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UNCLE DAVE RESPONDS

The Death of Plus Tires, Take II

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Mar 15, 2022
Reading time

Oh! So we’re using people’s words against them now, are we Mike?* We’re going to take opinions that were formed and hold them up as beliefs that people once held? Okay. That’s fine. This feels like a bold move for the guy with a 30 year writing career. And what is this place now? An infinite loop of dullness, where we all just write new articles commenting on previous articles posted on this very website? I look forward to your response, Michael! I’m already taking notes.

Yes, it’s true. At one point I foresaw the widespread adoption of plus tires. I still sort of remember those days and how that felt. It’s strange to think of a time when I was excited to talk to people and had something positive to say. I’m sure someday in the future I’ll experience that again.

*If you haven't read Mike Ferrentino's column from last week, you might want to give it a look before reading any further.

Now, about that particular Specialized review. I mean…ya…I said those things. I think I was more excited by the idea of plus tires than of that actual bike. Seb hated it and I was the idiot walking around talking about plus tires all the time so it seemed logical that I should provide some sort of counterpoint to that. The Specialized was dropped off for me and I spent a month or two plonking around on it in some North Shore slop. And, actually, it worked pretty damn well in North Shore slop! That thing had gobs of traction and an ability to iron out slow speed chunder.

I also had this to say:

The tire set-up did feel a bit squirrelly at times, much more so than I noticed on the Scott. I didn’t put in a whole lot of time on faster trails, but when the speeds went up or the pressure went down was when it was most noticeable. I’ll mention it again – I’d really love to see a slightly smaller tire and a wider rim.

Which…in hindsight, I could have maybe been a bit stronger on. As this was one of the first reviews NSMB did on plus tires some thoughts on the general concept crept in. 3.0s on skinny-assed rims weren’t the answer for many things other than slow speed North Shore chunder. After riding that bike I really wanted to ride more plus bikes. It’s just that all these other bikes kept showing up without them so another opportunity never presented itself. I immediately bought one for my girlfriend though, and she has no interest in going back to skinnier tires.

You’ll notice that I throw in a passing reference to a Scott in there, which refers to this article here. If we want to find the root cause of what got me all excited about plus tires in the first place, that was it. To briefly re-tell that story, I showed up in Utah to a fleet full of Scott bikes, and none of them were anything that I wanted to ride. There were no Gamblers, and the Voltage freeride bike that they had was clad in some skinny ass 2.3s. I did a few laps on a Voltage before begrudgingly hopping on a Genius with 2.7s.

2017 Scott Genius Plus LT.jpg

The Plus tire-equipped Scott Genius LT that captured Uncle Dave's heart.

The proof though, is in the pudding. While I scoffed at the idea of silly, wide-assed tires on a bicycle, the Genius was everything that the Voltage was not. I couldn’t not have fun on that bike. Deer Valley was loose and rocky and that bike made the most of it. I fell in with a group of Kiwis and Aussies and the four of us rode around from first to last chair for two days like a bunch of teenagers who had just discovered the joy of masturbation. Yes, we had to fix an insane amount of flat tires, and somebody burped one pretty much every run, but it didn’t seem to matter. It was a gooey, messy period of fun and discovery*.

Also, have a look at that bike. Take a really close look at the tires on that bike and the profile that it cuts and I would argue we’re not all that far from where we are today. That 2.7 Schwalbe is closer to a modern 2.5 than it is to a 3.0 plus tire (if you squint a bit). If you really want to get in to why plus tires didn’t make it, it’s because we didn’t need them any longer! Plus tires set the table for their own demise, and I think it is valid to argue that we got to where we are now much faster than we would have without them.

Think back to the first few years of 650b bikes. The industry jumped in on 650b, hard. By 2014, it seemed like nearly everything was 650b, but good luck finding a decent tire for that new bike that you just bought. Have a look at the 2015 Maxxis catalogue and gasp at the lack of choices. Unless you were running a full DH casing, there weren’t many good ones. DHF or DHR in a 2.3? High Roller II in a 2.4? I remember at some point in 2014 Morgan handed me a worn out Ardent as an improvement on some piece of shit that came mounted on a test bike. An Ardent! Talk about desperate. Even with the benefit of hindsight it’s tough to find a really great tire option in 2015.** For all the talk of wheel size it seems like we ignored a really important part of that conversation. Indeed, stressing about the minutiae of tire specifications feels like a fairly recent development. Back in 2015 we didn’t even have the basics down.

Jump to 2016 and you’ve got all the new Wide Trail tires. DHFs in a 2.5 (plus multiple compounds and double down!) and DHRs in a 2.4. Those were the tires we needed! Those are the tires that many of us are still running! We all jumped so hard into 650b and it took until the very tail end of 2015 before we finally had some tires to do those bikes justice. Do we get there that quickly without companies making bikes with stupid wide tires?

