A cyclocross bike is halfway between a mountain bike and a road bike, therefore it becomes a hybrid capable of facing a lot of different terrain without difficulties.

With a cyclocross bike, you will have access to more areas than with any other bike, but depending on the tire you choose some terrain will be more favorable than others.

Source: Pixabay

Therefore, the main guideline that you have to take into consideration when choosing your cyclocross tires is to know which surface you are going to ride more frequently.

What is a cyclocross tire?

Cyclocross tires are very similar to road tires, but a little wider (never exceeding 33 millimeters). These can be almost flat (with a small pattern, similar to those on the road) or have small studs to give a better grip on muddy surfaces (most common). The vast majority of cyclocross tires have a width between 30 and 33 mm.

What should we know before choosing our cyclocross tires?

We have different aspects to consider when choosing our cyclocross tire. In the following lines we will describe the most important ones:

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Tire Pattern: The more pattern you find on a tire, the more efficient it will be when it comes to evacuating water, thus making it easier for you to ride on dusty terrain.

However, in dry surfaces, it grabs much less than a flat tire. The flat tire adhesion is better on dry asphalt but that will give you problems in wet and dusty conditions.

– Clincher, Tubular or Tubeless: If you opt for a clincher tire, you will save a lot of money and they are easy to repair, you just have to change the tube when there is a puncture. But these are the only advantages you will get.

On the other hand, if you opt for tubeless or tubular tires, you will get tires that are lighter and much harder to puncture.

But keep in mind that if you puncture a tubeless tire, there is a 90% chance you will have to buy new ones because they are really difficult to repair (apart from liquid repair). You will have to break the piggy bank to buy them.

– Tire Width: Cyclocross tires, as we have already said, are halfway between road tires and mountain bike tires. A road tire is usually around 23 to 25 mm wide whereas a cyclocross tire is between 30 to 33 mm. Depending on the width you choose, there will be improvements in some aspects while reductions in others.

If you opt for the wider tire, you will enjoy more stability and comfort, but you will feel more braked by having more surface contact with the ground. On the contrary, with a thinner tire, you will get a higher speed at the expense of stability and comfort.

– The separation between Studs: When the studs are close together, it facilitates riding on hard and dry terrain, and the tire rolls more comfortably.

In the event that the studs are further apart, it will increase the grip on muddy terrains, where it will better expel the mud and prevent the mud and debris from being embedded between the studs of the tire.

– Studs Size: A larger size in the studs will give you more traction on dirt and mud surfaces but will slow you down when riding on hard surfaces like asphalt. A smaller size grabs less on muddy surfaces but rolls better on harder terrain where we can reach higher speed.

Other important aspects such as flexibility, the TPI, or the material with which the tire is made up of should also be taken into account when choosing your tires.

Best Cyclocross Tires for 2019

We have reached the moment to decide which tires are the best for cyclocross in the 2019 season. Our selection is as follows:

1. Schwalbe X-One:

These tires are made for offroad because the design of the pattern is composed of small multi-studs, with the aim of being versatile both on the road and on trails. These multi-studs will make the tire grip perfectly on dirt terrains, but they may not be enough for muddy trails.

We can find these tires in several sizes, even for MTB, but the most common for CX is the 700x33C


  • Tubeless-ready and clincher
  • All Rounder
  • 700x33C for cyclocross
  • 127 TPI
  • 370 grams

2. Donnelly PDX:

source: rei.com

From the Donnelly brand (previously known as Clement), we are going to analyze several tires. These Donnelly PDX are made for optimal traction on the mud. We observe in the image that their studs are sufficiently separated so that the mud does not adhere to the tire.

It should also be noted that the studs are low, which makes this tire fast on both the asphalt and hard ground.


  • Tubeless and clincher
  • Better for muddy and hard trails
  • 700x33C
  • 120 TPI
  • 443 grams
  • Price: $49.50

3. Challenge Limus:

It is one of our favorites. These tires have deep studs that grip very well on the mud, and the separation between them allows the mud to be evacuated without sticking to the tires.

There are different versions of these tires. The Pro version reaches 320 TPI and is used by some professional cyclists. And they also offer a tubular version. We have chosen the standard clincher version.

High flexibility and light for muddy trails.


