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  1. #1
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    Why not convert to 27.5+?

    For those of you who have bikes capable of running 29 or 27.5+, and who have chosen to ride them strictly or mostly as 29 instead of 27.5+ I am interested to hear your reasoning.

    I've been riding a bike capable of both as strictly 29r and I have heard all the arguments for why I should switch. I'd like to hear some arguments as to why I should stay.

    To be clear, I am not trying to prove that one is clearly better than the other. I'd just like to hear from both camps.

  2. #2
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    Why not convert to 27.5+?

    Lack of tire selection mostly. And wheels need to be at least 35mm IW to have the proper profile on those plus tires. Not too many wheel manufacturers have jumped on that bandwagon.
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  3. #3
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    My current bike is designed for either platform, though I've had it built as a 27.5+ since day one, currently running 2.8" DHF/HRII on i40s. Even though I could run 29ers on this bike, I haven't found a single reason yet to do so. And I rode 'standard width' 29ers for years. YMMV, of course.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  4. #4
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    slower, more rolling resistance, lack of tire choice, can't ride them as aggressively. They're an equipment solution for a skill issue.
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  5. #5
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    The only real downside, for me, is that 27+ wheels/tires end up being shorter than 29" by at least a 1/4", thus your BB drops that amount, and your chainring/cranks/feet are now that much closer to rocks and trailside logs. Obstacles that you just miss now you will scrape. Obstacles that you scrape now you will hit directly, which can be a Very Bad Thing. Also, the loss of diameter to the wheels/tires means that you have to work a little harder to maintain momentum through chunky, ledgy terrain -- the shorter wheels get hooked and stop more easily than 29".

    Make sense?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    My current bike is designed for either platform, though I've had it built as a 27.5+ since day one, currently running 2.8" DHF/HRII on i40s. Even though I could run 29ers on this bike, I haven't found a single reason yet to do so. And I rode 'standard width' 29ers for years. YMMV, of course.
    I could say almost exactly the same thing except I haven't had my 27.5+ wheels on exclusively. In fact at first I was convinced I'd be riding 29 almost exclusively. Now I'm not sure why. Guess I was used to that ride and needed time & experience with the Plus setup because now that I've ridden it a bunch, it's become my go to.
    Don't get me wrong, I still like 29" wheels & tires. It's just that now I look at them the way I used to look at skinny rims with 1.5" tires.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    slower, more rolling resistance, lack of tire choice, can't ride them as aggressively. They're an equipment solution for a skill issue.
    Actually, just about everything you said above has been disproven. They aren't necessarily slower overall. For full-on downhill bashing, I'll concede that aren't a lot of great plus options (yet), but if you think a Minion DHF 2.8" can't be ridden "aggressively" then I would encourage you to try one out.

    And by an "equipment solution for a skill issue" do you consider suspension to fall under that stereotype as well? How about dropper posts? Hydraulic brakes? Last time I checked, all of those things have 1) made mtn biking easier in numerous ways, and 2) opened up the possibility of more comfortable riding tougher terrain regardless of skill level, just as plus tires have....
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    Actually, just about everything you said above has been disproven. They aren't necessarily slower overall. For full-on downhill bashing, I'll concede that aren't a lot of great plus options (yet), but if you think a Minion DHF 2.8" can't be ridden "aggressively" then I would encourage you to try one out.

    And by an "equipment solution for a skill issue" do you consider suspension to fall under that stereotype as well? How about dropper posts? Hydraulic brakes? Last time I checked, all of those things have 1) made mtn biking easier in numerous was, and 2) opened up the possibility of more comfortable riding tougher terrain regardless of skill level, just as plus tires have....
    I'm sure his opinion is formed by loads of experience on plus tires...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by almazing View Post
    Lack of tire selection mostly. And wheels need to be at least 35mm IW to have the proper profile on those plus tires. Not too many wheel manufacturers have jumped on that bandwagon.
    So many tire choices. Almost every rim maker these days has 30,35,40 mm wide rims. Living in a cave for the last 3 years?

