Search
Close this search box.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, when you buy through our links, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

The top 12 best 29 inch gumwall tires

In this article I’m going to showcase a wide array of some of the best 29 inch gumwall tires.

Different mountain bike disciplines are represented on this list. From cross country to trail, and even enduro, and downhill. So be sure you pick the tire that’s right for how you’ll be using your mountain bike.

Then you’ll be able to find tan wall tires and true skin wall tires. Tan wall tires have painted sidewalls, but keep the added sidewall protection. Skin wall tires don’t, they’ve shed the black sidewall ply which shows the creme sidewall underneath it. They are more prone to damage, but much lighter in general.

Maxxis calls these skin wall tires “light tan” and Schwalbe calls them “transparent”. All WTB tan tires are true skinwalls with a focus on speed over protection. So that’s another thing to take into consideration when picking a tire. It’s not just a fancy color.

And with that out of the way, let’s head over to the list of the best 29 inch gumwall tires.

Maxxis Ardent

Maxxis Ardent
Maxxis Ardent

If you want more grip than the Ardent Race might offer, you’ll be looking for the Maxxis Ardent. It’s a crossover tire sitting somewhere in between a trail and a cross country one.

When you resize the knobs on the Ardent Race and make them bigger, you’ll trade in a bit of speed for more grip. And that’s what they did with the Maxxis Ardent.

And trading in speed has to be taken with a grain of salt, for this is still a very fast tire, which excels on dry, hardpack trails.

Expert Experience

Jeremy Benson | Product reviewer – September 18, 2019

Depending on where and how you ride, the Ardent could be the ideal tire for you. If your trails are buff, your dirt is always good, and you aren’t attacking the gnarliest terrain super aggressively, then I think you should give the Ardent a look. If your trail riding is more XC than enduro, or maybe you’re even entering a local XC race, this fast-rolling, lightweight, and versatile tire is a great option to consider.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Ikon

Maxxis Ikon
Maxxis Ikon

The absolute cross-country king in Maxxis’ lineup. The Maxxis Ikon has near perfect all-round tire characteristics, which makes it an excellent option for diverse road and trail conditions. Though it’s categorized obviously as an XC tire, it’ll also perform superior for bikepackers and gravel riders.

That being said, this is a racing tire, which means it’s light. But the reliable EXO compound, also used for harsher enduro racing, also means you’ll enjoy this tire for many miles.

As with any tire with this type of tread, it’ll perform well in dry conditions. The 26 inch version has both a 2.35 and 2.2 inch width option. You can run this tire both front and back, and might opt for the wider version in the front for some added grip. Especially if you expect some portions of your ride to be particularly rough.

It’s undeniable that the top-of-the-line products of Maxxis are superior to many if not all of their competitors. And the Maxxis Ikon shows it, with a perfect blend of weight, speed, grip, and protection.

Expert Experience

Jeff Barber | Editor in Chief – January 23, 2014

I think a better description for the Ikon (and one that Maxxis even uses themselves) is “all-rounder.” The knobs are long enough and spaced far enough apart to give good bite in the straights and the corners. I’ve experienced excellent results in both wet and dry conditions, and find myself able to push the envelope a bit more in the turns on these tires compared to others I’ve tested.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Minion DHF

Maxxis Minion DHF
Maxxis Minion DHF

When you’re looking for a mountain bike tire it’s almost impossible not to have heard of the Maxxis Minion DHF. The reason being it’s like the ultimate fit-and-forget mountain bike tire on the market. That means that the tire is just about perfect for any local trail riding, to enduro and downhill races.

The tread pattern shows that this tire prefers to sit on your front wheel. You can opt to put another fan favorite, the Maxxis Minion DHR II, at the back. That tire has horizontally aligned knobbies for increased braking power.

Its popularity ensures there are many options to choose from, both with respect to size, as well as casing. And all of them offer either the EXO sidewall protection, or Double Down breaker. For those with a penchant for tan sidewalls, there are those as well.

On its own, or paired with the Minion DHR II, the Maxxis Minion DHF is such a no-brainer that it’s hard to not recommend it to anyone for all-round trail-riding and downhill.

Expert Experience

Jeff Barber | Editor in Chief – August 24, 2023

I’ve found the Maxxis Minion DHF truly serves as an all conditions tire, from loose to firm and from wet to dry. Obviously the compound makes a difference when it comes to hard surface traction, as does tire pressure. The Minions do a good job clearing mud and clay, and cut through sandy washes better than most.

