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
The Schwalbe Marathon is the ultimate allrounder in the tire department and one of the best-selling tires on the market. So the German brand decided to make a MTB-specific version of this tire: the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB.
Although it looks like a knobby tire, if you look close enough you can see that the center tread will let you run smoothly across pavement. And just like the standard Marathon is meant for commuting and touring, the same goes for this one.
It’s a heavy tire when compared to some of the XC racers. But the biggest plus for hauling all that extra weight is that in terms of puncture protection, this tire has no equal. The reason is pretty simple. Schwalbe stuffed a 5mm strip underneath the center tread, made from highly puncture resistant rubber. And as simple as that sounds, it’s extremely effective in preventing punctures.
So for those of you who want the risk of flats nearing zero, this is the tire for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Specifications 29 inch slick mountain bike tires
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Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
Johan van Seijen
Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.
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