Because of that, I think it’s a little unfair to jump so wantonly on the grave of plus tires. Yes, 3.0 was a bit silly, but so was a single compound 2.3! You can’t nitpick the faults of the plus tire while ignoring the faults of the rock hard 2.3 that it was up against. You can’t judge the plus tire against the rich selection of treads, casings and compounds that we now have (not to mention inserts). So, as is always, context is everything, and the context is that in 2015, tires for 650b sucked. If my choice of 2015 tire is either a 2.3 or a 2.7, I’ll take that 2.7. As several people pointed out in the comments of Mike’s article, one could argue that would now just be called a “tire” and not plus.


Yes, we had to fix an insane amount of flat tires, and somebody burped one pretty much every run, but it didn’t seem to matter. It was a gooey, messy period of fun and discovery.

As with any period of change, it’s inevitable that you overshoot your mark before arriving at your destination. We can now laugh at the 3.0 tire, but it didn’t exist in a vacuum. Plus-sized tires normalized wider tires and rims and helped to push the industry away from the piddly little 2.3s that were everywhere. Because of that, Mike, I think today should not be a celebration of the death of the plus tire, it should be a celebration of the death of the 2.3. There’s a fairly strong argument to be made that the plus tire was one of the larger nails in that coffin.

And the funniest damn thing in all of this…I kind of really want to track down a set of plus wheels to try out on the Ripmo AF!

Sorry,

Uncle Dave

*From all of the sealant spraying all over the place.

**Somebody will chime in with a non Maxxis option here, and I’m not saying that no good tire existed. But this was what the most popular tire manufacturer in mountain biking gave us in 2015. If Maxxis didn’t have it, chances are most of us stopped there and took what we could get.

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Comments

Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major mrbrett Cr4w Andy Eunson cheapondirt Justin White

Uncle Dave good continuation/counter to Mike, but I'll wager it wasn't really the tyres as much as the rims, those fvcking stupid ass i23 or narrower road rims with 2.2"+ tyres mounted onto and expected anything but to need high pressures and shitty casing shape. The move to i25 being on the smaller side of rim width, was when things started to get better. I have a set of the OG Syntace Wide Lightening 35s (30 internal), they were the first rim that wide, that didn't weigh a tonne and they make a 2.3" tyre look and perform much different, heck the difference between the casing of a 2.3" mounted on an i23 vs i30 is quite incredible, on some as much as 4-5mm difference.

I once mounted my On One Chunky Monkey and Smorgasbord tyres onto my i39 wheelset I'd built for testing true 29+ and it was insane. Now you wouldn't want to take that setup anywhere through some seriously tight, janky rock sections as the sidewalls would most likely get absolutely fuzzed unless you were really careful picking your lines, but everywhere else, man they were amazing, the pressures you could run and the lack of tyre roll.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Lynx . Andrew Major Justin White

You hit the nail on the head there. I think one of the main reasons that plus tires kind of failed is that you couldn’t put a 3.0 or 2.8 on an existing narrow rim without having to run the same psi as you did with a narrower tire to avoid the tire roll. That meant new rims and maybe frame too to fit wider tires. That limited the market to mostly new bikes. 

PSI and casing construction determine contact patch size. I tried 2.8 Minions on a 30mm Internal rim and I found I needed the same pressure as I was using in a 2.4/2.5 Minions to avoid tire roll. All I was getting was extra weight.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 gubbinalia Kos Justin White

Dave - I'm quite the fan of 2.3 tyres for the following reasons:

1)  You can get from edge to edge quicker.

2)  You can run a heavier casing with the same overall weight as a 2.5.

3)  They roll faster than 2.5s as there's less rubber on the ground.

4)  You don't get the big gaps between centre and side knobs - DHF i'm look right at you with your huge "drift" channel.

Downsides - less braking grip.  Less grip on slippery tech gnar.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 gubbinalia

I might argue that #2 can help with the grip downsides. I run a heavier double-120tpi-ply 2.3 in the back at 22ish psi and a lighter reinforced single-60tpi-ply 2.6 in the front at 19ish psi.  If I ran a single-60 in the back, no matter the size, I'd need a few more psi to keep the rim off the rocks and the bead on the rim. So I take the weight hit of the heavy casing (way more sidewall stiffness, only a bit more tread stiffness) in exchange for a few less psi and a good bit more grip.

Everything else in that list: yup!

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

I'm 100kg kitted up and run my tough Vigis at 20.5 and 24.5 so yeah you can run them softer than a lighter casing tyre which should equal more grip.

