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The top 6 best all-round 29 inch mtb tires

I know it makes sense to want an overview of the best all-round 29 inch mtb tires, but to provide you with one is not as straightforward as I would like it to be.

You see, the more all-round a mountain bike tire is, the more options the tire manufacturer gives you. In turn you can have the same type of tire, where at opposite ends of the spectrum of options those tires perform completely different from each other.

This has to do with tire width, the specific casing, the specific tire compound. Sometimes the tire width can be so different within the same type of tire, that even the tread pattern differs completely. Luckily, that’s not going to be the case here. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the term all-round in of itself is difficult enough, let alone the many options you have to decide to choose from after it’s clear what type you’re going for.

I’ve chosen tires mainly from the trail discipline. I use just such a tire for an aggressive and grippy XC front option, but it could just as well be used as a perfect trail tire, or reasonably lightweight enduro rear tire. Versatility is what’s important here.

I’ve included a handy table at the end of the article that’ll make it much easier to choose between all of the entries you’re going to find here. So here’s my list of what I consider to be the best all-round 29 inch mtb tires.

Maxxis Ardent

Maxxis Ardent
Maxxis Ardent

If you want more grip than the Ardent Race might offer, you’ll be looking for the Maxxis Ardent. It’s a crossover tire sitting somewhere in between a trail and a cross country one.

When you resize the knobs on the Ardent Race and make them bigger, you’ll trade in a bit of speed for more grip. And that’s what they did with the Maxxis Ardent.

And trading in speed has to be taken with a grain of salt, for this is still a very fast tire, which excels on dry, hardpack trails.

Expert Experience

Jeremy Benson | Product reviewer – September 18, 2019

Depending on where and how you ride, the Ardent could be the ideal tire for you. If your trails are buff, your dirt is always good, and you aren’t attacking the gnarliest terrain super aggressively, then I think you should give the Ardent a look. If your trail riding is more XC than enduro, or maybe you’re even entering a local XC race, this fast-rolling, lightweight, and versatile tire is a great option to consider.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Ardent Race

Maxxis Ardent Race
Maxxis Ardent Race

The Maxxis Ardent Race is a great option to mount as a very grippy dual XC setup, an aggressive XC front tire, or a lightweight, fast-rolling trail tire.

The triple compound provides a fast-rolling center with softer and grippier side knobs for added traction and cornering confidence.

In dry conditions the traction will prove to be outstanding. In wet conditions the small close-knit knobs can get packed with mud. So you’ll need to resort to a different tire if you want to ride year round without swapping tires.

Expert Experience

David Rome | Contributor – November 19, 2013

At 696g (26 x 2.2), the Ardent Race is no loop circuit race day tyre, but its weight is extremely competitive for a trail worthy tyre. It’s perfect for use front and rear on a summer trail bike, or the front tyre of a cross-country speedster to give greater cornering control, or as a rear tyre on a burlier enduro race bike.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Wicked Will

Schwalbe Wicked Will
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.

Expert Experience

Jeff Barber | Editor in Chief – April 7, 2023

Thanks to its light weight and fast-rolling design, the Wicked Will feels great on hardpack and even pavement. It’s a front tire I’d place near the top of my list for mixed surface riding like bikepacking and for riding hot laps on my local flow trail.

Over rocks and roots the Addix Speedgrip rarely slips. The compound strikes a nice balance for sturdiness and grip without wearing down too fast. Based on the number of miles I’ve put in on these they seem to be holding up quite well and should easily be good for another few hundred miles.

Pros and Cons

WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4

WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4
WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4

The WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4 caters to today’s demand for very fast tires sitting somewhere between XC and trail.

Since almost all versions use a fast-rolling compound and casing, it kind of depends on what width you choose. From a more XC-oriented 2.25, to your standard 2.4 inch trail width.

The tread pattern showcases the hybrid between small-knobbed XC tires and a burlier widely spaced trail or enduro as well. Smaller knobbies for the center tread enable fast rolling over dry dirt and hardpack, while raised knobbies enable grip in cornering. There are transition knobs to prevent that wavering feeling when going into a turn.

The tire is reasonably fast enough on the straits, as predicted. Should you really want faster than this tire has to offer, you should simply go for a true XC racer. The same goes for grip while cornering. This is not an enduro tire, yet it’ll still hold its own enabling you to corner with confidence.

Expert Experience

Xan Marshland | Contributor – July 24, 2019

The cornering traction the Ranger 2.4 offers is commendable given its intended use and low rolling resistance. My confidence in the tire increased throughout the test, to the point where I was hitting corners at speeds that I usually reserve for bigger bikes and knobbier tires. I can’t say I’ve been this happy in corners with other fast-rolling treads, notably the Maxxis Ikon.

