Most MTB tyres, and some regular bike tyres, include recommendations from the manufacturers about the direction in which tyres should be mounted. But the technique varies from one brand to another, and from one model to another, since the profiles do not have the same directional systems. Here we bring you a review of the biggest brands to help you choose your tyre setup.
1st case: Single arrow (Continental, Maxxis, Schwalbe), and identical setup for the front and rear wheel.
This is the easiest case. The setup direction is shown by a single arrow, sometimes with the word « rotation » to show the way the wheel turns when the bike is going forwards. The mounting direction is the same for the front and rear wheels. Sometimes you have to look hard for it, but you end up finding it. Here on a Continental Der Kaiser.
Tyre direction on a Schwalbe Magic Mary
The recommended mounting direction is in line with the tyre’s general performance in terms of steering and cornering.
Mounting direction for a Maxxis Ardent
We can see that the direction of the arrow corresponds to the lug design, pointing forwards, emphasising attack, control and optimised cornering behaviour. This is the case on a Minion DHF
As well as on the new Minion DH II Rear
2nd case: a double arrow, with tyres mounted in opposite directions in the front and rear (Michelin)
In this case, a double arrow on the sidewall shows opposing rotation directions, and also mounting directions, for the front and rear wheel.
Mounting direction for a Michelin Wild Rock’r
If the tyre is going to be mounted on the front wheel, place the « front » arrow in the direction the wheel turns when the bike goes forwards. If the tyre is mounted on the rear wheel, place the « rear » arrow in the direction the wheel turns when the bike goes forwards.
In this case, the aim is to give preference to different aspects of tyre performance according to the front or rear setup.
- Grip, steering and braking on the front wheel
- Traction on the rear
A triangular-type profile corresponds to:
- Front wheel: tip of the triangle pointing forwards as you are looking from above, seated on the saddle. The attack is with the tip of the triangle, with an optimised profile for cornering, and the wide base of the triangle is used during braking (so the tip is pointing forward at the first contact of the tyre with the ground, while the base of the triangle is the last part to touch the ground, but the base is the first to come into play during braking, when the direction of the tyre’s action is reversed).
- Rear wheel: attack with the base of the triangle for maximum traction.
- Michelin suggests a way of memorising the system: when seated on the bike, the triangle base should be below and the tip above, whether you are looking at the front tyre with your head turned to the front, or at the rear tyre with your head turned round (while keeping your body turned to the front). Try it – it works!
Mixed methods (Hutchinson)
Depending on the profiles’ directional features, the brand recommends a single mounting technique for the front and rear wheels, or two different techniques.
A single setup (single arrow) for the Hutchinson Python, which incidentally is mounted on the rear wheel most of the time (with a Cobra on the front wheel).
Differing front and rear setup (double arrow) for the Hutchinson Toro, and Cobra.
To optimise the performance of your tyres, it is better to follow the setup direction recommended by the manufacturer. If you see after a while that this setup is not completely satisfactory, it’s better to try a different profile corresponding to what you are looking for (traction, braking, cornering), or to change your combination of front/rear tyres. Mounting the same profile « backwards » is not recommended. If this were the case, the manufacturer would have opted for a rear/front double arrow. A tyre with a one-directional arrow is not designed to go in the other direction. At the least, you risk wearing down the tyre, and at the worst, you may lose some control over the bike…
No related posts.