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The top 5 best 27.5 bikepacking tires

In this article I’m going to give you my list for the best 27.5 bikepacking tires.

Though not every bikepacker uses their bicycle the same way, riding different terrain and different lengths for individual rides, it doesn’t mean that high-quality bikepacking tires don’t share a couple of characteristics.

Though the main focus might not be speed, nobody wants their bike to feel sluggish while eating away mile after mile. So I did incorporate those aspects in the tires you’ll find on this list. Besides decent levels of speed and rolling-resistance, you want bikepacking tires to last longer than average as well, reducing the risk of punctures or worse.

And naturally a true bikepacking journey might take you onto paths less pedaled. Roads and trails that can be demanding. So when you’re being confronted with rougher riding conditions, you want to keep confidence-inspiring levels of grip and traction.

All of those characteristics you can find in the following contenders for the best 27.5 bikepacking tires. So whatever tire you choose, your next bikepacking adventure will have the tires to get the most out of it.

Maxxis Ardent Race

Maxxis Ardent Race
Maxxis Ardent Race

The Maxxis Ardent Race is a great option to mount as a very grippy dual XC setup, an aggressive XC front tire, or a lightweight, fast-rolling trail tire.

The triple compound provides a fast-rolling center with softer and grippier side knobs for added traction and cornering confidence.

In dry conditions the traction will prove to be outstanding. In wet conditions the small close-knit knobs can get packed with mud. So you’ll need to resort to a different tire if you want to ride year round without swapping tires.

Expert Experience

David Rome | Contributor – November 19, 2013

At 696g (26 x 2.2), the Ardent Race is no loop circuit race day tyre, but its weight is extremely competitive for a trail worthy tyre. It’s perfect for use front and rear on a summer trail bike, or the front tyre of a cross-country speedster to give greater cornering control, or as a rear tyre on a burlier enduro race bike.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Crossmark II

Maxxis Crossmark II
Maxxis Crossmark II

The Maxxis Crossmark II is fast-rolling, dry condition, XC or gravel tire with the shallow center knobs and minimal side knobs.

It’s designed for speed on dry hardpack when going in a straight line, with the most minimal tread pattern you can find within this mountain bike category.

The hard-wearing 60 TPI dual casing and EXO reinforced sidewalls make it an excellent companion for long gravel and/or touring rides as well. Especially if you want to have the flexibility to veer off the beaten path yet still ride with confidence.

Expert Experience

David Arthur | Contributor – November 20, 2020

Even though the Crossmark II is fairly quick rolling, it’s still not as rapid as a Bontrager XR2 or Schwalbe Racing Ralph.

The 771g weight is also on the high side for an XC race tyre, but if you’re trail riding and want a fast rolling rear option with the security of the EXO casing, the Crossmark II might well suit you. It also proved easy to set up tubeless on my DT Swiss XR1501 control wheels.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Ikon

Maxxis Ikon
Maxxis Ikon

The absolute cross-country king in Maxxis’ lineup. The Maxxis Ikon has near perfect all-round tire characteristics, which makes it an excellent option for diverse road and trail conditions. Though it’s categorized obviously as an XC tire, it’ll also perform superior for bikepackers and gravel riders.

That being said, this is a racing tire, which means it’s light. But the reliable EXO compound, also used for harsher enduro racing, also means you’ll enjoy this tire for many miles.

As with any tire with this type of tread, it’ll perform well in dry conditions. The 26 inch version has both a 2.35 and 2.2 inch width option. You can run this tire both front and back, and might opt for the wider version in the front for some added grip. Especially if you expect some portions of your ride to be particularly rough.

It’s undeniable that the top-of-the-line products of Maxxis are superior to many if not all of their competitors. And the Maxxis Ikon shows it, with a perfect blend of weight, speed, grip, and protection.

Expert Experience

Jeff Barber | Editor in Chief – January 23, 2014

I think a better description for the Ikon (and one that Maxxis even uses themselves) is “all-rounder.” The knobs are long enough and spaced far enough apart to give good bite in the straights and the corners. I’ve experienced excellent results in both wet and dry conditions, and find myself able to push the envelope a bit more in the turns on these tires compared to others I’ve tested.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Mezcal

Vittoria Mezcal
Vittoria Mezcal

Another cross-country crossover well-suited for bikepacking is the Vittoria Mezcal. The single 2.1 inch width version available for 26 inch tires, has a very low-profile tread pattern to improve rolling-resistance.

The 620 grams for a single tire is very light. And it’s this tire that has been on several cross-country championship bikes. So as far as speed is concerned, it’s extremely fast.

But for bikepacking you’ll need much more than speed. You want longevity and durability. Vittoria Mezcal uses their proprietary graphene enhanced 4C compound. It prevents the knobs from squirming on the hardpack, which in turn increases speed and durability.

The Mezcal is most at home on hardpack, but does perform well on other surface types. But like all of the other tires mentioned here, you will run into issues when encountering mud. The knobs are simply bunched too much together.

The Vittoria Mezcal makes for a fast and durable dual setup.

Expert Experience

Aaron Borhill | Freelance tester – July 04, 2022

As a long-time user of the Vittoria Mezcal and having raced on them in myriad countries, the way they perform never ceases to amaze me. Of course, I wouldn’t use them in wet conditions but they’re not the worst performers in the mud either. If you’re looking for a reliable tire that prioritizes speed, look no further than the Vittoria Mezcal. It’s a brilliant tire for cross-country and marathon riding.

Pros and Cons

WTB Resolute

WTB Resolute
WTB Resolute

The WTB Resolute is an allround all-weather all-season gravel bike tire, or so WTB claims.

And this claim does make sense, with WTB basically applying a baseline of solid gravel tire characteristics into this product offering.

It’s both a lightweight tire which enhances acceleration. And it sits in between slick tires and the aggressive tread pattern of the WTB Sendero, ensuring good grip and traction in all kinds of conditions, while going in a straight line or in corners, going uphill or downhill.

So does that make the WTB Resolute one of the best all-rounders in the gravel department. The answer is a resolute yes, pun intended.

Expert Experience

Guitar Ted | Technical reviewer – August 18, 2017

For those bicycles the Resolute will fit in, this tire does rank among the best tires I could recommend. I would choose this tire for my riding over anything I’ve yet been able to try out because of its abilities on hard packed and paved surfaces while still being excellent in sand, looser dirt, and gravel. Sure, there are better specialist tires. If I were primarily interested in shredding dirt, I’d go with a Maxxis Ravager, for instance, but my riding takes me over a varied palette of surfaces which requires a tire to perform admirably over all of them. The Resolute has been that tire for me.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 27.5 bikepacking tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Maxxis Ardent Race
27.5×2.20
56-584
714
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
tlr
120
Maxxis Ardent Race
27.5×2.35
60-584
730
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
tlr
60
Maxxis Ardent Race
27.5×2.60
66-584
878
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
Maxxis Crossmark II
27.5×2.25
57-584
735
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
60
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.20
56-584
590
Black
Light Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.20
56-584
668
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.20
56-584
630
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.35
60-584
700
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
WTB Resolute
27.5×1.65
42-584
440
Black
Tan
Dual DNA
tlr
60

Sources

David Arthur, Maxxis Crossmark II EXO TR tyre review, Bikeradar, November 20, 2020
Jeff Barber, Review: Maxxis Ikon: A Racing Tire With Bite, Singletracks, January 23, 2014
Guitar Ted, WTB Resolute Tire: At The Finish, Riding Gravel, August 18, 2017
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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