  10. #10
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    Because I can run 2.5 29ers on 30 mm rims? Works for me.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    Actually, just about everything you said above has been disproven. They aren't necessarily slower overall. For full-on downhill bashing, I'll concede that aren't a lot of great plus options (yet), but if you think a Minion DHF 2.8" can't be ridden "aggressively" then I would encourage you to try one out.

    And by an "equipment solution for a skill issue" do you consider suspension to fall under that stereotype as well? How about dropper posts? Hydraulic brakes? Last time I checked, all of those things have 1) made mtn biking easier in numerous ways, and 2) opened up the possibility of more comfortable riding tougher terrain regardless of skill level, just as plus tires have....
    easy killer.

    we've went over this before. Yes I currently own two (had 3 a couple weeks ago) plus capable bikes (Tallyboy3, Hightower, '17 Enduro Pro Carbon), including a fat bike with 5" tires (surly ICT). I have a wheelset with a 2.8 DHF/Rekon, my wife uses them now because it makes techy climbing easier for her. Rolling resistance is most definitely increased. Yes I've also pulled a rekon right off the rim... Running enough pressure to not let this happen when riding aggressively makes them overly bouncy. The OP is looking for opinions, these are mine. Our riding styles are obviously different. If you don't like it boohoo.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    slower, more rolling resistance, lack of tire choice, can't ride them as aggressively. They're an equipment solution for a skill issue.
    I dunno, I'd still like to have a chance to try riding a 29'r sometime, give it fair shake but then all that ensues is my opinion on what I like and why I like it or why it's good for ME.

    If the O.P. is putting his own tangible experiences and preferences second seat to others who are invited to tell him what he should be riding, this is the number one noob query before one buys a bike from other posts I've read here.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    The OP is looking for opinions, these are mine. Our riding styles are obviously different. If you don't like it boohoo.
    I have absolutely no problem with expressing a variety of opinions, or with different riding styles (why would I?). It's when opinions are stated as across-the-board 'facts' that I feel compelled to offer some counter-information.

    And if you're going to make ridiculous stereotyping statements like "plus tires are a solution to a skills issue" you should probably expect a response.

    Btw, I'm not a huge fan of the Rekons for my riding style either, nor would I consider them much of an 'aggressive' tire in the first place - they are pretty much an XC tire. If you blew one off the rim riding aggressively beyond what they are designed for, I'm not terribly surprised. Same could happen if you took a "normal" 29er tire beyond its cababilities, so I don't see how that concludes much.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  14. #14
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    With a tire this wide, it's either too heavy or too much uncontrolled rebound from being bouncy. Riding slow I never need more grip than a 2.3 anyway. And going fast don't need more that a 2.4-2.5 tire on a 29er.

  15. #15
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    I have a plus...but I keep it as plus. I also have a 29r with some 2.25's. If I have to do any significant amount of pedaling and climbing...I'll take my 29r.

  16. #16
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    27.5+ does have fewer tire choices that 29er. If someone's riding a 29er then they may not want to spend the money on a 27.5+ wheelset. Having ridden the Fuel in both forms I do prefer the 29er version though I do like the extra 10mm travel on the 27.5+. If I were to buy one I would get the 27.5+ because of the extra travel. And I already have a few 29er wheelsets I could throw in it.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghoti View Post
    27.5+ does have fewer tire choices that 29er. If someone's riding a 29er then they may not want to spend the money on a 27.5+ wheelset. Having ridden the Fuel in both forms I do prefer the 29er version though I do like the extra 10mm travel on the 27.5+. If I were to buy one I would get the 27.5+ because of the extra travel. And I already have a few 29er wheelsets I could throw in it.
    Does going to plus equate to an extra 10mm of travel?

