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The top 5 best 29 inch slick mountain bike tires

In this article I’m going to give a number of options for the best 29 inch slick mountain bike tires.

The tires in this list represent a category of unique examples that can be used for urban, commuting, touring, and gravel purposes. Obviously there are better options available should you still have the desire to take your mountain bike onto a trail.

It’s only natural that these types of tires are pretty uncommon, since these types of tires are usually reserved for other wheel sizes. Nonetheless, and luckily for us, some tire manufacturers cater to more distinct wishes from the cycling community.

So without further ado, here are my picks for the best 29 inch slick mountain bike tires.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

Whether used for bikepacking, extended bike trips, or daily commuting, the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB tires prove to be a dependable choice. The top-notch puncture resistance, durability, and ability to handle various surfaces make them extremely well-suited for adventurous journeys. While not the fastest rolling tires, they strike a balance between reliability and performance. My 10/10 ratings for protection and durability should resonate with everyone who hates flats as much as I do. If you even remotely prioritizes puncture resistance and durability over sheer speed the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB will not disappoint, because they are a trustworthy companion on any type of journey.

Ride Quality:
The Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB tires deliver a comfortable and reliable ride, particularly suited for varied terrain encountered during a world tour by bike. The softness under the central ridge enhances comfort, making them well-suited for long-distance rides. The plush ride feel on rough surfaces, such as gravel roads, adds to the overall ride quality.

Rolling Resistance:
Nothing about these tires was meant to aid rolling resistance, except maybe the small knobbed center tread profile, and that’s something you’ll notice when compared to lighter options out there. Personally, I prefer much lighter tires for short rides. The 5mm thick puncture guard contributes to the resistance but ensures excellent protection against common puncture hazards like glass, metal objects, and sharp stones. The trade-off for puncture resistance might result in slightly slower rolling on paved roads.

Puncture Resistance:
That being said, the standout feature of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB tires is their exceptional puncture resistance. The SmartGuard technology, with a 5mm elastic rubber layer, provides a robust shield against various road hazards. The Marathon series has always been the go-to choice for allround reliability and puncture resistance. The Marathon Plus MTB take that to the next level. Its maximum 10/10 rating for protection as provided by Schwalbe aligns with real-world experiences, as evidenced by a 6,000 km journey with zero flat tires.

Price:
I never skimp on tires, feeling they are an incredible component which aids in the overall ride experience. At $50 the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB tires can be considered a somewhat premium option. Whether or not that fits your budget is of course up to you, but you can expect thousands of worry-free miles from these tires, and that has got to be worth something as well.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe G-One Speed

Schwalbe G-One Speed
Schwalbe G-One Speed

If you’re a person who likes fast, plush rides on pavement and slightly coarse roads the Schwalbe G-One Speed is probably the best tire money can buy.

It’s an exceptional big volume road tire that’s light, nimble, and lets you rip down the road with a big grin on your face. It’s a step up in width from your average road tire, which means you get an incredibly supple and plush ride and loads of grip. Sure you have to sacrifice a bit in the rolling-resistance department when compared to a 25 millimeter road tire, but this tire is simply more fun to ride and much, much more comfortable.

And this tire doesn’t shy away from light gravel riding as well, broadening the range of application beyond very fast commuting.

Expert Experience

Sebastian Vidal | Contributor – January 29, 2019

These tires are excellent and great and every other good word I can think of. The huge volume of the 38mm wide tires means that I (an admittedly smaller rider) can flirt with 20psi if I’m riding trails or bumpy stuff. On the road, I found them fast and comfortable around 45psi – as always your mileage will vary based on weight. These tires can truly handle anything you throw at them. They’re fast and supple and comfortable as hell on the road, fun if a little slip-ey on the trails, and perfectly at home on gravel.

Pros and Cons

WTB ThickSlick

WTB ThickSlick
WTB ThickSlick

Of all the tires I’ve come across, none is as true to its name as the WTB ThickSlick.

The high-contrast white letters on the smooth carcass is one of the most distinctive designs for a black tire you can find. A tire with a non-existent tread pattern such as this one is obviously meant for riding on pavement and tarmac. And it does so admirably, with a reasonable enough weight and rolling-resistance.

It’s a very niche-oriented tire to turn your bike into something more. And one of the best-looking slick mountain bike tires ever to hit the market.

Expert Experience

Dave Henly | Site Owner – March 6, 2017

For urban riding and as a road training tire, the ThinSlicks are perfect. If you want to ride gravel on a road bike, these might work ok, but you’ll be pushing them to their limit. And if you want to do a lot of touring, you can either go with these bad boys or the Gatorskins. The Gatorskins might be more comfortable over long straight stretches.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Hookworm

Maxxis Hookworm
Maxxis Hookworm

The Maxxis Hookworm is a durable urban road bike tire meant to last for many miles as a trustworthy commuting companion.

It’s a large volume, round, and heavy wired tire that smooths out small bumps and road buzz once it has gathered momentum. It’s definitely not a race tire.

It has one of the weirder looking tread patterns I’ve seen on a tire, which makes it fall into the semi-slick category since there are no knobbies whatsoever. The swirling patterns probably do well siphoning water away to the outside in wet conditions.

At 26 x 2.5 inches make sure you’ve got enough frame clearance to be able to actually run these big tires.

I’ve run these types of heavy round tires and can say they offer an incredible plush and comfortable feel, and once you get going are fast enough for quick urban assaults.

Expert Experience

Steve Inindy | Contributor – June 11, 2006

I really like these tires. Not just that they are tough but they ride real smooth. They swallow up holes and uneven pavement like they aren’t there. Seams in pavement that would have caused a loss of control on other tires are taken in stride on these. Need to ride in the grass or on a trail? No problem. For commuting on dilapidated city streets these tires are great.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Pace

Maxxis Pace
Maxxis Pace

The Maxxis Pace is a cross country tire with the most minimal tread pattern in Maxxis’ XC lineup.

It’s an excellent tire if you want to keep the MTB nature of your bike, being able to ride comfortably and confidently on surfaces other than flat tarmac. The tire has excellent rolling-resistance characteristics which makes it perfectly suitable for urban riding, while the minimalistic knobbies still provide enough bite for hardpack and gravel riding in dry conditions.

And with a 2.1 inch width the tires don’t feel out of place on your 29er. Furthermore it displays other features of a full-blown mountain bike tire, with it being tubeless compatible and having Maxxis EXO puncture resistance in a relatively lightweight package of 650 grams.

Read more: Maxxis Pace review
Expert Experience

Rachel Sokal | Technical writer – May 9, 2017

For XC race-orientated tyres, both the Pace and Race TT have been solid and predictable performers. And with the EXO reinforcement, they’ve remained stable at lower pressures and so far (touch wood…) haven’t delivered me any sliced sidewalls. The tread and sidewalls are also showing little sign of wear despite some high mileage and ham-fisted use over the test period, which is a nice change from some of the more delicate race tyres on the market.

Pros and Cons

Sources

Sebastian Vidal, Review: Schwalbe G-One Speed Tires, To Be Determined Journal, January 29, 2019
Dave Henly, ThickSlicks Tire Review, Dave’s Cheap Bikes, March 6, 2017
Steve Inindy, Maxxis Hookworm Tire review, Bentrider, June 11, 2006
Rachel Sokal, Review: Maxxis Pace & Race TT Tyres, Singletrack World, May 9, 2017
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. 

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