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The top 13 best 29 inch tubeless mountain bike tires for 2023

In this blog I’m going to try and give what I feel to be the top-of-the-line best 29 inch tubeless mountain bike tires.

That’s no easy feat, considering the wealth of tires you can fit on today’s mountain bike. In fact, I’ve researched well over a hundred tires for this list, and had to make some hard choices to keep it down to the ones you’ll find here.

Part of the difficulty is that there’s no single set of attributes that make a good tire. And if you factor in a good price as a requirement, you’ll leave out all of the tires that make up a brands premium lineup. Tires have become quite expensive and it’s no longer a rarity to pay an amount of money reaching a 100 dollars or more. Especially if the tires are imported (Italian or German).

So what I’ve done is combine my personal experience of actually using these tires, with tire characteristics provided by the brand, like casing technology, compounds, puncture protection, and weight.

I consider tires to be one of the most affordable components that can drastically increase your enjoyment on the trail, and spruce up your bike at the same time. I’ve chosen tires from all mountain bike disciplines that’ll provide the most value-for-money and enable you to simply ride better and with more confidence.

So with that out of the way, let’s go over my top picks for the very best 29 inch tubeless mountain bike tires.

Maxxis Ikon

The absolute cross-country king in Maxxis’ lineup. The Maxxis Ikon has near perfect allround 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.

Maxxis Ikon Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
The cross-country king. Highly versatile tire which excels in XC, bikepacking, and gravel, lightweight. Can be used front and rear. Pair with Ardent Race in the front for ultra-fast yet grippy XC setup. Tan options available
Reasons to avoid
None

Maxxis Rekon

The Maxxis Rekon is a lightweight trail tire, which is great for XC and and trail riding in loose and hardpack conditions.

It’s basically the lighter version of the very popular DHF and DHR II tires, which are more trail, enduro, and downhill oriented. Tightly packed knobbies give it a low rolling-resistance and there’s an immense assortment of sizes and compounds to choose from.

From small widths and hard compounds for pure XC racing to softer, grippier compounds in a wider tire for more trail-oriented duty. There’s a lot to choose from, which hightlights the Rekon’s versatility. It’s also the go-to speedy option for a plus size tire setup, with a 2.8 inch width in both the 27.5 and 29 inch tire size.

Just as the Maxxis DHF and DHR II can be called one of the best fit-and-forget allround trail tire, the same goes for the Rekon for XC and light trail riding.

Maxxis Rekon Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Fantastic grippy, aggressive XC and light trail tire, with loads of sizes and compounds to choose from.
Reasons to avoid
None

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 allround trail-riding and downhill.

Maxxis Minion DHF Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Superb allrounder with loads of sizing / compound combinations possible. Combines with Maxxis Minion DHR II for an excellent allround trail setup.
Reasons to avoid
None

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 trail riding. And these tires are in some many lists that it’s probably the best allround no-worries solution money can buy.

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

Maxxis Minion DHR II Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
One of the best rear tires available, combines with Maxxis Minion DHF for an excellent allround trail setup
Reasons to avoid
None

Maxxis Aggressor

The Maxxis Aggressor is a solid trail and enduro option, providing both grip and traction in a fast-rolling package.

It’s low center knobs prefer fast-riding in dry conditions, and well paired in the rear with another tire up front, the tire performs fantastic both uphill and downhill.

For wet and muddy conditinos or for highly technical trails other tires with bigger spaced out knobs perform better.

Maxxis Aggressor Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Speedy trail and enduro tire for dry conditions
Reasons to avoid
Not a technical downhill tire

Maxxis Dissector

The Maxxis Dissector is a true enduro and downhill tire, depending on which casing and/or compound you choose.

There’s quite a bit of difference in width and weight between a more trail-oriented dual compound version versus the MaxxGrip compound version with downhill casing, so make sure you check the tire specs well before deciding to buy one of these.

In terms of puncture protection, you can say very little about the Maxxis tire expect that in general they perform way above average with high-quality casings and additional EXO sidewall protection or EXO+ reinforcement.

The tread pattern of this will probably not be for everyone, with a distinct on/off feel due to the spacing between the center and side knobs. It does make for a fast-rolling tire which is particularly grippy when thrown around in the corners, so I believe the term “exciting” would be in order for this tire.

It’s up to you if you like excitement more than, let’s say, the straight line confidence the DHF or DHR gives you, which is like Maxxis’ benchmark tires.

