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The top 9 fastest 27.5 mtb tires for 2023

In this article I’m going to focus on providing you with a list of the fastest 27.5 mtb tires.

Truth be told “fastest” is highly dependant on the road conditions. Nobody’s going to argue with the fact that a pair of slick tires is not going to be the fastest for the downhill mountain bike discipline. They’re simply the wrong tires for the job, no matter how low their rolling-resistance is.

So for this list I’m going to offer a number of tires across a variety of disciplines which are fast on tarmac and on the trail. E.g. they have a low-rolling resistance, low weight, and/or are race-oriented.

So with that out of the way, let’s head over to my list of the fastest 27.5 mtb tires.

Continental CONTACT Speed

Meant for the road the Continental Contact Speed is a slick tire in the true sense of the word. A minimalistic profile will turn your bike into a city slicker.

In the commuting and touring range from this German brand, it sits in the fastest category and is one of the most affordable options to obtain a fast-rolling tire.

It also has excellent puncture protection with Continental’s more than adequate SafetySystem breaker technology. Chances of flats are minimized.

Continental CONTACT Speed Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Affordable slick tire , with excellent puncture protection
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental Race King ProTection

The Continental Race King ProTection is an extremely light tire. In the weight department it means it outshines every comparable tire from every other brand by far. And it’s also the best XC tire in the rolling-resistance department.

I cannot stress enough that with respect to speed and acceleration, a light tire makes all the difference. And tires are also the most cost-effective way to reduce the overall weight of the bike.

Try reducing a couple of hundred grams of any other bike component and be ready to spend in the hundreds of dollars. Not so the case with tires. And on top of that the tire has the advanced ProTection puncture protection, with a composite breaker and a bead to bead sidewall protection polyamide fabric.

All that speed comes at a price, because traction is not this tire’s strength when compared to other mountain bike tires. And it’s the reason this tire performs best in dry conditions.

But when riding in those conditions getting up to speed and keeping it is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. It rightly deserves its name.

Continental Race King ProTection Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
One of the lightest mountain bike tire on the market, with excellent puncture protection. Geared towards speed in every way.
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental Terra Speed

The Continental Terra Speed, as the name implies, is a gravel tire focused on speed over grip.

That means it’s fast-rolling, with small tightly spaced knobbies. The downside is obviously that, should the road conditions take a turn for the worst, you’ll be left with a mud-caked tire without any grip.

The tire is as stylish as they come, with a light tan option available for some sizes. And on top of that, the tire has the ProTection bead-to-bead puncture resistant layer, the best Continental has in the puncture protection department.

Furthermore it boasts a 3-ply supple 180 TPI carcass made from their top-of-the-line durable BlackChili compound.

Continental is known for their very low-weight, ultra-durable, fast-rolling premium tires, and this one is as good as they come. As long as your favorite riding style is dry conditions dirt and hardpack, there are very few tires that beat the combination of high-quality features packed into this one.

Continental Terra Speed Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Very fast, extremely lightweight, great-looking dry condition gravel tire
Reasons to avoid
Dry conditions tire only.

Maxxis Rekon Race

The Maxxis Rekon Race is a perfect allround option to use as a 29 inch gravel tire.

Multiple widths are available from 2.25 up to 2.40 inches. In general the entire premium lineup of Maxxis are great tires, and I particularly like the Rekon Race.

The reason is that the tire provides lots of grip for true gravel riding in dry conditions. And if there’s one thing I love to do is moving through a forest at lightning speed.

Maxxis often makes heavier tires than the counterparts of either Continental or Schwalbe, but their EXO casing has proven over the years to be extremely reliable. And speed is great, but reliability is more important if you ask me.

And in the end weight isn’t the only factor that makes up a high-quality tire. And I firmly believe the 120 TPI versions are fantastic tires for your gravel setup.

Maxxis Rekon Race Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Great allround option, very durable
Reasons to avoid
None

Panaracer GravelKing SK

The Panaracer Gravel King SK has become my favorite gravel tire in the market. In my mind there are two brands that stand out from the crowd, and those are american-made WTB and their Japanese counterpart Panaracer.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Panaracer. When the gravel-craze took hold of the bicycle industry, they created the tire that would serve as the de facto standard for gravel tires with the GravelKing.

The GravelKing SS might have topped that tire. It has just the right weight, just the right tread pattern, just the right puncture protection, and all wrapped up in a beautiful package, both in black and tan-wall options.

Deservedly so the Panaracer Gravel King SK is in my mind the true fit-and-forget, all-weather, all-season option for gravel afficionados. But will serve those bikepackers and hard-riding daily commuters just as well.

Panaracer GravelKing SK Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Superb allround gravel tire, very lightweight, with japanese build quality.
Reasons to avoid
None

Panaracer GravelKing Slick

Starting with the amazing Gravel King, Panaracer quickly decided the gravel bike was here to stay and made several adaptations to their popular gravel tire.

The Panaracer Gravel King Slick is one of the most obvious choices for such an adaptation, though as far as gravel riding is concerned, it’s a tire meant for the lightest of conditions. The tire is covered from side to side in a minimalistic herringbone and diamond pattern. I admit that such a pattern provides a modicum of grip, but don’t expect this tire to outperform any other tire with knobbies in the cornering.

