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The top 6 best 29 inch trail tires

In this article I’m going to provide you with an overview of the best 29 inch trail tires.

The tires on this list have proven themselves to be amazing allrounders, and with any of them you can tackle the toughest trails out there.

With widths ranging from 2.25 to 2.6 inches the amount of grip and braking power you have at your disposal is no joke. All big brand names are represented, with trail tires that have been perfected over several iterations.

They are all tubeless compatible, have specific casings for enhanced puncture protection, and offer their tires in different compounds, soft and hard.

It’s hard to pick among a set of winners, but no matter your choice, you’ll conquer your next trail whatever tire you’ll end up with.

So without further ado, here are my top picks for the very best 29 inch trail tires.

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

Schwalbe Nobby Nic

Schwalbe Nobby Nic
Schwalbe Nobby Nic

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is the best all-round trail tire from the German manufacturer. If there’s a tire that could rival the dominance of the Maxxis DHR and DHF and its omnipresence on the trail, it’s this one.

It’s tread pattern provides loads of grip and traction. Its allround nature means it’s just as good in the front as it is in the back. And it’s also often seen as a grippy front tire for aggressive XC riding, with a faster and lighter tire in the back.

You can go up to a size 2.35 if you want to and it’s also the only tire that comes in a 26 inch tan version. So if you’re looking for a solid all-round setup, meant for every conceivable condition, dry and wet, hardpack and forest trail, and you want to ride a tan version, this is the tire for you.

Expert Experience

Drew Rohde | Editor in Chief – December 1, 2020

The Nobby Nic Super Ground tires opened my eyes in many ways as to what a lighter weight trail tire is capable of and what sort of ride advantages a lighter casing trail offers. We also saw the limitations of the SpeedGrip tread compound on certain types of terrain and obstacles. If you ride harder pack terrain, want a fast rolling tire that has a solid tread pattern, can climb, corner and brake well, these are certainly worth considering. The downside to this long lasting compound is that they won’t offer the confidence and traction on wet roots, loose terrain or angled and steep rock faces.

Pros and Cons

Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection Apex

Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection Apex
Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection Apex

The Continental Der Baron Projekt is a very aggressive mountain bike tire. Massive blocks sufficiently spaced ensure you have both maximum grip and maximum mud clearance, making this tire a solid enduro allrounder in both wet and dry conditions.

Even in the 2.4 inch width version, this tire weighs 890, which makes this tire a great option if you want to ride all year round, but you stay away from the trail in the worst of conditions.

The BlackChili compound from Continental is known for its great durability. So if you’re also looking for a tire that’ll last you a very long time, and save on cash that way, the Der Baron Projekt is a solid choice as well.

Expert Experience

Jeremy Benson | Product reviewer – November 2, 2020

The Continental Der Baron Projekt is a user-friendly tire that works best in looser and loamy conditions. The most notable design aspects of this tire are the relatively low knobs and open tread pattern. Even though this tire doesn’t have big knobs with an aggressive bite, the open pattern helps them hook up surprisingly well. Rolling speed is sub-par and there is noticeable drag on firm surfaces. I found braking traction to be below average and I found the tire slipped into skid-mode a little too quickly. I was impressed with the longevity as our test tire showed minimal wear with over 300-miles on it. At this price, it is difficult to recommend this tire over the competition. Still, the Der Baron is a respectable performer.

Pros and Cons

WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8

WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8

The WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8 is a solid contender to many of the premium offerings from other high-quality brands.

Obviously there are a number of tire widths to choose from, depending on your personal preference when it comes to grip. What this tire has got going for it is that’s prefers grip and handling over weight. The rather widely spaced and high soft knobbies do very well in keeping your bike connected to the trail, ensuring high levels of confidence in hard cornering.

WTB offers this tire in their TriTec compound, which basically means that the casing consists of three layers, with each layer having a different firmness. The harder durometer is reserved for the center, reducing the risk of punctures and making the tire faster in a straight line. This gradual increase in softness from center to side sounds great on paper, and indeed works exceptionally well on the trail. It makes for a really grippy and reliable tire in corners and reasonably fast on the straights with adequate levels of puncture protection.