Reply

DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

Well put.  I've got 2.3 on the trail bike that gets ridden on machine built trails on rolling terrain for these reasons, except on #2 I'm running EXO with tannus tubeless.  I'm also on older 27mm Reserves instead of 30mm or more, which is another marginal weight savings.

As to #3, I've always wondered if it holds true vs a 2.4 or 2.5 that could arguably be run at slightly lower pressure and thus better deform to trail surface irregularities.  

On this point, I'm not worried about sidewall cuts on the trail bike and think/hope the EXO + insert gives me lower pressures with sidewall support and a supple casing for lower rolling resistance.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 mikesee Mike Ferrentino Justin White

The grip we want, is not the grip we need.

Maybe we need to talk about weight specific tire width...

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Justin White Lynx .

Plus Tires are dead! Long live Plus Tires!

I couldn't [happily] ride Maxxis tires until they came out with 2.5" WT width options [acceptable volume, but not amazing] and then finally 2.6" width tires. I also want and use 2.8" - 3.0" tires, but if all I could get were 29 x 2.6" tires I could make it work and be happy.

I was riding Conti 26 x 2.4" Rubber Queen/Trail King tires back ~2012 because they were the first high volume [about the same as a Maxxis 2.5" tire], supple casing/low rolling resistance, reasonably robust casing and reasonably good traction year round in the PNWet.

How many more Plus Tires Are Dead Article can we generate? I mean that horse ain't just dead and beaten, but it's decomposed and pretty much reduced to dust. Maybe we can move to a series of 275ers Are Dead articles or 275ers Was it Worth the Trouble?

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+12 Gasket Jeff cxfahrer Justin White Mammal fartymarty cheapondirt blackhat Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson Sandy James Oates Muesliman Dave Tolnai Cam McRae Spencer Nelson

(opens Microsoft Word, cracks knuckles, starts typing...)

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
3 months ago
0

LOL. We had another presented to us as well! I don't spend much time looking at other MTB publications and we just write about whatever we want to write about without worrying about what anyone else is doing. So our horse has only been abused twice.

I had one written in my head though, relating to how inserts gave me everything I liked about plus tires without flimsy sidewalls and crappy casings. 

RIP articles about what killed PLUS! Up next, several pieces about what killed articles arguing about what killed PLUS.

Reply

demostat
Gasket Jeff
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Vik Banerjee Justin White Metacomet

Plus size tires are awesome.  I find it very frustrating watching them disappear like endangered whales.  I run a WTB plus size (2.8) up front and a 2.5 in the rear.  I feel naked when I ride a bike that does not have a plus size up front.  I think the industry was way to quick to move on when PS tires did not catch on as fast as a dot com failure.  I please do not dismiss these tires, in my mind upfront a PS tire is a superior choice...

I wish bike industry should focus a little more on tech and a little less on capturing the larges chunk of the market possible.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Gasket, on what type of bike are we talking here, Rigid, HT, FS (short or long travel)???? For me, a good 2.35" tyre on an i30 rim is more than enough width for trail riding on an FS, anything bigger and I feel like I'm more than cheating and not contributing much in the equation of how I get down the trail. 

Now if we're talking HT, a nice 2.8" outback paired with a 2.5" upfront is quite nice and on a rigid anything from 2.6-3.0" is good, although lots more work and workout running the smaller option over 3.0".

Reply

demostat
Gasket Jeff
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

2016 Norco Range.  WITH A RS lyric 170 fork.   WTB vigilante 2.8 up front and WTB convict 2.5 in the rear.  Both on ibis carbononium rims with a 35mm internal diameter.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Bejeebus Bro, where do you live and ride? For me it'd have to be someplace Rampageesque, if not, that sounds to me like just rolling down the trail in a tank, can't feel anything or need to give much rider input, pretty boring IMHO.

When I put 650Bx2.8"s on my Prime, it was the most boring bike ever, fun in a way I guess, but missed a line, just plow right over/through it, no worries and I don't ride to be a passenger, I ride to be the one getting me and the bike down the most tech trails I can find, with as little dabs/walking as possible and safely, that's why I love the Phantom (105mm rear/130mm front) and the Unit (full rigid 29+).

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just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Gasket Jeff Tjaard Breeuwer

You seem to be forgetting that you don't have to plow everything just because the bike can. A burlier bike can still pick lines, and you can still "be the one getting me and the bike down the most tech trails I can find", but the extra forgiveness of a "boring" bike means many people will actually be more likely to do it "with as little dabs/walking as possible and safely". You'll still know if you only made it because you "cheated" and plowed over something, and you can go back and ace it anytime. And sure, it might take a little more energy to finesse a burlier bike through certain sections, but that's only going to make you stronger anyway. And you also get stronger by being able to make it all the way down a tough section, even you had to let the bike save you halfway, instead of bailing out and walking.

