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The top 21 best 29 inch bikepacking tires

In this article I’m going to give you the ultimate list of the very best 29 inch bikepacking tires money can buy.

To create this list I’ve taken into account the fact that bikepacking means something different riders. And to come up with an overview that caters to different riding conditions I’ve taken inspiration from my research into both touring, gravel, cross-country, trail, and enduro riding.

Incorporating tires from those disciplines basically means going up in weight, width, puncture protection, knob height, to be able to incrementally withstand the rigors certain road conditions will throw at you.

For obvious reasons, big fat knobby tires, will grand you loads of traction, grip, and braking power, but that won’t get you very far if you’re predominantly riding on tarmac. The same goes for the opposite. Lightweight, nimble, relatively slim tires with semi-slick tread pattern will make you fear for your live on a rocky descent.

Only you can decide what’s best for you, but be sure that there’s a solid option among this high-qualilty list of the best 29 inch bikepacking tires.

Maxxis Ardent Race

Maxxis Ardent Race
Maxxis Ardent Race

The Maxxis Ardent Race is a solid option to mount as both front and rear 29 inch XC tires.

With a reasonable weight of 767 for a 2.2 inch width it means its still quite a bit heavier than the Schwalbe Rocket Ron or Continental Cross King RaceSport.

But paired with the Maxxis Ikon in the back you still have a very speedy setup from this brand with EXO casing protection.

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 youll need to resort to a different tire if you want to ride year round without swapping tires.

Maxxis Assegai

Maxxis Assegai
Maxxis Assegai

If you know mountain biking you know Greg Minnaar. And the Maxxis Assegai is said to be designed with his help. So what does that say about this tire?

Well, he’s a downhill champion, so expect monstrous level of grip and traction in a tire well-suited for the most aggressive trail riders among us. For such an aggressive tire, the profile is relatively rounded still, smoothing out transitions from straight to cornering, without that vague feeling you sometimes get in between.

This tire sits just below a true mud tire, so all of that traction will come at a premium, and the price you pay is of course a slow, and heavy tire in those times when you don’t need as much grip. When choosing tires you have to compromise, and when the going get’s tough this is the tire you want to be riding.

Maxxis Crossmark II

Maxxis Crossmark II
Maxxis Crossmark II

The Maxxis Crossmark II is pure XC tire for dry conditions with the shallow center knobs and minimal side knobs.

Its designed for speed on dry hardpack when going in a straight line, because its cornering ability isnt up to par with other XC tires.

This makes it compete with the Continental Race King RaceSport and the Schwalbe Racing Ralph. Considering the weight of those two 705 gr. for a 2.25 inch version is a tad bit on the heavy side for an XC race tire.

So only if you want the added protection of the EXO compound and you want to combine it with another Maxxis front tire, would the Crossmark II be the best choice. Otherwise either the Continental or Schwalbe will outshine this one.

Maxxis High Roller II

Maxxis High Roller II
Maxxis High Roller II

The Maxxis High Roller II is a solid option, both front and back, in loose and dry condition riding.

Personally, I’d prefer the DHR II in the back, because of the improved traction, but I guess if you don’t have that much climbing to do, you might opt for a dual High Roller setup. But for any non-competitive riders, the DHR II plus High Roller front and back is a more forgiving, allround setup.

But as far as downhill goes, the High Roller’s spaced out knobs proved a perfect amount of bite in loose condtions.

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 Minion SS

Maxxis Minion SS
Maxxis Minion SS

When riding in dry conditions the Maxxis Minion SS is probably the fastest-rolling enduro tire on the market.

It’s strange to call this tire a semi-slick, because that’s what SS stands for. The center tread, consisting of very small knobbies, are indeed a feature of what I would consider to be a semi-slick. But the side knobbies are the same as the DHR or DHF. That means you maintain high levels of speed on the straights with the proven grip when cornering.

It’s a formula which is as simple as it is effective, turning this tire into a speedy, dry condition enduro tire. I’ve seen the tire ridden both in the front and back, but to me the back seems the most logical choice, with a more grippier tire up front.

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.

