Wide 29" road tire

Tire shopping time again!

As things are progressing well on my new G29 build, it’s time to pick a tire for it. The new 29er will be a commuter, I’ll ride it 99% of the time on the road. That gives me quite a few choices in the wider 700c range, but I’d like to go even wider. The rim I ordered has an inner width of 35mm, supports tire width up to 3.0". So I assembled a list of wide (read: >2.35") 29" tires here, which are potentially good for road riding:

Brand Model Width Weight Bead Max.PSI TPI
Surly ExtraTerrestrial 2.5" 1040g Folding 60 60
Surly Knard 3.0" 1170g Folding 35 60
Continentals Contact Urban 2.5" 810g Wired 58 60
Schwalbe Wicked Will 2.4" 950g Wired 50 67
Schwalbe Hurricane 2.4" 940g Wired 50 67
Schwalbe Smart Sam 2.6" 1050g Folding 45 67
Schwalbe Johnny Watts 2.6" 1095g Folding 38 67
Maxxis Rekon Race 2.4" 818g Folding 50 120
Maxxis Grifter 2.5" 914g Wired 65 60
Maxxis Ikon 2.6" 830g Folding 40 120
WTB Ranger Plus 3.0" 1034g Wired 30 60

In this list I’m most interested at the Surly ExtraTerrestrial, the Continentals Contact Urban and the Maxxis Grifter, as they seem to have the most road-friendly treads. Other tires are somewhat gravel/XC-oriented, I’d also like to see if anyone had a good impression with them. Needless to say please feel free to recommend any tire not on the list. Much appreciated for your input!

Edit: added official links to the tire products.
Edit 2: added WTB Ranger Plus TCS Light/Fast Rolling
Edit 3: added Schwalbe Wicked Will and Johnny Watts

Some insights:

  • I’m riding a WTB Ranger Light Fast Rolling on my G29 (32mm inner-width rim, 29x3" tire). It’s a really great tire, rolling fast but also capable of riding light off-road. But it seems to wear out pretty fast on asphalt.
  • I’ve tried to ride a Maxxis Grifter (29 x 2.5") on a laaaarge KH rim and it was really awful: too squared, unable to turn. I’m not sure how it feels on a 35mm rim, though. I may give it a try on my 32mm rim in a dozen of days.

I would avoid other gravel/XC-oriented tires as they may not roll great on asphalt.


Thanks Maxence, I’ve added that tire to the list. Unfortunately I can’t source WTB tires locally.

Schwalbe Johnny Watts 29x2.6 (both wired and folding).

I’ve been using the folding version on my (ungeared) 29" since autumn. On a 35mm inner width rim. A fine (slightly heavy) tire for road and gravel and a bit of weight might actually be an advantage if you are mostly cruising at constant speed.
It replaced a Vittoria Mezcal TNT 29x2.6 which is also a nice tire. But I believe it’s designed primarily for gravel.

There is also the newer Schwalbe Johnny Watts 365 which is also available 29x2.6 (both folding and wired)

I’ve recently installed the the Continental Contact Urban (2.0" wide) on a two wheel cargo bike. They sure looks cool and rolls nicely but if that translates to a unicycle is hard to say… but I’m tempted to try them out on my 29" someday.

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Don’t discount the Ikon, I ride the Rekon which has slightly more aggressive tread and rolls really well on road and handles offroad really well.

On a recent build I did a 700x45c Pirelli Cinturo H and it honestly rolls really well and handles very confident at speed. At 530g the weight difference between it and my Rekon is about 300g and is quite noticeable I find.

The bigger 2.6 Rekon is really nice at absorbing all the bumps though. But I’d recommend an Ikon even in a smaller 2.4 that would still give a nice balance of shock absorbing and fast rolling.

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Another one I’m liking at the moment is the Schwalbe Wicked Will 29x2.4. I ride paths and road and it’s very fast rolling.

I have had the surly ET that is a good tyre. I couldn’t get it seal when I set it up tubeless, apart from that it’s a awesome tyre, fast rolling.

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Enjoying mine. It’s not light, but is it a bad thing on a commuter Schlumpf? Could add some welcomed damping. It rides really nice on asphalt, and it’s happy on XC.


May I say it is? Having a heavy tire, whether it is on an ungeared or a geared uni, is damaging for the reactiveness. So it is a bad thing for commuting if you have a lot of stops or slow-downs. :innocent:


Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll add it to the list later. Locally I can only find the 365 version though, it’s kind of an overkill for me as we don’t have extreme winters here.

Looks like we are enumerating the Schwalbe MTB catalog here :wink: I mean, they definitely made some impressive tires! The WW was ruled out because I thought its tread is a little bit too aggressive for my purpose, but I’ll list it later, too.