I'm so tired of this "less capable bike is more exciting" mythology. I'm not exactly sure how a bike that can be ridden all over the trail, one that doesn't require you to pick exact lines, one that lets you experiment more easily and safely, is "boring". My bikes have been slowly getting burlier (XC Rigid w/ 26x1.9 tires, thru XC/Trail hardtails and Trail/AM duallies to AM/Enduro dually w/ 27.5x2.6 tires) over the past 27ish years, and I'm definitely not bored. Being able to just blast down a trail, even (especially) on first sight, and pick almost any line I choose, is so exciting! I still have, and sometimes choose, "perfect lines" that I can clean at Mach Stupid on a hardtail, but honestly, having to ride that same single perfect line every single time I'm on the trail would really be the boring option.

Reply

tehllama42
Tehllama42
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

I'm not forgetting... I just do stupid things when I'm on a bicycle.
The major component on that is the speed element - any trail can be made sufficiently interesting with enough velocity, but the risk versus fun factor starts to get really skewed. More challenging trails on a less capable bike are inherently more fun at sane speeds, and force greater interaction with the terrain, which in the absence of any objective metrics for 'fun', people (especially middle-aged journalists) will substitute 'engaging' in that place.

Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Me, I've ridden one of the burliest bikes I know of frame wise, that has 130/150 travel, WITH true 2.8"s wide tyres on i35 rims and it feels like a damn marshmallow you're riding on, no connection to the trail, what so ever, no matter if you pick lines or not. Can't imagine how mushy it would feel on something like an SB150.

Just so you have a clue what sort of trails I'm talking about, this is probably my favourite and although this was taken when dry, I most enjoy it when it's wet.

Hackletons DH

just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian

"But this was what the most popular tire manufacturer in mountain biking gave us in 2015. If Maxxis didn’t have it, chances are most of us stopped there and took what we could get."

This could be pointed to as why it took so long for tires in general to get really good. If "most of us" only looked at Maxxis and just accepted their (at the time) shitty selection (not even to mention the insanity that was some models' "2.35" versions actually being only 50mm, the same as real 2.0s, instead of the 60mm they should have been), that helps explain why they didn't make anything else.

I've heard so many times "I've only ever ridden Maxxis and they're the best", which is ridiculous to say since you literally have no comparison. I haven't ridden Maxxis in years, mostly because I like to keep most of my money, and prior min-maxing on tires led me to less expensive brands with equivalent or better performance. (Especially in the cold: the high end Conti and Spesh compounds have helped me do some gnarly stupid shit in the winter with a decent coating of snow over granite that has better riders balking because they have no confidence in their (inevitably Maxxis) tires sticking well enough.)

I think if fewer people blindly latched themselves on to a single brand just for the shred-signalling factor, everything would be better, and in this case we would have arrived at the "2.6 ain't Plus anymore, it's basically the norm, and these new wide tires are way better than the first Pluses, too" much sooner.

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craw
Cr4w
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Cooper Quinn Matt Lee Mammal Sandy James Oates Justin White

It's not so much adherence to a single brand as Vancouver has very specific conditional requirements and tires are really expensive. This isn't California where most average tires work most of the time. Last time I made a $200+ deviation from Maxxis they nearly killed me; I took those tires off within a few days and burned them to the trail gods as a blood sacrifice. Not making that mistake again. So yeah there might be decent alternatives out there but I'm not interested in finding out.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+9 hairymountainbeast tashi Kos blackhat Geof Harries Timer Spencer Nelson ZigaK bingobus

It so amazing that all these PNW, Van, North Shore, riders are just constantly riding exactly at the limits of themselves and their bikes. So close that any change to the bike equals near death. Truly skilled to be able to definitely prove it's the bike, not the rider, that makes it happen.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Timer Sandy James Oates

That’s funny,

I often recall my first trip from Eastern Canada, to the hallowed trails of the shore.  I landed feeling pretty confident in my riding skills, being a fairly experienced DH rider/racer, and a bike shop Mech for years.  

I remember that first climb up Fromme, in all my colourful DH pj’s, slogging it out on my Giant team DH, my red Bell helmet clanging off the upper stanchion of my cherry red Boxxxer. I remember vividly standing on the top of that monster drop that was so etched in my brain from endless replays of FroRiders getting right loose.

I also remember my toes being nearly run over by a couple of what had to be 13yr olds, on clapped out hardtails, as they disappeared into the mist of what I could only assume was the transition at the bottom.  I had expected to hear the most thunderous crash possible,……but…….nothing more than some tire buzz, and whooping and hollering of successful landings.  

