Editors Note: Twenty Nine Inches is starting a new semi-regular series of posts called “Thinking Out Loud About:”. In these posts we will be detailing out some thoughts and giving some ideas on specific 29″er related topics. Then we will invite you to “think out loud” in the comments section. You can add your voice to the discussion. (Keep in mind, these comments are moderated and we need to stay on topic!) Our hope is that by having our readers give their thoughts on specific topics, that manufacturers and industry folks will take cues from these comments and use them to make 29″ers and 29″er components better in the future.

Well………..we figure it wouldn’t hurt to at least try!

Thinking Out Loud About Tire Design For 29″ers.

Tires. The one component of a bicycle that connects you to the trail. Pretty important stuff. It can be argued that no other component on your bike has as big an effect on performance and ride quality as tires do. Obviously it also is one of the biggest necessities to accomplish building a 29″er- the right sized tire and in the right width.

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Bontrager introduced tire designs that are “29”er specific” in 2008.

Originally, having any tire available in a 2 inch width that would fit a 700c/ISO 622 rim was cause for joy. However; as time went on, and new designs proliferated in 29″er sizes, questions about how 29 inch tires are designed arose. Do 29 inch tires necessitate a specific design separate from 26 inch designs? Bontrager seems to think so. In 2008 they announced that the entire 29 inch tire line up would be redesigned in the future to reflect a 29″er specific design philosophy. Tires designed from the drawing board to enhance a 29 inch wheels specific traits and strengths. Several of these models are now available. Does this design philosophy make a difference? Well, it is possible, as for example, we gave the 29-3 Bontrager tires a nod in our Top Ten list from last year. Or was that just a lucky coincidence?

Some would argue that what 29″er riders really need are not specific tread designs, but things that 26″er riders have enjoyed for years. That being wider, more aggressive tires, or faster, lighter race tires, and probably even more importantly, tires that feature technologies not seen in 29″er tires. UST, (which has been tried by the way), rubber durometers outside of the norm, bead treatments, side wall reinforcements, and the like top this list of “wants” by 29″er riders. Basically, more choices that reflect what the 26″er market has.

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Some would argue that 29″er tires need more high end technologies in their construction, like this 29 inch WTB Dissent has.

Thinking Out Loud Now…… Do 29″er tire companies need to design specific treads for their 29 inch diameter tires, or do they need to make more high end construction techniques available? Shouldn’t we really be asking for both? Perhaps it might be a better idea just to focus on having most tires be made tubeless ready? What do you, the 29″er riders out there think?

Okay readers. Have at it in the comments section. But keep these ground rules in mind: #1: Comments must stay on topic. #2: Play nice! Overly negative, aggressive, slanderous, and rude comments will be deleted. Okay? Have fun!