Tyred out.

8 12 2015

Well, it’s been a while. There has been little typing, other than a recent article in The Ride Journal (the last one and a doozy at that, go buy it!) and next to no pedaling. In fact, I have spent the last 3 months battling several annoying maladies, the worst being a pretty troubling, bilateral, sciatica.

Anyway, the less said the better. Things are on the mend (if you discount my coughing and spluttering) and today an admittedly short ride was completed without the previous weakness and lack of power. Still, 3 months of vastly reduced physical activity is going to leave a footprint. Or perhaps a vacuum is a more appropriate descriptive term.

On the other hand, it has left me with plenty of time to ponder. I have been enjoying ‘plus’ and fat tyre bikes since their emergence. The improvement in tyre options has been fantastic, but it has also led to a little consternation.

Full-fat tyres have sprouted in so many different actual sizes (rather than the side wall estimate), it is well worth doing extensive research to ascertain if they will even fit your frame.

With the arrival of the Vee Snowshoe 2XL, we may be witness to the biggest tyre that will ever be produced for a bicycle. See here for astonishing comparisons.


On the 27.5+ side, you have several widths: 2.6″-ish (the WTB Trailblazer), 2.8″ (Surly Dirt Wizard, Schwalbe, Vee and soon Maxxis with the hotly anticipated Ikon and Rekon) and a full 3″ (Maxxis Chronicle, Schwalbe, Vittoria Bomboloni, several new WTB offerings and again, Vee). There is also a 3.25″ Trax Fatty from Vee that is currently the biggest offering in this relatively new size.

Except – no! it is not.

Bontrager have released the Hodag in a 27.5×4 size. Some measurements are beginning to turn up around the web and it would appear that 86mm or 3.5″ ish is the girth on a 50mm rim. Soon, I will measure it myself as I have pre-ordered one and it seems stock arrives in a few days.

Now, I need to work out how I am going to use it. With a Trailblazer rear? or a full 3″ b+ on the rear? or with a 29+? (they are a similar diameter) or a 26×4? the list and permutations go on. Once I decide that, I need to make ready a wheel to accept it. I am thinking the Bontrager 80mm wide rims on Trek’s Farley fat bike are perhaps unnecessary and will use either a Nextie 52mm wide/45mm internal rim or a DT Swiss XM551 (at 44mm wide/40mm internal) as a first port of call.

It is a brave new world.


As a matter of fact, I still need to decide how I am going to try the Bontrager Chupacabra I have just received. This 29×3″ is light and the siped, stud tread may be just the ticket for the sloppy crap the trails have become wit the last 2 months of rain.

More soon…including a new mini tool from PB Swiss.






7 responses

8 12 2015

Very much liking my Chupacabras (came stock on the Stache). Seem to be coping with winter slop pretty well. Clear nice enough, even in clay-based soils, but most of the riding near me is just leaf-mulch mud, and wet, so no issues at all.

Bit vague cornering in the wet, but only in an entertaining fashion, rather than “oh my god I’m going to die”.

8 12 2015

Chupacabra not spiky enough for current conditions here. Stu was floating (in a bad way) on a lot of sections tonight – he’s got them front and rear.

9 12 2015

The varying tyre widths are bad enough, but it’s the overall diameter that really makes things tricky when determining what might or might not fit in a given frame. Both of which are also influenced by rim width. My head is exploding just thinking about the various permutations.

9 12 2015

Interested to see your conclusions. I’m currently figuring out what comes next having quite enjoyed 29er 2.4s with a wide rim. Considering a cheap explore into fatter tyres converting my 456 Carbon with carbon fork and 27.5+ front wheel. There’s a fair bit of width out back for a really wide 26er and if I like it I could then upgrade the frame. Keep it coming.


17 01 2016

Jon, looking for a little direction re choosing the best rim width for my fat bike. I’ve currently running a Marge lite paired with a 4.8 Bud on the front (with a 29+ 50mm / DW tyre rear) and to be honest I like the characteristics. It has loads of float, turns in nice & quickly for the Mugdock techy trails, at 5psi it hasn’t yet folded over in corners nor does it have any decernable self steer.

My thinking is based on a slightly narrower rim gives the tyre a more rounded profile which aids a quicker turn in. To be clear I’ve not really ridden anything else properly to be able to compare.

However, I’m about to go full fat (with another Bud on the rear, there’s loads of space) and order some new carbon rims but after much reading and listening to various FAT-BIKE podcasts I’m beginning to think I’m missing out on something really special with wider rims. My head is full of ‘correct’ rim / tyre combos, optimum ratios etc etc

What’s your real world experience behind wider rims given that I currently think the 65mm front rim with a Bud is great.

I’m leaning towards staying with the 65mm setup as it’ll shave a good 150-200g of each end and I like the quick handling I’m currently enjoying. Or….should I go for the 80mm+ rim?!

17 01 2016

well, in my limited experience so far, i would say that unless the bike is primarily going to be used on sand, snow or bog, a slightly narrower rim is preferable. I dont mind the maxxis mammoth on the 85mm hed rim, but if i could have my druthers, i would be on 65-70mm i think. it just seems to protect the rim a litle more from strikes when cornering in rocky or rooty stuff. on the front, with the 4.5 flowbeist the 85 is probably about right, though again, it would also probably be fine with 65-70. for super soft conditions, id want 4.5″ and bigger on 100s. it will be interesting to try the hodag 27.5×3.8 on a 50mm rim on this bike – that tyre seems similar sized to the mammoth – which is not a big tyre for ‘fat’.

17 01 2016

and i’d echo your thoughts on weight: for dirt and trail, saving 100-200g is well worth it IMO!

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