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    I built up a NS Eccentric Djambo to try the plus thing after my Salsa El Mariachi was stolen. I've got a Vee Bulldozer 2.8 rear and Trax Fatty 3.25 front on 36i carbon rims. They definitely roll as fast as my old 2.4 trail king 29ers and I almost never lose traction. I run 16 psi rear and 14 front on the plus, used to run mid 20s on the 29er and break loose a lot more.


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  19. #19
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    I bought a 6Fattie about two months ago and have been riding it solely as a 27.5+ bike with 3.0 Ground Control tires. Granted, I'm not the fastest rider or descender around, but I have never had a problem with an overly bouncy ride nor have I blown either tire off a rim. I've even inflated them more and ridden at the park.
    I love my plus tires because they're more fun for me riding back country. If/when I want to race my full-squish, I might put some 29er wheels and tires on it. In the mean time, I'll race my hard tail 29er and save the full-squish, equipment-solution-to-a-skill-problem, 6Fattie for my back country days when I value some comfort and extra traction in the rock gardens.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveo View Post
    Does going to plus equate to an extra 10mm of travel?
    The Fuel Ex comes with a 140mm fork on the 27.5+ version and a 130mm fork in the 29r version.

  21. #21
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    ^^^You can increase the travel on your 29er to 140mm...actually, you can increase it to whatever you prefer...it's your bike.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    ^^^You can increase the travel on your 29er to 140mm...actually, you can increase it to whatever you prefer...it's your bike.
    Not entirely advisable as something something head tube angle change not tested blah blah dangerous somehow if you go too big or too small etc

  23. #23
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    ^^^I'm running a 150mm Pike on my 5010...works great. I even checked with Santa Cruz to make sure it wouldn't void my warranty. The bike comes with a 130mm fork. Don't be scared to try something new...sh!t, you might even like it

  24. #24
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    I don't have a 29er/27.5+ comparison, however going from 27.5 to 27.5+ and my XC speeds improved dramatically. The slower rolling argument is still so often quoted yet I've never seen it backed up with facts - all direct comparison vids I've seen show the opposite.

    Some people do 'plus' wrong IMO. Run faster rolling tyres on plus as they gain a lot of traction through volume to compensate. I like 2.8s on 30mm rims, it still allows sub-20psi pressures yet keeps a nice round profile (rolls fast).

    But yes there are negatives...

    Too many of the tyres have weak casings. For example Rocket Rons and Nobby Nics on SS casing, way too light weight IMO. So although plus tyres are awesome for rocky trails, it's also where current offerings don't quite deliver.

    Although they roll over soft ground well, they can also float over it - in soft/loose cornering I prefer narrower aggressive tyres.

    Too many 29er to plus conversions give mega low BBs. Plus tyres shine on trails where a low BB doesn't.

    There are a whole lot of opinions and personal experiences in there, but hey we all ride different trails and have an element of bias. I expect we'll see more and more 29er/27.5+ frames/forks with flip chips.

  25. #25
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    Timely question. I've been running my Les at 27.5+ the past three months and decided to switch back over to 29 and run a 2.35 Ardent Race up front and a Vittoria 2.35 Mezcal out back. I've always thought the 29er version was faster and the 27.5+ setup more fun. Today's ride confirmed it. I was carrying more speed with less effort and far fresher after the ride. That's not to say it was more fun, as I kind of like the playfulness of the smaller wheels better. But the 29 version, on my bike anyways, is definitely easier. Just depends on what you are looking for.

  26. #26
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    I have not tried 27.5+ yet. I do have a spare set of wheels that I am debating as rebuilding to a + size set. However, there are a few factors that keep me from getting it done sooner rather than later.

    1. tire cost that i have seen is over $100 per tire. I have not done a lot of looking, but cost what a big deterrence. Price will go down as supply increases... hopefully.
    2. From the people that have made the switch and switch back and forth, they reported that the feeling of + size wheels is not as precise and somewhat vague in comparison to the hard edges of a more slender tire.
    3. I was going to build the wheel set for more bike park use. Since I have two kids under two, my trips to the bike park are extremely few and far between at this point.