Maxxis Dissector Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Fast-rolling enduro and downhill tire for dry and loose conditions. Distinctive "exciting" floaty transition feel when cornering.
Reasons to avoid
None

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.

Continental Race King ProTection Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
One of the lightest mountain bike tire on the market, with excellent puncture protection. Geared towards speed in every way.
Reasons to avoid
None

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.

Continental Cross King ProTection Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Maximum puncture protection in a lightweight cross-country racing tire.
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental Kryptotal Fr

The Continental Kryptotal Fr is part of the German brand’s new trail, enduro, and downhill lineup of premium tires.

There are a number of tires for these disciplines and the Kryptotal Fr is meant as a front tire. With three different casings you can choose your weight and puncture protection, with more protection and weight as you move into the direction of downhill.

This tire outshines the competition with its casing, with the downhill version offering a 6-ply casing, or a 4-ply with dual breaker. This is something I’ve never seen on a mountain bike tire and makes for a near-indestructable tire.

To ensure it doesn’t feel like you’re riding with wooden tires, the plies tapers off to the side. With the downhill from 6 to 4, and both enduro and trail version from 3 to 2.

Furthermore the trail and enduro version have reinforced sidewalls, and I guess Continental decided 4 plies was enough for the downhill version.

The tread pattern is similar for all three versions, and is characterized by a fairly densily populated center tread. It offers allround reliability.for a tire that’s meant to be ridden with its twin brother: the Kryptotal Re. This really is a tire designed for the front.

I know other brands, most notably Maxxis, dominates the professional scene, but on paper at least, this is one of the most impressive mountain bike tires I’ve ever seen.

Continental Kryptotal Fr Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Great allround characteristics, newer compound pays dividends in suppleness. Otherworldly casing options with incredible puncture protection.
Reasons to avoid
Front tire only. Meant to go with the Kryptotal Re

Continental Kryptotal Re

The Continental Kryptotal Re is the rear wheel version of the Fr also coming in trail, enduro and downhill specific casings.

Those casings are the same, and you can read in the Fr section what I think of the casings, which are nothing short of astounding.

This tire comes in three different versions, so be sure to get the right one based on your preferred mountain bike discipline. You can obviously choose a soft downhill compound for an enduro racer, things are not set in stone.

The tread is optimized for both braking power and traction, and is really meant to be mounted in the rear.

Continental Kryptotal Re Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Great allround characteristics, newer compound pays dividends in suppleness. Otherworldly casing options with incredible puncture protection.
Reasons to avoid
Rear tire. Meant to go with the Kryptotal Fr

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

The Schwalbe Marathon is the ultimate allrounder in the tire department and one of the best-selling tires in 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 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 Marathon Plus MTB Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Mile cruncher, unparalleled puncture protection
Reasons to avoid
Heavy, meant for commuting, touring, and bikepacking.

Schwalbe Wicked Will

The Schwalbe Wicked Will is one of the latest additions to the German tire manufacturer’s lineup. Its role is to be a sort of jack-of-all-trades mountain bike tire, which was the same with its older brother, the Nobby Nic.

To be able to fulfill this role, there are indeed many sizes, and casings to choose from. But you’ll be out of luck if you thought this tire will come in the classic 26 inch size, for also Schwalbe is following the industry trend of ditching 26 inch tire sizes from their premium lineup.

What I can appreciate is the fact that Schwalbe actually included a true skinwall version they call “transparent”. That means that looking at the tread pattern you can opt for a very grippy XC tire, or a more standard allround trail tire.

To further support the fact of its allround nature you have the ability to choose from 4 different casings, depending on your preferred type of trail. From the lightest Super Race, to the Super Ground, and most durable (and heaviest) Super Trail.

I think the Nobby Nic is the most-used trail tire where I’m from, but I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot of Wicked Wills as time moves one, because this tire is just as good and deserves the moniker fit-and-forget just as easy.

Schwalbe Wicked Will Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Fantastic allrounder, with many options to choose from to suit riding styles from aggressive XC to trail riding.
Reasons to avoid
None

WTB Trail Boss 2.25

The WTB Trail Boss 2.25 is a great, premium allround trail tire with fast-rolling XC characteristics. Its densily packed knobs are a good option for fast riding in dry conditions.

