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29+ Tires: List, Options, and Guide

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In this Gear Index, we're going back to our roots with 29+ tires. This guide includes a comprehensive list of current tire options with weights, specifications, and our take on each of the tires we’ve tested. Plus, read the backstory on 29+, why it’s prevalent in the bikepacking scene, tips on rim width, and more…

Back in 2012, when the first 29+ tires were unveiled alongside the release of the Surly Krampus, a collective lightbulb turned on above the heads of bikepackers everywhere, even before bikepacking had begun to surge in popularity. There was just something about those big, cushy 29 x 3.0” tires that seemed to open up a world of possibilities. In short, 29+ tires curbed the need for suspension on a trail mountain bike by borrowing a bit of the volume, traction, and cushion from fat bikes and rolling it into a more nimble package. They offered much of the float and comfort of full-on fat tires without the weight and rolling resistance penalty.

  • 29+ Tires List
  • 29+ Tires List
  • 29+ Tires List

The fact is, even when used on a rigid bike, 29+ tires are extremely off-road capable. They allow more aggressive riding over rough surfaces without suspension without the beating that a rigid 29er would dish out. They also provide incredible traction and the confidence to ride over tricky obstacles. In many ways, 29+ rules supreme across rough terrain, thanks to its ability to roll over even the largest of babyhead-sized rocks. What’s more, 29+ tires—and all plus tires, for that matter—also provide added floatation, increasing a bike’s ability to traverse sandy roads, pebbly river bottoms, and other soft terrain. Combined, these factors ensure more comfort over longer distances and on a wider variety of terrain: the perfect recipe for bikepacking.

  • 29+ Tires List
  • 29+ Tires List

Fitting to its nature, one of the first bikes claiming to be bikepacking-specific was the Surly ECR, a bike many folks referred to as the “bikepacking Krampus” when news of it initially surfaced. Released in 2013, the original ECR was shod with 29 x 3.0” tires and set new precedents for capability and utility in a rigid bike. After that, several companies created bikepacking-specific bikes around the 29+ platform, including the Chumba Ursa 29+, Carver Gnarvester, Salsa’s Deadwood and Woodsmoke, Bombtrack Beyond ADV, Why Wayward, and the Trek 1120, among others.

List of available 29+ Tires

29 x 3.0 is how it all got started. Some might argue that a full 3.0-inch tire is a true “plus” tire and all others should be called something else. Regardless, here is the full list of 29+ tires that are currently available. As always, tires with the “T” icon have been tested by one of us here on the site.

Note that we’ve confirmed that a few of the options in this won’t be restocked any time soon, so actual availability is unknown. Is 29+ on the way out? Let us know what you think in the discussion below. Also, be sure to drop a line if you know about a tire we missed. Our goal is to keep this list up to date with available options for all of you 29+ aficionados…

  • $99
    Bontrager XR2

    Bontrager XR2

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 850g
    • TPI: 120
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    We were pleasantly surprised by the Bontrager XR2 (formerly the Chupacabra). Its seemingly small, widely spaced square center tread and less-than-burly side knobs certainly don’t appear that aggressive. But, after learning of their prevalence in the southwestern US, it was clear the XR2 is a solid performer when it comes to rubble-strewn hardpack and fast singletrack.

    After finally getting to ride a set of XR2’s on the Trek 1120, a few standout qualities were immediately apparent. First, the 120TPI casing is very supple, roughly comparable to the Ranger+ Light’s casing. After putting some loaded miles on them, it seems like the sidewalls provide a good middle ground between weight and stability. The biggest selling point of the XR2 is their weight. At less than 900g, the XR2 is lighter than most of the tires on this list, which is quite surprising for a tire this size. All told, the Bontrager XR2 rolls quickly and corners with a level of confidence that far surpasses what one might expect.

    • Bontrager XR2 Tire
    • Bontrager XR2 Tire
    • Price: $99
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $101
    Maxxis Minion DHF

    Maxxis Minion DHF

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 1110g
    • TPI: 120
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    DHF stands for Down Hill Front, and this tire certainly has some lugs. If your intended terrain is wet, rough, steep, and loose, this might be your front tire. Here’s what Maxxis has to say, “Just run a DHF. How many times have you heard or said this when asking about tire advice? For over a decade, the Minion DHF has been the tire to beat when racing your friends on Saturday or the clock on Sunday. The tread pattern behind countless championship wins is now available in a high-volume, plus tire design so you can make new memories with an old friend.”