I quickly realized that I was very far from the rock strewn grippy dirt of home, and was about to unsuccessfully drop into some of the gnarliest terrain I’d ever ridden.  

Eye opening is an understatement

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Timer
Timer
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Haha, i feel you! Almost eating dirt, multiple times, on the first "warmup lap down some blue trail" (Pipeline).

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

If you try other tires and under the same conditions you can't get them to turn as well, roll as well or offer comparable traction, even after a reasonable amount of experimentation with pressure, sealant and body position/technique. Then yeah, if you've changed nothing else, it's the tires. The scientific method my dude.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 blackhat

Whoosh!

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Justin White cheapondirt

@Cr4w

Michelin WILD Enduro FRONT Gum-X, REAR Gum-X for summer if you want a firmer casing and faster rolling rear - currently an 850 km tyre with better grip than any Maxxis I have tried (other than a Assegai MaxxGrip DH - which was a fast wearing boat anchor ).

Magi-X for spring, summer and autumn if you really are truly fast (ie CNES/ BC Cup top five fast - otherwise stick to Gum-X) everywhere, all the time and in all conditions.

Continental Der Baron Projekt  - a 600 km tyre with better grip than a Maxxis MaxxGrip. Only weakness is that the side wall starts to weep sealant at about the 550 km point.

Specialised T9 compound, choose your tread pattern for your trails - better grip and better wear, better casing than anything DD or lighter.

I intend to try the Vittoria when I can get my hands on a set this summer but if the We Are One gang are happy to run them then I am willing to bet they work well.

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craw
Cr4w
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Sandy James Oates

I so strongly disliked those Michelins, they're now on my backup bike, the one I never ride. And at this point there is zero reason to spend $100+ to prove you right or wrong. If anyone's found non-Maxxis options that work well for them then ride them!

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just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Interesting that you get sealant weeping on that Der Baron Projekt with so many layers in the sidewall. I've always had great results with Protection Apex casings. Could it be just the exposed threads (the outside layer of 120 tpi does tend to get exposed more than a 60 tpi because there is less rubber) holding on to external moisture and looking like it's weeping? Even so, the Apex insert makes it worth it to me: great sidewall support for the weight, and without having a super stiff tread like a dual ply DH tire.

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eriksg
eriksg
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This 50mm "2.3" thing (which I've heard repeated elsewhere) does make me wonder whether sizing has changed substantially, and whether other brands had similarly optimistic numbers.

Are 2.3s across the board wider than they used to be? And does the expansion of the 29er segment mean even if they aren't wider, they have more air volume and contact patch and thus are closer to 27.5x2.6s of yesteryear in certain performance metrics?

(Asking as someone who has only ridden 26x2.0-2.2 and 29x2.35 and for whom the latter is therefore a big tire.)

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Bikeryder85
Bikeryder85
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

As someone who has ridden 2.2 and 2.3s from 15+years ago, and from the last two years...yes. I have a 26" frame that would fit a 2.3 conti and wtb fine back then, but if the volume of those tires were the same as what I run on my 27.5 soul then the wheel would not move. 

Case in point, when i first built the bike in 2014/15 I had a 26" bike with 2.3 wtbs that were the widest tires I had ridden up to that point. I was a fan of Geax/Vittoria casings so i found one of those in 2.2 that looked good. Set everything up and thought "man those look big"...after digging out my calipers and measuring i found the new tires to be a healty 2-3mm wider at the casing. When i moved to e13 tires a few years later i couldn't believe how wide the were!

Modern tires are one of the unsung heros of the last decade, I know they have changed my riding a ton...and plus definitely helped. They at least got everyone on the same page sizing wise. We are a long way from Porcupines and Darts!

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just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Oh, and remember that Maxxis wasn't just measuring them "wrong", they had the ETRTO 50x559 sizing molded in, right next to the 2.35x26 sizing (or maybe that was just printed?). They blatantly fibbed about the inch size, which maybe could be possibly considered "ok" to do, since the inch diameters don't really align to anything on a modern bike anymore.

ETRTO and BSD FTW!

Reply

Timer
Timer
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Gasket Jeff

I used a few of those false 2.35 tyres, as well as tyres by competing brands back in the day.

It was only Maxxis who f*ckd the sizing up so badly. The worst part was that the sizing wasn't even halfway consistent within their own range. The 2.25 Maxxis Ardent was wider and taller than the 2.35 Minion. And no, those weren't OEM tyres, they were the regular stuff sold at retail.

At the same time, companies like Schwalbe and Conti made the Muddy Mary and the Rubber Queen in widths of 2.35 and 2.4. Both of which were wider and taller than current day 29x2.4 tyres. Problem was, those tyres were hardly known in BC at the time. I brought a bike shod with Muddy Marys to the shore in 2011. People were amused by the name but hadn't heard about those tyres before.

