When we think of Cyclocross and our bike setup, one thing that can be agreed upon is that it needs to handle mud! Not just any mud, but often wet, heavy, rugged mud on the tracks that can be a huge obstacle for any rider to power through. The right set of mud tires will make an enormous difference to your race, so here we have selected our Top 7 Best Cyclocross Mud Tires just for you.
The good news is that the majority of racing tires will be clearly labelled into a category. These categories are typically related to the terrain (mud, wet mud, dirt, gravel) and the set up for the tire itself. Our Top 7 tires are all Tubeless setups except for the High Performance choice which is available both Tubeless and Tubular. All of the tires in our selection are designed to perform in some form of muddy terrain.
In this article we will look at our Top 7 Mud Tires for Cyclocross and highlight different types of mud terrain. We will also explore a variety of tips and options that will ensure you have all the information you need when buying cyclocross mud tires.
Check our comparison table below for a quick view of our Top 7 mud tires for 2020
|Michelin Power Cyclocross Mud Tire
Heavy Mud/Wet Mud/Dirt/
|Specialised Terra Pro 2Bliss Tire
|Wet Mud Conditions
Packed Wet Mud/Dirt
|Maxxis Mud Wrestler CX Tire
|Off-Road / Rugged Conditions
|WTB Cross Boss Tire
Packed Firm Track
|Schwalbe CX Pro HS 269
|Ritchey SpeedMax Cross Tire
|Light Mud Conditions
Dirt/Gravel/ Light Mud
|Elite Performance Riders
|All-Terrain/ Wet Mud
|Tubeless & Tubular
Before you jump in, make sure to have a look at our guide for the best cyclocross shoes. Having great tires won’t be of much help if your feet are wet, cold or if you fall carrying your bike.
Continue reading our buyers guide below to find out more about terrain and tire setup.
Cyclocross is different from the average bicycle race and you can be sure to experience a wide variation of terrain on the race tracks.
Cyclocross riders typically encounter a mixture of anything from grass, dirt, sand, snow and of course – mud! This is why we have listed the best cyclocross tires for mud. Mud terrain comes in different forms, so choosing the right tires takes additional consideration and preparation.
Types of Tires
1: Mud Tires Mud tires are designed for exactly what they describe; riding in mud! They can grab mud or soil as you pedal through making it easier for you to ride over obstacles without having to dismount. The tread pattern will typically have wider spacing to allow the mud to shed out whilst still maintaining speed during the race.
A purpose built mud tire will provide you with adequate grip on a number of terrains, though they are not highly recommended for surfaces such as pavement, due to speed or rolling resistance. A set of mud tires is going to be a more aggressive form of tire that will help riders avoid excess dirt and debris from sticking in the tread.
Mud tires may feel as though you are riding with less speed but they will support you throughout obstacles, slopes and corners ensuring you don’t waste time coming off your bike, walking or recovering from a fall. A good mud tire should enhance your cyclocross performance in difficult conditions.
2: All Purpose Tires The standard all-purpose or all-condition tires are made for riding across as many conditions as possible with one set of tires. Considered to be suitable for the majority of tracks such as paved roads and grass, they will do the job, but they are not seen as a high performance tire for race days.
3: Semi-Slick Tires Ideal for dry conditions, semi-slicks are not adequate to support a race in wet or muddy conditions. They are best suited for very dry weather on tracks predominantly made up of dirt, sand or grass.
1: Clinchers Clinchers are definitely the most common type of tire for beginner riders and those transitioning into the intermediate races. Clinchers are both popular and affordable. Overall, they are cheaper than other types of tires on the market and easy to swap out as needed.
The downside of using clinchers is that they require a higher tire pressure, which isn’t always ideal when it comes to maintaining traction in wet and muddy terrain.This is why we do not feature a clincher tire in this Top 7 list of Mud Tires. Riding clinchers at a low tire pressure increases the risk for what’s known as ‘pinch-punctures’. This where an obstacle or debris forces the inner tube to be pinched or the tire to be punctured flat.
2: Tubeless The key difference that separate clinchers and tubeless cyclocross mud tires is the setup. Aside from a more difficult setup the advantages are relatively the same. Key advantages of the tubeless set up include the ability to ride with less resistance, improved stability and added comfort due to the way the tire can truly press into the ground. The overall result offers riders increased balance and a reduction in the risk of puncturing or damaging the tire. All of the tires in our Top 7 have a Tubeless setup.
3: Tubulars With clinchers and tubeless tires offering many of the same benefits, the final category ideally sets the first two apart from the third. Tubular tires are made for performance and competitive riding. This is due to the fact that you can’t pinch a flat on tubular tires and they can handle a low tire pressure. Lower tire pressure is an important benefit in cyclocross racing because it provides better grip on muddy terrain.
Tubulars aren’t always considered beginner friendly due to the high maintenance they require and the wear and tear they are susceptible to on the track. Tubulars are also a more expensive tire and one which is used primarily on race days. In our Top 7 we have listed 1 premium tire that can be used as a tubular set up and it is the most expensive on the list.