Thinking back over hundreds of rides on the Minions DHF tires, I can’t recall a single pinch flat despite running “just” EXO/TR casings. Honestly most riders should be able to get away with a lighter casing on the DHFs since it is a front tire after all. That’s not to say I haven’t had punctures due to sharp objects, though no more or less than other tires.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Minion DHR II

Maxxis Minion DHR II
Maxxis Minion DHR II

The “DH” in DHF and DHR stands for “downhill”. The “F” and “R” for “front” and “rear” respectively. The “downhill” in the name is a bit misleading, because the horizontal tread pattern of the DHR not only aids braking but also gives more traction when going uphill. Both tires have the same side knobs to maximize grip while cornering.

Maxxis intended these two tires to be used together as their go-to allround solution for trail riding. And these tires are in some many lists that it’s probably the best allround no-worries solution money can buy.

Together with the Minion DHF, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is a fantastic and confidence inspiring tire that will take your downhill rides to the next level.

Expert Experience

Jeremy Benson | Product reviewer – November 22, 2018

I’m a pretty big fan of this tire. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option for a rear tire for aggressive everyday trail riding. The combination of cornering confidence and pedaling and braking traction is hard to beat. There are faster rolling tires out there, but few that can dominate the trail like the DHR II. Mount this up as a rear tire with a Minion DHF up front and you’ve got our winning combination for aggressive trail riding.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Rekon Race

Maxxis Rekon Race
Maxxis Rekon Race

The Maxxis Rekon Race is a perfect allround option to use as a 29 inch gravel tire.

Multiple widths are available from 2.25 up to 2.40 inches. In general the entire premium lineup of Maxxis are great tires, and I particularly like the Rekon Race.

The reason is that the tire provides lots of grip for true gravel riding in dry conditions. And if there’s one thing I love to do is moving through a forest at lightning speed.

Maxxis often makes heavier tires than the counterparts of either Continental or Schwalbe, but their EXO casing has proven over the years to be extremely reliable. And speed is great, but reliability is more important if you ask me.

And in the end weight isn’t the only factor that makes up a high-quality tire. And I firmly believe the 120 TPI versions are fantastic tires for your gravel setup.

Expert Experience

Gerow | Product reviewer – December 10, 2020

Another element of note from that ride and successive trail romps is that the EXO casings are an ideal match for an XC tire like the Maxxis Rekon Race. While I wouldn’t mount this casing on any gravity bike, no matter what the tread, it’s the perfect thickness and support for a tire with these intentions. With the low braking grip on these tires most riders won’t ride steep and gnarly trails fast enough to need a thicker casing, and the thinner sidewalls give the tire a nice and natural rebound sensation without flopping over in fast corners.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Magic Mary

Schwalbe Magic Mary
Schwalbe Magic Mary

The Magic Mary is Schwalbe’s grippiest tire from their entire lineup. It performs both brilliantly as a downhill tire, but is just as effective for all-round trail riding in brutal conditions.

It has top-of-the-line traction combined with super fast rolling characteristics and a good feel for the trail at high speeds. If you want to be in the moment and experience flow going down sloppy slopes the Magic Mary delivers big time, with virtually zero cons.

Good braking power, allround riding characteristics in dry and wet conditions, this is Schwalbe’s top tire for all-mountain, enduro and downhill, no matter what the conditions are.

Expert Experience

Tor Weiland | Contributor – November 03, 2022

The Magic Mary is a seriously universal tire because of how many configurations it comes in. It’s right at home on the front of a trail bike in the Super Trail casing, on an enduro bike in the Super Gravity casing, or on a downhill bike in the Super Downhill casing. As long as you’re happy to put up with the high rolling resistance that you should expect from a performance tire, there aren’t many people that I wouldn’t recommend this tire to. It’s versatile enough to perform excellently in the wet and the dry, and dependable enough to take to your next race.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Racing Ray

Schwalbe Racing Ray
Schwalbe Racing Ray

Where the Schwalbe Racing Ralph was designed as a rear tire, the Schwalbe Racing Ray is meant for the front. It also means that one of the most obvious choices for a Schwalbe cross country setup would be the combination of the two.

And it seems that the combination works for a lot of people better than ever. with great braking power and traction in the back and great traction and grip in the front, even for wet conditions.

Expert Experience

David Arthur | Contributor – October 23, 2020

The forward-pointing arrow-shaped and closely packed centre blocks ensure the Racing Ray is an extremely rapid tyre. It feels blistering quick compared to tyres with blockier tread patterns and when paired with a powerful driving rear tyre is a good setup for ultimate speed on a variety of courses.