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Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

The problem with those Schwalbes back then was that they couldn't keep their knobs on, literally, knobs would start ripping off in the first couple rides or ride, depending on how hard you rode and the terrain, is was a debacle. The new ADDIX stuff from Schwalbe though has fixed all that from my experience, with 2.6" NN and HD in the SpeedGrip compound, had them over 3 years, ridden on my rigid and not treated the nicest on our sharp coral and they've held up fantastically.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I think those 2.35s were made specifically for OEMs who only had clearance for 50mm but wanted to signal wider tires, since it was only a couple of the older models (HR2, DHF, etc), but that's probably just me being cynical.

Tires widths definitely do vary from what is listed since the rims they design/test on are not always what everyone actually uses, and I'd bet that as riders started using wider rims and the tire companies were slower to update their design and test methods, many existing models would measure out a bit bigger than the numbers on the sidewall. With newer tire models designed with modern wheels in mind, I think the discrepancies have diminished. For example, I remember Conti Trail King 2.2s in the 26inch era measuring out massive on 25mm rims, perhaps because they were designed around skinnier 19-21mm rims; but 27.5 Trail King 2.4s on 30mm rims are much closer to what's listed, perhaps because they were redesigned for modern wider rims.

Oh, and I think the skinny Maxxis 2.35s were only for 26" models, pretty sure their 27.5" or 29" tires marked 2.35 have always been actually 60mm.

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HollyBoni
HollyBoni
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I ride a 2.4 Dissector EXO Maxterra at the front, 2.4 Rekon Exo Dual at the back. I'm perfectly satisfied with this setup, but I keep seeing people rave about how much better other brands are. 
Could you recommend me a similar combo from another brand that would blow me away?
I don't know if my current tyres have high rolling resistance for what they are, but if I could get a bit less RR without sacrificing anything else, that would be nice. I ride basically everything and i'm not afraid of long (5-6 hour or longer) rides. Pretty dry where I live.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 DancingWithMyself Justin White

As a long time Maxxis user and part time tester years back, if you're looking for something to match the 3C MaxxTerra compound, I've been very pleased with the new Schwalbe SpeedGrip compound. I got 29x2.6" Hans Dampf and Nobby Nic which I run on my rigid and have been really happy with rolling resistance and thhe grip I get for that, definitely on par with 3C MT. From what I've been told by visitors from all over the world, our coral is very slick and slippery, especially when wet, although if I lived up there "on the shore" I'd probably opt for at least running the RED striped ADDIX Soft or Purple striped ADDIX Super Soft compounds.

Also really happy with the volume of them, run them on i35 rims and they measure 64.5mm at the casing, also have the older version in 2.35" and they measure 61mm at the casing on i30 rims.

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DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

Excellent and useful info.  Thanks for sharing.

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just6979
Justin White
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 HollyBoni

Not 100% sure on the tread patterns since I tend to run a little chunkier than those, but these might be worth a try if your Maxxis combo becomes hard to find (or just expensive), or you just want to try something different:

  • Specialized

  • Eliminator 2.3 Grid (maybe 2.6 Control) Gripton/T9 front

  • Purgatory 2.3 Grid Gripton/T7 rear

OR

  • Continental

  • Trail King 2.4 ProTection BlackChili front

  • Mountain King 2.4 ProTection (maybe 2.2 Apex) BlackChili rear

I think BlackChili is particularly known for quite good rolling resistance for its grip level. And I know Gripton is quite sticky (at least MaxxTerra, maybe MaxxGrip, levels) and with very decent wear (way better than MG, at least as good as MT). I'll have to assume the new T* compounds are better in at least one of those aspects, but I haven't ridden them.

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HollyBoni
HollyBoni
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Cool, thanks, i'll check them out.
The new Vittoria Syerra looks good as well as a Rekon substitute, but I just can't get over that big red sidewall logo... 😁

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rolly
rolly
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

When Spec updated their rubber compound I was excited to try because I often spin out on wet rocky/rooty terrain. Tried it (Butcher/Purg). I thought that it was the best I could get so I put up with it. Then I tried a dhr2. I could not believe how much better my traction was. I was running dhr2's front and back, but replaced the front with an Assegai. 

I personally don't care about the brand name. Just give me performance.  And for out here on the Shore and in Squamish I've tried Kenda's, Specialized, WTB's and Maxxis. Nothing has performed as well as my dhr2/Assegai.

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Timer
Timer
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

Current tyres by major brands are all pretty good. You won't find anything that will blow you away.

Switching brands makes sense if the kind of tread/casing/rubber combination that you like is only made by a certain brand. Or if you are after some very specific properties (e.g. cold-weather performance, super low weight, exceptional wear resistance).

