The movement towards bigger “plus” sized wheels and tires has made the hardtail and soft tail relevant again and not for just bike packing. During a recent trip to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, we got to get out for some early season mountain bike fun in the sunshine state and really fell in love with the 27.5 + wheel size. Coupled with our YBB soft tail, this set up is a game changer for cross country purists (such as myself). Here’s why……..
THE SET UP:
I’ve been a long time lover of bigger wheels and have had almost every version of our 29” platform over the years. This build is based around all-round cross country geometry, a 120mm fork and those beautiful mid-fat (if you will) wheels. 27.5 Plus to be exact. What is 27.5 plus? Fisrt you take a 27.5” rim diameter witha 40mm width and add on a 2.8 “plus sized tire”. This takes your average 27.5 x 2.25 wheel/tire combo and super charges it to a “PLUS” size. Not a fat bike by any means, but a nimble cousin that rips trails with added; cushion, traction and float without much lose of efficiency. As stock the MOUNTAINEER YBB could very well be two bikes, maybe three-in-one. Let me tell you how…..
2.8 tires, YBB and 120mm fork……the bike in my garage is loosing sleep over this one.
In order to get the bigger tires mounted on a wider rim into the rear end of a Moots YBB, we used the latest “standard” in the bicycle world, which is 148 Boost spacing. This means that the axle is 148 millimeters from end to end, which allows the chainstays to be moved further out and manipulated more right behind the bottom bracket shell. This allows us to shape our stays in a way that will allow us to run a bigger tire on 1x and 2x setups. 148 also moves the hub flanges (3mm per side) further out to create a stonger wheel, via wider spoke angle to the rim. 148 also requires a +3mm crank that moves the chain line outboard as the rear end center line has changed. All good things, with multiple options on the market for cranks and hubs.
Boost spacing is also carrying over to the Fox fork as well. 110mm spacing, again, stronger more stable wheel build. Nothing but good.
148 BOOST is a great movement for the hand built crowd….wider IS better.
My mind was open as I mounted my pedals, set the saddle height and dialed in the lever position. I was at Folsum Resivoir just out side Roseville, California. I had grown up riding these trails while visiting family in the area. Tight, punchy, oak-lined trails with the ocassional rock garden rearing its head. I had the newest Moots Mountaineer YBB demo under me with a 2.8 Schwalbe tire mounted to the 40mm rim. I was expecting a lethargic ride with wheel “spin up” highly compromised, similar to what I had felt on a 29 plus about a year ago. That was NOT the case. The bike reached cruising speed without a hint of a bigger tire dragging me down. It cornered oh so nice when pushed hard, traction was supreme. I adopted a “full suspension state of mind” on this bike seeking out bigger hits and repeating laps through the rock gardens to make sure I was not delerious from the drive over the Sierras. It is an amazing platform. To me it felt like a dual suspension bike built around 3-4 inches of travel, without any pivots or the complications they can bring.
As my ride went on I found myself dropping tire pressure, until in the end, back at the truck I was rolling with 16 psi in the front and 18psi in the rear. At those pressures the side wall felt great and the uber grip I was getting left me speachless.
Do these plus sized tires and wheels make the trail look smaller?
2ND AND 3RD BIKE
So, as I said above, this bike could very well cover off on 3 ranges of riding styles:
- 27.5 + with 2.8…..all around cross country smile machine. (I would and will be racing one this summer)
- 29 x 2.25….yes, when you compare the diameter of the 27.5+ 3.0 tire to a 29er set up they are a push in diameter…..want to run 29” instead? You can do that on the Mountaineer without upsetting the bb height. 29 x 2.25. A second set of wheels and you have a super versatile ride.
- 27.5 + with 2.8….super adventure bike, bike packing and……snow bike light. (Yes, snow bike lite…..many times when the snow pack is at its best, several here at Moots prefer to ride the 3.0 tire for a faster, more efficient ride.)
Later that evening I had to pick up our production manager Nate Bradley at the Sacramento airport, which required me to spend some time in the cell phone waiting area. During that time I was figuring out how I was going to sell my hardtail and get a new Mountaineer Ybb. I was hooked……..I picked Nate up at the airport curb and he probably thought I had hit my head because I was going on about…..”game changer”……”so perfect”…….”I have to sell my bike”…….”my wife is gonna kill me”……..”27.5 plus, this, that”….you get the point.
These days you can read all the bicycle industry dribble that touts, “better this” and “better that” and turn around and say “they just want to sell more shit”……this is NOT one of those dribbles. I/we whole heartily feel that this is the wave of the future and it’s in our hands as I type.
Thinking of a new mountain bike? You’ve got to check out the Mountaineer YBB.