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The top 7 best 27.5 all mountain tires

In this article I’m going to give you some serious contenders for the very best 27.5 all mountain tires.

There’s no reason in changing a winning formula, and some tires are just downright great performers in a number of mountain bike disciplines. That being said there are also a couple of new additions to the overall all mountain lineup this year, and a classic name in a new jacket.

For the all mountain category I focused on tires that perform great in a number of conditions and support a variety of riding types. Some are better climbers because of their weight and traction. Others are better suited for death-defying downhill sections because of their grip and braking power.

It seems that choosing the right mountain bike tire is always a compromise between a certain number of tire specific characteristics. And this list of the best 27.5 all mountain tires is no exception to that rule.

But enough talk, let’s head over to my top picks for the best 27.5 all mountain tires.

Continental Trail King ProTection

Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex

The aptly named Continental Trail King ProTection Apex is the German brand’s allround trail-tackling solution.

It performs exceptionally well in all sorts of conditions, and might only wafer a bit on the steepest of technical downhill sections. That means this tire is a very good and lightweight all mountain solution indeed.

It’s one of the faster tires on this list, well-suited for those among you who don’t shy away from a steep climb. The tread pattern provides high levels of traction and with even the 2.8 width version sitting at just over a kilo, which is about 20 percent lighter than its competitors.

The knobs are rather spaced-out from each other, which means this might not be the grippiest tire in the front. On the flip side, riding in wet conditions is marginally improved because it’ll shed mud better and won’t clog up that easily.

Expert Experience

Pat Donahue | Senior Mountain Bike Editor – September 18, 2019

The Continental Trail King ProTection Apex is a serviceable, easy-riding, tire that works best on hardpack or loam. This tire can play as a front or a rear tire, although we recommend running it in the rear if you encounter loose conditions frequently. The Trail King works well but can’t hold up against the top contenders in any of the performance metrics. This is not to say it is a bad tire. In fact, we think it fared surprisingly well on the trail, and it could be a viable option for the right rider in the right conditions.

Pros and Cons

Kenda Hellkat Pro

Kenda Hellkat Pro
Kenda Hellkat Pro

The only 26 inch option left in Kenda’s lineup for all-round trail, enduro, and downhill purposes.

Unlike other brands like Maxxis, Schwalbe, and Continental, Kenda seems to be moving away from 26 inch tires for their premium lineup. Although an understandable move it’s still a shame. It means that for downhill you’ll have to settle for the Kenda Hellkat over the Kenda Pinner.

Nonetheless the Kenda Hellkat is an impressive offering which propels the brand back among its peers. The Maxxis DHFs and Schwalbe Magic Marys have been at the top of downhill lists for a very long time now, so it’s good to see Kenda taking a shot with this tire that has excellent traction and durability characteristics.

Expert Experience

Drew Rohde | Editor in Chief – September 15, 2017

The Hellkats rode very well and changed our mind about Kenda’s mountain bike program. From dry, hard pack terrain to loamy PNW trails, the Hellkats continue to impress. Highlights include: braking performance, rolling speed, longevity and traction. We felt confident pushing our bikes hard into corners as the predictable traction kept us focused on the line ahead. We didn’t find much slimy mud this summer, but imagine the somewhat shorter knob height may not be the best option for wetter conditions. Some riders noticed a little bit of squirm in berms when pressures approached 20-PSI, but for those who ran a bit more air, this was not an issue. At roughly 160-175lbs, our testers found the tires performed best between 24.5 and 28.5-PSI and have quickly become one of our favorites on the trail. If you’re looking for a fast rolling tire that offers impressive traction in drier conditions and has a respectable lifespan, the Hellkats should definitely be on your list.

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

Schwalbe Nobby Nic

Schwalbe Nobby Nic
Schwalbe Nobby Nic

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is the best all-round trail tire from the German manufacturer. If there’s a tire that could rival the dominance of the Maxxis DHR and DHF and its omnipresence on the trail, it’s this one.

It’s tread pattern provides loads of grip and traction. Its allround nature means it’s just as good in the front as it is in the back. And it’s also often seen as a grippy front tire for aggressive XC riding, with a faster and lighter tire in the back.

You can go up to a size 2.35 if you want to and it’s also the only tire that comes in a 26 inch tan version. So if you’re looking for a solid all-round setup, meant for every conceivable condition, dry and wet, hardpack and forest trail, and you want to ride a tan version, this is the tire for you.

Expert Experience

Drew Rohde | Editor in Chief – December 1, 2020

The Nobby Nic Super Ground tires opened my eyes in many ways as to what a lighter weight trail tire is capable of and what sort of ride advantages a lighter casing trail offers. We also saw the limitations of the SpeedGrip tread compound on certain types of terrain and obstacles. If you ride harder pack terrain, want a fast rolling tire that has a solid tread pattern, can climb, corner and brake well, these are certainly worth considering. The downside to this long lasting compound is that they won’t offer the confidence and traction on wet roots, loose terrain or angled and steep rock faces.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Martello

Vittoria Martello
Vittoria Martello

It’s strange to feel that the Vittoria Martello is as fast-rolling as it is. It definitely is not the lightest tire on this list, with already the 2.6 inch version at a respectable 1230 grams.

That might be because of Vittoria’s proprietary 4C compound, which reserves softer compounds for the edger, so the knobs can conform correctly to the trail and dig deep into softer soil, while harder compounds at the center maintain your rolling efficiency.

