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  1. #1
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    Wire vs Folding Tyres, Pros and Cons..

    Thought id ask your opinions on the merits of wire vs folding tyres..
    I use wire beaded tires out of pure habit thinking they are stronger and will never come off my rims but is it really worth the weight.?
    Id be interested to hear what and why you use the type you do?
    Do we really need wire in tyres?
    Has anybody had either come off the rim?
    I realise that you would use wire for DH, DJ and heavy applications, but has anybody used folding for this sort of stuff.
    So im looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the two types and the pros and cons of both.
    Cheers and happy christmas...
    Last edited by Tone's; 12-06-2012 at 09:20 AM.
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    I can't speak to heavy dj use, but I've been using and abusing folding tires of many types for a long time and have not had any issues with the bead giving out. For reference, I regularly hit jumps/drops and rooty descents. I've had wire beads but can't say I noticed a strength difference.

    Again, just my experience, maybe someone with more has a different take.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick2cents View Post
    I can't speak to heavy dj use, but I've been using and abusing folding tires of many types for a long time and have not had any issues with the bead giving out. For reference, I regularly hit jumps/drops and rooty descents. I've had wire beads but can't say I noticed a strength difference.

    Again, just my experience, maybe someone with more has a different take.
    Thanks Pat, im thinking the same, i ride AM and light freeride, maybe i should ditch the wires for my next pair.....
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  4. #4
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    I have never had an issue with folding tires. I started using them in the early 90s when Panaracer came out with the Dart/Smoke combo with a kevlar bead. They were lighter I believe but I can't help thinking that now days folding tires are better displayed and packaged and take up less retail space than wire bead non-folding tires do. I could be wrong on this count also, but I think folding bead tires are much easier to use tubeless. I have never tried to run wire bead tubeless though, so I can't say with any certainty.

  5. #5
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    Wire beads are heavier, I always run folding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Thought id ask your opinions on the merits of wire vs folding tyres..
    I use wire beaded tires out of pure habit thinking they are stronger and will never come off my rims but is it really worth the weight.?
    Id be interested to hear what and why you use the type you do?
    Do we really need wire in tyres?
    Has anybody had either come off the rim?
    I realise that you would use wire for DH, DJ and heavy applications, but has anybody used folding for this sort of stuff.
    So im looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the two types and the pros and cons of both.
    Cheers and happy christmas...
    Folding vs Wire Bead Tires

    I have had both wire bead and folding bead tires blow off the rim. Depends mostly on the specific tire/rim combo rather than the bead material.
    mtbtires.com
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  7. #7
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    I have been running kevlar/aramid bead tires for a very long time, even on our mountain tandem - never had a problem. And if there's a tire that sees some serious stress, it's the front tire of a mountain tandem.

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

  8. #8
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    Folding tires have a much higher casing thread count than wire bead, and therefore has different ride characteristics than a wire bead, and I've always thought them to be more puncture resistant as well. A non issue I guess with tubeless.

    I've always used them and have had no problems.

  9. #9
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    The only difference is that the folding ones are a little lighter. And they fold. Oh, and they cost more.

  10. #10
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    I run wire beads because in a pinch I can remove the bead and use it to beat the bejesus out of someone. Can't get that with Kevlar.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Id scrap the passion forum all together, its a breeding ground for unicorn milkers, rainbow chasers and candy cotton farters.

  11. #11
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    I converted to tubeless using a wire bead once thinking it would seal and hold air better, well it's the same effing thing

    Pros of wire bead is that it's cheaper, and it seems like you get stronger sidewall structure. Not to mention, the work out exercise on your fingers, you get from removing the tires without the lever.

  12. #12
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    folding tire's are a helluvalot easier to change if (when) you get a flat or puncture. For that reason alone, I use strictly folding bead. if you add up the cost of broken tire levers, i think cost-wise it's a wash.

  13. #13
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    Wire bead tires: Cheaper.

    Folding/Kevlar: Better in every respect. And I like the weight savings, the smoother ride and fixing flats is so much easier.

  14. #14
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    My fr3 (wire bead) went tubeless with out a hitch on a stans rim. To be honest I can't tell the difference between it and the folding version. (except price and weight).