Mud: Courses can have mud in many different ways. Mud can be sticky like peanut butter, or deep and sludgy causing drag and fatigue. Deep mud can really be a disaster if you are not well prepared and mud tires that provide power are key to racing in mud.
Mud tires that can specifically shred through mud and clear it are very important in muddy terrain.
Woodlands cross courses are a popular cyclocross track and they often present muddy conditions for riders. For this you will need to make sure your tires have good traction and solid grip. The Dugast Ernst Cyclocross Mud Tire is well known for handling deep mud or rough terrain as is the Michelin Power Cyclocross Mud Tire.
Dirt & Grass: The majority of tracks contain grass and dirt for obvious reasons, as riders, it is important to note that grass can be slippery from dew or rain, that dirt can also create unstable ground and hide debris.
Dry dirt allows the tires to roll with additional pace and sets a standard for higher speed racing, especially in skilled riders. Road tires or File tires are particularly common for dry track as are all-terrain Mud tires. The Ritchey SpeedMax Cross Tire is recommended for light mud and for all-terrain grass tracks. The WTB Cross Boss Tire is excellent for recreational riding as an all-rounder.
Snow: The reason that cyclocross riders will choose a mud tire for ice and snow are because of the knobs on the tread that provide some grip for slippery surface areas. The main objective is to ensure you can keep speed without falling. A mud tire such as the Maxxis Mud Wrestler CX Tire has been designed to handle snow, sleet and ice. Purchasing a mud tire means you can ride in cross-terrain and get better value for money by riding it through various conditions.
Sand: Riding on a sand based race track is very different to riding in mud or through the mountains. You will need tires that can manage this type of terrain, something with a file tread is best. Mud tires are not recommended on sand as they catch on the ruts and will do nothing but slow you down.
Overall, riding mud like a pro takes work, but having the right kind of mud tires will certainly give you a competitive advantage. Our list includes tires that are high performing in wet mud and rough terrain, though we also offer tires that appeal to those who may ride in cross terrain that includes only light mud and packed dirt. Mud tires are highly versatile and what sets them apart is often down to riders preference for the mud tires brand, style and pricing.
Our Top 7 List
Best Versatile Cyclocross Mud Tire – MICHELIN Power Cyclocross Mud Tire
The popular Michelin Power Mud Tire is Number One on our list because it is a highly versatile tire that is packed with features that makes it perfect for muddy terrain and wet conditions. Michelin Mud Cyclocross tires have a strong reputation in the cycling community and have long been the Number One choice when it comes to racing cyclocross in the mud.
The Power Mud has unique tread knobs which are positioned in the centre to minimise rolling resistance on hard surfaces. The outside edges have impressive traction which allows you to efficiently cut through deep wet mud without slowing down. Enjoy the advantages of a tubeless set up including riding at a lower pressure and less unwanted friction.
Bottom Line: This tire is perfect for versatile riders who enjoy crossing between different terrain. In the chunky, messy mud conditions of the cyclocross race track, the Power Mud Tire is a standing favourite and makes a great addition to any rider’s setup. This is a solid choice for anyone looking for a good mixed conditions tire.
Best Cyclocross Mud Tire For Wet Mud Conditions – Specialised Terra Pro 2Bliss Tire
If you are confronted with muddy, sloppy conditions that bulk up on your tires; invest in the Specialized’s Terra Pro 2Bliss tire! Why? When it comes to cyclocross tires for wet mud, these heavy duty mud tires have it all, making it number two on our list. Fitted with tall widely-spaced knobs for traction and stable breaking; cornering control in wet mud and snow is what they do best. The Terra has a tread pattern that has been designed to shed mud and reduce clogging as you race.
This is an upgraded version that excels in wet mud without additional rolling resistance all thanks to the use of silica-infused Gripton Rubber. This provides a noticeable increase in grip from the previous-generation of the Terra, which was more of an all-around tire than one specifically designed with wet mud in mind. The tubeless tire setup is lightweight at under 400g and is made to reduce the risk of punctures.
Bottom Line: If you are riding race tracks with all of that wet mud – the Terra Pro 2Bliss mud tires are ready to support you! Enhanced performance in the muddiest of conditions makes this tire, with the Gripton Compound, a premium choice for cyclocross.
Best Cyclocross Mud Tire For Off-Road Terrain – Maxxis Mud Wrestler EXO Cross Tire
If you are in need of a tire that can truly manage rough, rugged, muddy terrain; the Maxxis Mud Wrestler Exo Cross-Tire is the real deal. The Maxxis Mud Wrestler is an all-conditions race tire and is Number Three on our list of tires. Similar to the Michelin Mud and the Pro Terra, the Mud Wrestler can also handle wet mud conditions and rough terrain. They have an extra sidewall for protection when riding off-road on gravel or on tracks with debris and obstacles but are listed third because they don’t appear to offer as much grip as the previous two in this list.