The Ranger 2.4 retains most of the fast-rolling intentions of a true XC race tread, but in a volume that makes more technical Trail riding fun. The Ranger 2.4 certainly shines on dusty or hardpack trails, and aside from deepest mud and loosest gravel, there wasn’t really any condition where the tire felt completely out of its element. So for Trail riders who cover a lot of ground on primarily dry, primarily hardpacked trails, the Ranger 2.4 is worth a good look.

Pros and Cons

WTB Trail Boss 2.25

WTB Trail Boss 2.25
WTB Trail Boss 2.25

The WTB Trail Boss 2.25 is a great, premium allround trail tire with fast-rolling XC characteristics. Its densely 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 conditions for aggressive XC and trail riding, or mounted in the rear for a faster-rolling, lightweight enduro option.

A great all-round option for people who prefer fast and relatively straight.

Expert Experience

Sean Cronin | Review Editor – November 22, 2018

I felt this tire was an excellent all-around, versatile tire well suited to racing or everyday riding. Its square, siped, simple knobs provide adequate traction on both the up and down. The slightly offset side knobs allowed this tire to maintain a consistent grip in corners over a wider degree of lean angles which increased its appeal among less aggressive riders. I questioned the tire’s durability after my initial test ride beat up the sidewalls pretty good but they hung in there like a boss.

Pros and Cons

Continental Trail King ProTection

Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex

The aptly named Continental Trail King ProTection Apex is the German brand’s allround trail-tackling solution.

It performs exceptionally well in all sorts of conditions, and might only wafer a bit on the steepest of technical downhill sections. That means this tire is a very good and lightweight all mountain solution indeed.

It’s one of the faster tires on this list, well-suited for those among you who don’t shy away from a steep climb. The tread pattern provides high levels of traction and with even the 2.8 width version sitting at just over a kilo, which is about 20 percent lighter than its competitors.

The knobs are rather spaced-out from each other, which means this might not be the grippiest tire in the front. On the flip side, riding in wet conditions is marginally improved because it’ll shed mud better and won’t clog up that easily.

Expert Experience

Pat Donahue | Senior Mountain Bike Editor – September 18, 2019

The Continental Trail King ProTection Apex is a serviceable, easy-riding, tire that works best on hardpack or loam. This tire can play as a front or a rear tire, although we recommend running it in the rear if you encounter loose conditions frequently. The Trail King works well but can’t hold up against the top contenders in any of the performance metrics. This is not to say it is a bad tire. In fact, we think it fared surprisingly well on the trail, and it could be a viable option for the right rider in the right conditions.

Pros and Cons

Specifications all-round 29 inch mtb tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
29×2.20
60-622
820
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection Apex casing
tlr
3/180
Maxxis Ardent
29×2.25
56-622
800
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ardent
29×2.40
61-622
925
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ardent
29×2.40
61-622
964
Black
Black
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ardent Race
29×2.20
56-622
767
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
120
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 Ranger 2.25/2.4
29×2.25
55-622
832
Black
Black
Dual DNA
Light/Fast Rolling / SG2
tlr
60
WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4
29×2.25
55-622
782
Black
Tan
Dual DNA
Light/Fast Rolling / SG2
tlr
60
WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4
29×2.25
55-622
851
Black
Black
DNA
Comp
foldable
30
WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4
29×2.40
59-622
875
Black
Black
Dual DNA
Light/Fast Rolling / SG2
tlr
60
WTB Ranger 2.25/2.4
29×2.40
59-622
875
Black
Tan
Dual DNA
Light/Fast Rolling / SG2
tlr
60
WTB Trail Boss 2.25
29×2.40
54-622
909
Black
Black
TriTec Single
Light/Fast Rolling / SG2
tlr
WTB Trail Boss 2.25
29×2.25
54-622
909
Black
Tan
TriTec Dual DNA
Light/Fast Rolling / SG2
tlr
WTB Trail Boss 2.25
29×2.25
54-622
914
Black
Black
DNA
Comp
foldable

Sources

Jeremy Benson, Maxxis Ardent EXO Review, Outdoorgearlab, September 18, 2019
Xan Marshland, WTB Ranger 2.4 Tire, Blister Review, July 24, 2019
Sean Cronin, WTB Trail Boss TCS Tough/Fast Rolling 2.25 Review, Outdoorgearlab, November 22, 2018
Pat Donahue, Continental Trail King ProTection APEX 2.6 Review, Outdoorgearlab, September 18, 2019
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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