Join Date: Jul 2011
Bikes: Santa Cruz Blur TR, Cannondale Quick CX dropbar conversion & others
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I have done this. It was relatively hard to find a rear tire that cleared, which in my case I settled on the Bontrager 29-3 29x2.0" tire. It is well-known to run narrow, about 1.8", and doesn't have knobs that stick out to the sides.
The front was far worse because my bike has a 80mm Magura/Cannondale headshok fork that I believe was meant for a 26" MTB, not a hybrid or 29er at all. There is plenty of width, but hardly any room in the crown. I have a 19mm wide rim, which could be a factor as well. One would expect a tire to bulge upward slightly, increasing diameter, when mounting a tire on a narrow rim compared to a wider one.
I couldn't even fit tires with a low profile knob, like a WTB Nano(raptor) 29x2.1, Kenda Slant Six 29x2.0, or Specialized Fast Track LK 29x2.0.
Eventually I solved this with an oversized cyclocross tire: Schwalbe Smart Sam 700x45. The casing has less volume and even though it's pretty wide, the sidewall and tire diameter is less than any 29er tire. Having gone through a lot of hassle with the front tire, I would just buy a pair of the 45mm Smart Sam and call it good enough. They should fit most hybrids with a suspension fork. (If you have hybrid that's more like a flatbar road bike, like a Trek FX, they usually can't do more than 35mm cyclocross tires.)
Now I'm saving up for a full suspension 29er. Salsa Spearfish, Giant Anthem X 29er, something like that.