    • Weight: 1.11 kg (2.45 lbs)
    • Price: $101
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $95
    Surly Dirt Wizard

    Surly Dirt Wizard

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 1390g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    When Surly announced the Dirt Wizard it was just the third or fourth 29+ tire released. However, it took over a year before it was actually available to the public. We had a chance to try out one of the early prototypes, which was significantly different from the production version. Since then they’ve also added sidewall protection for more durability as well as a tubeless ready, folding bead, but the tread design is the same.

    The Dirt Wizard features beveled dual row tread in the center and massive side knobs to provide miles of traction and cornering grip. Its substantial lugs combined with a relatively soft rubber tread compound give the DW tons of traction, although at the expense of markedly high rolling resistance. That said, these are tough and rugged tires that are well suited to rocky terrain, muddy trails, and slippery roots, but are overkill for many bikepacking applications, especially when they involve pavement and hardpack.

    • Surly Dirt Wizard 29 x 3.0, 29+
    • Surly Dirt Wizard 29 x 3.0, 29+
    • Price: $95
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $90
    Surly Knard

    Surly Knard

    • Size: 29 x 3.0
    • Weight: 1170g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    The Surly Knard is the original 29+ tire. As such, it was the first one we took on a big expedition. To be specific, there are two versions. We’ve use the 27TPI with wire bead (1240g) version, which seems far more durable for bikepacking and touring than the 120TPI version with Kevlar bead (980g). Logan put over 7,500 kilometers on a pair and probably could have squeezed out a few hundred more. With that said, the 27TPI Knard is certainly the best tire of the batch if you are strictly looking for durable tread life. It’s also pretty fast comparable to most, if not all, of the tires listed here, save the Vee Speedster slick tire, perhaps. It has tightly spaced block tread that grips fairly well on multiple surfaces but is most at home on rock, gravel, packed dirt, and, believe it or not, pavement. Aside from being a rather heavy wire bead tire, the 27TPI Surly Knard’s biggest downfall is that it’s not technically tubeless-ready. It’s certainly been done but might require some creativity.

    • Surly Knard 29+ Tires, 29 x 3.0
    • Surly Knard 29+ Tires, 29 x 3.0
    • Price: $90
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $80
    Vee Bulldozer

    Vee Bulldozer

    • Size: 29 x 3.25"
    • Weight: 1030g
    • TPI: 72
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    Although the Bulldozer isn’t an aggressive tire, as its name might suggest, it makes up for it in sheer volume. I’ve run mine mounted to rims with an internal diameter of 49mm and the net result is an absolutely massive, stable tire that does pretty much bulldoze over anything. Thanks to this volume, I’ve had success running mine at low air pressures – typically, 8.5 to 9.5psi – which has added noticeable comfort to my fully rigid setup, even when riding rocks at speed.

    Given its shallow tread pattern and size, this tire doesn’t fare especially well over dry pine needles, loose dirt, and mud, as it tends to plane. But grip over dry roots and big rocks is good, and it rolls quickly on forest roads too. At around 1150g, mine don’t come close to Vee Rubber’s claimed weight, but at least they’ve proved durable so far, with no sidewall issues to report. I’d note that the extra volume does serve to jack up the bike a little, increasing bottom bracket height just a touch, as well as reducing mud clearance. I needed a compressor to install them tubeless, but had no major issues.

    • Vee Rubber Bulldozer 29x3.25
    • Vee Rubber Bulldozer 29x3.25
    • Weight: 1.03 kg (2.27 lbs)
    • Price: $80
    contract Close
  • $76.95
    WTB Ranger

    WTB Ranger

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 1145g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    We gave the WTB Ranger+ Tough a Best New Component award in our 2017 Bikepacking Awards. Given the steep pricing that beleaguers the plus tire world, it’s great to see such a high quality, great performing tire come in at such a competitive price point. The Ranger Tough rolls well, corners nicely, and the sidewalls are a big improvement for bikepacking over their lighter weight predecessors. Rangers are also available in a wide variety of sizes, including 26”, 27.5”, and 29”, with 2.8″ and 3” and widths on offer, too. While we’ve found they wear faster than some other, more expensive tires, we certainly can’t fault them for their price.

    There is also a light version that weighs 902g, 238 grams less than the 1140g Ranger Tough. However, we can’t recommend these for bikepacking. While Logan took a pair across the rocky, 613-mile Tian Shan Traverse in Kyrgyzstan with nary a flat, the light casing is prone to tears as well as serious weeping with a tubeless setup.