It works well in most conditions with the Addix Speed compound delivering ample traction in the wet and dry, and a good predictably on slippery roots and rocks.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Thunder Burt

Schwalbe Thunder Burt
Schwalbe Thunder Burt

Another fantastic option from Schwalbe, and on the more premium side, is the Schwalbe Thunder Burt. It’s a very lightweight XC tire with hardly any tread pattern in the center to speak of.

If you feel that you might be gravel oriented with your bike this is an excellent choice. The raised knobbies on the side will give you the confidence you’re looking for, while the extremely low weight of just 510 grams also means these mid-size tires are very fast.

Expert Experience

Gerow | Product reviewer – April 14, 2022

Given both their rolling resistance and feathery casing these tires remind me of the Kenda Small Block Eight rubber I used to run on the rear of my XC race ride. The Kenda was a hair heavier and slower, but the intention was roughly the same. Make a tire that goes as fast as possible with the lowest watt output. For dirt roads and billiard-smooth singletrack, I’d say Schwalbe nailed it with the Thunder Burt.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Wicked Will

Schwalbe Wicked Will
Schwalbe Wicked Will

The Schwalbe Wicked Will is one of the latest additions to the German tire manufacturer’s lineup. Its role is to be a sort of jack-of-all-trades mountain bike tire, which was the same with its older brother, the Nobby Nic.

To be able to fulfill this role, there are indeed many sizes, and casings to choose from. But you’ll be out of luck if you thought this tire will come in the classic 26 inch size, for also Schwalbe is following the industry trend of ditching 26 inch tire sizes from their premium lineup.

What I can appreciate is the fact that Schwalbe actually included a true skinwall version they call “transparent”. That means that looking at the tread pattern you can opt for a very grippy XC tire, or a more standard allround trail tire.

To further support the fact of its allround nature you have the ability to choose from 4 different casings, depending on your preferred type of trail. From the lightest Super Race, to the Super Ground, and most durable (and heaviest) Super Trail.

I think the Nobby Nic is the most-used trail tire where I’m from, but I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot of Wicked Wills as time moves one, because this tire is just as good and deserves the moniker fit-and-forget just as easy.

Expert Experience

Jeff Barber | Editor in Chief – April 7, 2023

Thanks to its light weight and fast-rolling design, the Wicked Will feels great on hardpack and even pavement. It’s a front tire I’d place near the top of my list for mixed surface riding like bikepacking and for riding hot laps on my local flow trail.

Over rocks and roots the Addix Speedgrip rarely slips. The compound strikes a nice balance for sturdiness and grip without wearing down too fast. Based on the number of miles I’ve put in on these they seem to be holding up quite well and should easily be good for another few hundred miles.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Mezcal

Vittoria Mezcal
Vittoria Mezcal

Another cross-country crossover well-suited for bikepacking is the Vittoria Mezcal. The single 2.1 inch width version available for 26 inch tires, has a very low-profile tread pattern to improve rolling-resistance.

The 620 grams for a single tire is very light. And it’s this tire that has been on several cross-country championship bikes. So as far as speed is concerned, it’s extremely fast.

But for bikepacking you’ll need much more than speed. You want longevity and durability. Vittoria Mezcal uses their proprietary graphene enhanced 4C compound. It prevents the knobs from squirming on the hardpack, which in turn increases speed and durability.

The Mezcal is most at home on hardpack, but does perform well on other surface types. But like all of the other tires mentioned here, you will run into issues when encountering mud. The knobs are simply bunched too much together.

The Vittoria Mezcal makes for a fast and durable dual setup.

Expert Experience

Aaron Borhill | Freelance tester – July 04, 2022

As a long-time user of the Vittoria Mezcal and having raced on them in myriad countries, the way they perform never ceases to amaze me. Of course, I wouldn’t use them in wet conditions but they’re not the worst performers in the mud either. If you’re looking for a reliable tire that prioritizes speed, look no further than the Vittoria Mezcal. It’s a brilliant tire for cross-country and marathon riding.

Pros and Cons

WTB Trail Boss 2.25

WTB Trail Boss 2.25
WTB Trail Boss 2.25

The WTB Trail Boss 2.25 is a great, premium allround trail tire with fast-rolling XC characteristics. Its densely packed knobs are a good option for fast riding in dry conditions.

As it should be, the tread pattern offers enough grip in normal conditions, and is on the faster side of the mountain bike spectrum. So it’s either a solid dual setup in dry conditions for aggressive XC and trail riding, or mounted in the rear for a faster-rolling, lightweight enduro option.

A great all-round option for people who prefer fast and relatively straight.

