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  1. #1
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    Unexpected effects by riding narrower tires... Upgrading to +size?

    I have always been a fan of lager tires and for years i was running 2.4" front & rear, until they were worn out last year. Inspired by the plus size development, i have been considering getting even bigger tires and wider rims to support them. But until that, i put my stock tires back on, wtb naonraptors 29x2.1

    I haven't been riding much until recently. I was convinced that my bike would suck in rough terrain, that it would be uncomfortable, have less grip and less fun to ride.

    I was wrong!! My bike have never felt so agile and precise! It was easier for me to maneuver the bike in technical sections and it went exactly where i wanted it. The sluggish feeling was all gone and stability was increased. Comfort was slightly decreased but not as much as i was expecting.

    Now i am not so sure i want to get +size rims & tires anymore. I am still curious to try it out but i am worried that i will make my bike worse instead of better...

    I am riding a full rigid 29:er and i love really technical trails (i am a former trials rider, agility and precision is valuable to me, but i do like good grip and descent comfort also)

  2. #2
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    What a rebel! Going SKINNY when it seems like the whole world is engrossed in FAT...then discovering you LIKE it!
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
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  3. #3
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    2.25" were my XC / trail tire size for years. I purchased a new wheelset that had Ardent 2.4's and my initial impressions were they felt like I was riding on balloons. I stuck it out for a full season on these tires. Next season I went to a smaller 2.35' front and 2.25" rear and my bike no longer felt like I had "too much tire".

  4. #4
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    I tried plus, but, like you, it had too many drawbacks for where I ride the most. I still ride 2.4/2.5 though. The roots around here need something to take the edge off. 2.1 Ignitors used to be my go-to, but I kept bumping up tire size until I didn't feel like I had to change tires if I went someplace rougher.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  5. #5
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    For me the only benefits to plus tires are comfort and climbing traction. The weak point of my 2.4 DHR2's is the stiffness not the amount of grip. I run my pressure based on preventing tire squirm. I feel like for cornering performance or riding gnarly terrain plus tires are a step in the wrong direction. Plus tires squirm and fold too easy. I can see how a less experienced rider would benefit from the extra grip but I can't imagine a good rider benefiting from a lighter casing for aggressive riding.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transwave View Post
    I have always been a fan of lager tires

    I was wrong!! My bike have never felt so agile and precise! It was easier for me to maneuver the bike in technical sections and it went exactly where i wanted it. The sluggish feeling was all gone and stability was increased. Comfort was slightly decreased but not as much as i was expecting.
    Transwave, like you I've always been a fan of larger tires. Maybe this came from my other two-wheeled passion, off-road motorcycling, I don't know, but in any case I recently experienced a similar epiphany.

    I tried 3" wide tires for a year. There are performance and comfort attributes with this tire width that I truly like but also some negatives that turned me away. Eventually I arrived at narrower tires -- 2.6" to be exact -- for me, this is the sweet spot.

    Everybody needs to find their own sweet spot. There's no right or wrong, as you and I and countless others have discovered, it takes experimentation. This, plus preferences may change over time.
    =sParty
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  7. #7
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    Skinny tires on everything except for the smashy smash bike.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transwave View Post
    I have always been a fan of lager tires and for years i was running 2.4" front & rear, until they were worn out last year. Inspired by the plus size development, i have been considering getting even bigger tires and wider rims to support them. But until that, i put my stock tires back on, wtb naonraptors 29x2.1

    I haven't been riding much until recently. I was convinced that my bike would suck in rough terrain, that it would be uncomfortable, have less grip and less fun to ride.

    I was wrong!! My bike have never felt so agile and precise! It was easier for me to maneuver the bike in technical sections and it went exactly where i wanted it. The sluggish feeling was all gone and stability was increased. Comfort was slightly decreased but not as much as i was expecting.

    Now i am not so sure i want to get +size rims & tires anymore. I am still curious to try it out but i am worried that i will make my bike worse instead of better...

    I am riding a full rigid 29:er and i love really technical trails (i am a former trials rider, agility and precision is valuable to me, but i do like good grip and descent comfort also)
    How worn out were your old tires compared to the stock nano's you put back on? I ask because agile, precise, less sluggish are exactly what I would expect to experience when putting on a new unworn exact replacement tire. I'd never expect better stability from a narrower tire unless the wider one was so worn out that the narrower one had more traction. Even the minimal difference in ride quality could be explained by the older tires condition cause a new tire with higher knobs always rides better. Not saying some of the benefits didn't come from the thinner profile. Just pointing out comparing a worn out tire to a fresher one isn't exactly apples to apples. I have a rigid steel SS 29r I run 2.25/back and 2.4/front and know from experience I don't care for it as much with a 2.25 front so would be inclined to go larger if I were to experiment.
    Mole

  9. #9
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    The value of bigger tires depends on a lot of the terrain. With roots and small rocks every five feet, the cushion makes it easier to carry speed. Fewer things deflect the wheel. You're not as agile, but you don't need to be. You can also pedal in the saddle for longer.

