Party in the back business in the front

Mountain Biking

Let’s talk tires for a bit. For the last few years, I’ve been mixing up my tires on the bikes that Priscilla and I ride. I typically run an aggressive (business) tires in the front that range from 2.10-2.50, and sometimes I run smaller, but a faster rolling tire with lower tread pattern tire in the back (party). Why do I do this? It’s simple really, the front tire is my first point of contact on the trail, thus needing to make sure it grabs onto everything I roll through. The back tire is my pusher, and with its low tread patter and lower rolling resistance, I can get up to speed quick. As I mentioned, I’ve been using this type of combination for years and it has worked great for me.

Here are some examples on how I run our tires. On my bike I actually run Maxxis Minion DH tires, 2.5 in the front.

The back, though its not smaller than the front, it offers a lower rolling resistance than the Minion. The WTB Prowler MX is a fast tire in my opinion.

Priscilla’s bike, the KHS XCT 556 has WTB Wolverine 2.1 in the back (super fast tire) and an aggressive Kenda Nevegal 2.1 in the front.


What about you, what tire combination do you run?

RL Policar

RL Policar is an avid mountain biker and the Editor In-Chief of and Between the two sites, he's published well over 4,000 articles (and growing).

9 thoughts on “Party in the back business in the front

  1. As a tread addict, I have a pile of tires in the garage. My old favorite was a 2.35 High Roller in the front and 2.25 Crossmark in the rear. Currently, I’m riding a 2.35 WTB Bronson front and 2.2 WTB Wolverine in the rear. My Big Bear wheelset has a Specialized Chunder SX 2.5 front and Specialized Clutch SX 2.3 in the back. Curious to see others’ combo’s as well. Nice article 🙂

  2. Same here, I like to mix it up too. I’ve been running Specialized Captian in front and Fasttrak rear on my full squish bike for a while and its working great for me. And Fasttrak front and Renegade rear on the 29er. All are only 2.0 but feel a lot bigger.

  3. yup, mix it up. small block 8 in the back (worst tire ever made…but came with the bike and is *just* unpathetic enough traction-wise to use as a rear tire) and nevegal in the front. with a fast tire in the front, i just lose bite and wash out non-stop taking turns too fast.

  4. I loved racing Fontana DH with a Small Block 8 on the rear because of the wall. I can’t wait to try out the Kenda Happy Medium on the rear since it is gonna roll fast and have much better side bite than the Small Block.

  5. for (dry) 4x or dual… Small block rear and slant six on the front.

    for trail… Continental Trail king front and Mountain king rear.
    Thinking about trying Schwalbe Fat Albert front but instead of the Fat Albert rear, using a Hans Dampf

  6. Big floaty tire up front/narrower tire on the back is a tried-and-true method dating back to the heyday of MTB (late 80s, early 90s…you kids wouldn’t know anything about that 😉 ). For a lot of the sandy, loamy trails I rode in coastal Alabama and Florida, a bigger tire in front was crucial to avoid washouts and also to provide a little pre-suspension “cushion”.

    My favorite combo was the Panaracer Dart (2.3) up front, Farmer John or similar tractor-tread clone in back (1.95 or 2.0). We ran our Farmer Johns backward, too…with the “scoop” side contacting the ground first. Mad traction in really sloppy conditions.

  7. I’ve currently been running a 2.35 Bontrager FR3 in the front and a 2.2 SB8 on the 29er. The small block is fast, but doesn’t stop worth anything.

  8. Mavic Crossmark 2.1 in the rear, and I change the front depending on the ride. WTB Weirwolf 2.1 for XC rides, and a Kenda Nevegal 2.35 for more technical rides.

    The Crossmark is a great tire. Decent traction for most conditions, and rolls fast.

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