I know I’ve come across some smaller tire companies in the past. I’d love to support a rider-owned company that’s not owned by a massive international conglomerate. If they’re made in the US, even better, but I’m not expecting much on that front.
What smaller tire companies have you come across? Did you dig their rubber?
It’s hard to find a truly “small” tire company that anyone sells in an LBS. When i think back to other brands of tires that I’ve been curious about (besides the giants of MTB rubber, Maxxis, Schwalbe, WTB, Specialized, Continental & Bontrager), there are only a few brands I’ve ever seen OTHER than those, and usually I can’t find them anywhere in person.
I can only think of maybe 3 brands other than the ones above that I’ve ever seen with any frequency…. Vittora, Geax and Kenda. I’ve never seen any Geax for sale in shops (only on people’s bikes), Kenda seems to make a very limited range of tire sizes (and next to nothing for 29″ wheels) and Vittora seems promising, but I wouldn’t call them a small company.
So far I’ve been a Maxxis guy, and since I can get a year easily out of most of their tires, I don’t feel the urge to try different brands very much. Unless they do something really weird or stupid, I don’t see myself trying anything other than their tires for a while.
Yeah, I currently have Maxxis tires and I’m liking them a lot. I just thought it would be cool to support a smaller company! The one that I’ve found so far is Terrene, but they have limited non-plus tires (though I might be able to fit a 2.6″ in my frame). I actually didn’t know that Vittoria made mountain tires! I’ll check those out for sure.
A “small” tire company would likely go out of business pretty quickly. Depending on your idea of “small” though, you may want to look at Ritchey tires ( https://us.ritcheylogic.com/us_en/mountain-bike/tires ). Tom Ritchey is in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. He started the first production mountain bike company back in the ’70’s. And, he still rides a few thousand miles a year. That might meet your criteria.
Good call! I didn’t know Ritchey made tires, actually. That seems like a great choice. I’ve looked at e*thirteen before, but I’ll have to give them another look. If I remember correctly, they didn’t have a whole lot of options in what I was looking for. But I’ll give them a shot!
I’ve had good experiences with Teravail Coronado tires but I wouldn’t be able to say for sure if they are actually a small company. Many smaller tire company tires are made by a larger tire company. For example, Bontrager tires are made by Maxxis. So you can’t be sure. I have noticed that tires from brands like Teravail and Bontrager seldom go on sale but I can nearly always find Maxxis tires at a good savings. I recently bought on-line a set of Maxxis Minions for 40% less than the list price at my local bike shop and they were much less than the price for similar Bontrager or Teravail tires. Seems like buying from one of the smaller companies ends up costing more. I don’t really have any brand loyalty and I think most tire companies make good tires but price matters. So I end up buying what I can get a good price on.
Teravail is owned by QBP, which isn’t exactly a small company. But they’re based in my home state, so that’s a plus! Teravail tires actually look pretty solid.
I didn’t know that Maxxis made Bontrager tires! I know what you mean about price. I’d be willing to pay a little more for something from a small company, but not all that much. Which puts me in a tough spot. Just wanted to know if there was anything else out there.