Equivalents to your current setup if you want to try a different brand for the sake of it:

Schwalbe: Nobby Nic Addix Soft / Nobby Nic Addix Speedgrip 2.35 (or a Wicked Will for more speed)

Specialized: Eliminator Grid T7 2.3 / Purgatory Grid 2.3

Vittoria: Mazza Trail 2.35 / Agarro 2.35

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HollyBoni
HollyBoni
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Timer

The blow me away part was just kind of a joke of course. 😁 I just like to nerd out on components and try new stuff. Hopefully i'll put a ton of miles on my current tyres in the coming months and they'll wear out soon.

Thanks for the recommendations, i'll check them out!

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vincentaedwards
Vincent Edwards
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . DancingWithMyself

Even today, brands like Maxxis, specialized, WTB, and vittoria offer a 2.6 … which feels like the course correction that happened after Plus lost it’s marketing appeal. Perhaps more interestingly is how differently brands approach these wider treads. For the most part Maxxis 2.6 tires are shunned by hard hitting riders because they are a bit less stiff compared to their 2.4 and 2.5 counterparts. WTB 2.6s on the other hand are just bigger and heavier. 

The normalizing of 30-35mm rims has a big part to play here too in the story of this ‘course correction’…

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craw
Cr4w
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

It's kind of amazing. You get visually used to the big bulbous look of 2.6 but I never really got on with 2.6 on front. Never even bothered trying it on the rear. Then came inserts and now I'm happily back to 2.4/2.5 on i35 rims. It's nice to find the sweet spot (for me).

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rigidjunkie
Allen Lloyd
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Gasket Jeff Justin White

I remember when these came out and I tried them.  They felt terrible vague and weird.  I told a friend and they said I felt the same way, until I looked at the clock.  Turns out they were much faster on most trails.  I still don't like them but my son's bike uses them and he is getting faster.

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mammal
Mammal
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+7 Andrew Major Lynx . Velocipedestrian Mark DancingWithMyself Justin White Gasket Jeff

"They felt terrible vague and weird. I told a friend and they said I felt the same way..."

I got a chuckle out of that typo.

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Speeder1
Speeder1
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Justin White cornedbeef

Chiming in. 

2013. Another Bike Shop in Santa Cruz, CA, gets the Specialized E29 in. Chris, the owner, rides a L and so do most of the dudes I was riding with. He starts sending us out on his personal S Works E29. It was amazing how much faster people could go on that bike! We all pretty much went from 26 straight to 29 cuz of the E29 and a smart shop owner who is also a nice guy and fast rider himself. 

Being a tire nerd, I was on a mission to find the holy grail for the E29 and the rowdy riding we were doing. I landed on the WTB Vigilante 29 x 2.35 tough casing/fast rubber front and rear. A high profile, large volume (for a 2.35), meaty, 1100gm tire with an aramid bead insert that had a stiff sidewall that was not only very flat resistant but also supportive enough to run relatively low psi on a 22 or 23mm ID rim. They had a lot more volume than the Maxxis 2.35 tires available at the same time. 

I rode the Vig for years. Then Maxxis came out with the WT, rims got wider, and the Vig became outdated. 

The E29 was the real story though. It was one of the first, or maybe the first, long travel 29 bikes that you could really smash on that still handled well enough to rip corners.  That bike was way ahead of its time. A massive step forward compared to the Ibis Mojo HD I waa riding in 2013. A whole bunch of us skipped 27.5 all together in the name of speed and not getting dropped by your homies on Sunday morning and the E29 was what took us there. 

Tires are perhaps my favorite piece of the MTB equipment puzzle. There is always a trade off between weight, rolling resistance, volume, tread compound, casing construction, rim width, tire width... such a fun puzzle and a relatively easy way to massively change how your bike rides.

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Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
-2 cornedbeef Metacomet Justin White Taiki

Well Speeder, cool story bro, pity your shop wasn't just another big box store pushing out cookie cutter bikes, from the biggest bully in the industry, if not you could have been on the Banshee Prime back in 2013, or even 2012 when the run of 60 pre-productions went out, and gotten all of that instead of waiting on SpecialED to just copy the geo of the Prime and all of Banshee's hard work. Sorry but just couldn't not post this meme.

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cxfahrer
cxfahrer
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

Since the 2010s I always bought the widest tires available, and those were Schwalbe 2.5 Muddy Mary, Conti RQ 2.4, and finally Intense Tire Systems DH and 909 in 2.7.

All still in the era of 26" bikes - on quite narrow Alex Supra D or so 23mm rims, but the ITS 2.7 on Spank Stiffys, which were a revelation. That was 2014 or so. The Muddy Marys in Snakeskin were super wobbly and I had many pinchflats with the Supra Ds. 