    • WTB Ranger Review, 3.0 TCS Tough, 29+
    • WTB Ranger Review, 3.0 TCS Tough, 29+
    • Weight: 1.15 kg (2.52 lbs)
    • Price: $76.95
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $76.95
    WTB Vigilante

    WTB Vigilante

    • Size: 29 x 2.8"
    • Weight: 1354g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    The WTB Vigilante is an aggressive trail tire with large, square, lugs designed to grab and bite on the gnarliest terrain. The generously spaced lugs shed mud in sticky conditions, and although it might not be the fastest rolling tire in this list, it’s probably one of the grippiest!

    I’ve spent a great deal of time on the 27.5 x 2.8″ WTB Vigilante here in the PNW, and it served up enough traction to ride all season long through thick mud and some snow without wavering. While it might not be the first option I recommend for a do-everything, bikepacking tire, it has proven to be durable, heard wearing, and exceptionally grippy. – Miles

    • wtb vigilante tire review
    • wtb vigilante tire review
    • Weight: 1.35 kg (2.99 lbs)
    • Price: $76.95 (Light / High Grip)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $99
    Bontrager XR4

    Bontrager XR4

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 1100g
    • TPI: 120
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    Untested/From Trek, “The XR4 Team Issue TLR tire offers incredible grip and fast-rolling efficiency in a new and improved tread pattern with 120 TPI casing. Save yourself from punctures with our Inner Strength sub-tread protection while squeezing out every bit of cornering traction with the 61a/50a dual-compound rubber. This tire really is that good.”

    • Price: $99
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $33.99
    CST BFT

    CST BFT

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 1199g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: No

    From CST: Push the standards of all-mountain freeride tires with the beefed up BFT from CST. The BFT (Big Fat Tire) has it where it counts – meaty center and side knobs to dig in on tight turns and tough climbs. Available with wire or folding bead with EPS (Exceptional Puncture Safety) puncture protection.

    • Weight: 1.2 kg (2.64 lbs)
    • Price: $33.99
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $80
    Duro Crux

    Duro Crux

    • Size: 29 x 3.25"
    • Weight: 1015g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: No

    There isn’t much information on the Crux available online, but here is what Unicycle.com, an online distributor, has to say about them. “The Duro Crux is one of the largest 29″ tires on the market, and we are big fans! The tire has big knobs for great traction, a supple sidewall, and huge volume, giving it an incredible ride!”

    • Weight: 1.02 kg (2.24 lbs)
    • Price: $80
    contract Close
  • Innova Transformers

    Innova Transformers

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 905g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    From Innova: An all terrain design by using many small knobs obtains the comfortable ride and smooth handle control. Also the design of holes in center of each knob is designed give more contact area with road surface to earn the best traction.

    • Weight: 905 grams (31.9 oz)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $101
    Maxxis Minion DHR II

    Maxxis Minion DHR II

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 1110g
    • TPI: 120
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    The R stands for, you guessed it, Rear. This is a faster-rolling version of the aforementioned DHF. Here’s Maxxis’ remarks, “The Minion DHRII is the Yang to the DHF’s Yin, the perfect complement, and now available for the most capable plus bikes on the market. Proven paddle knobs down the center not only provide decreased rolling resistance compared to the DHF but also offer increased braking when the trail gets loose. You may not notice it outside of the steepest terrain but those knobs allow you to brake harder in the rear to maintain your balance as you let the high volume casing absorb any trail irregularities.”

    • Weight: 1.11 kg (2.45 lbs)
    • Price: $101
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $91
    Maxxis Rekon

    Maxxis Rekon

    • Size: 29 x 2.8"
    • Weight: 919g / 967g
    • TPI: 120 / 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    The Maxxis Rekon is a light duty trail tire designed to go fast in technical terrain. It is offered in three compounds (Dual compound, 3C MaxxSpeed, or 3C MaxxTerra), 60 TPI or 120 TPI casing options, and Wide Trail sizes optimized for 35mm rims. The 29 x 2.8″ model is offered in both a 60 TPI/Dual Compound version and a 120 TPI/3C MaxxTerra option. There is also a 27.5 x 2.8″ version for those running 27.5″ wheels.

    • Weight: 967 grams (34.1 oz)
    • Price: $91 (60 TPI)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $79
    Panaracer Fat B Nimble

    Panaracer Fat B Nimble

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 765g
    • TPI: 120
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    From Panaracer: The Fat B Nimble is the next step in Fat Bike tire evolution. High-quality and reasonably priced, the Fat B Nimble combines an aggressive tread with larger, cut, center blocks for tremendous grip and changes up to the block cut edge lug for fantastic cornering traction.

