Plus size wheels came along at the start of 2015 and nobody really knew what to make of them. Were they only for beginners? For hardtails? For certain conditions? The truth is we may still not know. As far as this piece goes we only want to know one thing: are they any good for enduro mountain bikers?
It’s a tough one, while there are definite benefits in terms of grip, the tyres are quite heavy and you lose some of the ‘feel’ of the bike. There may be something in it though as Jared Graves was seen racing a 2.6 inch tyre in Whistler – a sort of halfway house between a standard tyre and a mid fat one.
Of course, any 29er can be bodged into fitting 27.5+ wheels if you want, but you’re looking at spending around £500 for the pleasure. Instead, it may be easier just to buy a long travel Plus bike from the off. Here are five options
Scott Genius LT 720 Plus
The Scott Genius was the only Plus bike to make it into our Dirt 100 this year and that should tell you a lot (in fact, it got close to being our bike of the year). So what did we like about it? Firstly, it changed our preconceptions. Prior to riding concerns of drag, poor grip due to the poor compounds, lack of tread and thin sidewalls have all proved ungrounded to some degree.
Instead we found a bike that provided grip, silence and a fatigue free ride. It’s different but it’s the closest we’ve come to being convinced about these new tyres.
Bold Linkin Trail LT 27.5Plus
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a hardtail, instead the shock is hidden away in the downtube. So is it a worthy bike or just a novel oddity? Well it’s clean and looks amazing but you have to worry about accessing the shock and overheating.
It has won Design and Innovation awards but they don’t take into account real world trail riding. We’re yet to throw a leg over one of these Swiss beauties yet but would love to see if hidden shocks are the future of bike design.
Specialized S-Works Enduro 6Fattie
We bodged some 2.8 tyres on to the previous incarnation of the Specialized Enduro and found it to be a riot. A low bottom bracket and 66-degree head angle saw it rip through the corners.
The new Enduro is available as a Fattie straight from the box and has us excited to see what it’s capable of.
Cube Stereo 150 HPA Race 27.5+
Cube is pitching this as a bike for riders that “don’t follow the crowd” (this article may suggest otherwise) and allows you to “supersize your riding”. With 150mm of travel it’s one of the less burly bikes listed here but Stereo models have made it into the 100s in previous years, so don’t doubt its pedigree.
Ibis Mojo HD 3
If anyone was going to be able to make Plus size wheels attractive it was going to be Ibis, and we reckon they’ve just about managed here. Pick either a 29 or a 27.5+ build and get ready to be the envy of your mates.