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The top 10 best 29 inch touring tires

With this article I’ll be providing you with an overview of what feel are some of the best 29 inch touring tires.

Of all the tire characteristics I can think of, when it comes to touring, I would like my tires to be long-lasting, durable, and be above-average puncture-proof. Low weight, low rolling-resistance, and even grip are important, it’s just that the other characteristics should come first.

Depending on the actual road conditions you could go for a sturdy commuter with a semi-slick tread pattern, or for a grippier offroader. It might be tempting to slap a pair of trail tires on your 29 inch touring bike, but trail tires (and enduro, and downhill) are tires with very different compounds. And you don’t want a tire with a very soft compound (for added grip) since they wear out much faster than you’d probably like to.

So with that in mind I’m going to be covering a wide array of tires, for more urban applications as well as gravel, and even some light trail action. With that out of the way, let’s head over to my list of the best 29 inch touring tires.

Schwalbe Hurricane

Schwalbe Hurricane
Schwalbe Hurricane

I also decided to include the Schwalbe Hurricane in this list. It’s a shame they don’t sell them in skinwall versions as well. But the tire packs a solid combination of a flat centerline and side knobs.

The side knobs means the tire is more versatile than the average slick, opening up the possibility to take your bike offroad and away from the beaten path.

If you want to keep a MTB look for your tires without sacrificing too much speed on the road, this is the perfect tire for you. Especially if you like the occasional trail as well because of the added grip.

Expert Experience

Alaskan | Contributor – December 2017, 2019

This tire is whisper quiet on paved surfaces and rolls very easily. It is a very fast tire, almost as fast as Marathon Supremes. The traction on road and trail is very good, verging on excellent. It is sure footed on wet pavement as well.

For me the new Hurricane fits with my riding better than any tire I have ridden on. This tire comes across as the best all purpose tire I have ridden to date.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
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.

Expert Experience

Mike | Site Owner – March 15, 2017

Since I’ve made the jump to these large-and-in-charge tires (in my case, on a drop-bar adventure bike rather than a pure mountain bike) I’ve felt like I’m getting pretty close to the right balance of tradeoffs and advantages.

I’m not whizzing through my city streets en route to my favorite forest getaways, but I roll smoothly and comfortably enough out of town. Once I’m on the rough gravel-and-clay surface of the C&O Canal towpath outside my Washington, DC home, I really appreciate the limousine-like feel and peace of mind these tires offer.

Pros and Cons

Continental Cross King ProTection

Continental Cross King ProTection
Continental Cross King ProTection

The Continental Cross King ProTection is the newer version of a magnificent, lightweight cross-country racer.

ProTection replaces the RaceSport moniker. It’s a three- and four ply system underneath respectively the tread and sidewall, ensuring maximum puncture protection and shieldwall tearing.

This doesn’t take away from the fact that this tire is still one of the lightest in its category. A true racer.

Expert Experience

David Arthur | Contributor – November 5, 2020

The low weight combined with the shallow tread design ensures this is a supremely rapid tyre right off the bat. Its tread pattern and rubber compound mean it works well when mounted on the front or rear, with reassuring levels of traction even when tackling technical trails.

Pros and Cons

Continental Race King ProTection

Continental Race King ProTection
Continental Race King ProTection

The Continental Race King ProTection is an extremely light tire. In the weight department it means it outshines every comparable tire from every other brand by far. And it’s also the best XC tire in the rolling-resistance department.

I cannot stress enough that with respect to speed and acceleration, a light tire makes all the difference. And tires are also the most cost-effective way to reduce the overall weight of the bike.

Try reducing a couple of hundred grams of any other bike component and be ready to spend in the hundreds of dollars. Not so the case with tires. And on top of that the tire has the advanced ProTection puncture protection, with a composite breaker and a bead to bead sidewall protection polyamide fabric.

All that speed comes at a price, because traction is not this tire’s strength when compared to other mountain bike tires. And it’s the reason this tire performs best in dry conditions.

But when riding in those conditions getting up to speed and keeping it is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. It rightly deserves its name.

Expert Experience

James | Site owner – May 30, 2023

The Race King ProTection is absolutely blisteringly fast! Doing some airstrip rides alongside my friend on his fixie with road tires really showed that even ‘large’ tires can be fast now! Heck, the amount of roadies I’ve passed while coasting downhill is downright satisfying. Seriously, it felt like a whole new bike in the speed department – at least concerning regular daily riding conditions (pavement, gravel, tarmac, cobble, etc).

