Selecting the best bikepacking tires for your bike is no easy decision. With so many different options out there, you might feel overwhelmed at times, I know I do everytime I look at new options. But asking “What are the best bikepacking tires” is like asking “What are the best hiking boots,” it’s really just a matter of personal preference.
However, when selecting a set of tires, it is important to consider the type of bike you have and the type of terrain you have in mind. Tires are the only contact between your bike and the trail. Selecting the right type of tires is crucial to ensure a smooth, secure, and comfortable journey.
Let’s start off with selecting the tire size. When it comes to tire size, the width and diameter are essential measurements to keep in mind. A foolproof way to get the diameter right is by reading the measurement on the side of your current tires. Choosing the right diameter is not a matter of preference; you simply have to go for the one that fits your wheels.
On the other hand, selecting the width of the tire can be complex. For instance, two 2” tires made by different manufacturers may, in fact, vary in size. The width of a tire can have an impact on the bike’s performance as it affects the size of the contact patch with the ground and the general volume of the tire.
The larger your tire, the better you will be able to prevent the rim from being damaged. This, in turn, affects rolling resistance, cornering, and overall traction. However, thicker tires tend to be heavier and operate slower at particular pressures as compared to their thinner counterparts.
If you are looking for mountain bike or bikepacking tires here are the key factors you should consider:
- Cross-country riding: Lightweight, fast-rolling tires with good climbing efficiency is what you should consider.
- Trail riding: Go for tires with moderate traction, speed and durability.
- Mountain biking: Check out tires with superior grip.
- Downhill riding: Opt for firm tires that can tackle hard landings and turn corners well.
Bikepacking tires are tough and designed specifically for off road use. Here is a list of some my personal favorites of the most durable tires suitable for bikepacking:
The WTB Riddler Tire will keep you on-the-go for several hours at a time and provides amazing grip in the corners. The Riddler is equally at home on your local cyclocross course and gravel back roads. It mixes aggressive cornering knobs with a low-profile center tread for fast speed on rough, loose ground. The use of TCS aramid bead and Dual Compound DNA rubber makes the casing lightweight.
The WTB Byway TCS 700c is a comfortable and versatile tire that can handle a lot of similar types of terrain, including hardpack, gravel, and pavement. The center is smooth and sharp, but the sides have a rougher texture that provides grip in loose dirt and gravel.
The GravelKing is a durable, rugged tire that’s perfect for long-distance bicycle tours and gravel grinding. It has a puncture-resistant casing to guard against flats while you explore remote areas. The tread pattern promotes confidence along stretches of gravel and pavement, and the elevated tread helps you maintain your speed and efficiency when you encounter rough roads.
Because the original GravelKing isn’t intended for muddy off-road stretches, Panaracer has designed a specific tire for these sloppy conditions.
Weighing almost 2.08 lbs., this tire has a size of 27.5″ x 2.5″. It is one of the most popular tires in the world of bikepacking and is used by professional athletes in the Olympics. These are designed for muddy, sandy, and slippery terrain so they have a pretty agressive tread that most bikepackers would find a bit too much.
What makes the Minion DHF a great choice is its firm grip and control in all types of conditions. Not only does it offer fast rolling and an aggressive tread pattern, but it can easily last a few years.
If you need to invest in quality tires, look no further than Maxxis!
Maxxis Chronicle Exo TR
The Maxxis Chronicle is best for gravel, mixed terrain, and all-around dirt touring. It features a short 2 mm center directional tread that becomes increasingly aggressive as you move outward to the 5mm angular side knobs.
The dual compound design makes the tires roll fast on gravel, hardpack, and tarmac. The soft yet tough-looking outer tread can be pushed into corners. The only issue with these tires is that the grip falls short when railing down on steep, loose rubble, even though they are able to climb easily.
The Pathfinder Pro is designed for adventure-seekers who want to go fast and also have a lot of fun while doing so! The solid center stripe is perfect for pavement riding and the file like shoulders provide excellent grip on gravel.
This robust tire features a beveled dual row tread in the middle along with large side knobs that offer substantial traction and a steady grip. Its lugs, along with a comparatively soft rubber tread, provides superior traction.
These tough tires are designed for muddy trails, rocky terrains, and slippery roots. However, this tire can be rather slow on hardpack.
Also dubbed as “The Globetrotter,” it’s got a sturdy carcass and can withstand heavy loads, has good puncture resistance, safeguards against cuts and chafing, and has a tread design that allows you to explore all kinds of trails safely.
Even when running on a lower pressure, this tire has a relatively low rolling resistance. The Globetrotter is a durable tire that does not get punctured easily. Its large air volume and dynamic profile make it safe for all types of road surfaces.
This tire has a high volume casing, which helps it run smoothly on the road. Additionally, it has a dual compound rubber that is both fast-rolling and grippy. The rounded profile and vertical channels help give you better control.
They are designed for a variety of terrain conditions. If you love off-roading with a bit of pavement riding, these tires may be a great choice for you.
They have an even rolling center tread that facilitates speed and grip. The shoulder lugs are also rather aggressive, which results in improved traction for trails, gravel roads, and even pavement. The tires feature a soft rubber compound, which provides additional grip and shock absorption.
Each tire you look at will have its own pros and cons so you have to carefully consider the terrain you will be riding and choose a tire best suited for your needs.