I tend to disagree that this tire works as well in the rear as it does in the front when it comes to braking and traction. The widely spaced tread pattern without those distinctive horizontal rows simply isn’t the best setup to support those two rear tire characteristics. On the other hand, if you like a loose feel and don’t mind the occasional drift, this tire actually enhances such a way of riding.

In the end the WTB Vigilante rightly deserves its spot on this list with grippy and fun riding characteristics that’ll suit a great number of riders.

Expert Experience

Jim Bland | World Cup Downhill Mechanic – September 10, 2020

The overall feel of the tread pattern remains reliable and grippy across a broad variety of terrain and there is definitely more of a distinct cut feel from the new wider profile when banking over in turns. Occasionally during flatter corners there can be a slight skip before the side knobs really lock in and we put this down to the way every third side knob is more inboard, and if the load begins at this point it can translate to a split second of vagueness before properly engaging with the ground. This characteristic doesn’t seem to affect performance too much, but it certainly isn’t something I feel when riding our current favourite rubber from other brands. After plenty of riding the tread does seem to wear better than many other soft compound tires though.

Pros and Cons

Kenda Hellkat Pro

Kenda Hellkat Pro
Kenda Hellkat Pro

The only 26 inch option left in Kenda’s lineup for all-round trail, enduro, and downhill purposes.

Unlike other brands like Maxxis, Schwalbe, and Continental, Kenda seems to be moving away from 26 inch tires for their premium lineup. Although an understandable move it’s still a shame. It means that for downhill you’ll have to settle for the Kenda Hellkat over the Kenda Pinner.

Nonetheless the Kenda Hellkat is an impressive offering which propels the brand back among its peers. The Maxxis DHFs and Schwalbe Magic Marys have been at the top of downhill lists for a very long time now, so it’s good to see Kenda taking a shot with this tire that has excellent traction and durability characteristics.

Expert Experience

Drew Rohde | Editor in Chief – September 15, 2017

The Hellkats rode very well and changed our mind about Kenda’s mountain bike program. From dry, hard pack terrain to loamy PNW trails, the Hellkats continue to impress. Highlights include: braking performance, rolling speed, longevity and traction. We felt confident pushing our bikes hard into corners as the predictable traction kept us focused on the line ahead. We didn’t find much slimy mud this summer, but imagine the somewhat shorter knob height may not be the best option for wetter conditions. Some riders noticed a little bit of squirm in berms when pressures approached 20-PSI, but for those who ran a bit more air, this was not an issue. At roughly 160-175lbs, our testers found the tires performed best between 24.5 and 28.5-PSI and have quickly become one of our favorites on the trail. If you’re looking for a fast rolling tire that offers impressive traction in drier conditions and has a respectable lifespan, the Hellkats should definitely be on your list.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 29 inch trail tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.30
58-622
925
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.50WT
63-622
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
60
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 DHF
29×2.60
66-622
995
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
120
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×3.00
76-622
1110
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
120
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.30
58-622
825
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.30
58-622
1040
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
DD
tlr
120
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.40WT
61-622
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.40WT
61-622
988
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.40WT
61-622
Black
Black
3C MaxxGrip
DD
tlr
120
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.60
66-622
1035
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
60
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.60
66-622
983
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
60
Schwalbe Nobby Nic
29×2.25
57-622
810
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
tlr
Schwalbe Nobby Nic
29×2.60
65-622
1080
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
tlr
Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection Apex
29×2.40
60-622
990
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection Apex casing
tlr
3/180
WTB Vigilante 2.5/2.6/2.8
29×2.60
65-622
1349
Black
Black
TriTec Dual
tlr
60

Sources

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
Drew Rohde, Schwalbe Nobby Nic Super Ground Review, The Loam Wolf, December 1, 2020
Jeremy Benson, Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection APEX Review, Outdoorgearlab, November 2, 2020
Jim Bland, WTB Vigilante 2.5in tire reviewed, Bike Perfect, September 10, 2020
Drew Rohde, Kenda Hellkat Pro Review, The Loam Wolf, September 15, 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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