In this article I’m going to give you my list for the best 650b gravel tires for mud.
That’s not as easy as it might look, and I had to admit that this article took me longer than a lot of other articles I’ve written on the subject of tires. And I’ve written a lot. That’s because to me the word gravel tires and mud are difficult to pair. Just as road bikes and downhill don’t sit well together.
To understand why that is, you have to understand the various factors that make up a tire. You see, the best tires for riding in the most extreme conditions are mountain bike tires with widths that exceed the average gravel bike frame. You simply won’t be able to put a 2.8 inch Schwalbe Magic Mary into such a frame.
So picking the best 650b gravel tires for mud does entail a bit of compromising. And a great middle-road of adding additional levels of grip when the going gets tough is looking at tires traditionally used for XC and light trail riding. These tires go up to a width of 2.2 inches, which is about the maximum amount of volume you want for a gravel bike, and the maximum connection with what you’re riding on.
These tires are also still very lightweight. Even more so, on this list you’ll find the lightest tires in their respective widths on the entire planet. The best of the best. Nonetheless, softer compounds and raised side knobbies ensure you don’t wipe out while cornering, or at least reduce that risk to a minimum.
But enough talk, let’s head over the contenders for the very best 650b gravel tires for mud.
Continental Cross King ProTection
The Continental Cross King ProTection is the newer version of a magnificent, lightweight cross-country racer.
ProTection replaces the RaceSport moniker. It’s a three- and four ply system underneath respectively the tread and sidewall, ensuring maximum puncture protection and shieldwall tearing.
This doesn’t take away from the fact that this tire is still one of the lightest in its category. A true racer.
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.
The Maxxis Forekaster is a lightweight cross-country and light trail tire meant for wet and slippery conditions.
Widely spaced knobbies ensure mud get’s shed quickly, enabling you to maintain grip in tricky situations.
The tubeless ready tire has EXO sidewall protection sitting underneath their Dual layer compound, which makes for a highly durable setup, both in the front and rear.
The 2.2 inch width version gives you just that extra bit of bite and volume necessary to get you through the trail which will throw anything at you.
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.
Schwalbe Rocket Ron
Both the weight and tread pattern puts the Schwalbe Rocket Ron squarely into XC territory. The evenly spaced knobs mean you always hold contact with the ground ensuring a low rolling resistance.
They are small as well, which means you need to look for the Nobby Nic if you want a more allround and grippy trail tire. But if you want a bit more speed the 640 gr. for a 2.35 inch version you can run two of these.
You should be able to confidently do light trail riding in loose and wet conditions with these tires, and the XC-oriented tread pattern combined with either the Super Ground or Super Race compound will provide you with the speed you need.
It’s worthy to note that the Schwalbe Rocket Ron performs really well in the rolling resistance department, as do all Schwalbe tires. So it’s both light and fast.
Specifications 650b gravel tires for mud
Buy at Amazon
Continental Cross King Racesport
Maxxis Ardent Race
Johan van Seijen
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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