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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_amador View Post
    folding tire's are a helluvalot easier to change if (when) you get a flat or puncture. For that reason alone, I use strictly folding bead. if you add up the cost of broken tire levers, i think cost-wise it's a wash.
    Not always the case. Has more to do with the specific rim/tire combo than bead material. See my link above.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Folding vs Wire Bead Tires

    I have had both wire bead and folding bead tires blow off the rim. Depends mostly on the specific tire/rim combo rather than the bead material.
    Cheers Shiggy, good point i was thinking it had more to do with the tyre/rim combo, to everybody that has taken the time to reply, cheers n thanks guys....
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by monzie View Post
    I run wire beads because in a pinch I can remove the bead and use it to beat the bejesus out of someone. Can't get that with Kevlar.
    HAHAHA Monz, best answer yet
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Not always the case. Has more to do with the specific rim/tire combo than bead material. See my link above.
    If we're going to avoid generalizing (like i initially did), it'd be cool to see statistics on the quantifiable aspects of tire seating (mean and std. deviation of percent stretch required for specific tire/wheel combos, tire durometer, bead elastic modulus, etc . . .). For instance, Dupont Tensile Modulus is 70.3 GPa (according to Matweb.com for DuPont Kevlar 29 Aramid Fiber) vs. 303 Annealed Stainless Steels Elastic Modulus of 193 GPa. I have no idea if these are the exact materials that are used for tire beads but, lets assume that they are at least in the same family and use them as a starting point. That means, all things being equal (bead diameter, percent stretch, etc . . .), I'm going to have to apply more than double the force to get the same percent stretch to get the bead over the major diameter of the wheel for a steel bead vs. an aramid bead.

    Obviously, all things aren't equal, which is why it would be cool to see a set of data for at least some relevant characteristics. A sample size of one won't cut it since we have no idea what tolerances tire and wheel mfgs allow.

    So yeah, wheel geometry, tire geometry, bead material properties, tire surface properties . . . all that stuff will play a role in ease of seating beads.

  19. #19
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    I ran a set of Specialized Armadillo's, thorn resistant, folding tires for many miles, well for about 6000 miles. By that time they were bald. I ran them flat a few times too. In the end what killed them was they began slipping on the rim and causing the tube to flat at the valve core. That being said, the bead outlived the tread and I wouldn't be affraid of using them again, it seems they aren't making them anymore though.

  20. #20
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    I have experimented with wire and folded tires (same make/model just that the other was folding), but these were on my road bike.

    Apart from the folding being lighter, at both 100psi, there were no ride differences. But at lower psi, I had more pinch flats on the wire (I don't know why).

  21. #21
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    Have always used folding for weight savings. Never had an issue.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  22. #22
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    Well it seems that folding tyres seem to do the job for most pretty well, im still asking myself WHY about wire bead tyres if folding tyres seem to put up with the same abuse......
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  23. #23
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    ^^^ Cost. Wires are much cheaper.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    ^^^ Cost. Wires are much cheaper.
    Out of interest, why would it cost less to manufacture a wire beaded tyre?
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  25. #25
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    ^^^ I have no idea.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  26. #26
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    A wire bead is very cheap compared to kevlar, however I'd guess the much of the premium is marketing.
    occasional cyclist

  27. #27
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    I've replaced a lot of tubes over the years, maybe 50,000 or more, and never noticed this phenomenon of folding tires being easier to install. As stated above it depends on many factors, and I've seen extremes from either variety of tire.

    Next time you are at a bike shop pick 2 tires of the same make and model- one folding and one wire bead, and feel the rubber. I guarantee you will find that the folding version is a lot more pliable and that the rubber has a different, usually stickier feel. The casing on the wire bead will be much stiffer and feel more like a car tire in comparison. The reason for this is the folding tire uses thinner thread and a tighter weave for its casing and also uses a different rubber compound.

    I'll leave it to the individual as to whether one is better than the other, or if there is a noticeable difference but aside from price I still contend that the main differences are-

    1) weight
    2) casing and rubber compound

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    A wire bead is very cheap compared to kevlar, however I'd guess the much of the premium is marketing.
    Do all folding tyres have Kevlar in them?
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I've replaced a lot of tubes over the years, maybe 50,000 or more, and never noticed this phenomenon of folding tires being easier to install. As stated above it depends on many factors, and I've seen extremes from either variety of tire.

    Next time you are at a bike shop pick 2 tires of the same make and model- one folding and one wire bead, and feel the rubber. I guarantee you will find that the folding version is a lot more pliable and that the rubber has a different, usually stickier feel. The casing on the wire bead will be much stiffer and feel more like a car tire in comparison. The reason for this is the folding tire uses thinner thread and a tighter weave for its casing and also uses a different rubber compound.

