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The top 5 cheap 26 inch mountain bike tires for 2023

In this article I’m going to give you a list of what I feel are solid choices for cheap 26 inch mountain bike tires.

When I try to think of the most likely scenario where you’d want cheap tires for an older-style mountain bike, is when you’re actually need cheap tires for an old MTB. Maybe you just want to get a fixer-upper running again, and you’re not looking to spend a 100 dollars or more on some fancy tires.

Or you’re looking to sell an old mountain bike with dried out tires, and you want to spend as little money as possible. Or you’re simply interested in replacing tires on a bike you’re using and just don’t want to spend a lot of cash. Things are expensive enough as it is.

With those scenarios in mind I looked at the range of tires I believe are best-in-class in the affordable appartment. Whatever scenario describes yours best, with this list of the best cheap 26 inch mountain bike tires, you’ll get up and running again without spending an arm and a leg.

Schwinn Mountain

Coming in a variety of sizes the aptly named Schwinn Mountain tire is as cheap as they come.

The tread pattern actually support commuting with a fairly unbroken center tread line. So whether you want to slap a pair of cheap tires on your fixer-upper you’ll be going to use as a fun daily driver, or you actually want to rock your local trail, the trail will serve you fine on both occassions.

Don’t expect anything fancy other than a bit of added puncture protection. But there’s enough rubber to keep you going a long time.

Schwinn Mountain Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
One of the cheapest mountain bike tires on the market. Actually has added puncture protection.
Reasons to avoid
Expect nothing fancy

Schwinn Cruiser

The Schwinn Cruiser is actually a great-looking and very cheap tire for urban, commuting, and gravel use.

It will turn your mountain bike in a perfect commuter, while still maintaining some offroad capability for gravel and light cross country riding.

It’s a bit too light to take on the trail, but if you grew up riding mountain bikes in the 90s, nothing is too light probably.

The main attraction is obviously the price, which is about half you’d pay for a more premium counterpart. So unless you want to move into the territory where tires begin to have unpronouncable names, this is the go-to solution for the cheapest light offroad tire.

Schwinn Cruiser Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
The cheapest offroad, cross country tire you can find.
Reasons to avoid
Expect nothing fancy

Bell Mountain

I didn’t realize Bell actually made tires before I stumbled upon this one. I’m riding with one of their helmets for years. It’s heavy but does the job. The same goes for the Bell Mountain tire.

It’s heavy but does the job more than adequatly for providing your bike with a bit of grip. The small knobbies make for a relatively speedy setup for gravel and cross country and looks pretty descent.

It’s very cheap, so it’s a solid option for people who just want a good-looking pair of tires.

Bell Mountain Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Small knobbed tire, for touring and gravel riding
Reasons to avoid
None

Kenda Smoke

The tread pattern of the Kenda Smoke is over 3 decades old and is an absolute classic for retro mountain bikes.

I deem this tire budget-friendly because I’ve bought the versions from Panaracer, which are twice as expensive as this one.

Granted, I have skinwalls, but in terms of riding capability on the trail, these tires will perform just as great for half the money.

So if you’re looking for the cheapest solution to actually do so trails with your mountain bike, this is the tire.

Kenda Smoke Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Classic tried-and-true tread pattern, for front and rear tires. Holds his own on the trail.
Reasons to avoid
For what it's supposed to do, none.

Kenda K838 City Slick

The Kenda City Slick looks remarkably like the Kenda Kwest, only this one comes in a classid mountain bike width.

They are slicks with a minimal tread pattern, so great for people who want to use their mountain bike for non-offroad purposes. And wide enough to still maintain an actual mountain bike feel.

And, last but not least, cheap enough to not hurt your wallet.

Kenda K838 City Slick Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Extremely cheap slick tires
Reasons to avoid
None

Specifications cheap 26 inch mountain bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Tread color
Sidewall color
Tire bead
Buy at Amazon
Schwinn Mountain
26×1.95
53-559
Black
Black
wired
Schwinn Cruiser
26×1.95
53-559
Black
Black
wired
Bell Mountain
26×1.75
42-559
Black
Black
foldable
Kenda Smoke
26×2.10
54-559
Black
Black
wired
Kenda City Slick
26×1.95
53-559
Black
Black
wired

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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