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The top 5 best 26 inch enduro tires

It’s becoming harder and harder to find a solid pair of 26 inch enduro tires. But many mountain bikers, myself included, feel there’s nothing wrong with their older-style mountain bikes. So if you enjoy aggressive trail-riding with smaller wheels and you’re looking for a pair of high-quality enduro tires, this article is for you.

When your average allround trail tire just won’t cut it, it’s time to step up your game and opt for enduro tires. With bigger knobs, and a greater ability to clear mud, they not only offer you the grip you’re looking for, they also extend your season when trail conditions become wet and muddy.

Another characteristic of enduro tires is that they come in wide tire widths. This means you can run a lower pressure, which in turn increases your traction and grip. So Let’s see what the 26 inch enduro tires for your mountain bike are.

WTB Vigilante 2.3

WTB Vigilante 2.3
WTB Vigilante 2.3

The WTB Vigilante 2.3 is a premium trail and enduro contender for people who don’t mind spending a bit of cash.

For a pretty sum you get an incredibly durable tire for aggressive trail and enduro riding. The tire favors a front setup with widely spaced knobs that easily clear mud. That wide spacing and high side knobs does mean you feel the transition from straight to hard cornering, which is something to get used to.

A compound containing 3 separate rubbers offer superb grip in a heavy casing, which is especially noticeable going uphill. The tire excels in fast descents which are not too technical, because the grip, weight, and durability means it rumbles over anything in your path.

Expert Experience

Jason Van Horn | Contributor – July 6, 2018

Overall, I’ve been pleased with the performance of the Vigilante/Breakout Combination on the varieties of trails and conditions I’ve subjected them to. From the rocky terrain in Las Vegas and Utah to the loam of the PNW, they’ve been solid and reliable all around performers.

They also allowed me to experiment with what for me were low tire pressures during our wet season. (25 psi in the rear with 22 in the front) I found myself loving the traction I was finding in the wet roots and rocks of our local trail systems. I could probably drop a few psi more but I find I have plenty of traction and would prefer to protect my rims.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Minion DHF

Maxxis Minion DHF
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 all-round trail-riding and downhill.

Expert Experience

Jeff Barber | Editor in Chief – August 24, 2023

I’ve found the Maxxis Minion DHF truly serves as an all conditions tire, from loose to firm and from wet to dry. Obviously the compound makes a difference when it comes to hard surface traction, as does tire pressure. The Minions do a good job clearing mud and clay, and cut through sandy washes better than most.

Thinking back over hundreds of rides on the Minions DHF tires, I can’t recall a single pinch flat despite running “just” EXO/TR casings. Honestly most riders should be able to get away with a lighter casing on the DHFs since it is a front tire after all. That’s not to say I haven’t had punctures due to sharp objects, though no more or less than other tires.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Minion DHR II

Maxxis Minion DHR II
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 braking but also gives more traction when going uphill. Both tires have the same side knobs to maximize 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 with the Minion DHF, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is a fantastic and confidence inspiring tire that will take your downhill rides to the next level.

Expert Experience

Jeremy Benson | Product reviewer – November 22, 2018

I’m a pretty big fan of this tire. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option for a rear tire for aggressive everyday trail riding. The combination of cornering confidence and pedaling and braking traction is hard to beat. There are faster rolling tires out there, but few that can dominate the trail like the DHR II. Mount this up as a rear tire with a Minion DHF up front and you’ve got our winning combination for aggressive trail riding.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Aggressor

Maxxis Aggressor
Maxxis Aggressor

The Maxxis Aggressor is a solid trail and enduro option, providing both grip and traction in a fast-rolling package.

Its low center knobs prefer fast-riding in dry conditions, and well paired in the rear with another tire up front, the tire performs fantastic both uphill and downhill.

For wet and muddy conditions or for highly technical trails other tires with bigger spaced out knobs perform better.

Expert Experience

Sean Cronin | Technical Writer – November 22, 2018

It was love at first ride with this tire back when we tested enduro bikes, and the affair continues even stronger to this day. I knew it was the real thing when there was hardly a time we ever wanted to be away from this tire. It’s fast, but not at the expense of being able to slow down effectively like some other tires with minimal center tread. It holds a line through corners but is just as happy to be flicked and tossed around with a little unweighting. The Aggressor is a great rear tire for virtually any condition or style of riding.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis High Roller II

Maxxis High Roller II
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 conditions.

Expert Experience

Dunbar Cycles | Contributor – August 8, 2011

I loved the improved predictability during cornering and was impressed by how well the tire performed in the sloppiest of conditions. The new High Roller II is a step away from a comprehensive dry tire, and a step towards a true all-conditions option that can be used in more settings. It slots in between the Minion, a dry tire, and the Wet Screams. The original High Roller was, and still is, a great tire. I’d still use the first generation High Roller, but the new version is an improvement in nearly every regard.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 26 inch enduro tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.50WT
55-559
860
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
foldable
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.30
58-559
840
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.50WT
63-559
905
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.30
58-559
780
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.40WT
61-559
865
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.40WT
61-559
865
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
60
Continental Race King ProTection
27.5×2.20
55-584
560
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection casing
foldable
WTB Vigilante 2.3
26×2.30
57-559
893
Black
Black
TriTec Single
foldable
Maxxis Aggressor
26×2.30
58-559
886
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
60

Sources

Jason Van Horn, Reviewed and Tested: WTB Vigilante & Breakout 2.3 Tires, Bermstyle, July 6, 2018
Jeff Barber, The Maxxis Minion DHF Tire is Still the One to Beat, Singletracks, August 24, 2023
Jeremy Benson, Maxxis Minion DHR II Review, Outdoorgearlab, November 22, 2018
Sean Cronin, Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO Review, Outdoorgearlab, November 22, 2018
Dunbar Cycles, Maxxis High Roller II Tires Review, Pinkbike, August 8, 2011
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

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