    • Weight: 765 grams (27 oz)
    • Price: $79
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
    contract Close
  • $70
    Teravail Coronado

    Teravail Coronado

    • Size: 29 x 2.8"
    • Weight: 1090g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    From Teravail: ​​The 29 x 2.8” Coronado offers the highest amount of angular momentum of its siblings, as well as the larger footprint and flotation that a plus-size tire offers. The mild and open center tread works with the slightly more aggressive side knobs to offer traction and stability suited for sandy terrain and bikepacking. Coronado is a plus-sized tire that increases ground clearance, stability and momentum, and floatation. Its mild and open center tread works with slightly more-aggressive side knobs for traction and efficiency in varied terrain. Coronado is an excellent choice for riders who venture onto the most rugged roads and trails.

    • Weight: 1.09 kg (2.4 lbs)
    • Price: $70 (Light & Supple)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $60
    Terrene Cake Eater

    Terrene Cake Eater

    • Size: 29 x 2.8”
    • Weight: 1132g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    From Terrene: Gliding over a frozen lake or twisting through a groomed trail—winter riding is best enjoyed with a quick and capable tire that won’t drag you down and still rail through turns. Inspired by studless winter vehicle snow tires, Cake Eater was designed to have lower center tread height with deep siping for lower rolling resistance while the side lugs remained tall and edgy for biting into soft corners. Studs pockets were added in the transition areas for optional added cornering confidence in icy conditions.

    • Weight: 1.13 kg (2.5 lbs)
    • Price: $60 (Tough Casing)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $60
    Terrene McFly

    Terrene McFly

    • Size: 29 x 2.8"
    • Weight: 1083g
    • TPI: 60
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    Terrene, a relatively new tire company, designed the Mcfly to be a jack of all trades tire for anything from local cross country trails to backcountry adventures. The Mcfly comes in both 27.5 and 29 x 2.8, each with two casing options, Light or Tough. Our local tester, TJ Kearns, has been on the 29 x 2.8 Tough version for a couple of months in all conditions here in Pisgah. They have seen multiple overnight trips as well as some of the hardest trails in Pisgah. TJ summarized, “These tires seem to climb anything. With the right air pressure, I was constantly surprised at what I was able to climb with these tires, both loaded and unloaded. Running about 15psi in the front and 22psi in the back gave me all the traction I needed to keep me from hiking. The McFly is equally impressive while descending. The wider-spaced knobs seem to dig into the dirt and shed mud well. The tires maintain control when cornering at high speed, even in loose gravel.”

    The Tough version of the Mcfly adds 120 grams of weight, but it also adds peace of mind. Throughout the course of this test, TJ claims to have bottomed out rims on multiple occasions, one of which required him to bend the rim back into place. After two months of hard use, the rear tire is showing a little wear in the center and some on the edges of the side knobs. Terrene has really hit the nail on the head with this tire. It rolls fast, has plenty of traction, and so far seems durable.

    • Weight: 1.08 kg (2.39 lbs)
    • Price: $60 (Tough Casing)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
    contract Close
  • $75
    Vee Speedster

    Vee Speedster

    • Size: 29 x 2.8"
    • Weight: 1175g
    • TPI: 72
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    Untested/From Vee: “The Speedster was designed for rolling speed and minimal drag on hard pack or paved terrain. The honeycomb center tread provides virtually zero rolling resistance and unbelievable tread life. The honeycomb feature also gives you excellent traction in dry or wet conditions. Large diamond shaped side knobs provide the grip you need in corners, while the tread knobs get smaller towards the center for the ultimate speed and traction. And with its balloon-style structure, you’ll feel like you’re floating on air.”

    • Weight: 1.18 kg (2.59 lbs)
    • Price: $75 (Folding Bead)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
    contract Close
  • $70
    Vee T-Fatty

    Vee T-Fatty

    • Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Weight: 1225g
    • TPI: 72
    • Tubeless Ready: Yes

    From Vee: The dual central tread of the T-Fatty can’t be beaten for all-out speed and braking capability. The intermediate block design is arranged for a smooth transition to the supportive cornering edge. The T-Fatty’s high-volume design has earned a strong reputation as a comfortable long-distance tire. Our MPC, multi-purpose rubber compound, makes for a long-lasting tire with exceptional grip and unbeatable performance.

