MTB tyre technology

The collection of MTB tyres is nowadays extremely extensive. Apart from the many brands available, the assortment of each brand is also huge. Tyres are designed for every mountain biker and situation, what makes it complicated to choose from the many variations and options. That is the reason why we take a closer look at the tyre technology on this page, so you can make the best choice. First, the basic information about a mountain bike tyre is given and then we take a closer look at the options provided by Maxxis and Schwalbe on their MTB tyres.


Single-ply casing
One layer of nylon wrapped from bead to bead. A single-ply casing conforms well to the terrain and is lighter weight.

Downhill (DH) casing
Two layers of casing material are used from bead to bead, providing additional protection and sidewall stiffness for downhill applications.

Threads Per Inch (TPI)
Ends Per Inch (EPI)
The number of threads that cross through one square inch of a single ply of the tyres casing. Lower TPI gives better puncture, cut and abrasion resistance but is heavier. Higher TPI conforms better to the terrain, offering a smoother, more comfortable ride while reducing the weight of the tyre.

MTB tyre construction TPI


MTB tyre construction

The function of the bead is to keep the tyre in contact with the rim while the tyre is inflated.

Wire bead
A rigid metal wire is utilized as bead material in applications where ultimate strength is needed and transportability is not a factor.

Foldable bead
Foldable beads also keep the tyre secured to the rim but are lighter weight and easily transported. The bead is made of spun aramid or Kevlar® fibers.

Rubber compounds

The most important part of a tyre is arguably the rubber compound within the tread. By changing the amounts of various components of the rubber formula, engineers can make two identical looking tyres perform completely differently.


Maxxis compounds


One compound throughout the tread optimized for longevity and performance.


Two compounds used within the tread of select tyres to offer lower rolling resistance and increased cornering grip.

Maxxis Super Tacky

Super Tacky (ST)

A special low rebound, high traction compound used in select mountain tyres.

Maxxis 3C Triple Compound

3C Triple Compound (3C)

Maxxis 3C Triple Compound mountain technology uses a harder, longer lasting base layer and two progressively softer top layers in order to optimize traction and stability. Maxxis offers three different configurations of our 3C Triple Compound mountain technology: Maxx Speed, Maxx Terra and Maxx Grip.

Maxxis 3C Maxx Speed

3C Maxx Speed

Used primarily in cross country and enduro tyres, the two compounds in the outer layer are specially formulated to reduce rolling resistance and optimize treadwear and traction.

Maxxis 3C Maxx Terra

3C Maxx Terra

An intermediate compound configuration used in select mountain tyres. 3C Maxx Terra is softer and offers more traction than 3C Maxx Speed, yet provides better treadwear and less rolling resistance than Maxx Grip.

Maxxis 3C Maxx Grip

3C Maxx Grip

A new name for the downhill 3C compound configuration that you have come to know and trust. 3C Maxx Grip offers the ultimate in grip and slow rebound properties for unparalleled traction in downhill applications.

Maxxis technology
Maxxis Tubeless Ready

Tubeless Ready (TR)

Tubeless tyre provide the rider with many benefits: the ability to run lower air pressures, which improves traction; lower rolling resistance when compared to a tube-type tyre; and less chance of flatting since there is no tube. Maxxis Tubeless Ready (TR) tyres provide the benefits of a UST tubeless tyre without the weight penalty.

Maxxis Silkworm


Silkworm Technology is an exclusive material incorporated into the casing of select models, increasing puncture and tear resistance. Silkworm is featured under the tread as a breaker (denoted as Silkworm.)

Maxxis eXCeption

eXCeption (eXC)

The eXCeption Series of tyres is a combination of our 62a compound and our 120 TPI casing. This not only makes for a lighter model tyre: it also enhances cornering, braking, and acceleration. These tyres are recommended for race use only.

Maxxis EXO protection

EXO protection (EXO)

An extremely cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material added to the sidewalls of select mountain tyres. This densely woven fabric is also lightweight and highly flexible, ensuring that the performance of the tyre remains unaffected. Choose EXO Protection for exceptionally rocky, treacherous trails where the chance of sidewall cuts and abrasions is high.

Maxxis LUST/ UST


Maxxis mountain tubeless tyres, certified to UST featuring Lightweight Ultimate Sidewall Technology (L.U.S.T.). This technology offers better puncture resistance, improved air retention, better longevity and lower weight than previous tubeless technologies. By adding a thin fabric layer to the sidewall, covered in a special airtight rubber compound, Maxxis created a casing that is lighter, tougher and holds air better.

Schwalbe compounds


Two different rubber compounds for optimal performance: The center tread is friction resistant for longer life. The sides are a soft mixture for maximum adhesion.

Schwalbe Triple Star Compound

Triple Star Compound

Our best and most sophisticated compound. Triple compound. Perfectly adapted to the specific purpose.

Schwalbe PaceStar Compound


Extremely fast XC compound: easy rolling base layer (base), fast center (medium), grippy shoulders (medium soft).

Schwalbe TrailStar Compound


Enduro & Freeride Compound: easy rolling base layer (base), grippy center (medium soft), extra-grippy shoulders (soft).

Schwalbe VertStar Compound


Downhill Compound: easy rolling base layer (base), super-soft center (super soft), extra-soft Shoulders (extremely soft).

Schwalbe GateStar Compound


GateStar is a special 4-Cross compound with very impressive cornering characteristics.

Schwalbe technology
Schwalbe Performance Line MTB tyres

Performance line (Perf.)

Excellent quality for intensive use. These are the best value for money tyres.

Schwalbe Evolution Line MTB tyres

Evolution line (EVO)

The very best possible. Highest grade materials. Latest technology.

Schwalbe Tubeless Easy MTB tyres

Tubeless Easy

The new standard for all Evolution MTB tyres. A new sidewall monofilament fabric brings three advantages over the previous SnakeSkin fabric: Even better cut resistance, increased protection and most importantly it allows an extremely easy Tubeless conversion. The use of liquid sealant is necessary, but otherwise installation is just as easy as with real Tubeless tyres. Time consuming conversion requiring intensive shaking and frequent re-inflation is no longer needed with Tubeless Easy. Tubeless Easy replaces both the previous Tubeless and Tubeless Ready versions.


A light and flexible carcass makes the tyre highly resistant to scrubbing.

Schwalbe LiteSkin MTB tyres


The lightest option. LiteSkin MTB tyres forego Snakeskin, but still have high pressure resistant tyre beads. If you don’t mind the extra effort, these tyres can also be converted to Tubeless by using a liquid sealant.

Schwalbe Double Defense MTB tyres

Double Defense

The twin protector. High Density Guard + SnakeSkin. More safety for light off-road tyres is impossible.

Schwalbe Super Gravity MTB tyres

Super Gravity

A revolutionary new carcass construction. Patented. Quadruple ply carcass makes the sidewalls stable and safe. The tread remains extremely flexible and grippy with two carcass plies. All around Snakeskin is excellent protection against cuts. All tyres are Tubeless Easy. A tube saving compared to classic downhill tyres.

Schwalbe Downhill MTB tyres


Very durable tyres. Double carcass, snake-bite protection, SnakeSkin side wall. Wired tyre.

Schwalbe Bikepark MTB tyres


It’s a lot of tyre for the money. The construction is based on a stable motorcycle carcass making the tyre highly robust. The dual compound is at the same time grippy and durable.