    When it's wet, though, the low-profile knobs on the XC-biased tires I use are treacherous. In the dry, there's still a bit of bounce and vagueness from the additional vertical height. I have to trust the grip is there because the feedback really isn't.

    To an even greater extent than with narrow tires, grip depends on dynamic weight balance. There can be so much of it in some scenarios (landing into a turn with the front tire weighted) that it can throw you off the bike. This is why I don't agree with the idea that they're (solely) beginner tires. The faster you go, the more important it is to have the pressure and setup dialed, and the less forgiving they are of mistakes.

  10. #10
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    I'm glad, not to be the only one who likes narrower tires....also went to wider rims, and they are trashed...ding to easy. Going back to narrower rims, also...

  11. #11
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    Dudes.....I'm so ahead of the curve, I never went + in the first place. Just kidding!
    The member formerly known as Redtires....

  12. #12
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    I tried 27plus in SoCal on fast sun-baked hardpack, and I never liked the plus tires since the start. Saw mags suggest 13 psi, but I was getting rim strikes, squirm, and burps. I compromised by replacing the front tire with a 29x2.3 DHR2 and I'm loving the bike so much more. It's much more precise and easier to go faster. The rear's tread is getting low enough that it's slipping on climbs. Gonna run it a bit longer before I replace it with the front plus tire I got.

    So far me experience has been on WTB Bridger on a Sherpa I demo'd and Maxxis Rekon 27.5x2.8. The Sherpa made fireroad climbs smoother, removing the need to roll on clean/smooth lines, totally fine with the modestly rough and gravel-covered stuff. I'm just convinced my area is 29er country, with how fast and hard the surface is.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by karmaphi View Post
    I tried 27plus in SoCal on fast sun-baked hardpack, and I never liked the plus tires since the start. Saw mags suggest 13 psi, but I was getting rim strikes, squirm, and burps. I compromised by replacing the front tire with a 29x2.3 DHR2 and I'm loving the bike so much more. It's much more precise and easier to go faster. The rear's tread is getting low enough that it's slipping on climbs. Gonna run it a bit longer before I replace it with the front plus tire I got.

    So far me experience has been on WTB Bridger on a Sherpa I demo'd and Maxxis Rekon 27.5x2.8. The Sherpa made fireroad climbs smoother, removing the need to roll on clean/smooth lines, totally fine with the modestly rough and gravel-covered stuff. I'm just convinced my area is 29er country, with how fast and hard the surface is.
    That was my experience as well. Plus tires are no better on loose over hard corners.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    I noticed on the trails by me, when the trails are muddy, only the top inch or so is mud.
    Under the mud is clay. So the thin tires work better cutting though the top mud layer to the clay and the thinker tires slosh on top to the mud.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcw View Post
    I noticed on the trails by me, when the trails are muddy, only the top inch or so is mud.
    Under the mud is clay.
    I agree with you, although sometimes there's more than an inch of mud. At least where I live, anyway. I've been riding year 'round in western Oregon's mud zone since 1987.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcw View Post
    So the thin tires work better cutting though the top mud layer to the clay and the thinker tires slosh on top to the mud.
    I think this might have something to do with rider weight &/or personal preference. I spent a couple decades riding with tire guru shiggy (before he moved to Washington) and he always claimed the same thing you say above. But I outweighed shiggy by 40 pounds and personally I found that skinnier tires gave me the pizza cutter effect. Sometimes my front wheel would sink in so deep that turning the handlebar was challenging, then I'd crash.

    For me a wider tire with a really (really!) aggressive knob works best. I prefer Schwalbe Magic Marys in the softest compound available. Mud doesn't wear knobs down very quickly and the softer compound sticks to wet rocks & roots best.

    But no way I'm saying you're wrong. I just think what works best might vary from rider to rider and locale to locale depending on consistency of the mud.
    =sParty
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  16. #16
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    You are not alone, I've noticed the same thing.
    I prefer 2.25 and higher pressures than most.
    Fatter tires with lower pressures feel imprecise to me. There is a few milliseconds of lag when snapping the bike into a turn from sidewall flex, and this has caused me to hit my lines wrong. At times, this lag has resulted in pushing the front end in turns.
    I've tried re-timing my turns but it feels unnatural.

    I get a similar effect from tall, flexible knobs.

    I thought I was doing something wrong, since I weigh about 160, but can't run my front tires less than 25lbs, depending on the tire.

    I think it is less of an issue on a couple of bigger, less twisty trails. But my favorites are tighter, twisty, flowy trails that require a lot of precision and rapid side to side movement.

  17. #17
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    I have also experimented around the past couple years with tires. I settles on a 2.4 up front and a 2.3 on the back. My 4.8 fattie still goes over sand and mud better but its also way slower.

  18. #18
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    I run 2.3s front and rear, at 18-20psi front and 23-25 psi rear, depending on conditions. The 2.3 seems to hit a sweet spot between cushion and responsiveness...

    Both are important with a rigid fork.
    Salsa Timberjack SS
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