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The top 6 best 29 inch tan-wall tires

In this article I’m going to give you the best 29 inch tan-wall tires.

Judging from the fact that you’re reading this article my best guess is you fall into the camp that firmly supports the return of tan-wall tires. Spearheaded by the gravel bike industry, tan-wall tires have become increasingly popular, with a number of big brand names committing to bringing some of their most popular tires as tan-wall versions.

The tires in this list can be used for bikepacking, gravel riding, XC, and trail riding. So it’s a diverse bunch that’ll suit a number of riders. Widths range from 2 inch up to a sturdy 2.6 inches.

The tan-wall craze is here to stay and for good reason. They can turn a drab bicycle with a monotonous color scheme into a distinctive eye-catcher. All without making any sacrifices in terms of tire-quality. So without further ado, I present the overview of the very best 29 inch tan-wall tires.

Maxxis Ikon

Maxxis Ikon
Maxxis Ikon

Hailed as an allround cross country tire the Maxxis Ikon has the classic tiny-knob-all-over-the place look. It’s allround nature makes it a great option for diverse road conditions.

This is a pretty light tire. The reliable EXO compound, also used for harsher enduro racing, means youll enjoy this tire for many miles.

As with any tire with this type of tread, itll perform well in dry conditions. This 29 inch version has versions from 2 to 2.6 inches. 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.

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.

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 allround trail-riding and downhill.

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 breaking but also gives more traction when going uphill. Both tires have the same side knobs to maximise grip while cornering.

Maxxis intended these two tires to be used together as their go-to allround solution for mountain biking. And these tires are in some many lists that its probably the best allround no-worries solution money can buy. The reason is that the combination is extremely versatile for a huge number of riding conditions. Both dry and wet, trail, enduro, downhill riding, the combination is as yet unmatched.

Maxxis offers a huge range of this tire, both in widths and compounds. So you can choose the tire that suits your riding style best. Whether its maximising speed or caring more for longevity.

Together witth the Minion DHF, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is a fantastic and confidence inspring tire that will take your mountain bike rides to the next level.

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.

Schwalbe Thunder Burt

Schwalbe Thunder Burt
Schwalbe Thunder Burt

The Schwalbe Thunder Burt could just as well double as an aggressive gravel tire.

Dubbed as the fastest mountain bike tire in Schwalbe’s lineup, this characteristic is achieved with a very shallow center tread pattern, with small raised knobbies on the side.

What this does is lower rolling resistance on the straights, but at the same time give you a modicum of increased traction when cornering.

The 2.1 inch width version with the Super Race compound is the lightest tire on this list, sitting at 545 grams. That’s indeed extremely light, making this tire the most raceworthy 29 inch gravel tire as well.

Naturally for such a tire, it’s fully tubeless compatible, so no adding more weight with inner tubes, maintaining the low weight for amazing acceleration and an overall nimble feel.

Vittoria Mezcal

Vittoria Mezcal
Vittoria Mezcal

Another cross-country crossover well-suited for bikepacking and gravel riding is the Vittoria Mezcal. The 2.1 and 2.25 inch width versions available for 29 inch tires, have a very low-profile tread pattern to improve rolling-resistance.

The 690 grams for the 2.25 version is relatively 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.

If you intend to use this tire for bikepacking you’ll need more than speed. You want longevity and durability. The Vittoria Mezcal uses their proprietary graphene enhanced 4C compound. It prevents the knobs from squirming on 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.

Specifications 29 inch tan-wall tires

NameSizeETRTOWeight (gr)Tread ColorSidewall ColorBuy at Amazon
Maxxis Ikon29×2.0057-662685BlackTanlink
Maxxis Ikon29×2.0057-662724BlackDark Tanlink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×2.50WT64-622BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×2.6066-622978BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.40WT61-622988BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.6066-622983BlackTanlink
Maxxis Rekon Race29×2.3560-622805BlackTanlink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.1054-622545BlackTransparentlink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.2557-622645BlackTransparentlink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.3560-622730BlackTransparentlink
Vittoria Mezcal29×2.2557-622690BlackTanlink