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The top 10 best 650b mtb tires

In this article I’m going to give you my top picks for the best 650b mtb tires money can buy.

Mountain biking obviously covers quite a large variety of riding styles. That’s why on this list I cover tires you can use for cross country, trail, enduro, and of course downhill riding, albeit some tires are better suited for a certain discipline than another.

That’s also the reason there’s so much variety in look-and-feel, and weight. Obviously the demands of cross-country are markedly different from those when bombing down a highly technical trail. So it’s no more than natural that some tires weigh three times as much as others.

Anyway, enough talk, let’s head over to my list for the best 650b mtb tires.

Continental Race King Racesport

Continental Race King Racesport
Continental Race King Racesport

The Continental Race King RaceSport is an extremely light tire at 465 grams. In the weight department it means it outshines every tire from every other brand here by far.

Its 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.

All that speed comes at a price, because traction is at the low end of the spectrum. If youre doing any sort of hard trail riding and you still want to take advantage of this tire, consider combining it with the Continental Cross King RaceSport. Especially in wet conditions.

This tire performs best in dry conditions because of its shallow tread pattern.

Continental Speed King Racesport II

Continental Speed King Racesport II
Continental Speed King Racesport II

I don’t know how many lists this tire is on, but I can assure you it’s many. And for good reasons.

The Continental Speed King Racesport II might have one of the longest names for a tire I have ever seen, but is sure ticks a lot of boxes. And it’s no wonder my own city slicker sports a set.

There’s just no tire that comes even close to this tire in the weight department. The 2.2 inch width version tips the scales at a mere 410 grams, and that’s less than half of some of the other contenders on this list.

Besides that low weight, it has an aggressive tread pattern to take you ofroad, and will simply look damn awesome on your build.

Kenda Regolith Pro

Kenda Regolith Pro
Kenda Regolith Pro

The Kenda Regolith Pro is similar to Schwalbes Nobby Nic, and as such can be used in combination with the Booster Pro as a front tire.

It’s a very solid allround option, if you want to move your bike into the direction of becoming more surefooted on the trail.

Also coming in a 2.40 inch version it means you can have a low tire pressure, grippy combo to get you through the corners. And you have to worry less when the conditions become more wet and muddy.

Maxxis Ikon

Maxxis Ikon
Maxxis Ikon

The Maxxis Ikon is one of the best if not the best lightweight allrounder. It’s perfect for cross country and trail riding in normal conditions, though you might want to look to the DHF or DHR II for more cornering grip.

Compared to those trail tires meant for rougher conditions, the Maxxis Ikon is extremely lightweight, with weights ranging from 590 to 700 grams, depending on the size and chosen compound.

It’s tread pattern is versatile enough for the tire to be mounted both in the front and the back. And it also means it combines good cornering characteristics with braking power and traction.

The EXO compound means the tire is pretty durable compared to competition, and all in all it means that as far as lightweight allrounders is concerned, the Ikon is at the top of its game.

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.

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 allround trail-riding and downhill.

The DHF comes in a tan version.

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 breaking but also gives more traction when going uphill. Both tires have the same side knobs to maximise 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 its probably the best allround no-worries solution money can buy. The reason is that the combination is extremely versatile for a huge number of riding conditions. Both dry and wet, trail, enduro, downhill riding, the combination is as yet unmatched.

Maxxis offers a huge range of this tire, both in widths and compounds. So you can choose the tire that suits your riding style best. Whether its maximising speed or caring more for longevity.

Together witth the Minion DHF, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is a fantastic and confidence inspring tire that will take your mountain bike rides to the next level.

The DHR II comes in a tan version.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic

Schwalbe Nobby Nic
Schwalbe Nobby Nic

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is more of an allround tire than a cross country one. And one look at the tread pattern reveals why.

It has considerable more pronounced knobs that are much higher. The side knobs are twice the size of Continentals Cross King.

If youre looking for a solid allround 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.

Be sure to either buy the Super Ground or Speedgrip version (with the blue line in the tread) to take advantage of the increased rolling resistance. Or alternatively, the Super Trail (red line), which is softer and gripper. They are more expensive but the advantages are extremely noticeable and absolutely worth the money.

The tire widths range from 2.25 to 2.6 inches which is more than adequate to cover rider’s wishes. The weight ranges from the mid 700’s to just over one kilo for those riding in rougher downhill conditions.

Schwalbe Racing Ralph

Schwalbe Racing Ralph
Schwalbe Racing Ralph

The Schwalbe Racing Ralph is the go-to option to combine with Schwalbes Nobby Nic. As stated on the website, the Racing Ralph was designed for the rear.

This means the Super Ground Speedgrip version is a fast-rolling tire with a tread pattern support good acceleration and braking power.

Although its meant for a combo setup with a grippier tire in the front, you could use it as a dual setup when you prefer riding mostly in dry conditions and the occasional trail. Also when you do a lot of climbing.

Schwalbe Racing Ray

Schwalbe Racing Ray
Schwalbe Racing Ray

Where the Schwalbe Racing Ralph was designed as a rear tire, the Schwalbe Racing Ray is meant for the front. It also means that one of the most obvious choices for a Schwalbe cross country setup would be the combination of the two.

And it seems that the combination works for a lot of people better than ever. with great braking power and traction in the back and great traction and grip in the front, even for wet conditions.

For a surefooted combination of high performing XC tires, why try anything else than the Racing Ray / Racing Ralph combo? You probably shouldnt.

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 occassional 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.

Specifications best 650b mtb tires

NameSizeETRTOWeight (gr)Tread ColorSidewall ColorBuy at Amazon
Continental Race King Racesport27.5×2.2055-584490BlackBlacklink
Continental Speed King Racesport II27.5×2.2055-584430BlackBlacklink
Kenda Regolith Pro27.5×2.6066-584849BlackBlacklink
Kenda Regolith Pro27.5×2.8070-584829BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Ikon27.5×2.2056-584590BlackLight Tanlink
Maxxis Ikon27.5×2.2056-584668BlackTanlink
Maxxis Ikon27.5×2.2056-584630BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Ikon27.5×2.3560-584700BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Big Betty27.5X2.6065-5841180BlackBlack
Maxxis Minion DHF27.5×2.5063-5841005BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Magic Mary27.5X2.4062-5841110BlackBlack
Maxxis Minion DHF27.5×2.5063-584956BlackTanlink
Schwalbe Magic Mary27.5X2.8070-5841205BlackBlack
Maxxis Minion DHF27.5×2.6066-584965BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHF27.5×2.6066-584925BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II27.5×2.3058-584800BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II27.5×2.3058-584805BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II27.5×2.4061-584900BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II27.5×2.4061-586940BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion DHR II27.5×2.4061-5871126BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II27.5×2.6066-584910BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II27.5×2.6066-5841065BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Forekaster27.5X2.3560-584690BlackBlack
Maxxis Forekaster27.5X2.6066-584820BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Shorty27.5X2.4061-5841136BlackBlack
Schwalbe Big Betty27.5X2.4062-5841300BlackBlack
Schwalbe Racing Ralph27.5×2.2557-584605BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ralph27.5×2.2557-584680BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ray27.5×2.2557-584605BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ray27.5×2.2557-584680BlackBlacklink
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.827.5×2.5060-5841092BlackBlacklink
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.827.5×2.5060-5841174BlackBlacklink
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.827.5×2.6065-5841340BlackBlacklink