Recommendations for 29" tire for road/pavement/street

I’m interested in a 29" tire for purely riding on roads, streets, and sidewalks. I don’t go off-road and don’t plan any significant such activity. I currently have a CST Critter that I ride at 60psi. I find that on certain kinds of streets and pavement it feels soft and squishy.

I’ve had bicycle shops recommend Kenda or Schwalbe tires but I’d like to hear from unicyclists. So for those who primarily ride 29ers on paved roads and sidewalks, what tire do you use and why do you like it or not? Thanks.

Disclaimer: I searched around a bit and didn’t find this specific question addressed. Maestro8 and Harper, please feel free to contradict me and make me feel small in the process.

The Schwalbe Marathon Supreme is well regarded as a road tire for a 29" unicycle.


Hi JJuggle.

i have a Schwalbe ‘big apple’ on my 29’’.
I am very pleased with it. Don’t know what pressure it is at, just as high as it will go.
Great for going along the prom. In the piccy, that is beach sand inbetween the tread,hope that shows it up well.
If I am riding along the prom and I ride into even a few cms of sand it is very difficult to control, no traction, but that’s why I’d recommend it as a good road tyre. I’m sure the reflective strip along the side will come in handy if I ever ride at night :slight_smile:


I’ve rode today in amatour race in Tourde de Pologne with Schwallbe Big Apple 29x2.0 and I think it is nice and fast tyre for the pavements. I have also BA 29x2.3 and it’s forgiving much more and you can ride quite nice offroad as well on it, but it’s not that fast.

One thing missing from this conversation is rim width. My KH29 came with a KH Freeride rim which is 47mm wide which really spreads out higher volume tires like the 2.4" Maxxis Ardent. Whereas the Kris Holm 29" XC Rim which is only 38mm wide would be much better suited to the 2" Schwalbe ‘big apple’ tire. I contemplated waiting for the release of the 29" Oracle which comes with the 42mm wide Nimbus 29" Dominator2 Rim. In the end, I want my 29er to be set up for off-road use hence my decision. I have a really nice (see auto sig) 36er for the road. I must admit, my KH Freeride rim and the 2.4" tire is not bad at all on the road. Then again, the whole kit is so much lighter than a geared 36er that you barely notice the knobs.

Thank you all for your suggestions and comments.

I have had good luck with the Big Apple but, like Alucard, I find it must be pumped up really high. At pressures below 45 psig it’s really squishy and squirrelly on the road. This is probably due to its flexible sidewall and light weight.

You’re not right very often for a short person, are you?

You’ve already made my point, Greg. Good going.

Big Apple, then Marathon Supreme

I started with the Schwalbe Big Apple 2.35. It is a decent tire but it seemed to be sensitive to road crown.

Now I’m running the Marathon Supreme and like it much better. Being a 2.0 vs. a 2.35 means it’s also a little easier to mount. Since the outside diameter of the tire is also smaller it might mean it’s a little bit slower, which I’m not worried about at all. Speed will come more from improved skill than equipment.

My personal reality is that every minor change to my uni means adjustments and more cerebral training. Different tires make a huge difference. As does seat height, crank length (an it’s impact on seat height), shoes and even road surface makes a difference about how I feel.

I suspect that as my skills improve these differences will be less significant. I look forward to (someday) putting the Big Apple back on the rim and see if it is as much of an issue as I remembered it.

I went into a local bike shop and just took a recommendation for a road tire. Big mistake.

I got a Michelin that takes a 700 x 1 3/8 inner tube and while it is easy to mount and idle on, it’s a monster to turn and is incredibly sensitive to the the crown in the road to the point of being almost impossible to ride. I felt like a drunk out on the street. I took it about 2.2 miles and I’m going to see if they’ll take it back or trade it for something else.

But, I’m curious about why the Schwalbe Big Apple would be also sensitive to the crown as thick as it is. The CTS Critter I’m using is about the same thickness and I find the crown to be unnoticeable on it.

Generally, sensitivity to road crown is a function of the tire profile; the more square the profile, the more sensitive it is. The Big Apple 29x2.0 (and the Marathon Supreme 29x2.0) has no crown sensitivity because its profile is rounded; they’re both beautiful uni tires. On most rims the Big Apple 29x2.3 is just a little too squarish, although it’s better if you put a lot of air into it. Other 2.3 inch tires might be OK if their profile is round.