Either way, the Martello is a beast of a tire; durable and tough, letting you rip through trails in all kinds of conditions. In the end weight is just one component of the entire equation that makes up a high-quality tire. And with extremely high levels of grip, and more than enough speed to let you fly into the corners, this tire will keep you grinning for the entire duration of your ride.

Expert Experience

Pat Donahue | Senior Mountain Bike Editor – Jan 13, 2020

The Vittoria Martello is a rock-solid tire that slays flow trails, hardpack, and moderate doses of looseness. The Martello delivered exceptional performance at a sensible weight. I tested this tire in the 2.6-inch width trail casing which is lighter than the gravity-focused Enduro and EMTB casing. On flow and light-moderate steep and chunky trails, this tire slays. Cornering bite is excellent and rolling speed is impressive for a fairly aggressive tread pattern.

I have concerns about performance in rocky or loose conditions as the sidewalls and casing are quite thin and could be prone to cutting. In addition, my 2.6-inch test tire only measured a mere 2.4XX-inches on our 30mm rim.

Pros and Cons

WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8

WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8

The WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8 is a solid contender to many of the premium offerings from other high-quality brands.

Obviously there are a number of tire widths to choose from, depending on your personal preference when it comes to grip. What this tire has got going for it is that’s prefers grip and handling over weight. The rather widely spaced and high soft knobbies do very well in keeping your bike connected to the trail, ensuring high levels of confidence in hard cornering.

WTB offers this tire in their TriTec compound, which basically means that the casing consists of three layers, with each layer having a different firmness. The harder durometer is reserved for the center, reducing the risk of punctures and making the tire faster in a straight line. This gradual increase in softness from center to side sounds great on paper, and indeed works exceptionally well on the trail. It makes for a really grippy and reliable tire in corners and reasonably fast on the straights with adequate levels of puncture protection.

I tend to disagree that this tire works as well in the rear as it does in the front when it comes to braking and traction. The widely spaced tread pattern without those distinctive horizontal rows simply isn’t the best setup to support those two rear tire characteristics. On the other hand, if you like a loose feel and don’t mind the occasional drift, this tire actually enhances such a way of riding.

In the end the WTB Vigilante rightly deserves its spot on this list with grippy and fun riding characteristics that’ll suit a great number of riders.

Expert Experience

Jim Bland | World Cup Downhill Mechanic – September 10, 2020

The overall feel of the tread pattern remains reliable and grippy across a broad variety of terrain and there is definitely more of a distinct cut feel from the new wider profile when banking over in turns. Occasionally during flatter corners there can be a slight skip before the side knobs really lock in and we put this down to the way every third side knob is more inboard, and if the load begins at this point it can translate to a split second of vagueness before properly engaging with the ground. This characteristic doesn’t seem to affect performance too much, but it certainly isn’t something I feel when riding our current favourite rubber from other brands. After plenty of riding the tread does seem to wear better than many other soft compound tires though.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 27.5 all mountain tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8
27.5×2.50
60-584
1092
Black
Black
TriTec Single
tlr
60
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8
27.5×2.50
60-584
1174
Black
Black
TriTec Dual
tlr
60
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8
27.5×2.60
65-584
1340
Black
Black
TriTec Dual
tlr
60
Schwalbe Big Betty
27.5X2.40
62-584
1300
Black
Black
ADDIX Ultra Soft
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
27.5×2.30
58-584
880
Black
Light Tan
3C MaxxTerra
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
27.5×2.50
63-584
1005
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
27.5×2.50
63-584
945
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
27.5×2.50
63-584
956
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
27.5×2.60
66-584
1010
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
27.5×2.60
66-584
965
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
27.5×2.60
66-584
925
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
tlr
120
Maxxis Minion DHR II
27.5×2.30
58-584
800
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
27.5×2.30
58-584
805
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
27.5×2.40
61-584
900
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
27.5×2.40
61-586
940
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
27.5×2.40
61-587
1126
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
27.5×2.60
66-584
910
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
27.5×2.60
66-584
1065
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
60
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
27.5×2.20
55-584
775
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection Apex casing
tlr
3/180
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
27.5×2.40
60-584
915
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection Apex casing
tlr
3/180
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
27.5×2.60
65-584
955
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection Apex casing
tlr
3/180
Vittoria Martello
27.5×2.35
55-584
940
Black
Black
4C Graphene
tubeless
120
Vittoria Martello
27.5×2.60
65-584
1230
Black
Black
4C Graphene
tubeless
120
Vittoria Martello
27.5×2.80
70-584
1230
Black
Black
4C Graphene
tubeless
120
Kenda Hellkat Pro
27.5×2.40
60-584
823
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
120
Kenda Hellkat Pro
27.5×2.40
60-584
1110
Black
Black
Dual Layer
tlr
60
Kenda Hellkat Pro
27.5×2.60
65-584
1247
Black
Black
Dual Layer
tlr
60
Maxxis Forekaster
27.5X2.35
60-584
690
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
120
Maxxis Forekaster
27.5X2.60
66-584
820
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
60

Sources

Pat Donahue, Continental Trail King ProTection APEX 2.6 Review, Outdoorgearlab, September 18, 2019
Drew Rohde, Kenda Hellkat Pro Review, The Loam Wolf, September 15, 2017
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
Drew Rohde, Schwalbe Nobby Nic Super Ground Review, The Loam Wolf, December 1, 2020
Pat Donahue, Vittoria Martello 2.6 Review, Outdoorgearlab, Jan 13, 2020
Jim Bland, WTB Vigilante 2.5in tire reviewed, Bike Perfect, September 10, 2020
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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