What Tires to Ride in the Wet - FTF Top Picks
As the wet weather takes a firm grip of the PNW, now is the time to remove those fast summer tires, pack them away in the back of the shed for the winter months and invest in a new set of wet-weather-ready treads. What are a few important features that make for a good wet weather tire? Widely spaced knobs allowing for mud shedding, a good, tacky rubber compound, and large yet supportive ground penetrating side knobs to grab all the available traction in blown-out or muddy corners.
We’ll lay out some of our favorite tires to tackle the mud, the muck, and the roots.
Maxxis Shorty 2.5WT 3C
Maxxis has been one of the best and most trusted brands when it comes to tires and the Shorty falls directly in line with that. The shorty is a cut-spike which is basically a mud tire with trimmed down knobs providing a better feel on rocks and hardpack but with the ground penetrating abilities required for traction when the ground gets soft or muddy. Combine that with Maxxis’ 3C compound, which uses a higher durometer rubber for the base layer of the tire, softer side knobs for cornering traction, an intermediate rubber for the center knobs for durability, and you’ve got one heck of a good tire that does well in a variety of conditions
Specialized Hillbilly 2.6 w/ GRIPTON
A good, stout, high-volume casing, aggressive side knobs, and a soft rubber compound - the Specialized Hillbilly ticks all the boxes for a great intermittent condition tire. Specialized’s GRIPTON compound is said to offer vibration damping properties that help keep the tire sticking to the ground in rougher sections of trail. While the Hillbilly isn’t a full-on mud-spike, it’s one of the more capable tires when riding in the soft or muddy conditions common here in the PNW.
WTB Vigilante 2.6 w/ TriTec
Featuring WTB’s new TriTec compound, where a hard durometer makes up the base of the tread and also transitions into the height of the knobs providing support. This allows for a softer rubber to be used elsewhere for maximum traction. Like Maxxis’ 3C compound, WTB uses a medium compound rubber for the center knobs for durability and a softer rubber for the side knobs for the best cornering traction possible. WTB has also added height to the knobs intended to dig in deeper into loose and unpredictable dirt. Lastly, they’ve increased knob spacing to allow for better clearing in sloppy conditions. This all adds up to one heck of a good wet weather tire.
Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.6 w/ Addix Soft Compound
While the Magic Mary is a great all-around tire for riding, it also does exceptionally well in the wet, and given it’s former name, the Muddy Mary, we doubt that quality was a mistake. While a lot of people have stayed away from Schwalbe due to the fact that they used to wear out pretty quickly, but, with the new-ish Addix compound, that issue has been addressed. Thanks to the Magic Mary’s burly and reinforced side knobs these tires definitely hold their own in muddy conditions. We wouldn’t hesitate to run a set of these tires year-round over a wide variety of terrain.