    One day I may try them, but I would rather find a demo where I can try them for free before investing to much into a wheel set that I may never use. As it stands, these 26" wheels that are waiting for change over can be used on a DJ bike or go onto my wife's bike at some point.

  27. #27
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    I've been riding both. I still switch back and forth some, but I ride the 29 more now. I think it's true that the plus tires make up for lack of riding skills, but at the same time they gave me confidence to improve my skills that I wasn't getting until I tried them. The bigger tires are heavier and not as playful... they keep you on the ground more. They kinda dumb down the ride because you don't have to work as hard picking and riding good lines. They kinda float (wash out) over the top of loose kitty litter and mud where a skinny tire digs in. The bottom bracket drop is significant and can make for many pedal strikes if you can't adjust the suspension geometry. With 3" tires, for real hard cornering you can't really get enough air pressure to prevent squirm without being bouncy. That said, I still like them, but if I had to pick one or the other it would be 29.
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  28. #28
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    Well said^^^

  29. #29
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    Folks sure do get their knickers twisted. The OP asked for opinions. Not sure why there would be an expectation of "facts."

    I'm happy to share my personal anecdotes, though they tend to fall in line with what streetdoctor posted.

    I've owned and ridden two bikes that were 29/b+ compatible. I'm not a professional, but I can get up and down a mountain. All testing done on sketchy gnar in Phoenix.

    I was universally slower both up and down while using plus tires vs 29 on the same bike and the same trails. This is both from feeling and tracking Strava times. Did I hate the plus setup? No. It's still a fun ride, but for me they're slower. My preference is to go fast.

    I have a couple buds who ride B+ and absolutely love it.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by phreeky View Post
    I don't have a 29er/27.5+ comparison, however going from 27.5 to 27.5+ and my XC speeds improved dramatically. The slower rolling argument is still so often quoted yet I've never seen it backed up with facts - all direct comparison vids I've seen show the opposite. . .
    I believe there are a couple of components to the "slower rolling" statement. A 27.5+ tire will typically come with a weight penalty when compared with a 29er tire. My 650b x 3.0 Ground Control Grid cased tires are 1180 grams while my 29 x 2.3 Ground Control Grid cased tires are only 810 grams. I caught a break and got a good deal on carbon rims, which probably makes the rim weight the same as my 29er rims (Velocity Blunt SS). The higher weight of the plus tires will maintain greater angular momentum, which means that once you're rolling, you'll stay rolling more easily - especially over rocks and obstacles. The lower weight of the 29er tires will be easier to accelerate, meaning that coming out of corners, you can get on it with less power - therefore, fresher legs at the end of a ride.

    The OD difference between my 29er tires and my 27.5+ tires is slightly over 1/8". Certainly, I noticed that difference with more pedal strikes. But within three or four rides, I had overcome that by paying more attention to my pedal position in and around obstacles/corners.

    Just my three cents. . .
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Folks sure do get their knickers twisted. The OP asked for opinions. Not sure why there would be an expectation of "facts."

    I'm happy to share my personal anecdotes, though they tend to fall in line with what streetdoctor posted.

    I've owned and ridden two bikes that were 29/b+ compatible. I'm not a professional, but I can get up and down a mountain. All testing done on sketchy gnar in Phoenix.

    I was universally slower both up and down while using plus tires vs 29 on the same bike and the same trails. This is both from feeling and tracking Strava times. Did I hate the plus setup? No. It's still a fun ride, but for me they're slower. My preference is to go fast.

    I have a couple buds who ride B+ and absolutely love it.
    I'm laughing now, just realizing the popular (not universal) comment on plus is they are slower and just as common, is the opinion/comment plus tire set ups are more fun.
    Now it's all making some sense to me.

    If they are fun and 'we' like fun, prolonging the fun factor would be slowing down to enjoy it and make the fun last longer, Right ?

    My real interest here was asking for the off-set since I know nothing about Strava other than I expect you can quote some of your average times on plus versus 29 to illustrate the time handicap.

