So I've got a friend back in D.C. who's a big mountain biker, and more than that, he's really into all the various components that go into crafting the perfect ride. I guess he needed some new tires recently, and rather than just popping into his local bike shop and picking something off the rack, he went into full on research mode.

If you need tires, this may help - add your comments/thoughts below:
My methodology:

-- Started with's list of all reviewed tires
-- Threw out anything that didn't have at least 10 reviews
-- Threw out anything that didn't have a rating of at least 4 (the scale is 1-5)
-- Threw out everything made by Bontrager
-- Threw out everything that was perceptibly gravity-oriented
-- Threw out all semi-slicks I could divine.

I then created a spreadsheet so I could order them by rating, and by number of reviewers.

I took the top most-reviewed tires and looked them up. Along the way I eliminated a bunch more, mostly because they weren't easily available from a big seller (Performance, Universal, Jenson, Nashbar, Cambria...).

I've attached the spreadsheet, but here's the top 10 or so.

If you have an opinion, please share it! My criteria are: I'd put grip over rolling speed. I want a folding tire. I don't have tubeless and I flat a lot because I run my pressures too low. Okay, I'm learning on that point.

Est price # of reviewers Rating (1-5) DM notes
Panaracer Fire XC Pro $30.00 674 4.3 Dorkysidewalls
WTB VelociRaptor 2.1 $48.00 460 4.15 Pro gets you Kevlar
IRC Mythos XC $25.00 320 3.63 Virtually free.
Kenda Nevegal $40.00 217 4.03 Zillion versions. Don't roll?
Hutchinson Python Gold $40.00 114 4.05 The old two-tones!
Panaracer Smoke Classic $35.00 102 4.32 Why not go old school?
WTB WeirWolf 2.1 $40.00 77 4.35 Banked-turn specialist?
Panaracer Cinder 75 4.45 Mudder. Kind of like the Nevegal
Panaracer Dart Classic $35.00 62 4.27 Old school #2
IRC Trail Bear Kevlar Tire 59 4.27