02 Jul Tyre choice…
Tyre choice… it has been one of the biggest talking points in Mountain bike for years and I guess because they are the only point of contact between being on your bike and not, it’s for a good reason.
I have used quite a few different tyre brands over the years but instead of comparing brands and starting any kind of debate I am going to share with you a little info about Mitas tyres, the brand I choose to use now.
Mitas have a big range of MTB, Road, DH, Cyclo-cross and commuter tyres but I’ll focus on their range of cross country tyres.
One of the best features with Mitas is the option of different side walls and rubber compounds. They have a side wall protection system which is called TEXTRA. This is a game changer and what I use 99% of the time. With such little weight added it is the perfect choice for riding and racing and I can say I have never cut a side wall yet!
They also have a compound called grey line which has a softer compound rubber on the side knobs which is perfect if you are after that little edge in the corners or on wet and slippery trails.
The first tyre off the rack is the Mitas Zefyros. This is one fast tyre, but don’t be intimidated by the lack of knobs. With its super round and even bag shape it’s actually very predictable. I use this tyre quite often as a rear tyre for extra speed and acceleration out of corners. It’s also a great marathon tyre on the fast and more open courses.
VERDICT – Fast. It is not a tyre for all riding but in the right conditions is a great addition.
The Kratos is the biggest, most aggressive tyre in the range. With a 2.25 and 2.45 option the Kratos can handle the hardest of riding. It was designed as a dry weather, loose surface tyre but I actually use it a lot in wet conditions. With its bigger size than the traditional mud tire it offers far more traction on wet roots and slippery surfaces.
VERDICT. The Kratos is the all rounder, it may not be the fastest rolling but it can handle anything you throw at it.
PERSONAL NOTE. Consider using the grey line compound on the front for added grip especially in wet riding.
The Hyperion is the newest tyre to the Mitas family. It is a real mud eater. It’s narrower 2.1 bag size allows it to cut through the mud and minimise the amount of clog and build up of mud in the rear triangle/wheel area. We have all had those moments when you can no longer spin your wheels due to the build up of mud!
As much of a mud specialist this tyre is, I have also used it in really dry conditions where you need the tyre to cut through the dry/loose surface on the top and bite into something a bit harder. Some of my home trails at Stromlo in Canberra come to mind or even the pea gravel of Western Australia.
VERDICT – The tyre of choice to use in extreme conditions. For real mud but can hook up in loose, slippery, dusty, dry conditions where many cant.
The Scylla is the flagship tyre in my opinion. If you are after one tyre to set and forget on your bike then this is it. It has great rolling resistance, control and direction in the corners and is very predictable. With all options of Grey Line compound and TEXTRA it doesn’t matter if you are racing World Cups or bike paths. I use this tyre in training in every condition and it’s unbelievable just what it can handle.
VERDICT – This is the one tyre for all riding. Fast, predictable, control and reliable.
INSIDE TIPS: – Don’t be afraid to mix and match tyres, although most of my training and racing is done on Scylla’s I quite often mix it up. My two favorite options are Scylla front with Zefyros rear or Kratos front with Scylla rear depending on conditions. I really like to have the feeling of a light, fast tyre on the rear and a slightly more aggressive tyre up front for better control and feel. And I’m never too far away from my pressure gauge!
Touching quickly on pressures I always recommend to use a pressure gauge rather than the finger check – this way you can really find what works for you and your riding style. Rule of thumb, the bigger the bag and width of the tyre the lower pressure you can run!
I hope this has helped you in some way, whether it be to keep it simple with your tyre selection or to go out on a limb to find that extra confidence in the corners or for that little edge of extra speed. Either way keep it rubber side down!
Let me know what you think, and if you’d like me to follow up about tyre pressures!