    Please include or post that info if it's fairly easy to extract some apples to apples "fair data" on the same trails or section.
    If not, I know I've happened upon some unbiased tests on twin bikes that run the 29, 27.5 and showed some results with a guy on the same trail each time. I can go hunt them up again for the sake of an additional source but the numbers as I recall, won't upset any on either side of the tire choices. I suspect racers know what they like and why and others might be in more for the ride enjoyment or experience.

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    I have a 2017 Stumpjumper that was available as 29 or 27+. I thought to myself "when I ride 29ers, I rarely wish I had more traction, but I frequently wish I had less rolling resistance and less rotational mass". So I got the 29. I have friends riding the 27+ of the same bike. I believe I chose well.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bachman1961 View Post
    I'm laughing now, just realizing the popular (not universal) comment on plus is they are slower and just as common, is the opinion/comment plus tire set ups are more fun.
    Now it's all making some sense to me.

    If they are fun and 'we' like fun, prolonging the fun factor would be slowing down to enjoy it and make the fun last longer, Right ?

    My real interest here was asking for the off-set since I know nothing about Strava other than I expect you can quote some of your average times on plus versus 29 to illustrate the time handicap.

    Please include or post that info if it's fairly easy to extract some apples to apples "fair data" on the same trails or section.
    If not, I know I've happened upon some unbiased tests on twin bikes that run the 29, 27.5 and showed some results with a guy on the same trail each time. I can go hunt them up again for the sake of an additional source but the numbers as I recall, won't upset any on either side of the tire choices. I suspect racers know what they like and why and others might be in more for the ride enjoyment or experience.

    T Y

    Oooh now you went and did it... brought up racing. Sure to piss off the plus tire crowd. No need to post times just look at the EWS and see what the top pros are running. Why is richie rude not riding a sb5+? But he did switch from an sb6 (27.5) to a 5.5 (29) in aspen. I bet you don't see a single set of plus tires....


    Make all the arguments for plus that you want but anyone who argues they're fast is extremely slow. After all, companies are running custom tires, custom frames, custom linkages, etc to get to use 29" wheels. why is the World Cup DH series going to 29'ers instead of plus tires?
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    Oooh now you went and did it... brought up racing. Sure to piss off the plus tire crowd. No need to post times just look at the EWS and see what the top pros are running. Why is richie rude not riding a sb5+? But he did switch from an sb6 (27.5) to a 5.5 (29) in aspen. I bet you don't see a single set of plus tires....

    Make all the arguments for plus that you want but anyone who argues they're fast is extremely slow. After all, companies are running custom tires, custom frames, custom linkages, etc to get to use 29" wheels. why is the World Cup DH series going to 29'ers instead of plus tires?
    Sure, just ignore the fact that they persisted with 27.5 for so long and refused to use 29. Is that not indicative that sometimes they refuse to let go of something they know for too long?

    Also should we ignore the fact that almost none of us will be pushing tyres anywhere near as hard as those guys? I won't be testing the tyre like those guys will, I buy tyres for ME to use.

    Oh and what about some recent WC DH races featuring new Magic Mary 2.6s?

    I think you're being a bit selective with your facts.

  35. #35
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    I ride 2 trails frequently and prefer a different setup for each. Same bike, different wheels.

    One, is tight and twisty with more exposed roots than a Bret Michaels concert. I prefer my plus setup there, as it takes a lot of harshness out and there's not a ton of stretches where you can build up significant speed anyway. It's my monster truck trail.

    The other is fast and flows very nicely without much in the way of roots or rocks. I prefer my 29er wheels there. It's my racetrack.

    IMO if you have options where you can utilize both, go for it. All depends on where you ride.


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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim_bo View Post
    I believe I chose well.
    This is excellent! Why? Because it's YOUR bike. It's YOUR choice. Those guys who ride the same frame as you but chose 27.5+ may feel equally strongly that THEY chose just as well as you did.

