Best tires for HRM / NS trails

Looking for a tire upgrade, and hoping to leverage the hivemind a little bit.

Have been running the Kenda Havoks that came stock on my bike since buying it a little over a year ago, and it’s definitely time for an upgrade.

I see a lot of Maxxis Minions out there, but is a downhill tire really the best for the granite of Mc Run or the roots / boulders of Whopper?

27.5 x 2.5-2.8 is my sweet spot (rims are plus) - any recommendations? Apologies if I missed a thread somewhere.

Edit: I realize this could be a real can of worms :grin:

This should be good.

I currently run Maxxis Assegei F/Aggressor R in EXO with a liner in 2.4

I personally don’t think there is a scale to measure if its over kill, Or the fastest rolling tire.

I can say that its what im comfortable on, and when it gets rowdy they perform
The way I want in any condition.

There are 100% faster rolling tires. But you sacrifice some stability and even safety.

Riding style is also a major factor. Are a you a human granite smashing plow, or a nimble ballet dancer coasting over the jank like its a minor inconvenience?

There are sections in MRWA, and whopper that if ridden correctly are up there with some of
The gnarlier bigger lines around. Thats where the more aggressive treads come in handy.

FWIW - If money was no object, I would have 2 full wheel set ups with a set up for here, and places like keppoch,WW and Quebec


Agreed. I ride Keppoch a few times a year and sprinkle in some other decent downhill when I can, but 85% of my riding is in HRM (combined with Empire / Bird Sanctuary / 9 Mile when we’re allowed to roam).

I’m far from nimble, but am getting better.

Definitely not knocking anyone’s tire choice, I just am curious to know what people find works well here. Anything is going to be an upgrade for me at this point, these tires don’t have the most aggressive tread to begin with, and it’s starting to get worn.

I do a fair bit of riding at Mcintosh, have ridden it with Specialized Fast Traks front and rear (XC tires), Maxxis Ikon Rear and Schwalbe Nobby Nic Front and currently with Maxxis Rekon Race Front and Rear (XC tires). The Rekon Race rear is probably my favourite rear so far but wouldn’t recommend them if you want to go tubeless as the bead on my rear has been steadily seeping and losing air, despite efforts to solve things, gonna have to put a tube in, the front has been problem free so may just be a dud but its started seeping and losing air and sealant from more than one spot on the rear tire. However, I find they feel slightly faster rolling than the Ikon in the rear and don’t break traction and start skidding as easily as the Ikons. As a front I find I would like something that handles loose over hard better than the Rekon Race, the Nobby Nice (a much more aggressive tire than the Rekon Race) seemed to have pretty good traction when cornering whereas the Rekon Race will occasionally break loose on spots where there is that sandy, gravely crushed granite over the granite underneath.

Have a set of Schwalbe Rocket Ron and Racing Ray to go on for race season but don’t expect them to be very durable for the granite. Would like to get my hands on a Vittoria Barzo front and Vittoria Mezcal Rear for trail riding next.

Most replies will probably be suggesting Trail or Enduro tires but for me who pretty much sticks to the blue trails, have felt good with XC tires riding at Mcintosh.

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Lots of riders preferences here in this thread.

Personally been running 27.5 Minions F&R for the last few years and they have worked where ever I have ridden.

Will probably try something lighter when I change but TBH as a heavier taller rider the last thing I want to be worrying about is tires… so will probably stick with the Minions or something in that weight class.


I was running bontrager dh4s which were less than great… they were stock on the bike. Constantly spinning my rear tire on punchy climbs at macintosh. The rear tire wore down within 600 kms so switched it to a maxxis assegai and it’s a world of difference.

The front tire isn’t bad isn’t great but that will switch to a dhf once it’s worn down a little more.

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I’ve always had good luck with Kenda Nevgals. Grippy and durable. I just put a WTB Trail Boss on the rear which has AMAZING traction. Can’t speak to the durability yet though.

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Appreciate the input here, I’m also on the taller heavier end of things so durability is important. I haven’t flatted yet with the current tires, but I know the day is coming.

This is a big one for me too, losing traction on the punchy or loose climbs. With me it’s partially technique but I know the tires are a factor as well. Thanks.