The tendency to understeer and imprecise handling I noticed clearly even though the 3ply carcass of the 2.7 DH tire on those Stiffys. They were tube only and monster heavy, only suitable for lift or shuttle assessed riding. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/byhQR9Niia3zstqm6

Edit: found out Intense Tire Systems is Veerubber now since 2017!

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Bikeryder85
Bikeryder85
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

I remember scrolling the mtbr forums in 2014 looking for what 2.4 tires were actually 2.4(or bigger)...while I haven't ridden a modern 2.6 i would guess it's not that far off the first 2.8 tires (may even be wider). Thanks for the perspective Dave!

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BadNudes
BadNudes
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

This makes me think of the grooves worn into the fork arch of my repurposed commuter bike cut by some Maxxis Mobster 26x2.7s.

What's old is new. Call it whatever you want, categorize anything more than 2.6 "plus" and drop it into nice little mental compartments and venn diagrams to help keep comparing and selling more bikes. I don't mean to sound too jaded, I love it! More riders, more trails, more bikes, absolutely!

But forgive me if I don't know what genres are dead or dying, or if I'm riding a plus regular fat mountain trail bike or a drop bar mountain gravel touring bikepacking bike. I'm just going to keep riding bikes that are comfortable (q-factor, geo) and work well (chainline) on basically the biggest tires I can fit.

As another data point, my current 2.8s measure more like 2.6 and are great but I could go bigger. Who knows what will be available when these are worn out, but I won't be riding 2.3s again any time soon.

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andyf
andyf
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Geof Harries

I remember discovering IRC Kujos after years of riding 2.1" WTB Velociraptors.  My intro to sub 30 psi tire pressures!  The added traction was so worth the almost 1 Kg weight gain.  

I gave 27.5+ a try on a singlespeed for a couple of years.  3.0F/2.8R Nobby Nics on i45 rims.  I found the plus setup to be extremely sensitive to tire pressure.  Only a few psi separated the pinch flat zone from the bouncy bouncy zone.

The same bike was much better with 29" wheels.  30 mm id rims with a 2.5 DHF/2.3 Aggressor combo.

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sandy-james-oates
Sandy James Oates
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

Wow, nothing like another tire article to get the comments rolling in.😁

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tehllama42
Tehllama42
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I guess it does somewhat come down to whether eMTB will drive adoption of proper 1kg 27+ or 1.2kg 29er tires, which will be a bit of a bear to haul up the hill, but be able to actually hang tough on descents. A 69mm ERTO tire in either of those sizes would be really nice, and not just because of internet numerology.

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kos
Kos
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

In the old days of Powder Magazine, there was a great yin/yang piece every month where Tim Petrick and Lito Tejada-Flores would cheerfully beat on each other from the two sides of whatever issue seemed fun.

NSMB could do worse than copying this idea with MF and UD. Fun is always good!

On topic, I nominate the DHF as the most overrated front tire ever. But, as my LBS manager says, "we have to actively sell the other brands, but just ring up Maxxis tires and take the money....."

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Speeder1
Speeder1
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0 Mike Ferrentino cornedbeef

If you lived in Santa Cruz, SpecialED was a local brand. Same with Santa Cruz and Ibis. And Bontrager before they sold out. We was ridin' locdog! 

Maybe like a Banshee if ya live on the shore?

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Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0 cornedbeef Justin White

I have absolutely no time for a brand who started itself off by buying another builders frame, then taking it to Japan and having it copied outright and then selling it as their own, knowing full well that the guy was too nice to pursue a lawsuit. 

Won't get into the multiple times they've harassed, sued and shut down small companies using names for products not even closely related to theirs using a similar name, but that came to a stop when they tried to fvck with Robaix Cycles in Calgary back in the early 2010s and the internet blew up because everybody had had enough of Mike Synards BS and Cdale who actually owned the copyright to Robaix made Synard fly to Calgary to appologise, in person to the owner of the shop.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Justin White Lynx . cornedbeef

Not to get too pedantic here, but it was ASI, who owns Fuji, not Cannondale, who owned the trademark to "Roubaix", and who definitely came out smelling better than venture capitalists usually do with that whole Cafe Roubaix brouhaha.

As for Another Bike Shop, go easy. Yeah, they sell Specialized, but they are a long long way from any sort of big box retailer. Good people, solid crew, damn good shop.

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Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cornedbeef

Thanks for the correction Mike, good to have that right, I will know now. When it was going down, the C'dale info was what I had found/read. Either way, never smiled or laughed so damn hard in my life when big old Mike Synard had to go "do as told".

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Lynx
Lynx .
3 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
3 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 cornedbeef

Tim Neenan?

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