best 29er tire for both road and offroad riding

Does anyone do a good mix of both on the same ride? I know the Schwalbe Big Apple must be great on the road–I have a couple on a transportation bike of mine, but I think it would probably be not so good on more technical offroad trails. So I’m looking for a compromise tire.

So far I’ve tried the Kenda Klaw XT and the WTB Nanoraptor. Both are pretty thin walled, and thus are either bouncy on the road with lower pressure or unforgiving off the road with higher pressure. So I’m looking for a thick walled offroad tire with low rolling resistance (at least as knobby tires go).

Has anyone tried the Panaracer Rampage? Are there others that might work?

What we really need is a unicycle specific 29er XC tire. I think it would be something like a Big Apple with a light knobby tread.

Knobby tires

I will be interested in the responses you get here. In that I do most of my riding on pavement, I have wondered about the true utility of a knobby tire for off-road. I have found that I generally run out of power or balance long before I run out of traction. I use a Big Apple on my KH-29XC and I changed the KH-24XC knobby to a Hookworm because I like how it rides better. One day when I have a good place and time to work on trail riding and muni…I may see the real utility of knobby tires…they must be better as everybody uses them?


The Big Apple works fine on dry singletrack or gravel road. It’s my favourite on-road 29’er tyre.
The knobblier the tyre, the quicker it’s likely to wear down on the road. I like the Nanos for a mix of road and off-road as it seems to last resonably on the road. Probably a Nano with a larger volume would be great for a mixture of on and off-road.
Off road I like the Motoraptors.

Except for the fact that Nanoraptors have such thin walls, I really like them. I had a pair on a single speed mountain bike for years before I learned to unicycle. Maybe I’ll give the Nanoraptor another try because, now that I think of it, I only tried it on my Yuni 29er with the narrow rim.

The perfect tire might be one that is about 2.5" wide with Nanoraptor tread and thick walls like a Big Apple. Maybe I can cut a Big Apple in half and bond the tread from a Nanoraptor to it. :wink:

I’m really interested in this too.

I seem to remember in the dim and distant past when I first joined the forums there was some talk about people researching different types of 29er tyres. Don’t know what happened there.

I prefer the Bontranger Jones when I’m doing off and on road riding. It’s just a bit clumsy at corners. I hated the Kenda Klaw.

Bontranger Jones definatley:D

I’ve covered a few thousand miles on Big Apples on road and love them. They just handle great and are very predictable.

For off-road, I have tried a Kenda Klaw, and hated it. Ok, so I didn’t try it for all that long, and maybe I could have played about with tyre pressures more, but it just didn’t feel that good to me.

I’ve used a Nanoraptor whilst in training for a 24hr race a few weeks ago, and most of that was on the road. It was pretty good on road, and excellent off road, although it needs a bit more pressure in for road use than muddy trials. The thing I liked most was that the weight was very very low, so it’s no problem to start spinning up to speed on road. I’ve no idea how long the tread will last though.


There currently is no true 29er DH tire. Even the burliest 29er tire has paper thin sidewalls making them unsuitable for true DH Muni. This is supposedly going to change sometime soon, as different manufacturers are previewing 29er DH tires. We’ll see . . .


I’ve only ridden the Nevegal that came on my KH29. I’m thinking that I ought to be trying out some other tires. I went for a short road ride yesterday and thought I must be getting rusty or something because it was really tough making the corners–I seemed to be flailing all over the place. I seem to have much better control on the trails with this tire, so I wonder if it was simply that the tire is not well suited to road use. I know KH uses this tire when he rides both on and off road, but I’d like to find something that works for me both on and off road. Preferably something pretty high volume.

Compromise is hard, huh?

I was wondering about this too. I saw the maxxis ignitor
and was wondering if it wold work. I’m pretty new to all this. What does the sidewall thickness affect (why the need for a thick one)?


I’ve been thinking about trying this one:
land cruiser

Thicker sidewalls allow us to run lower tire pressures which provide a bit of “suspension” on rougher terrain.

Once I finally master mounting and riding my KH29, I plan to use it mainly on-road and some mild trails. I’ll be watching this thread for suggestions. One possible compromise might be Specialized’s Fast Trak LK Pro.

Maybe the solution is to use a Kenda Klaw and adjust the tyre pressure when yr riding surface changes. A bit of a drag, but its a very rare tyre that will perform well both on and offroad.

The old WTB Nanoraptors were excellent both on and offroad, but WTB, in all their wisdom, changed the beads from steel to kevlar and made them a pinch-flat prone annoying tyre. We at had so many problems with the new kelvar beaded Nanoraptors that we stopped selling them on our site. So if you can get hold of an old steel-beaded Nanoraptor you’ll be set. Good luck!

I’ve tried lots of different tyres and settled on the WTB Weirwolf in the end.

It doesn’t have particularly thick sidewalls but it is a big tyre (2.5) so is good for off-road. It is also nice and nippy on road, but does suffer from road crown creep. The Bontrager Jones that Cathy has goes in very straight lines on road, but tends to want to keep on going straight when you want to corner.

Last time I looked there weren’t any really stiff tyres out yet in 29 size, lots of talk, but nothing available yet.

There’s a new Specialised 29er out though, looks quite beefy:

I have the WTB Weirwolf (actually it’s Andy’s old uni :slight_smile: ) and find it a much better compromise than the Kenda Klaw. As Andy says it does have a tendancy to track off a crown or in ruts but the extra volume does mean that you can get a little bit of bounce out of it. I run it with a 26inch downhill tube which may also help with this.

Pressure does still affect the degree of control you get though and for road riding a higher pressure does help.

Riding side by side with someone on a Kenda Klaw they appeared to suffer more on bumps, often litterally being bounced out of the seat. It also does not like to be run at lower pressures meaning very little if any bounce.

On the site that Andy linked to there are rumours of a 2.6 - 2.8 inch monster tyre. Don’t suppose that’ll fit in all frames. The other tyre we’re all waiting for is the WTB Stout that Chris has been testing. 2008 bikes are coming out now so hopefully the tyres won’t be far behind.

Well I changed out the tire for the Nanoraptor a couple days ago hoping to ride it soon, and I noticed last night that it was flat. :angry: It looks like I pinched something when I installed it. So, I went to the LBS to pick up some spare tubes, and they had a WTB Exiwolf 2.3 for $30 that I also bought. It looks like it should be a pretty good balance between high volume and good rolling. Hopefully it will handle the smallish drops I intend to do. I just need to go ride it now.

Awesome! I love the Exiwolf! Read about my first ride on it here. I wonder how it will perform when things get wet. :slight_smile:

How is the Exiwolf on the road? does it suffer on road camber?


I think it might, at least a little. I did notice having to fight the camber on some parts of road, but the tire rolls so well that turning small amounts wasn’t hard at all. Also, I don’t know if I’m the best judge because I’ve become so accustomed to riding bigger wheels on off camber roads that I find myself automatically adjusting by leaning my upper body and/or shifting my weight to one side of the saddle.