MTB tires: both equal or different?
The first problem to solve is: MTB tires must be equal (front and rear) or different? You might think by analogy with the tire choice for your car, so then identical tires. But in this way you'd neglect an important factor: our vehicles do not ride on an uniform ground like asphalt but on very irregular and changeable grounds. If watching a showcase of tour bicycles you see equal tires you should know it's just a ploy of producers to save time and money during the assembly stage.
Front and rear have different needs both uphill and downhill. So the answer is so clear: different tires! In specific terms: uphill the most important role is for the roar wheel that requires a good grip to avoid unnecessary efforts. Downhill is instead the roar wheel to dictate the game: it goes without saying that a wrong choice is paid more in the second case than in the first. It must not be forgotten that the roar wheel has an important role downhill too, due to the high stress of weight and braking. In any case, you cannot speak in absolute terms about roar and front tires: as mentioned, the choice mainly depends on personal experience and other subjective factors. It follows that the front wheel must be wider and with a good lateral holding to work inclined and understeer, and the rear wheel must instead have a good tread and high dowels.
How to choose the right MTB tire?
As for sizes (which is stated on the side) I recommend to never go under 2.00: it involves a lot of risks, unless you are planning a cycle trekking tour. Indicatively, it is recommended a 2.10 rear tire and a 2.25 front tire. After choosing a tire, do touch it: if it is soft and porous to the touch means it has a good grip, and it is more durable too.
Absolutely avoid not-branded MTB tires or those which are branded but are suspiciously cheap: good quality always pays off, from all points of view. Looking at the shelves you could became doubtful, which are better, folding tires or those with a rigid ring? Better choose the first ones: more light, easy to handle and comfortable even as spare tire. To replace a tire do not wait until it is broken in two! Wear makes the tire lose grip and increases punctures risk.
You may have noticed there is a huge sample of tessellations on the market: larger brands create every year tour designs and solutions for all terrain, and give many good tips too
MTB tires: let's “chew” some
Let us see some examples: the German Schwalbe has produced a trio of specimens, the Rocket Ron, Nobby Nic and Racing Ralph, which are among the most clicked in forums, so we have a lot of material to explore.
A model highly appreciated for its flexibility and versatility is Larsen, produced by Maxxis. The checked tessellation make it tight and smooth at the same time, an ideal roar tire good for every seasons.
Even Michelin is on the market with its Country range suitable both for mud and dry soils: these products are very appreciated mostly for their good value for money.
Another high-quality brand is Hutchinson, with its great website full of technical tips. Among their most appreciated models there is surely the Toro.
Geax purposes instead a specific range for seasons with changeable weather: high and distanced dowels to shake off the mire and grant a secure handling even in low-grip conditions. However be aware that in normal conditions these tires do not grant the same performance and they deteriorate quickly.
If you don’t have any special needs but you don't want to renounce to quality, then the BTwin by Decathlon could be the right solution for you.