season for me on the hardtail. That new Bonty linked above is a nothing like it.

    Full Member

    Mud X was alright but the Beaver 2.25 was better at everything except for bottomless mud. And bottomless mud is horrible regardless of tyres. RIP 2.25 Beaver, inexplicably Maxxis has space in the range for 400 different enduro tyres but not for one superb xc mud.

    Full Member

    Been thinking if I might benefit from a tyre swap in winter. Our local can turn into a bit of a slopfest with chalk and roots under the slop. I currently have a Wild Enduro on the front and a high roller on the back. Anyone argue with moving the WE to the back, even though it is a front tyre (michelin do front and rear specific just to mess with my head) and adding a Magic Mary up front? Mainly becuse they look really cheap in the links above

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)

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