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The top 3 best 26 inch downhill mountain bike tires for 2023

In this article I’m going to give you my top picks for the best 26 inch downhill mountain bike tires.

26 inch mountain bike tires are a dying breed with the entire industry adopting the 29 inch standard. But as with all new technologies, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with the old.

This entire website is a testament to the fact that older technology is far from being obsolete. Sure, I’m not advocating the use of caged pedals, and 29 inch tires bring a lot to the table, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still bomb down a trail with a mountain bike sporting 26 inch tires.

So for those of you who don’t mind being flipped over your handlebars a bit faster with those tiny wheels, I proudly bring my list of the best 26 inch downhill mountain bike tires. Ride or die!

Maxxis Minion DHF

When you’re looking for a mountain bike tire it’s almost impossible not to have heard of the Maxxis Minion DHF. The reason being it’s like the ultimate fit-and-forget mountain bike tire on the market. That means that the tire is just about perfect for any local trail riding, to enduro and downhill races.

The tread pattern shows that this tire prefers to sit on your front wheel. You can opt to put another fan favorite, the Maxxis Minion DHR II, at the back. That tire has horizontally aligned knobbies for increased braking power.

Its popularity ensures there are many options to choose from, both with respect to size, as well as casing. And all of them offer either the EXO sidewall protection, or Double Down breaker. For those with a penchant for tan sidewalls, there are those as well.

On its own, or paired with the Minion DHR II, the Maxxis Minion DHF is such a no-brainer that it’s hard to not recommend it to anyone for allround trail-riding and downhill.

Maxxis Minion DHF Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Superb allrounder with loads of sizing / compound combinations possible. Combines with Maxxis Minion DHR II for an excellent allround trail setup.
Reasons to avoid
None

Maxxis Minion DHR II

The “DH” in DHF and DHR stands for “downhill”. The “F” and “R” for “front” and “rear” respectively. The “downhill” in the name is a bit misleading, because the horizontal tread pattern of the DHR not only aids breaking but also gives more traction when going uphill. Both tires have the same side knobs to maximise grip while cornering.

Maxxis intended these two tires to be used together as their go-to allround solution for trail riding. And these tires are in some many lists that it’s probably the best allround no-worries solution money can buy.

Together witth the Minion DHF, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is a fantastic and confidence inspring tire that will take your downhill rides to the next level.

Maxxis Minion DHR II Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
One of the best rear tires available, combines with Maxxis Minion DHF for an excellent allround trail setup
Reasons to avoid
None

Maxxis High Roller II

The Maxxis High Roller II is a solid option, both front and back, in loose and dry condition riding.

If you don’t have that much climbing to do, you might opt for a dual High Roller setup. But for any non-competitive riders. However, the DHR II plus High Roller front and back respectively, is a more forgiving, allround setup.

But as far as downhill goes, the High Roller’s spaced out knobs proved a perfect amount of bite in loose condtions.

Maxxis High Roller II Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Solid trail and enduro tire, preferably up front.
Reasons to avoid
None

Specifications 26 inch downhill mountain bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Buy at Amazon
Maxxis High Roller II
26×2.30
58-559
835
Black
Black
DUAL
EXO
tlr
Maxxis High Roller II
26×2.30
58-559
846
Black
Black
3C MAXX TERRA
3CT/EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.30
58-559
840
Black
Black
3C MAXX TERRA
3CT/EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.50WT
55-559
860
Black
Black
3C MAXX TERRA
3CT/EXO
foldable
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.50WT
63-559
905
Black
Black
DUAL
EXO/TR
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.30
58-559
780
Black
Black
DUAL
EXO/TR
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.40WT
61-559
865
Black
Black
DUAL
EXO/TR
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.40WT
61-559
865
Black
Black
3C MAXX TERRA
3CT/EXO/TR
tlr

Bicycle tire puncture resistance

EXO, GreenGuard, AGC, AEC, ATC, do you ever get confused with all the jargon related to puncture protection. I know I did? That’s why I’ve written a separate article about puncture resistance technologies. That way, you’ll be able to better understand what’s out there and if it’s worth your money.

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.

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