    Ain't mountain biking great? Ride whatever you love, love whatever you ride. Everybody's happy. Right? Hmmm... maybe not. Too bad so many riders who hang on MTBR feel that anybody not doing things their way are doing it wrong.
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  37. #37
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    We moved my wife from a Tallboy 2 to a Tallboy 3 back in November.....29 to 27.5+

    She like the bigger tires. She does find that they take more energy to climb with. She went from a 26 lbs. TB2 to 30 lbs. TB3. We also dropped from a 32t ring to a 30t. She is slower on the climbs....by quite a bit. However, as long as she can turn the pedals, the damn thing climbs like a goat on steroids......traction for days. We call it the Rock Crawler.

    On the downs....she has always been quick. On the 27.5+ she is quicker. It takes more effort for me to keep up on some of the DH's.

    I was hoping that she would tire of the big wheels/tires and want to go back to 29. However, since she is Boost and the only bike in the garage that way, I haven't had the chance to put a set on the bike for her to try out. I think once I do, she may prefer to stay with the bigger hoops.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    We moved my wife from a Tallboy 2 to a Tallboy 3 back in November.....29 to 27.5+

    She like the bigger tires. She does find that they take more energy to climb with. She went from a 26 lbs. TB2 to 30 lbs. TB3. We also dropped from a 32t ring to a 30t. She is slower on the climbs....by quite a bit. However, as long as she can turn the pedals, the damn thing climbs like a goat on steroids......traction for days. We call it the Rock Crawler.

    On the downs....she has always been quick. On the 27.5+ she is quicker. It takes more effort for me to keep up on some of the DH's.

    I was hoping that she would tire of the big wheels/tires and want to go back to 29. However, since she is Boost and the only bike in the garage that way, I haven't had the chance to put a set on the bike for her to try out. I think once I do, she may prefer to stay with the bigger hoops.
    My GF's experience is pretty similar to what your wife is experiencing when she got a plus bike. She went from a 2x Niner Aluminum HT to a 1x Stumpjumper 6F. She has found that she has a much harder time climbing on the plus. We really don't have many technical climbs and her 29r doesn't have traction issues in those particular spots. Her uphill Strava times are consistently slower on the 6F. The bike came with a 28T...I had to get her on a 26T. As long as she can turn the pedal...she can keep climbing. She say that her Niner "feels so fast" compared to the plus. OTOH...the downhill...she has much more confidence and the wide tires give her a larger margin of error.

    I asked her if she wanted a set of 29r wheels for the 6F...she said no. "I already have a 29r".

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    This is excellent! Why? Because it's YOUR bike. It's YOUR choice. Those guys who ride the same frame as you but chose 27.5+ may feel equally strongly that THEY chose just as well as you did.

    Ain't mountain biking great? Ride whatever you love, love whatever you ride. Everybody's happy. Right? Hmmm... maybe not. Too bad so many riders who hang on MTBR feel that anybody not doing things their way are doing it wrong.
    =sParty

    Yes I am right. And yes, my friends who ride the 27.5+ version of my bike think they are right. But they are wrong. And I tell them!!

  40. #40
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    I bought a HT plus bike at the end of 2015. After riding it for a while now it's definitely slower than my HT or FS 29er. It is fun to ride but noticeably slower. With a 2.3 front tire, I have plenty of traction on my 29ers. Like others here, I like to go fast. I think I may have taken my last ride on the plus bike.

  41. #41
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    I have two bikes that can be used with 29 and 27.5+ : SC Hightower and Spot Mayhem. Tried them with both wheel sizes. Did not see any benefits to 27.5+. Only negatives. Settled on i30 rims and 2.4-2.5 29 tires. I am riding mostly NorCal trails, so long climbs and fast downs. Almost no flats in between. May be on different terrain I would like 27.5+ more.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveo View Post
    Does going to plus equate to an extra 10mm of travel?
    It feels like it to me. I put Nobby Nic 2.6 on my Turner Flux and it felt really good. Definitely less trail vibration making it through to the contact points.

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