Continental Cross King Racesport

Continental Cross King Racesport
Continental Cross King Racesport

The Continental Race King RaceSport is an extremely light tire at 520 grams. In the weight department it means it outshines every tire from every other brand here by far.

Its 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.

All that speed comes at a price, because traction is at the low end of the spectrum. If youre doing any sort of hard trail riding and you still want to take advantage of this tire, consider combining it with the Continental Cross King RaceSport. Especially in wet conditions.

This tire performs best in dry conditions because of its shallow tread pattern.

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.

Schwalbe G-One Speed

Schwalbe G-One Speed
Schwalbe G-One Speed

If you’re a person who likes fast plush rides on pavement and slightly course roads the Schwalbe G-One Speed is probably the best tire money can buy.

It’s an exceptional big volume road tire that’s light, nimble, and let’s you rip down the road with a big grin on your face. It’s a step up in width from your average road tire, which means you get an incredibly supple and plush ride and loads of grip. Sure you have to sacrifice a bit in the rolling-resistance departement when compared to a 25 millimeter road tire, but this tire is simply more fun to ride and much, much more comfortable.

And this tire doesn’t shy away from light gravel riding as well, broadening the range of application beyond very fast commuting.

Schwalbe Hans Dampf

Schwalbe Hans Dampf
Schwalbe Hans Dampf

The Schwalbe Hans Dampf is a good rear enduro tire.

A classic-looking allround tire with large side knobbies, and smaller horizontally aligned knobbies in the center tread. This tire transitions smoothly from fast straight into tight cornering, something not every tire does.

That smooth feel provides exciting reliability on everything but the most aggressive trails, where you might want larger knobs providing more grip in corners.

It’s become harder to distinguish tires within a certain category from each other, with all premium tires from mayor brands nearing perfection. With this tire it’s the same. It checks all of the boxes, but maybe outperforms none of its competitors who sacrifices on characteristic to excell more in another.

That means this tire is very reliable for the majority of riders out there.

Schwalbe Magic Mary

Schwalbe Magic Mary
Schwalbe Magic Mary

The Magic Mary is Schwalbe’s grippiest tire from their entire lineup. It performs both brilliantly as a downhill tire, but is just as effective for allround trail riding in brutal conditions.

It has top-of-the-line traction combined with super fast rolling characteristic and a good feel for the trail at high speeds. If you want to be in the moment and experience flow going down sloppy slopes the Magic Mary delivers big time, with virtually zero cons.

Good braking power, allround riding characteristics in dry and wet conditions, this is Schwalbe’s top tire for all-mountain, enduro and downhill, no matter what the conditions are.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB looks like a knobby tire, but if you look close enough you can see that center tread will let you run smoothly across pavement.

You will need that smooth centerline, because this tire is the heaviest on the list by far. It weighs three times more than the lightest tire on this list. The biggest plus for hauling all that extra weight is that in terms of puncture protection, this tire has absolutely no equal.

So for those of you who want the risk of flats nearing zero, this is the tire for you.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic

Schwalbe Nobby Nic
Schwalbe Nobby Nic

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is a high quality tire for a dual setup when doing allround mountain biking. For enduro racing you might argue that it should go in the back providing ample levels of braking power, traction, and even cornering.

It’s an excellent middle-of-the-road tire in terms of characteristics, with high knobbies on the side, but still a very decent high in the middle as well. Average spacing means it’ll perform well in loose and even wet conditions.

With a Magic Mary up front to increase your cornering abilities you have an extremely reliable and aggressive enduro setup which will get you through the nastiest of trails.

Schwalbe Racing Ralph

Schwalbe Racing Ralph
Schwalbe Racing Ralph

The Schwalbe Racing Ralph is the go-to option to combine with Schwalbes Nobby Nic. As stated on the website, the Racing Ralph was designed for the rear.

This means the Super Ground Speedgrip version is a fast-rolling tire with a tread pattern support good acceleration and braking power.

Although its meant for a combo setup with a grippier tire in the front, you could use it as a dual setup when you prefer riding mostly in dry conditions and the occasional trail. Also when you do a lot of climbing.