Yeah I tend to reduce rotational mass as much as possible, that’s why I’m employing carbon rim and TPU tube for this build. But for the tire I can trade some lightness for stability and comfort to some extent.

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I thought the WW would be too much as well but after researching it, and read numberous reviews I took the plunge.
I would say it fills the gap between the Racing Ralph and the Nobby Nic but it’s fast rolling.


Sorry. A bit late on the reply but I ride a Specialized Fast Trak T5 in the 2.35 size. I ride mixed trails, asphalt and packed limestone screenings. I find that on pavement I don’t feel the tread but it is very grippy but on the trail it is amazing.

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Thanks to everyone for your insights! In the end I pulled my trigger on the Surly ExtraTerrestrial.

Feels like great quality already! Now I only need the rim to complete the jigsaw.


Seems like you made a well thought out decision. What made you pick this tire? It would be interesting follow your logic.

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The decision tree was actually quite simple ;). As I’ll be riding this uni on paved road most of the time, I’m prioritizing rolling resistance reduction.

In the list above, the Continental Contact Urban has the most slick tread, which seems very ideal to me; however I can only source the 2.0" variant locally (or I’ll have to wait for months to order one from Germany). Also I can’t find any use case of this tire in our forum, So I decided not to take the risk.

The Maxxis Grifter also has road-friendly tread, it’s much alike the DTH, which I like very much on my 26er. The problem of this tire is similar, the 29" version seems to be very rare, I can’t find one locally. Also the Contact Urban and the Grifter has wired bead, which apparently isn’t very ideal for a hookless rim like the one I ordered.

The Surly ET surely isn’t the lightest option, and it’s double the price of most of the tires listed above. Weightwise, despite employing a titanium frame, a carbon wheel and a TPU tube, featherization isn’t a primary goal on this build (the Schlumpf itself renders any weight reduction attempt useless). I understand the tire contributes to the rotational weight most, but I believe the rim and the tube will make up for it. Aside of that, I think this tire perfectly meets my expectation on this build: it’s road friendly, it’s wide enough, it supports high enough PSI, it’s foldable, and it has a great reputation among unicyclists. Oh, and, ten points for its local availability!

The other tires in the list are at least gravel-oriented. Aside of their tread profiles, I also find their tire pressure rating less than ideal for my case. That being said, I did waver for the Maxxis Rekon Race for a while. It’s light, inexpensive, high pressure rated, and it has a 120TPI variant. But finally I decided the Surly looks more promising to me.


I bought the Contact Urban in 29x2.2 (622-55) - could not find the 2.5 anywhere.

“mount only on hooked rims”… sure …

I have mounted it with an inner tube on a Race Face AR 30 (30 mm inner width) which is hookless. I put 3.1 bar in the tire and left overnight and reduced it to 2.8 bar before taking it for a ride. No issues with the missing hooks. Don’t know if it possible inflating to the max of 4.5 bar on a hookless rim but I have no intention to do so.

It has a round profile and measures just below 56mm.

I have approx 20km on the tire now and it’s nice and quiet on asphalt and seems to handle the dry gravel sections around here just as fine as my knobby tires.


Apparently the Surly ET has an extremely tight bead, the LBS guys failed to install it, they broke two levers and only managed to put on one bead. I wondered if @Unikev and @pierrox, and any others who have used this tire, had the same problem? Any insights?

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No problems with mine. Didn’t even need to use tyre levers.
All tubeless ready tyres are a tight fit.
I’m very surprised that the LBS couldn’t even get one bead on, you would normally struggle getting the side of the tyre on the rim.
Try it yourself.
Put the rim on the floor and put the tyre on the rim starting with the valve area first. Make sure that is goes the bead goes into the middle of the rim. Then start on the other side of the tyre, you may struggle on the last quarter of the tyre as this where it get harder, just make sure the bead is in the middle of the rim at all time as this will give you them extra few mms. Then inflate your tyre, making sure it pops onto the rim evenly, if it’s struggling use soap water as this will help it seat. Then deflate the tyre, remove the valve core and then add your sealant.

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Thanks! I failed to install it myself before I took it to the LBS. The tire is ridiculously tight, I’m starting to think if my rim has some tolerance problem.

What rim are you using?
Keep on trying.
I took mine to a LBS and when they told me how much there would charge for putting a tyre on the rim I walked back out. This was my 1st tubeless setup. It took me ages to get it on and that was a schwalbe tyre, keep on trying I say. It will eventually go when you find your way of doing it.
All tyres and rims are made to a certain standard ok some vary a bit but it will go on.

It’s a Nextie carbon wheel, 35mm inner width.