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No problem. The bontrager dh tires even when they were new weren’t as aggressive as the assegai or maxxis minions, plus they are a softer rubber compound


I ran a Maxxis Forekaster as a rear tire for a bit last year. It was very fast rolling, but the tread blocks didn’t last long. I’m currently running a Dissector. Its holding up better, but the traction on wet roots is lacking.

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I destroyed a Forekaster in 4-5 rides, but I’m maybe not the ideal candidate for a light, fast tire. I don’t know that I’ve had any flats since I started running the DHF/DHR combo, as they suit my size and riding style (smashy) a lot better. I feel like an Assegai might be overkill for around here, but I’d be curious to see how an Aggressor rolls on the rear.


I would highly advise against the forekaster.
I had a front tire roll side ways causing a high speed crash into granite last season. Basically a small g out on a gravel road. I was lucky in a sense but it sucked.

They are super fast though otherwise.

Also, useless in places like WW/Keppoch

My 2 cents


Having been right behind you during that high speed crash, I can agree that it seriously sucked. Scary af.

All of the below tires are EXO casings, tubeless, no inserts on 27.5", 30mm internal rims. I ride aggressively, but I’m not a smasher. Currently running a DHF 2.6 WT in 3C MaxTerra compound. Absolute favourite tire for the front. Rolls decent, and the shape on a 30mm rim is nice and round. Corner knobs grip well and holds line well in loose corners. Not quite as good on hardpack or packed wet soil corners. Plus, it’s under 1,000 grams. For a huge volume tire, this is pretty sweet. I have a DHF 2.5 WT going on after this wears out, and I’m hoping it will dig in a little better on hardback due to the profile.

I also have a DHR 2.4 3C MaxTerra on the rear. I’m not a huge fan of this tire TBH. Climbing grip on roots isn’t great, it doesn’t roll very fast and it’s a bit heavy. It corners super well though.

Putting my favourite rear tire back on after the DHR wears out–a 2.5 Aggressor in DC MaxTerra. Rolls fast, light(ish), lasts a pretty long time. Only concern with that tire is that it tends to get slippery when climbing roots after it has worn a bit. Still, my favourite.

I’ve also run Nobby Nics (blech), Conti Trail Kings (meh), Nevegals (ok, but I need to try the newer versions, I think) and a bunch of other Maxxis offerings.


Running Minion DHF 29x2.3 tubeless in the front. DHR2 29x2.3 with a Tannus insert in the rear. EXO casings, 3C compound.

These tires weigh about 900g +/- per wheel. I think that is a decent weight for a trailbike. I find much lighter than that and I can feel the rear folding over too much unless I go up to 30psi or higher.

I live in the Valley and ride on dirt mostly. Not much Granite around here.

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Interesting that you are not a fan of the DHR2 in the rear. I find its great for climbing traction, although I dont have much to compare it to. I’d love to get my hands on a Aggressor in 29x2.3 for the back of my bike and see how they compare for my local rides.

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I like it for descending and fast corners, but so much of our riding is slow speed and rooty, and I think that running it at 26psi causes it to spin a bit. Running at lower pressures than that gets me rim dings, so maybe I need to try an insert.


I shifted from DHF to Assegai when I had a scary slip of the front wheel in the damp. I’d been a big fan up till then and the tire was still in reasonable condition.

Shifted from DHR2 to Aggressor just because I wanted to try something similar, but a little bit faster rolling across Mac Run.

I don’t think you can go wrong with Minions or the newer Maxxis tires. I’ve run all kinds of XC and Trail combinations in the past but ended up settling on a trail combo as I’d rather a set that I’m confident on all terrains rather than having to think about tires when attempting a feature.

I steer clear of Schwalbe due to bad past experiences. I had a tire with die after one ride. It was on shale type rock but ended up with about a dozen small punctures bleeding out sealant.


I’m 230lbs and manage to ride at 24ish psi and an insert in the rear.


How’s that Tannus insert been holding up? Despite the close-to-bombproof DHR on the back…my rim has taken more than a couple of hard shots resulting in some careful wrench work to pull the dents out.

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