Mountain bike tires are wide, durable tires with knobby treads that are used on mountain bikes to provide superior handling in rough biking conditions. As is suggested by their name, mountain bikes are designed primarily for off-road environments which often involve traversing steep or otherwise treacherous terrain. Mountain bike tires need to be wide so that they can maintain good traction over unstable or dangerous terrain. Such terrain can include wet or icy ground; the knobby tread on the tires is in place to attempt to ensure that the bike does not slip, even in difficult terrain and poor weather conditions.
One major aspect of mountain bikes is their ability to climb steep inclines. Mountain bikes are built with strong bodies, well-designed suspensions, and rugged, variable gears to allow them to climb such steep inclines. Mountain bike tires are also designed specially for this task, as the smooth tires of street bikes would be unable to grip the surfaces that mountain bikes are often called upon to traverse. These tires are wider than the tires of street bikes and provide superior traction, allowing bikers to pedal up difficult, steep trails without needing to worry as much about slipping.
Mountain bikers also count on their tires to maintain traction in all varieties of terrain and weather, often while maneuvering at somewhat high speeds. The same solid design that makes mountain bikes good for climbing also helps them handle a variety of difficult terrains that can range from rough stones to wet soil to fine sand. Mountain bikes are often equipped with front and/or rear suspensions to help them deal with the bumpy terrains without harming themselves or their bikes. The knobby tread of mountain bike tires ensures that they stay firmly on the ground and keep the bike moving in the right direction, even while making sharp turns. The rough tread digs into the ground and prevents the tires and, consequently, the bike from sliding in excess.
While mountain bike tires are designed to handle the extremes of nature, they will only do so when used wisely. A novice rider on a mountain bike, no matter how nice it is, should not be attempting to traverse extremely difficult mountain trails. If one attempts to make a sharp, fast turn in the mud, he will still slide and likely fall. Even the best tires can not prevent this, so smart riding is absolutely necessary.