Whether you are an expert bike rider on sandy terrain or have never ridden a bike before, you probably know that the most important feature on your bike is your tires. In loose sand, the right kind of tires will give you the grip you need, allowing you to have a great ride despite challenging conditions.
When you are riding a mountain bike in loose sand, as opposed to an ordinary trail or a road path, you will need to look for different tread patterns for your tires. The width of your tires and rubber compound materials will vary. Getting the wrong tires may leave you stuck in the sand and having to push yourself the rest of the way.
In this post, we will review some of the top mountain bike tires for loose sand, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. We hope that by the end, you will have a better idea of which tire to get for your bike!
Best Mountain Bike Tires for Loose Sand- Reviews
1.) Maxxis Ardent Tires
These tires are designed with high traction in mind. This means that when you are on a fine ground type like sand, the tires are going to be able to grip more tightly and not slip, which will help propel you forward and make it easier to move. Without the traction of these tires, you will have a harder time gripping the sand, and instead, pedal yourself into a hole.
These tires come with a high-volume casing and large block-style knobs with multiple edges. This allows you to gain and maintain your speed while the wide center tread on the tire keeps you from rolling too much. The Maxxis Ardent comes in several different sizes and is thus suited for many different bikes.
The Maxxis Ardent has proven to be a hit with bikers. The primary complaint is that they are soft and may wear out quickly compared to some other mountain bike tires. Having said that, they generally do their job well in providing grip, regardless of their lifespan.
- Great for loose sand and dirt
- Adds some weight and balance to the bike
- Provides great traction whether wet or dry
- Not deeply knobbed
- Very soft and not long-lasting if used daily
2.) Maxxis Ignitor Mountain Bike Tire
These 1 lb tires come with a specific tread pattern that is designed to make the bike roll fast while staying gripped to the surface (even a loose surface). The Ignitor tires have the ability to do well no matter what type of conditions they are put through and are designed to last for a long time. Meanwhile, the ramped pentagonal knobs on the bikes allow for some of the best tire traction. Their strong grip allows you to take sharp corners even when faced with challenging, sandy terrain.
The Ignitor tires are fairly aggressive, meaning that they are suited to most terrains. One drawback is that they have a higher arch, and may not work as well in muddy conditions. However, professional bikers enjoy using these tires as they are able to handle most rides easily, including going over large rocks and loose sand.
- Excellent grip on loose sand
- Gives you the highest G’s possible on corners
- Provides the bike with great control even on trail routes
- Comes tightly folded so they can be difficult to install
- Loses traction as a back tire
3.) Maxxis Ardent EXO Tires
The Ardent EXO mountain bike tire has a tread that is incredibly aggressive in its grip and is protected by a high-volume casing. The center tread has a large diameter, which is good for keeping traction while braking. These tires also come with a dual compound tread, which keeps the wheel from rolling. This tread also provides extra grip for turns and corners taken at sharp angles.
The Ardent EXO is well-loved by many mountain bikers due to its wide center tread. Users have reported accelerating and braking hard during their rides and not losing traction, even on the sand. Moreover, this tire comes in different sizes, ranging from 26×2.25 inches to 29×2.40 inches.
- Highly durable; lasts 1000 miles or more
- Does not require much PSI in the tires for good traction
- No increased rolling resistance
- After-sales service could be improved
- Not as great for steep or loose surfaces
4.) Goodyear Folding Bead Mountain Bike Tire
This folding bicycle tire is 26 inches in diameter when it is completely folded out. When the mountain bike tires are being assembled, they will fit onto rims that are between 2 and 2.125 inches. These are tires that are built for rugged and harsh terrains, and give a good enough grip to ride through the sand with ease. These bicycle tires are meant to last for a long time.
Avid mountain bike riders are generally content with this product, and it is a respected tire. It has a good grip and lasts for a long time, even when put through rough terrains. However, because of the way it is folded in its packaging, it can be difficult to get the bead lined up for assembly. You have to let it warm up outside of the box so that it takes the right shape. As well, the tread is aggressive and great for loose terrain but does carry some rolling resistance on hard terrain like pavement.
- Can be used as a back or front tire
- Aggressive traction for all terrains
- Difficult installation
- Tires get shaky and noisy if you go over 20 MPH
- Less durable
5.) Continental Vertical 26×2.30 Black Tyre
Coming in at 26 inches in diameter, this is a very versatile mountain bike tire. It comes with an endless edge design that gives a mountain bike perfect cornering traction. It is an extremely lightweight tire but incredibly durable, so punctures are unlikely.
The wide grip tread reduces rolling resistance on hard surfaces like pavement, while it has enough grip to easily take on a sandy surface. It can be used as the front tire or a back tire and works well either way. For that reason, it is one of the most versatile tires on the list!
Regular riders give Continentals a great rating. These tires are consistently reviewed as providing a safe ride over multiple terrains. However, some riders have also found that the tires are not as puncture-proof as the marketing claims, and have had issues with flats when taken on a ride over harsh terrains. Assembly can also be difficult no matter how good the air pressure is, or how even the weight distribution of the bike.
- Great as a versatile front or back tire
- Knobs do not shed after riding through tough terrain
- Difficult assembly
- Less effective on harsher, rocky terrains
6.) Kenda K850 Aggressive MTB Wire Bead Bicycle Tire
This tire comes with an aggressive tread that is designed to take on most trails and terrains. It is a very durable tire that is meant for hybrid riding, so it has very little rolling resistance. A smooth ride on hard surfaces and it grips loose surfaces like sand with ease.
This is one of the most highly rated mountain bike tires, and most riders love the performance that it gives. However, several riders have left reviews claiming issues on wet terrain. They find that wet terrain causes the tires to slip and lose traction, so it is best to find dry ground when riding on hard surfaces.
- Offers a smooth, quiet ride on all terrains
- Long-lasting tires
- Large knobs for great traction
- Many users find that they flake if used on a daily basis
- They are more expensive and only last 2-3 years
7.) CST Rock Hawk Folding Tire
This mountain bike tire features an aggressive tread pattern with large lugs that are precisely measured out. The lug spacing is important because it is what allows the tire to get rid of mud and sand off the tire as you ride.
The CST has been awarded a top rating and is definitely the best-selling tire. Most riders have no issues with the tire, other than assembly, and occasional punctures on harder terrain.
- Great traction
- Large knobs that offer great excellent grip
- Handles well on loose terrain
- Not puncture-proof like it claims
- Center tread knobs spaced too closely to get you through mud
While every tire reviewed herein offers a great pro-to-con ratio, there are still many options to consider. The Maxxis Ignitor (#2) provides a great balance of features to the price point, and possibly the greatest control for your riding based on tires with a similar price point. In fact, all three Maxxis tires mentioned above will provide you with a solid tire for any level of riding.
If you are a newer rider or ride less frequently, a solid option is the Goodyear Folding Tire (#4). It provides excellent control and traction, but at a lower price point. However, its low price sacrifices a certain amount of durability, which is why it is recommended only for beginner to intermediate riders and trails.
When looking for a tire, be sure to match the product to the level of your riding. If your expected terrain is harsher than usual, it may be worth it to spend a little more on a more quality tire and save yourself the ordeal of frequent assembly of less impressive tires. Your safety is a serious concern, so be sure to select the tread that meets your needs, and don’t pinch pennies when it comes to control on the sand and other loose terrains.