    I'll leave it to the individual as to whether one is better than the other, or if there is a noticeable difference but aside from price I still contend that the main differences are-

    1) weight
    2) casing and rubber compound
    Cheers JB thanks for the reply mate, very interesting about the compounds.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Do all folding tyres have Kevlar in them?
    I think so. It is one of the few fibres that's stronger than steel.

    Lightest canoe I ever paddled was kevlar; it was pure heaven at ~45 lbs
    occasional cyclist

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    Quote Originally Posted by vmps View Post
    The only difference is that the folding ones are a little lighter. And they fold. Oh, and they cost more.
    What he said....

    I got the opportunity to pick us some new OEM take-off 29er 2.1 Prowler SL with wire beads for $15 each. They work every bit as well as the folding bead, set up tubless on CB Cobalt rims and the performance is no different than a folding bead. Have no idea of the weigh more....but don't care either.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_amador View Post
    folding tire's are a helluvalot easier to change if (when) you get a flat or puncture. For that reason alone, I use strictly folding bead. if you add up the cost of broken tire levers, i think cost-wise it's a wash.
    I have never broken a tire leaver, are you standing on them?

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Do all folding tyres have Kevlar in them?
    There are a few different materials used for folding tires.

    Vectran, Aramid, and a couple of others I can't recall at this very moment.

    They all perform pretty much the same for that application.


    Magura

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    Quote Originally Posted by monzie View Post
    I run wire beads because in a pinch I can remove the bead and use it to beat the bejesus out of someone. Can't get that with Kevlar.
    no but you could use the whole tire, since it is lighter.

  35. #35
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    Kevlar degrades in Sunlight, does anyone know how long the Kevlar is good for in a tire?

  36. #36
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    so if im reading between the lines, there is no real point in using wire bead tyres, and i can stop buying them thinking they are stronger, when really they are only putting extra weight on my bike....
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    so if im reading between the lines, there is no real point in using wire bead tyres, and i can stop buying them thinking they are stronger, when really they are only putting extra weight on my bike....
    Well they are cheaper... And same results beside the weight saving... I'd rather paid $15 for a aramid bead tire than $30 for a folding and bear the added 100-200gr since at some point I'm not racing and I just ride for the god damn sake of riding a bike. And that I can take that extra $15 to buy blingy totally useless parts
    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by David C View Post
    Well they are cheaper... And same results beside the weight saving... I'd rather paid $15 for a aramid bead tire than $30 for a folding and bear the added 100-200gr since at some point I'm not racing and I just ride for the god damn sake of riding a bike. And that I can take that extra $15 to buy blingy totally useless parts
    An Aramid bead tire is a folding bead tire. Read my earlier link and you will see that the bead material alone accounts for just around a 30g weight difference.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    so if im reading between the lines, there is no real point in using wire bead tyres, and i can stop buying them thinking they are stronger, when really they are only putting extra weight on my bike....
    You need to look at the other specs of the tires. Usually there are more differences than just the bead material.
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  40. #40
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    I just switched from years of using standard Wire tires to Folded and I'm really impressed! My first set of Folded tires was Maxxis Holly Rollers and have since changed them out for a set of Crossmarks. I'm riding a 35lb bike and the first thing I noticed was the weight reduction in the rotating mass. The ride quality was significantly smoother both on and offroad. I'm 273 lbs (down from 276~) and they handle my weight and abuse just fine...includind drops, jumps, and roots. I had one flatt due to a nail but changing the flatt and or tire set felt way easier than dealing with my old wire sets.

    Over all, I've put close to 200 miles on Folded tires and have enjoyed every mile. I feel that even with only a few miles that I can recommend Folded tires and not mislead or misinform anyone. I'm personally hooked on Folded tires and will continue using them.

  41. #41
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    I have some 10 year old kevlar bead tires (Panaracer Smokes) that would still work fine.
    Wire bead is cheaper, but that is about all the advantage I can see in it, nothin' more...

  42. #42
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    Tone's if your looking to get into folding tires, don't want to break the bank but, still have a good tire look into CSTtires.

    CST Mountain

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    Quote Originally Posted by 50calray View Post
    I just switched from years of using standard Wire tires to Folded and I'm really impressed! My first set of Folded tires was Maxxis Holly Rollers and have since changed them out for a set of Crossmarks. I'm riding a 35lb bike and the first thing I noticed was the weight reduction in the rotating mass. The ride quality was significantly smoother both on and offroad. I'm 273 lbs (down from 276~) and they handle my weight and abuse just fine...includind drops, jumps, and roots. I had one flatt due to a nail but changing the flatt and or tire set felt way easier than dealing with my old wire sets.