Thanks Tom. Let me ask a follow up question, and forgive me for my ignorance, but is “profile” a technical term or an informal one? And does it refer to the tread or the actual shape of the tire as a whole?

I ask in part out of an interest in understanding these matters but also because the Michelin tire I have just returned, though narrow, had what I would call from a casual observer’s perspective a decidedly unsquare profile yet was very sensitive to the crown. So I’m trying to understand what to look for in the “profile” and if, perhaps, this tire was just too narrow regardless of the profile to be a decent one for unicycling. Thanks.

How about “cross-section” instead of profile? Is that more to your liking? The cross-section is what Tom was referring to. Take the tire and cut it in half like you were sharing a donut with someone (although I realize that it’s difficult for you to share something so valuable). Now look into the donut perpendicular to the surface you have just cut. That’s the cross-sectional view.

As the lovely Harper notes, I’m talking about the cross-section. However, there can be other factors. For example, some Michelin tires have different tread compounds in the center of the tire instead of the edge; that can have an effect. Or, a tire tread pattern which has a center ridge tends to be bad.

Thank you Tom.

29x2.0 tires popping off 42mm rim

I’m a bit late to this conversation but having the road tire blow off my new 29" Oracle with the 42mm rim put me to searching the forums for help! When I ordered it I asked UDC to put the Big Apple 29x2.0 on for road riding. I have been very happy riding a Big Apple 26x2.35 on my 26" wheel so ordered one for the 29er. The new tire is rated up to 70psi, so I inflated to 65, and later that night I heard a loud bang (thought someone broke into the house!) which was the tube popping after the tire bead popped off the rim. I replaced the tube and slowly inflated to 40psi and I can see how the bead is getting pushed off the rim. I’ve read about this phenomenon in other threads (Tire options on KH-29).

My questions are: Will this be an issue with every 2.0" tire I put on my rim (such as the Marathon Supreme)? Will this happen (or be less likely to happen) if I get the 29x2.15 or the 29x2.35 Big Apple? I like to ride at higher pressures for speed/efficiency.

It will be less likely to happen with the larger tires. I think the 2.35 BA would be fine on that rim, you might be able to get by with the 2.15 tire. In other threads people have commented that the 2.35 BA tire is more sensitive to road crown versus the 2.0 BA. However, if that hasn’t been an issue for you on the 26x2.35, then I wouldn’t expect it to be on the 29 either. Even with a bigger tire you might want to try lower pressure. Schwalbe claims that their “balloon” tires, such as the BA, roll as well at 2 Bar (~30psi) as a 37mm tire rolls at 4 Bar (~60psi).

A 42mm rim is wider than you really want for a 2" tire, especially at high pressure. This post mentions two different Schwalbe 2.0" tires blowing off the even narrower (38mm) Kris Holm 29" XC Rim at 70 psi.

The ETRTO compatibility chart below indicates that the recommended rim size for a 2.0" (50mm) tire is between 17mm to 27mm inside rim width. (Measurement B in the diagram.) Add 5-7mm to account for the bead hooks/sidewalls and you are looking at a 24mm to 34mm rim. Granted, the ETRTO recommendations will be somewhat conservative, but perhaps that’s because they have to consider tire/rim combinations that will be run at high pressure as well as low. (The chart and diagram are from here.)




wow, a timely post.

I have a KH29 with a standard rim size. I gave up trying to put my BA 2.0 on, though I managed to ride it a bit and had no problem with road crown, and I loved it.

A few times of the tire popping of the rim made me give up the idea. Really scary.

So, I was thinking of getting a road wheel build for my 29, basically an Oracle set up, which UDC assured me would take the BA 2.0, but this is making me wonder about that. I don’t want the BA 2.35, I want the 2.0.

What are my other choices for getting a road wheel build for my KH29 and my BA 2.0, preferably with disc brakes, since my KH29 has an Oracle hub with disc brakes.

If you’re building a road specific wheel, why not use a MTB rim? There are plenty of 36 hole rims that will support a 2" tire and lace to an Oracle hub. I have a road wheel using a Velocity Dyad (24mm wide).

yeah, the velocity rim sounds like a good idea. They don’t sell them at UDC, and I don’t want to build it myself.

Should I get all the parts from UDC, order the rim elsewhere and have an LBS build it?