As it should be, the tread pattern offers enough grip in normal conditions, and is on the faster side of the mountain bike spectrum. So it’s either a solid dual setup in dry condtions for aggressive XC and trail riding, or mounted in the rear for a faster-rolling, lightweight enduro option.

A great allround option for people who prefer fast and relatively straight.

WTB Trail Boss 2.25 Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Fast-rolling, grippy tire for aggresive XC and trail riding.
Reasons to avoid
Might be to light for some in rough conditons

Specifications 29 inch tubeless mountain bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Buy at Amazon
Continental Cross King ProTection
29×2.20
55-622
630
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection
tlr
Continental Cross King ProTection
29×2.30
58-622
755
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Fr
29×2.40
60-622
1040
Black
Black
BlackChili
Trail casing
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Fr
29×2.40
60-622
1125
Black
Black
BlackChili
Enduro casing
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Fr
29×2.40
60-622
1290
Black
Black
BlackChili
Downhill casing
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Re
29×2.40
60-622
1125
Black
Black
BlackChili
Enduro casing
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Re
29×2.60
65-622
1200
Black
Black
BlackChili
Trail casing
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Re
29×2.60
65-622
1275
Black
Black
BlackChili
Enduro casing
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Re
29×2.40
60-622
1290
Black
Black
BlackChili
Downhill casing
tlr
Continental Kryptotal Re
29×2.40
60-622
1290
Black
Black
BlackChili
Downhill casing
tlr
Continental Race King ProTection
29×2.20
55-622
595
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection
foldable
Maxxis Aggressor
29X2.30
58-622
989
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Aggressor
29X2.50WT
63-622
1098
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Aggressor
29X2.30
58-622
1217
Black
Black
Dual
DD
tlr
Maxxis Aggressor
29X2.50WT
63-622
1325
Black
Black
Dual
DD
tlr
Maxxis Dissector
29×2.40WT
61-622
949
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Dissector
29×2.60
66-622
1051
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Dissector
29×2.40WT
61-622
1022
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
Maxxis Dissector
29×2.60
66-622
1122
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Dissector
29×2.40WT
61-622
1154
Black
Black
3C MaxxGrip
DD
tlr
Maxxis Dissector
29×2.60
66-622
1199
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
Maxxis Dissector
29×2.40WT
61-622
1249
Black
Black
3C MaxxGrip
 
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
29×2.20
57-662
685
Black
Light Tan
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
29×2.20
57-662
735
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
29×2.35
60-622
830
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
29×2.60
66-622
854
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
link
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.60
66-622
978
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.30
58-622
925
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.50WT
64-622
 
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.60
66-622
995
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×3.00
76-622
1110
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
29×2.50WT
63-622
 
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.60
66-622
983
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.40WT
61-622
988
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.30
58-622
825
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.60
66-622
1035
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.30
58-622
1040
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
DD
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.40WT
61-622
 
Black
Black
3C MaxxGrip
DD
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
29×2.40WT
61-622
 
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
tlr
Maxxis Rekon
29×2.40WT
61-622
891
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
foldable
Maxxis Rekon
29×2.60
66-622
942
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
foldable
Maxxis Rekon
29×2.80
71-622
1089
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
foldable
Maxxis Rekon
29×2.60
66-622
1019
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO+
foldable
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
Schwalbe Wicked Will
29×2.40
62-622
920
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Trail
TLE
Schwalbe Wicked Will
29×2.40
62-622
820
Black
Transparent
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Race
TLE
Schwalbe Wicked Will
29×2.40
62-622
845
Black
Bronze
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground
TLE
Schwalbe Wicked Will
29×2.40
62-622
760
Black
Black
ADDIX
Performance
foldable
Schwalbe Wicked Will
29×2.60
65-622
810
Black
Black
ADDIX
Performance
foldable
WTB Trail Boss 2.25
29×2.25
54-622
909
Black
Tan
TriTec Dual DNA
 
tlr
WTB Trail Boss 2.25
29×2.40
54-622
909
Black
Black
TriTec Single
 
tlr
WTB Trail Boss 2.25
29×2.25
54-622
914
Black
Black
DNA
 
foldable

Bicycle tire puncture resistance

EXO, GreenGuard, AGC, AEC, ATC, do you ever get confused with all the jargon related to puncture protection. I know I did? That’s why I’ve written a separate article about puncture resistance technologies. That way, you’ll be able to better understand what’s out there and if it’s worth your money.

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

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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