Fitted with aggressive side knobs, they can maneuver through mud and snow, shedding debris from the tread; they are the ideal grippy mud tires for cyclocross. This open tread also handles smooth pavement with ease and minimal resistance and rolling through gravel and dirt is not a problem for the Mud Wrestler. The tubeless rubber compound is compatible with any sealant and is a lightweight, quality tire.
Bottom Line: A solid and reliable off-road tire that can handle the majority of terrain that you will face on the tracks. Plus, you have a variety of options to choose from within the Maxxis Mud Wrestler category all for an affordable price. If you mostly ride dirt, gravel and some mud; this tire is a good choice!
Best Cyclocross Mud Tire For Recreational Riding – WTB Cross Boss Tire
The WTB Cross Boss Tire pairs legendary casings and tread compounds to ensure each tire has increased traction and is both durable and reliable on the track. We have included the Cross Boss in our list as it can provide recreational and beginner riders enough traction and stability in light mud and dirt. The tires are designed to enhance performance with a system that includes tires, rims, tape and valves, offering a comprehensive package.
For recreational cyclocross riders who are looking for firmer rubber compounds and faster rolling, the Cross Boss will provide this with improved grip and control. The center tread makes it easier to clear away light mud, but the Cross Boss really excels on firm ground with the aggressive side knobs and it’s great traction around corners. This is a mixed surface tire that comes as a tubeless setup.
Bottom Line: When it comes to cyclocross, these versatile tires can get the job done on any style of dry packed or light mud terrain. The Cross Boss is ideal for recreational riders and those who enjoy getting off the pavement and is at its best when racing on hard packed courses.
Best Cyclocross Mud Tire For High Speed – Schwalbe CX Pro HS 269 Tire
The Schwalbe CX Pro HS 269 is a cyclocross mud tire which is also ideal for marathons. The tires are lightweight and aggressive with heart shaped center knobs surrounded by raindrop knobs which are ideal for mud. The extra rubber in the flank will protect the tire from cuts and punctures whilst maintaining durability on the track.
The CX Pro is great for front and rear as well as climbing and descending with a reputation for being a high-speed tire. For riders who want a low weight, high speed tire, this is the best recommendation that will conquer both.
Bottom Line: The Schwalbe CX Pro HS 269 will cover almost all bases for a cyclocross tire. It is affordable, light, fast and can handle the muddy terrain. It can be used on both front and rear setups and is suitable for recreational and performance racers.
Best Cyclocross Mud Tire For Light Mud Conditions – Ritchey SpeedMax Cross Tire
The Ritchey SpeedMax tires as a classic cyclocross racing tire that has long proven itself to be a strong choice for riders; especially in dry conditions or as a rear tire. The SpeedMax has made it into our list for days when you are riding in lighter mud. The closely spaced tread pattern offers low rolling resistance and sufficient traction.
The SpeedMax is a tubeless tire that offers a high performance feel with its ultra-smooth ride even across rocks and gravel. They have been engineered specifically for cyclocross racers and gravel riders to provide both speed and power transfer on the course.
Bottom Line: The Speedmax tires are marketed as a great all-rounder that can handle all-terrain; excelling in mostly dry conditions and off-road racing. They are ideal for cyclocross racers who ride in light mud and gravel and have long been known as a reliable racing brand across the industry. It is particularly popular as a rear tire as it maintains grip on tight turns.
Best Mud Tire For Elite Performance Riding – Clement PDX Tire
The finale mud tire that makes our list is the impressive, high performing Clement PDX. According to Clement – The Clement PDX Tubular is a cutting-edge cyclocross tire that combines the incredibly popular PDX tread with an innovative tubeless casing to create the ultimate tubular tire. The PDX comes out of Portland, Oregon USA, an area of terrain well known to experience heavy rain and the muddiest of conditions on the extreme cyclocross racing courses. This has led to a mud tire designed as an all-rounder that is continuing to gain popularity around the world.
Featuring a mud-shedding tire, based on strength and durability, the tire can handle heavy rainfall, deep mud and tight corners. The aggressive tread makes it easy to ride with power and race around difficult corners and over obstacles. Technical areas of the track will allow for the Clement PDX to really shine through above other mud tires as it handles the pressure of extreme conditions with ease and ensures confidence in the riders ability to remain agile and on balance.
Bottom Line: The Clement PDX carries a higher price tag than the other options in our list, however, it has proved to be an excellent mud tire on the tracks. The tubeless set up makes it easier to repair when punctured and the tread can manage the toughest of mud courses. The Clement PDX will prove value for money lap after lap.
Mud tires are a great investment for any rider who enjoys the challenges of muddy terrain. Our Top 7 Mud Tires are affordable, versatile, durable and each tire has a different set of strengths; excelling in certain kinds of mud conditions.
Getting out on the race track this season has never been better with a great set of quality mud tires to take your cycling to the next level!
Tired of all this biking in the mud? Why not have a look at an electric bike (for under 1000$) for your commute?