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Grifter

Maxxis Grifter
Maxxis Grifter

It’s funny that depending on the size, 20 vs 29 inch, the Maxxis Grifter falls into the category of either BMX or urban commuter tire.

Whatever size you pick it’s a very strong tire indeed. It offers the Silkshield bead-to-bead puncture protection and sidewall reinforcement.

Its BMX nature makes this a fast-rolling, relatively lightweight tire. And it comes in plus sizes as well for a very plush and comfortable ride.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Crossmark II

Maxxis Crossmark II
Maxxis Crossmark II

The Maxxis Crossmark II is fast-rolling, dry condition, XC or gravel tire with the shallow center knobs and minimal side knobs.

It’s designed for speed on dry hardpack when going in a straight line, with the most minimal tread pattern you can find within this mountain bike category.

The hard-wearing 60 TPI dual casing and EXO reinforced sidewalls make it an excellent companion for long gravel and/or touring rides as well. Especially if you want to have the flexibility to veer off the beaten path yet still ride with confidence.

Expert Experience

David Arthur | Contributor – November 20, 2020

Even though the Crossmark II is fairly quick rolling, it’s still not as rapid as a Bontrager XR2 or Schwalbe Racing Ralph.

The 771g weight is also on the high side for an XC race tyre, but if you’re trail riding and want a fast rolling rear option with the security of the EXO casing, the Crossmark II might well suit you. It also proved easy to set up tubeless on my DT Swiss XR1501 control wheels.

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 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

Kenda Kwick Nine

Kenda Kwick Nine
Kenda Kwick Nine

The Kenda Kwick Nine is an e-bike certified commuter tire of both reasonable weight and price.

It offers a K-Shield puncture belt of 3mm underneath the center tread, which will do a solid job of preventing you from running a flat.

Being e-bike certified also means it adheres to standards of greater durability, sidewall strength, and braking power, necessary when dealing with a heavier bike.

A great allrounder for any big-wheeled commuter.

Pros and Cons

WTB Slick

WTB Slick
WTB Slick

The WTB Slick is, especially when compared to other tires in the WTB lineup, a reasonably affordable semi-slick tire.

It has a lot in common with the very popular WTB ThickSlick, except for its tread pattern. Because it actually has one, whereas the ThickSlick doesn’t.

So if you really want to use this tire as a commuter tire, and plan on also using it on wet road conditions, it’s safer without compromising on speed versus the ThickSlick.

That being said, there are tires which I feel score (much) higher in both durability and puncture protection (looking at you Schwalbe Marathon MTB).

Pros and Cons

Specifications 29 inch touring 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
Maxxis Ikon
29×2.35
60-622
830
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
120
Maxxis Crossmark II
29×2.25
57-622
780
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
60
Maxxis Hookworm
29×2.50
63-622
1230
Black
Black
Single
wired
60
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
29×2.10
52-622
1275
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
wired
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
29×2.10
52-622
1350
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
wired
Continental Cross King ProTection
29×2.30
58-622
755
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection casing
tlr
Continental Cross King ProTection
29×2.20
55-622
630
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection casing
tlr
Continental Race King ProTection
29×2.20
55-622
595
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection casing
foldable
Kenda Kwick Nine
29×2.20
56-622
964
Black
Black
SRC
KS
wired
Kenda Kwick Nine
29×2.00
52-622
889
Black
Black
SRC
KS
wired
Maxxis Grifter
29×2.00
52-622
911
Black
Black
Dual
wired
Maxxis Grifter
29×2.50
60-622
1090
Black
Black
Dual
wired
WTB Slick
29×2.20
54-622
979
Black
Black
DNA
wired
Schwalbe Hurricane
29×2.25
57-622
740
Black
Black Reflex
ADDIX
Performance
wired
Schwalbe Hurricane
29×2.40
62-622
940
Black
Black Reflex
ADDIX
RaceGuard / Double Defense
wired

Sources

Alaskan, New Favorite Tire – Schwalbe Hurricane, Electric Bike Reviews, December 2017, 2019
David Arthur, Continental Race King BlackChili Protection tyre review, Bikeradar, November 5, 2020
James, Race King ProTection – Best MTB bikepacking tire, Canadianomad, May 30, 2023
David Arthur, Maxxis Crossmark II EXO TR tyre review, Bikeradar, November 20, 2020
Jeff Barber, Review: Maxxis Ikon: A Racing Tire With Bite, Singletracks, January 23, 2014
Steve Inindy, Maxxis Hookworm Tire review, Bentrider, June 11, 2006
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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