In this article I’m going to give a number of very solid options for wide 26 inch mountain bike tires.
The tires listed here are between 2.35 and 2.6 inch. The reasons I choose these widths is to reduce the risk of frame rubbing. However, that being said, I would seriously make sure your frame can hold a tire width at the lower end of the spectrum listed here. If you move above 2.6 inch into balloon tire territory, the chance of you needing a special frame is extremely likely.
If you have a vintage mountain bike frame, it’s very unlikely you can run these tires. And with vintage I mean a bike from the nineties or earlier. That’s because the tires that were factory installed on those bikes were up to 2.1 inch width for a downhill bike.
Even a 2.35 inch width tire is considered to sit squarely in the all-mountain and enduro discipline now. E.g. used for very rough conditions. That means that apart from the Schwalbe Super-Moto and Fat Frank, and Surly Extraterrestrial you’ll find many tire options for rough trail conditions and downhill. Tires that will maximise your grip no matter what conditions you’re riding in, dry or wet, rocky or muddy.
Enough talk, let’s go to the my list for the best wide 26 inch mountain bike tires.
Continental Der Baron Apex
The Continental Der Baron Apex is Continental’s most aggressive mountain bike tire. Massive blocks sufficiently spaced ensure you have both maximum grip and maximum mud clearance, making this tire a solid downhill allrounder in both wet and dry conditions.
The BlackChili compound keeps the weight at a respectable 1245 grams, which is light enough for a 2.5 inch width tire.
Although the Continental Der Baron is a great allround tire, you might opt for putting the Continental Der Kaiser Project Apex in the rear, since that tire has better braking performance than this one. The two make for a deadly downhill combo.
It’s hard to recommend Der Baron Apex above the tires from Maxxis on this list, if not for the fact that they are extremely durable. So in the long run, they will hurt your wallet less.
Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection Apex
The Continental Der Baron Projekt is a very aggressive mountain bike tire. Massive blocks sufficiently spaced ensure you have both maximum grip and maximum mud clearance, making this tire a solid enduro allrounder in both wet and dry conditions.
Even in the 2.4 inch width version, this tire weighs 890, which makes this tire a great option if you want to ride all year round, but you stay away from the trail in the worst of conditions.
The BlackChili compound from Continental is known for its great durability. So if you’re also looking for a tire that’ll last you a very long time, and save on cash that way, the Der Baron Projekt is a solid choice as well.
Continental Der Kaiser Project Apex
When riding in dry conditions you might want to choose the Continental Der Kaiser Project Apex. This premium offering is faster in than the more allround Der Baron in a numer of respects.
Although at 1100 grams, this is a light tire, it is by no means meant to be a fast-rolling trail tire. The knobbies are spaced to wide for a low rolling resistance, something that matters less when going downhill. The horizontal rows of knobs make for some phenomenal braking power. So for those who want to go down at breakneck speeds this tire has your name written all over it.
Kenda Booster Pro
The Kenda Booster Pro is the only 26 inch XC tire on this list that comes in a 2.4 inch width.
Its unfortunate I dont have the weight and rolling resistance numbers for that version of the tire.
The knobs are extremely densely packed with 6 in a row, so you know the tire is meant for speed and will loose its grip very fast in wet conditions.
It looks very similar to the Continental Race King RaceSport with its arrowhead like tread pattern.
Kenda Hellkat Pro
The only 26 inch option left in Kendas lineup for allround 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 its still a shame. It means that for a solid tubeless all-mountain setup youll 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 know, so its good to see Kenda taking a shot with this tire that has excellent traction and durability characteristics.
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.
Hailed as an allround cross country tire the Maxxis Ikon has the classic tiny-knob-all-over-the place look. It’s allround nature makes it a great option for diverse road conditions.
At a claimed 607 grams, this is a pretty light tire. The reliable EXO compound, also used for harsher enduro racing, means youll enjoy this tire for many miles.
As with any tire with this type of tread, itll 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.
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.
Maxxis Minion DHR II
The downhill in the name (DH stand for downhill) 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 the DHF and DHR II have the same side knobs to maximise grip while cornering.
Be sure to buy the super tacky compound casing which will aid your grip. As a 26 tire this means youll run a 2.35 DHF front tire and a slightly wider 2.4 DHR rear tire to add a bit more cushioning for a tire thatll needs to bear the brunt of your weight and impacts.
Maxxis intended the DHF and DHR II to be used together as their go-to allround solution for trail riding. And these tires are in so many lists that its probably the best allround no-worries solution money can buy.
Choose the dual compound for lower rolling resistance and longer life or the super tacky compound for more grip.
Together witth the Minion DHF, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is a fantastic and confidence inspring tire that will take your downhill rides to the next level.
Maxxis is a big name in the mountain bike industry and their EXO sidewall protection is partly responsible for that.
The downhill and enduro-oriented Maxxis Shorty has this added sidewall protection and comes in either the allround MaxxTerra or the grippier MaxxGrip compound.
With widths ranging between 2.3 to 2.5 inch there’s surely a tire width to suit your particular needs.
The tire can be mounted both in the front and in the back, has a very open tread pattern and huge side knobs for maximum grip.
Schwalbe Big Betty
The Schwalbe Big Betty is the go-to rear tire for the Schwalbe Magic Mary. Where the Magic Mary has proven to be among the top tires in terms of traction, when combined with the Big Betty you improve your overall braking power.
It has a horizontal tread pattern to do so, that’s sufficiently spaced to have sufficient clearing characteristics as well when you release the brakes again.
