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700c/29er tire for loaded dirt touring

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700c/29er tire for loaded dirt touring

Old 03-06-15, 10:38 PM
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700c/29er tire for loaded dirt touring

Hi all,

I realize this question may prompt as many opinions as there are people, but hopefully you can give me a little guidance.

I'm hoping to do some touring in South America in 2016 and I'm trying to find a good touring tire for the dirt road sections, which could be plentiful. I'll be riding a road bike with 700c/29er wheels.

On my road tours I have had great luck with Schwalbe Marathons and Continental Gatorskins. I will mostly use those again, as I plan to do most the tour on paved roads. But I want to have a set of 29x2.0 tires (or so) for those times when I'll be spending long days off the pavement while crossing the Andes. I don't anticipate any gnarly single track or really rough roads, but I'll probably find myself on some moderately rough and rocky roads. If the mood strikes to ride the gnarly stuff I'll buy a pair of real mtn bike tires along the way.

So here's what I'm looking for:

-Folding bead (to fit in the panniers)
-Durable and flat resistant
-Good rolling resistance on the smooth stuff, but with enough traction to hold on dirt, sand and gravel

Light weight and low price would be nice, but these aren't deal breakers.

I tend to pack light, so I don't anticipate I'll need much over 2.0".

It appears to me that options from Schwalbe include the the Marathon Deluxe 29x2, the Marathon Mondial 700x50 and the Marathon Almotion 700x50 (maybe too roadie?).

Does anybody have any experience with these Schwalbes? Or are there other great options out there for dirt and gravel touring?
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Old 03-07-15, 10:59 AM
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The WTB Nano Race comes with a folding bead and is 29x2.1. It's a popular tire among people who ride the Great Divide route, which has a combo of non-technical gravel roads and paved roads.
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Old 03-07-15, 12:23 PM
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Ive liked the Continental Travel contact, Continental Bicycle -Travel CONTACT It's their ride past the paved world adventure gravel touring tire.
Slick band down the center Tread ( separate center tread knobs squirm around and worsen rolling resistance) ,
the side Knobs will get a grip when the paved roads end & suface is dirt.

You dont need a folding tire on your road wheels at all. and I've even just draped a steel bead 3rd tire over my rear panniers

bringing it into a near figure8 makes it curve nicely.

there is the rolling in 3rds technique Too https://sheldonbrown.com/video/tire-folding.mov

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-08-15 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 03-07-15, 03:47 PM
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A variety of XC racing tires would be suitable. One with lots of small and low knobs would be my choice. Kenda makes the Slant Six and the Small Block Eight either of which might work well for you.
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Old 03-07-15, 09:16 PM
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I currently utilise 50:622 Mondials on my Ogre for multi-surface touring.
They are currently on my Ogre and Extrawheel trailer and I carry one spare with me on tour (and two tubes).
I like them well enough but I think after also trailing Big Apples, Supremes in 60 and 50 respectively, I'm tempted to trial some Supreme 32's for tarmac and carry some folding knobbly's for rough stuff of around 2.35 (60:622) which is as large as will fit comfortably within my fenders.
I'm not too worried about puncture resistance with regards the knobbly's, which I will utilise with tubes as I find in my locale, its more likely an issue on the tarmac from shredded truck tire wires.
I've a couple of WTB Exiwolf tires awaiting trial in 2.30:622 that I picked up cheap.
Folding for $16 each couldn't be turned down.


With regards your parameters I think the Mondial would be my choice.
Not the lightest in two inch but certainly up there with regards multi-surface, puncture resistant, durable and rolling resistance.

Last edited by rifraf; 03-07-15 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 03-08-15, 11:03 AM
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I like all these options suggested above.

I, myself, use Maxxis High Roller 2.4 in the front and Maxxis Minion 2.4 in the back. The slanted knobs provide pretty good street performance, but I'm leaning towards the "dirt" side of the spectrum, heavily.

I would go wider rather than narrower. You'll go a little slower on roads, but you'll make up for it with speed on the dirt sections.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:47 AM
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I use the Mondial 700x40 on my touring bike, and that has worked well for dirt roads.
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Old 03-10-15, 09:06 AM
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You say "road bike" how much room do you have? Fat bike?
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Old 03-10-15, 08:18 PM
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Thanks everybody for the suggestions. That gives me some guidance for various options. I think I may get a set of Mondials and see how they work around here. If all goes well I'll get some more and ship them to various points along my expected route.

Fietsbob - unfortunately I have to go with folding, as I'll either be shipping them or carrying them with me on this summer's plane trip to Argentina. Lighter weight, but mas dinero.

Gandrimp - I actually designed my frame myself. It was a fun little project to learn about bike geometry. I then had somebody build the frame. Anticipating that I might be going off-road, I factored in enough room for tires up to about 2.2"

Thanks again everybody!
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