Schwalbe Racing Ray

Schwalbe Racing Ray
Schwalbe Racing Ray

Where the Schwalbe Racing Ralph was designed as a rear tire, the Schwalbe Racing Ray is meant for the front. It also means that one of the most obvious choices for a Schwalbe cross country setup would be the combination of the two.

And it seems that the combination works for a lot of people better than ever. with great braking power and traction in the back and great traction and grip in the front, even for wet conditions.

For a surefooted combination of 29 inch XC tires, why try anything else than the Racing Ray / Racing Ralph combo? You probably shouldnt.

Schwalbe Rocket Ron

Schwalbe Rocket Ron
Schwalbe Rocket Ron

Both the weight and tread pattern puts the Schwalbe Rocket Ron squarely into XC territory. The evenly spaced knobs mean you always hold contact with the ground ensuring a low rolling resistance.

They are small as well, which means you need to look for the Nobby Nic if you want a more allround and grippy trail tire. But if you want a bit more speed the 645 grams for a 2.25 inch version you can run two of these.

You should be able to confidently do light trail riding in loose and wet conditions with these tires, and the XC-oriented tread pattern combined with either the Super Ground or Super Race compound will provide you with the speed you need.

Its worthy to note that the Schwalbe Rocket Ron performs really well in the rolling resistance department, as do all Schwalbe tires. So its both light and fast.

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 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.

But for gravel riding you’ll need much 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 best 29 inch bikepacking tires

NameSizeETRTOWeight (gr)Tread ColorSidewall ColorBuy at Amazon
Continental Cross King Racesport29×2.2055-622555BlackBlacklink
Continental Cross King Racesport29×2.3058-622670BlackBlacklink
Continental Der Baron Projekt ProTection Apex29×2.4060-622990BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Ardent Race29×2.2056-622767BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Ardent Race29×2.3560-622786BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Assegai29×2.50WT64-622BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Assegai29×2.50WT64-622BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Assegai29×2.6066-6221129BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Assegai29×2.6066-6221087BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Crossmark II29×2.2557-622780BlackBlacklink
Maxxis High Roller II29×2.3058-622920BlackBlacklink
Maxxis High Roller II29×2.50WT64-622990BlackBlacklink
Maxxis High Roller II29×2.50WT64-622BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Ikon29×2.0057-662685BlackTanlink
Maxxis Ikon29×2.0057-662724BlackDark Tanlink
Maxxis Ikon29×2.0057-662680BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Ikon29×2.3560-622755BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Ikon29×2.6066-622799BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×2.3058-622925BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×2.50WT63-622BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×2.50WT64-622BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×2.6066-622978BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×2.6066-622995BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHF29×3.0076-6221110BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.3058-622825BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.3058-6221040BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.40WT61-622BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.40WT61-622955BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.40WT61-622988BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.40WT61-622BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.6066-6221035BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Minion DHR II29×2.6066-622983BlackTanlink
Maxxis Minion SS29×2.3058-622795BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Rekon Race29×2.2557-622691BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Rekon Race29×2.3560-622805BlackTanlink
Maxxis Rekon Race29×2.3560-622762BlackBlacklink
Maxxis Rekon Race29×2.4061-622759BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe G-One Speed29×2.3560-622560BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Hans Dampf29×2.3560-6221055BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Hans Dampf29×2.6065-6221110BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Magic Mary29×2.2557-6221080BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Magic Mary29×2.4062-6221150BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Magic Mary29×2.6065-6221220BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB29×2.1052-6221275BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB29×2.1052-6221350BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Nobby Nic29×2.2557-622810BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Nobby Nic29×2.6065-6221080BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ralph29×2.1054-622630BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ralph29×2.2557-622655BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ralph29×2.3560-622730BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ray29×2.1054-622630BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Racing Ray29×2.2557-622655BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Rocket Ron29×2.2557-622630BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Rocket Ron29×2.2557-622645BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.1054-622550BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.1054-622545BlackTransparentlink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.2557-622615BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.2557-622645BlackTransparentlink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.3560-622745BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Thunder Burt29×2.3560-622730BlackTransparentlink
Vittoria Mezcal29×2.2557-622690BlackTanlink
Vittoria Mezcal29×2.1054-622680BlackAnthracitelink