    Over all, I've put close to 200 miles on Folded tires and have enjoyed every mile. I feel that even with only a few miles that I can recommend Folded tires and not mislead or misinform anyone. I'm personally hooked on Folded tires and will continue using them.
    Thanks

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    How do I tell if I have wire or folding? IRC PiranhaPro 26” x 2.10 tires here (IRC's came stock on my 1996 Cannondale)

    How much weight savings for both tires are we talking here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannondale M200se View Post
    How do I tell if I have wire or folding? IRC PiranhaPro 26” x 2.10 tires here (IRC's came stock on my 1996 Cannondale)

    How much weight savings for both tires are we talking here?
    Folding tyres are collapsable, meaning you can fold then up in your hands, wire tyres hold their shape, you cant fold them up, if already on your bike, google the brand and model and see what you come up with.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_amador View Post
    I'm going to have to apply more than double the force to get the same percent stretch to get the bead over the major diameter of the wheel for a steel bead vs. an aramid bead.
    Except that the bead doesn't stretch regardless if it's aramid or wire. We work the bead to the center of the wheel where the diameter is smaller, so the bead can be worked over the sides of the rim.

    Oh, and regarding this Kevlar vs. aramid thing, Kevlar is just one brand name for a certain aramid fiber. It's just become so commonplace that people call aramid kevlar and vice versa.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    There are a few different materials used for folding tires.

    Vectran, Aramid, and a couple of others I can't recall at this very moment.

    They all perform pretty much the same for that application.


    Magura
    Vectran isn't used in the bead. It's used in the casing. Sometimes just under the tread, but other times it covers the sidewalls, too. Depends on the tire. Vectran was used in the Mars lander airbags, FWIW, and is what my Ursack bear bag is made of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blurr View Post
    Kevlar degrades in Sunlight, does anyone know how long the Kevlar is good for in a tire?
    Kevlar is not exposed to sunlight when it is used in a tire bead. I do not know of any tire companies that put it in the casing, but if they did, it would still be encased in rubber and not exposed to the sunlight until the tire was worn out and in need of replacing, anyway.

    I've been using pretty much exclusively folding tires for the past several years. Never had a problem with the bead, and I appreciate the lighter weight. Only exception would be my commuter. Bought some steel bead tires for it because I couldn't find folders in the size/tread pattern I wanted.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_amador View Post
    If we're going to avoid generalizing (like i initially did), it'd be cool to see statistics on the quantifiable aspects of tire seating (mean and std. deviation of percent stretch required for specific tire/wheel combos, tire durometer, bead elastic modulus, etc . . .). For instance, Dupont Tensile Modulus is 70.3 GPa (according to Matweb.com for DuPont Kevlar 29 Aramid Fiber) vs. 303 Annealed Stainless Steels Elastic Modulus of 193 GPa. I have no idea if these are the exact materials that are used for tire beads but, lets assume that they are at least in the same family and use them as a starting point. That means, all things being equal (bead diameter, percent stretch, etc . . .), I'm going to have to apply more than double the force to get the same percent stretch to get the bead over the major diameter of the wheel for a steel bead vs. an aramid bead.

    Obviously, all things aren't equal, which is why it would be cool to see a set of data for at least some relevant characteristics. A sample size of one won't cut it since we have no idea what tolerances tire and wheel mfgs allow.

    So yeah, wheel geometry, tire geometry, bead material properties, tire surface properties . . . all that stuff will play a role in ease of seating beads.
    Sheesh! I can see Justin now, sitting at his desk with reams of data, working out which tire is gonna work best on whatever rim, crunching numbers until eureka! Then he finds that particular model has gone out of stock while he was working it out... No offense intended Justin, but crunching all that data seems a bit of a stretch, when the best stretch might be to get out and stretch a few tires over some rims to see...

    Tone's, for me it all comes down to money and weight, and whether the sidewalls will hold up in the razor sharp decomposed granite where I live... I have tried many different tires on my Mavic Crossmax and Crosstrails, and the only thing I know is that some tires are easier to put on than others, and some tear like damp tissue in a blender... The ones I have on at the moment are usually the best.
    It's all Here. Now.

  49. #49
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    TiGeo,
    Agreed.
    I'm over 200lbs. Weight delta is minimal
    Run Big Bettys on SC BLT
    Folding about 100 bucks
    Wire 30 bucks via Amazon.
    Been ridin MTB over 35 yrs.
    Marketing trumps funtion sometimes.


    Former geologist as well.

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