Expert Experience

Sean Cronin | Review Editor – November 22, 2018

I felt this tire was an excellent all-around, versatile tire well suited to racing or everyday riding. Its square, siped, simple knobs provide adequate traction on both the up and down. The slightly offset side knobs allowed this tire to maintain a consistent grip in corners over a wider degree of lean angles which increased its appeal among less aggressive riders. I questioned the tire’s durability after my initial test ride beat up the sidewalls pretty good but they hung in there like a boss.

Pros and Cons

WTB Vigilante 2.3

WTB Vigilante 2.3
WTB Vigilante 2.3

The WTB Vigilante 2.3 is a premium trail and enduro contender for people who don’t mind spending a bit of cash.

For a pretty sum you get an incredibly durable tire for aggressive trail and enduro riding. The tire favors a front setup with widely spaced knobs that easily clear mud. That wide spacing and high side knobs does mean you feel the transition from straight to hard cornering, which is something to get used to.

A compound containing 3 separate rubbers offer superb grip in a heavy casing, which is especially noticeable going uphill. The tire excels in fast descents which are not too technical, because the grip, weight, and durability means it rumbles over anything in your path.

Expert Experience

Jason Van Horn | Contributor – July 6, 2018

Overall, I’ve been pleased with the performance of the Vigilante/Breakout Combination on the varieties of trails and conditions I’ve subjected them to. From the rocky terrain in Las Vegas and Utah to the loam of the PNW, they’ve been solid and reliable all around performers.

They also allowed me to experiment with what for me were low tire pressures during our wet season. (25 psi in the rear with 22 in the front) I found myself loving the traction I was finding in the wet roots and rocks of our local trail systems. I could probably drop a few psi more but I find I have plenty of traction and would prefer to protect my rims.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 29 inch gumwall tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Maxxis Ikon
29×2.20
57-662
685
Black
Light Tan
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
60
Schwalbe Racing Ray
29×2.25
57-622
680
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Speed
Super Race
tlr
Maxxis Rekon Race
29×2.25
57-622
691
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Rekon Race
29×2.35
60-622
805
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Rekon Race
29×2.40
61-622
803
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Schwalbe Thunder Burt
29×2.10
54-622
545
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Speed
tlr
Schwalbe Thunder Burt
29×2.25
57-622
645
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Speed
Super Race
tlr
Schwalbe Thunder Burt
29×2.35
60-622
730
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Speed
Super Race
tlr
Vittoria Mezcal
29×2.10
54-622
640
Black
Tan
4C Graphene
XC Race TLR
tlr
Vittoria Mezcal
29×2.25
57-622
690
Black
Tan
4C Graphene
XC Race TLR
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.50WT
64-622
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.60
66-622
978
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.40WT
61-622
988
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.60
66-622
983
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
WTB Vigilante 2.3
29×2.30
57-622
955
Black
Tan
TriTec Single
foldable
WTB Trail Boss 2.25
29×2.25
54-622
909
Black
Tan
TriTec Dual DNA
Light/Fast Rolling / SG2
tlr
Schwalbe Magic Mary
29×2.60
65-622
1220
Black
Bronze
ADDIX Soft
tlr
Schwalbe Wicked Will
29×2.40
62-622
820
Black
Transparent
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Race
TLE
Schwalbe Wicked Will
29×2.40
62-622
845
Black
Bronze
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground
TLE
Maxxis Ardent
29×2.40
61-622
925
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr

Sources

Jeremy Benson, Maxxis Ardent EXO Review, Outdoorgearlab, September 18, 2019
Jeff Barber, Review: Maxxis Ikon: A Racing Tire With Bite, Singletracks, January 23, 2014
Jeff Barber, The Maxxis Minion DHF Tire is Still the One to Beat, Singletracks, August 24, 2023
Jeremy Benson, Maxxis Minion DHR II Review, Outdoorgearlab, November 22, 2018
Tor Weiland, Schwalbe Magic Mary | Mountain Bike Tire Review, Thelostco, November 03, 2022
David Arthur, Schwalbe Racing Ray Addix Speed tyre review, Bikeradar, October 23, 2020
Sean Cronin, WTB Trail Boss TCS Tough/Fast Rolling 2.25 Review, Outdoorgearlab, November 22, 2018
Jason Van Horn, Reviewed and Tested: WTB Vigilante & Breakout 2.3 Tires, Bermstyle, July 6, 2018
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

You might also like

29 inch hybrid bike tires
29 inch tires

The top 10 best 29 inch hybrid bike tires

In this article I’m going to cover what I believe would constitute a proper list of the best 29 inch hybrid bike tires.

Traditionally (I mean ’90s) a hybrid tire either meant a bigger volume road bik

Read More »