Tyres are an essential component of your ride. There are various tyres on the market, and designed for specific riding needs. While the technology and engineering design of tyres is worthy of a multi part article, here some some things you need to consider when selecting a tyre.

Most modern tyres are made from butyl rubber, which is better than natural rubber. The composition of the butyl rubber will include additives to help resist UV breakdown, chemical degradation, increase tyre wear life and enhance grip. Road tyres are typically ‘slick’ having no tread pattern, or a very minimal pattern. MTB ‘knobbies’ have blocks that increase grip in muddy and slippery conditions on the trail. Knobbies can be lethal when ridden on wet road surfaces, as the knobs provide very minimal grip, especially when cornering, because there no soft surface for the knobs to dig into.

The tyre itself is built up into the carcass, which gives the tyre its shape. Depending on the type of tyre, road tyres tend to take a round profile, while MTB tyres are slightly flatter in the middle to increase the size of the contact patch where all the traction and grip takes place. The carcass of the tyre will consist of fabric bonded to rubber. Today, most carcasses will use a fabric made from nylon. Kevlar is sometimes used to increase puncture resistance, especially for road tyres. Certain high end racing tyres will use cotton or silk, especially in tubular tyres, as these materials are reputed to have a better ‘feel’. Fabric is measured in ‘threads’ or TPI (threads per inch). The higher the TPI, the thinner and more supple the fabric is. High TPI tyres have lower rolling resistance and command higher prices.

Beaded tyres have just about taken over the tyre market. Also known as clinchers, these tyres have a steel or kevlar ‘bead’ running along the inner circumference of the tyre. These insert into extruded channels on the rim, and hold the tyre in place when the inner tube is inflated. Less common today but still favoured by a certain segment of racers and road riders is the tubular. A tubular consists of a silk or cotton carcass with a rubber tread applied. The inner tube is placed inside the carcass and sewn in place, leading to tubulars sometimes being known as ‘sew-ups’. Tubulars are glued to purpose made rims. The preparation and attachment of tubulars to the rim can be a somewhat arcane art, and thus known mainly to older riders.

The third option, gaining popularity amongst the off road community, is tubeless. Functioning the same way as car tyres, tubeless tyres do away with the inner tube altogether, and rely purely on the carcass of the tyre itself to hold air in. MTBers like tubeless tyres for their ability to run lower air pressures and puncture resistance.

Road tyres tend to take a round profile, while MTB tyres are slightly flatter in the middle to increase the size of the contact patch.

Tioga Fast 13 29er – RM168.00/pc 

The Fast 13 is a compact tread, fast rolling tyre for 29ers. Coming in a 2.10” width, the tyre uses the Synergy S Dual Compound to maximise wear and grip. Tubeless ready, the Fast 13 is designed for hard packed trails. Weight is a claimed 680 grams.

Available at SA Sport, 603-3358 6650

Continental Grand Prix Attack & Force – RM349.00/pair

Attack and Force are competition tyres from Continental’s Grand Prix series. A Vectran Breaker reduces punctures using a multifilament belt. Designed to be used as a pair, the Attack is 22 mm with improved aerodynamics for the front and the Force is 24 mm and offers better traction as well as lower rolling resistance at the back.

Available at Khcycle, 603-7865 2188

Continental X-King Protection – RM209.00/pair

The X-King Protection fills the gap between the Mountain and Race King. Continental’s Black Chili compound is used for low rolling resistance with high grip. The medium profile knobs are denser in the center for smooth rolling, and raised at the sides for cornering traction. Sizes from 26”, 27.5” and 29”.

Available at Khcycle, 603-7865 2188

Schwalbe Nobby Nic

The Nobby Nic is new for 2015, building upon previous versions that were a favourite of enduro and all mountain riders. Schwalbe’s Snakeskin beefs up the sidewall, and reduces the chance of punctures. The medium profile knobs provide grip under all trail conditions. Widths are 2.10, 2.25 and 2.35, and all three wheel sizes are available.

Available at Rodalink @ 603-6201 0422

Maxxis Ardent Race (EXO/TR) – RM142.00/pc

The Ardent Race falls between a pure XC race and a trails tyre. The center knobs are sloped to reduce resistance, while the angled side knobs provide traction for fast corners. Built using Maxxis EXO/TR technology, the Ardent comes in 26”, 650B and 29er sizes, and 2.20” width.

Available at Gin Huat Cycle Trading Sdn Bhd, 603-6038 3703

Vittoria Rubino Pro – RM129.00/pc

The Rubino Pro is an all rounder tyre than handles road racing, intensive training and high mileage equally well. With a supple 150 tpi carcass, and a variety of colours to match any frame. Puncture resistance is good, and tread wear is confidence inspiring under all road conditions.

Available at Bike Corner Cycle Trading, 012-370 4435

Schwalbe Magic Mary – 26×2.35 (RM169/pc), 27.5×2.35 (RM172/pc)

This rugged tyre is favoured by many professional downhill and enduro riders. The high profile knobby design borrows from motocross, with good grip, speed, comfort and puncture resistance. Snakeskin construction reduces punctures and sidewall cuts. Tubeless ready, and comes in 26”, 27.5” and 29er with a 2.35 width.

Available at  Rodalink, 603-6201 0422

Specialized S-Works Fastrak – RM209.00/pc

The S-Works Fastrak has less rolling resistance and improved traction. This lightweight tyre has a 60 tpi carcass with improved cut resistance. Suitable for XC racing, the Fastrak is “2Bliss” ready. 26”, 650B and 29er sizes are available, weighing from 540 grams to 620 grams.

Available at GH Speedbikes Sdn Bhd, 603-6142 9303

Panaracer MINITS LITE PT 20″X1.25″ – RM129.00/pc 

These lightweight tyres from Panaracer are designed for folding bikes using the 20” wheel size. Panaracer’s ZSG natural compound and aramid beads are used for lower weight and higher performance. Sidewall colours are red, blue or black for frame colour matching.

Available at GW Cycle Boutique, 603-5131 2326

WTB 27.5 Bee Line – RM125.00/pc 

The Bee Line is meant for fast XC riders. The tread design gives great hook up and traction on sand and hard packed trails, while still delivering good grip in damp conditions. The Bee Line gives great rider confidence at fast trail speeds. Tubeless ready, this 27.5” tyre comes in a 2.2” width, and weighs 680 grams.

Available at KSH Bicycle (TTDI), 603-7727 5173

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The editor of Cycling Malaysia Magazine. She writes news, interviews, product features, pre and post-event articles. She enjoys everything about nature and the outdoors.


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