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Bontrager XR4 and SE4 Team Issue Tires - March 30, 2020, 8:46 a.m.

Thank you, Andrew! Went with the SE4 front and rear. Have the tires in hand. Still building the wheels. Just fondling the tires, they feel great. Squishy side knobs, burly sidewalls, but for a 29x3 tires they feel plenty light-enough. Can't wait to get them on the bike, drop pressures and enjoy cushion, support and grip.

Bontrager XR4 and SE4 Team Issue Tires - March 23, 2020, 1:34 p.m.

Andrew,

I'm making my first foray into 29+ terrain. My current bike you helped me to set up -- a Chumba Stella with 29x2.6 tires. Thanks for your previous help and thanks in advance for your help now. On my Chumba, I ran two different sets of tires from Teravail. I originally went with a more durable casing and aggressive tread pattern. After nearly a year of riding, I decided to try their light and supple casing in a less aggressive tread. I changed two variables at once, which is what I always do and always find frustrating. Long story short, I felt like I had an extra gear on the climbs with the lighter, more supple and less aggressive tires, but I also lost traction more frequently and ultimately found the ride springier in a way I didn't like. While the supple casing smoothed over small trail chatter, I felt like the added pressure required to stabilize the tire made for more feedback transmitted to me on larger impacts. Overall, I greatly preferred the stiffer casing. I'm not entirely sure about the tread design, but I think I preferred the larger knobs, too, which have their own give on hard/rocky sections of trail. I like feeling the lugs conform more so than just the casing wrapping around. 

I've enjoyed my rigid 29x2.6 experience enough that I want to try full 29x3. I'm convinced that the SE4 in 3.0 is the right front tire for me. I've thought about either the XR4 or the SE4 on the rear. At 190lbs, riding a rigid, steel, XL bike, can you see any reason to chose the XR over the SE?

Thanks and best,
Eric

You Should Ride a Rigid Fork - March 22, 2019, 11:43 a.m.

Resurrecting this thread and thanking Andrew Major and others in advance for your thoughts. I've been working my way toward simpler bikes. With each step, I find the fun factor increases, as I enjoy the climbs more and the descents just as much, although in a different way. On my rigid 2017 Karate Monkey with Niner carbon fork, shod with chunky 29x2.6 tires, I have yet to find something I can't climb as well or better than on any other bike I've owned. Coming down, I'm slower and I have to think more, but I ultimately feel safer and more engaged in the process. For me, speed, while fun, is the thing that has led to more injuries over the years than the capability of the bike. I totally get that a capable bike can allow for more safety at higher speeds, but I've found that I will seek the edge of that comfort zone on any bike, and given a choice, I'll take slower speed crashes over more catastrophic wipeouts. All in all, riding my bike rigid gives me that connected feel nearly everyone touts as an attribute of rigid bikes.

I love my bike, but I find myself looking at more rigid-specific frames -- non-suspension-corrected geometry. What do you all think is the optimal headtube angle and fork length for a purpose-built rigid bike? My Karate Monkey came with a 483mm, 47mm offset fork and 69-degree head angle but is capable of taking a suspension fork up to 140mm. That's a huge range and makes me think the rigid spec is not optimized. With the long front center on that bike and relatively short chainstays, I think the 68.5-degree headtube angle with my slightly longer (490 A2C) carbon fork is pretty good, but a little light on both climbs and in maintaining traction in downhill corners. For my next bike, I'm considering a rigid-specific design with longer chainstays and a 71-degree head angle. Seems like the next step in the progression I've been following for the last 5 years, but I am worried this might be one step too far -- that I might hit the point at which the descents stop being as fun even accounting for their quirky challenge.

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