Of all the downhill combinations available in the market today, I can’t think of a single one that beats Schwalbe’s current offering of Magic Mary and Big Betty. It’s one of the beaviest set of downhill-specific tires, that’ll provide you the ultimate in traction.
Schwalbe Dirty Dan
If the trail get’s really nasty you might want to opt for the Schwalbe Dirty Dan. This tire was designed specifically for the worst of conditions and feature the most aggressive tread pattern of any tire in Schwalbe’s lineup.
It features Schwalbe’s UltraSoft compound for maxium grip and feel as you plow through the mud. The huge blocks are spaced openly to keep in control of your bike as the tire sheds mud quickly and maintains braking power.
It comes in a 26 x 2.35 inch version, not to wide so mud won’t clog up your entire frame.
Schwalbe Fat Frank
The Schwalbe Fat Frank is a pretty heavy tire that’s nothing special, if not for the fact that they come in a couple of other colors than your standard black.
So if you’re looking to add some design flair to your ride you can get the Fat Frank with a brown tread pattern and creme sidewalls, or entirely creme.
The also come in a 2.35 inch width version besides the standard 2 inch. So if you can get over the weight of 975 grams per tire you’re in for plush ride.
Schwalbe Magic Mary
The Magic Mary is Schwalbe’s grippiest tire from their entire lineup. It performs both brilliantly as a downhill tire, but is just as effective for allround trail riding in brutal conditions.
It has top-of-the-line traction combined with super fast rolling characteristic and a good feel for the trail at high speeds. If you want to be in the moment and experience flow going down sloppy slopes the Magic Mary delivers big time, with virtually zero cons.
Good braking power, allround riding characteristics in dry and wet conditions, this is Schwalbe’s top tire for all-mountain, enduro and downhill, no matter what the conditions are.
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.
You can go up to a size 2.35 if you want to and its also the only tire that comes in a 26 inch tan version. So 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 buy the Super Ground Speedgrip version (with the blue line in the tread) to take advantage of the increased rolling resistance. Its much more expensive but itll improve rolling resistance, durability, damping ability and grip.
With 755 gr. for the 2.25 version and 810 gr. for the 2.35 one, it might be a grippy tire with good forward momentum, but its also heavy. Ive seen package deals with the Schwalbe Racing Ralph, which means this tire is a good front option, with the lighter Racing Ralph in the back.
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.
Its worthy to note that the Schwalbe Rocket Ron performs really well in the rolling resistance department, as do all Schwalbe tires. So its both light and fast.
Schwalbe Super Moto-X
If you want to go really wide with your tires then the Schwalbe Super Moto-X is what you need. Make sure your frame and fork actually fits the enormous 2.4 inches before placing the order though. You wouldnt be the first with rubbing problems. And that your rims arent too narrow. You dont want the tire to blow of the wheel as well.
Surly is well-known in the bikepacking community for making awesome frames. But they also make tires well-suited for long-distance touring. The Surly ExtraTerrestrial is probably their fastest offering.
The ExtraTerrestrial is heavier than the other tires listed here, but in return you get a more puncture-proof tire that’s still well equipped for any type of gravel and hardpack.
With an very wide 2.5 inch version this is a serious tire of off-road cycling, that performs equally in dry and wet conditions.
To prevent against flats and puncture the tire has nylon breaker reinforced sidewalls, and a kevlar center. This tire isn’t meant for racing day, but will prove to be an extremely reliable bikepacking companion.
Specifications wide 26 inch mountain bike tires
|Name||Size||ETRTO||Weight (gr)||Tread Color||Sidewall Color||Buy at Amazon||Buy at Ebay|
|Continental Der Baron Apex||26×2.50||62-559||1245||Black||Black||link||link|
|Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection Apex||26×2.40||60-559||890||Black||Black|
|Continental Der Kaiser Project Apex||26×2.40||60-559||1100||Black||Black||link||link|
|Kenda Booster Pro||26×2.40||61-559||Black||Black||link|
|Kenda Hellkat Pro||26×2.40||60-559||807||Black||Black||link||link|
|Kenda Regolith Pro||26×2.40||61-559||692||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Minion DHF||26×2.50||55-559||1205||Black||Black||link||link|
|Maxxis Minion DHF||26×2.50||55-559||1265||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Minion DHF||26×2.35||52-559||1080||Black||Black||link||link|
|Maxxis Minion DHF||26×2.35||52-559||1120||Black||Black||link||link|
|Maxxis Minion DHR II||26×2.40||61-559||1,225||Black||Black||link||link|
|Maxxis Minion DHR II||26×2.40||61-559||1,240||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Minion DHR II||26×2.40||61-559||1,265||Black||Black||link||link|
|Schwalbe Big Betty||26×2.40||62-559||1040||Black||Black||link||link|
|Schwalbe Dirty Dan||26×2.35||60-559||1030||Black||Black|
|Schwalbe Fat Frank||26×2.35||60-559||975||Black||Black||link||link|
|Schwalbe Fat Frank||26×2.35||60-559||975||Brown||Creme||link||link|
|Schwalbe Fat Frank||26×2.35||60-559||975||Creme||Creme||link||link|
|Schwalbe Magic Mary||26×2.60||65-559||1320||Black||Black||link||link|
|Schwalbe Magic Mary||26×2.35||60-559||1210||Black||Black||link||link|
|Schwalbe Nobby Nic||26×2.40||62-559||775||Black||Black|
|Schwalbe Nobby Nic||26×2.35||60-559||810||Black||Tan||link||link|
|Schwalbe Rocket Ron||26×2.35||60-559||640||Black||Black|
|Schwalbe Super Moto-X||26×2.40||62-559||1095||Black||Black||link||link|