Time to Buy a Plus Bike?

Scott Genius Plus

When I initially heard about plus bikes, my thoughts were not all positive to say the least.  Surprisingly,  I have really enjoyed the new plus tired bikes I’ve spent time on.  My initial concerns with tire roll in corners and the bouncy ball effect of the large low pressure tires were not the issues I thought they would be.  There are however some things to consider with being an early adopter.  Here are 5 reasons you may want to let the dust settle before you hop aboard.


 

  1. Tires and rims.  The expense of the tires is creeping up towards $100+.  These larger tires are heavier and slower rolling.  I’ve had some issues with tires being INSANELY hard to remove from some of the popular rim choices.
  2. 29+ has limitations.  The versatility of running different size wheels and tires on a 29+ is not an option unless you like clipping your pedals and shooting yourself OTB like a lawn dart.  Tire, fork and full suspension options are also very limited with 29+.
  3. May not suit riding style. Standard tires are faster rolling (in most situations), lighter and give you a better feel of the terrain.  The confidence inspiring plus tires offer added traction and a smoother ride.
  4. More versatile bike options are coming. More bikes will be able to accommodate these larger tires as rear hub spacing widens.  This will give you the choice of riding 27.5+ without geometry compromises of stuffing a 27.5+ into a bike intended for 29″standard tires and wheels or visa versa.
  5. Your current bike may allow bigger tires.  A wide 30-40mm internal width rim and a 2.35″ tire gives a pretty large volume that allows pressures much lower than a standard 23-26mm rim.  Here is what an Ibis 741 rim (35mm internal width rim) and a 2.35 tire looks like: IMG_6531

One of the biggest plus’s I see with this new trend is with affordability.   A quality + tire sized hardtail could offer a more affordable fun option to those not wanting to drop $4000+ on a new ride.  The added confidence, traction and playfulness that chubby tires offer can be a fresh new way to enjoy the trail.

I will wait for the product to refine a little more before I jump on the bandwagon for my personal ride.   The vague floaty steering feel of the larger plus tires and issues I’ve had with tire and rim combinations are enough for me to stick on more traditional tire widths and wide rims for now.

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