When you would use this tire for rougher gravel riding, the tread pattern will quickly diminish, giving your center tread the look of a true slick. But that’s not what this tire is meant for. It’s a very fast, voluminous, and durable road, or commuting tire, that doesn’t shy away from the occasional dirt or hardpack.

Anyone who reads my articles on tires knows I’m a big Panaracer fan. I own a set of these tires for my daily driver and can attest to the qualities ascribed to them.

Panaracer GravelKing Slick Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
slick version of one of the best gravel tires in the market, gorgeous supple and round tire, extremely lightweight
Reasons to avoid
none

Schwalbe Hurricane

I also decided to include the Schwalbe Hurricane in this list. It’s a shame they don’t sell them in skinwall versions as well. But the tire packs a solid combination of a flat centerline and side knobs.

The side knobs means the tire is more versatile than the average slick, opening up the possibility to take your bike offroad and away from the beaten path.

If you want to keep a MTB look for your tires without sacrificing too much speed on the road, this is the perfect tire for you. Especially if you like the occassional trail as well because of the added grip.

Schwalbe Hurricane Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Great allround gravel and light XC tire, with an affordable quality.
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe G-One Allround

The allround in the Schwalbe G-One Allround refers just as much to its application as to its tread pattern.

It’s a fantastic grippy tire meant for riding in dry conditions. It has a pattern rather than easily discernable knobbies, making this the faster allround gravel tire of this list. That’s why it performs exceptionally well on tarmac as on gravel.

The Super Ground carcass is found on tires that need to perform well into various conditions, and offers great rolling-resistance, durability and weight characteristics. The ADDIX SpeedGrip compound obviously favors speed above traction.

The tread pattern, the compound and tire carcass, all of those components make this one helluva speedy gravel tire for dry conditions.

Schwalbe G-One Allround Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
The best allround gravel tire from Schwalbe
Reasons to avoid
None

WTB ThickSlick

Of all the tires I’ve come across, none is as true to its name as the WTB ThickSlick.

The high-contrast white letters on the smooth carcass is one of the most distinctive designs for a black tire you can find. A tire with a non-existent tread pattern such as this one is obviously meant for riding on pavement and tarmac. And it does so admirably, with a reasonable enough weight and rolling-resistance.

It’s a very niche-oriented tire to turn your bike into something more. And one of the best-looking slick mountain bike tires ever to hit the market.

WTB ThickSlick Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
True slick with no tread pattern. Unique-looking tire
Reasons to avoid
Meant for urban riding only

Specifications fastest 27.5 mtb tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Buy at Amazon
Continental CONTACT Speed
27.5×1.25
32-584
470
Black
Black
 
SafetySystem Breaker
tlr
Continental CONTACT Speed
27.5×2.00
50-584
700
Black
Black
 
SafetySystem Breaker
tlr
Continental Race King ProTection
27.5×2.20
55-584
560
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection
foldable
Continental Terra Speed
27.5×1.50
40-584
450
Black
Cream
BlackChili
ProTection
tlr
Continental Terra Speed
650x40B
40-584
450
Black
Cream
BlackChili
ProTection
foldable
link
Continental Terra Speed
650x40B
40-584
450
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection
foldable
Continental Terra Speed
650x35B
35-584
345
Black
Cream
BlackChili
ProTection
foldable
Maxxis Rekon Race
27.5×2.25
57-584
687
Black
Dark Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Rekon Race
27.5×2.25
57-584
687
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Rekon Race
27.5×2.35
60-584
744
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing SK
27.5×1.90
47-584
600
Black
Tan
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
ProTite Shield Plus
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing SK
27.5×1.90
47-584
600
Black
Black
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
ProTite Shield Plus
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing SK
27.5×2.10
54-584
640
Black
Tan
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
ProTite Shield Plus
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing SK
27.5×2.10
54-584
640
Black
Black
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
ProTite Shield Plus
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing Slick
27.5×1.50
38-584
320
Black
Tan
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
Anti-Flat
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing Slick
27.5×1.50
38-584
 
Black
Black
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
Anti-Flat
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing Slick
27.5×1.75
42-584
360
Black
Tan
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
Anti-Flat
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing Slick
27.5×1.75
42-584
 
Black
Black
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
Anti-Flat
tlr
Panaracer GravelKing Slick
27.5×1.90
47-584
520
Black
Tan
ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) Natural
Anti-Flat
tlr
Schwalbe G-One Allround
27.5×1.50
40-584
450
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground
tubeless
Schwalbe G-One Allround
27.5×2.25
57-584
650
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground
tubeless
Schwalbe G-One Allround
27.5×2.80
70-584
845
Black
Black
ADDIX
DD
tubeless
Schwalbe Hurricane
27.5×2.00
50-584
610
Black
Black
ADDIX
Performance
wired
Schwalbe Hurricane
27.5×2.40
62-584
885
Black
Black
ADDIX
DD, RaceGuard
wired
WTB ThickSlick
27.5×1.95
50-584
713
Black
Black
DNA
 
folding

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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