  • Clincher (also available in tubular)
  • Perfect for muddy terrains
  • 700x33C
  • 260 TPI (also available up to 320 TPI)
  • 340 grams

4. Maxxis Mud Wrestler:

With the Maxxis Mud Wrestler, it is impossible for you to get stuck in the mud. These tires, designed with an ideal pattern for shedding the mud off the tires, have fine studs on the front to reach higher speed on hard terrain.

On the sides, they have deeper studs to improve traction and grip on the mud and other soft terrains.


  • Tubeless and clincher
  • Perfect for mud
  • 700x33C
  • 120 TPI
  • 400 grams

5. Challenge Grifo:

This is an all-terrain tire, which in its Pro version offers us maximum lightness and flexibility. Their studs are not very deep, so they can reach higher speeds. The pattern of the studs evacuates the mud effectively.

Available in tubular and clincher. Puncture Protection System improves puncture resistance for tubular version.


  • Tubular (Clincher also available)
  • All Rounder tires
  • 700x33C
  • 300 TPI
  • Only 205 grams

6. Donnelly MXP:

source: rei.com

If we want all-terrain Cyclo-cross tires of the Challenge brand, we have to buy the MXP. These tires are designed to roll quickly, without much resistance on the surface, but at the same time, they roll very well on moderate mud.

The studs have an average length and although they are clinchers, the 120 TPI makes them resistant to punctures. An excellent multi-terrain option at an affordable price.

There is also the tubular version, lighter and stronger but more expensive.


  • Clincher (Tubular also available)
  • All Rounder tire
  • 700x33C
  • 120 TPI
  • 330 grams
  • Price: $37

7. Donnelly LAS:

This tire is manufactured to improve grip on dry surfaces such as sand. The central band has a pattern formed by micro-studs that facilitate traction on sand and favors a minimum resistance. On the side, we find deeper studs to improve the grip in the curves.

This tire is available in both tubular and clincher.

A different tire from the previous ones, faster on hard terrain, however, not ideal for muddy terrain.


  • Tubular (Clincher also available)
  • Excellent for dry and hard surfaces
  • 700x33C
  • 378 grams

8. Challenge Chicane:

source: competitivecyclist.com

The Challenge Chicane are tires designed to ride fast on dry and hard terrain. The central band is formed by micro-studs that will make you “fly” while the long studs on the sides will give you control and stability.

These tires, unless the conditions are very muddy, will roll quickly and with a great grip on the trail. Not being a clincher, they are more resistant to punctures. A lot of quality at an affordable price.


  • Tubeless-ready
  • Excellent on hard and dry trails
  • 700x33C
  • 127 TPI
  • 342 grams
  • Price: $57

9. Hutchinson Black Mamba CX:

source: performancebike.com

The Black Mamba is designed for gravel and cyclocross. A fast, soft, and flexible tire skilled in technical parts, reactive in accelerations, and with careful design ensures maximum efficiency in dry areas.

The studs of the central band favor acceleration and offer little resistance, thereby making it a fast tire. An excellent choice for the start of the season.

It is available in 32 and 34 mm


  • Tubeless Ready (Tubular and Tubetype also available)
  • Perfect for dry trails
  • 700×34 for Tubeless
  • 127 TPI
  • 350 grams
  • Price: $60

10. Hutchinson Toro CX:

It has been designed for those who are looking for a tire that works exceptionally in very muddy trails. This model is manufactured with high and spaced studs that facilitate the exit of the mud and improve the grip in the curves.

The 127 TPI offers safe driving, comfort, lightness, and puncture resistance. It offers versatility in all terrains, especially the soft ones. It is available in 32 and 34 mm and Tubetype, Tubeless-Ready, and Tubular version.


  • Tubeless-Ready (Tubular and Tubetype also available)
  • Perfect for muddy trails
  • 700×32 for Tubeless-Read
  • 127 TPI
  • 390 grams

Our Final Words

Choosing the best cyclocross tires is not easy. Professional cyclocross cyclists have several tires for different conditions and surfaces.

If you are just a beginner in the world of cyclocross and not clear about what terrain you are usually going to ride, we recommend all-rounder tires, and later specialize your tires to the time of the season (dry or wet).

In this guide, we have explained everything you need to consider when buying the best tires for cyclocross, and we have presented a wide selection. In case of any doubt, do not hesitate to contact us.

Enjoy your ride!

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