    • Weight: 1.23 kg (2.7 lbs)
    • Price: $70
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
    contract Close

29+ Tires We’ll Miss

All good things eventually come to an end, and we’ve had to say goodbye to a handful of different 29+ tires over the years. Is this a warning sign about the future of the 29+ platform? We’re not ready to give up just yet, but here are some tires that are no longer available.

  • Maxxis Chronicles
  • Bontrager Chupacabra
  • Vittoria Bomboloni
  • Vittoria Cannoli
  • WTB Ranger 2.8″ (and 2.6″)
  • 29+ Tires List, The Low Down Gear Guides
  • 29+ Tires List, 29 plus tire options

Ideal Rim widths for 29+

The original 29+ rim, the Surly Rabbit Hole, was designed in conjunction with their 29 x 3.0˝ Knard tire. The Rabbit Hole is 50mm wide with an internal width (IW) of about 45mm, which has become the standard for 3.0” tires and provides a wide, stable footprint that maximizes the tire’s profile for traction and float. Typically, 2.8-3.0” tires require at least a 35mm IW rim to safely engage the bead hook and provide an appropriate profile. We generally think wider is better, and stand behind 45mm as an ideal IW for 3.0” tires. However, 45mm IW rims aren’t quite as versatile, if you wish to swap for smaller tires at some point. With that, 40mm is a pretty safe bet, and is also fitting for 2.6 and 2.8″ tires. One such rim that we’d recommend is the WTB KOM Tough i40. DT Swiss also makes the XM 551. That said, many turn to 35mm rims for 2.6-2.8” tires as they offer a versatile platform if you plan on switching between standard 29er and plus-sized tires. In a nutshell, we like 35mm IW for 2.6″ and 40-45mm rims for 2.8″ and 3.0″ tires.

29+ Tires Weight Comparison

For reference, here is a list of all of the 29+ tires (many of which are discontinued and marked with a *) with claimed weights (or actual weights, where possible).

  • Panaracer Fat B Nimble 765 grams
  • Terrene McFly Light (2.8”)*810 grams
  • Bontrager XR2 120TPI 850 grams
  • Bontranger Chupacabra*880 grams
  • WTB Ranger+ Light 902 grams
  • Maxxis Rekon 120TPI 919 grams
  • Vee T-Fatty 920 grams
  • Innova Pro Transformers 920 grams
  • Terrene McFly Tough (2.8”) 930 grams
  • Vee Tire Speedster 980 grams
  • Vee Bulldozer (3.25”) 1030 grams
  • Vittoria Bomboloni* 1040 grams
  • Maxxis Chronicle 120TPI EXO TR*1050 grams
  • Teravail Coronado (2.8) 1090 grams
  • Surly Dirt Wizard 120tpi 1096 grams
  • Bontrager XR4 Team Issue TLR 1100 grams
  • Maxxis Minion DHF Plus 120TPI 1110 grams
  • Maxxis Minion DHR II Plus 120TPI 1110 grams
  • Terrene Cake Eater (2.8) 1132 grams
  • WTB Ranger+ Tough 1145 grams
  • Maxxis Minion DHF Plus 60TPI 1160 grams
  • Maxxis Minion DHR II Plus 60TPI 1160 grams
  • Vittoria Cannoli* 1170 grams
  • CST BFT 1199 grams
  • Bontrager SE4 Team Issue TLR ~1200 grams
  • Duro Crux (3.25”) 1215 grams
  • Surly Knard (27TPI) 1280 grams
  • WTB Vigilante (Tough Casing) 1354 grams
  • Surly Dirt Wizard 60tpi 1390 grams

Wrap Up

As we see it, 29+ tires remain a solid choice for bikepacking and mountain biking alike, especially for taller riders. Smaller riders under 5’8” may run into real estate issues between tires and bags, especially for seat bags that require more than 6” between the saddle rails and rear tire. That said, smaller riders can typically still use 29+ tires with a rack and small panniers, which might better suit those bound for big international trips. Speaking of which, another plus for 29+ is that if bikepacking abroad is your thing, standard-width 29er tires are globally available, should you need a bailout option for your mid-fat rim, though 29+ tires are much harder to find internationally than their 26” counterparts.

In fact, since the rise and fall of 27.5+, and the advent of “wide trail”—which we consider 2.7” and under, perhaps the topic of a future Gear Index—the development of new 29+ tires seems to have waned somewhat, but there are still a solid range of options, and several proven bikepacking-friendly 29+ tires on the market. To further dig into the subject, be sure to watch Neil’s video below.

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