One of my shorter-travel FS bikes has a 26" rear wheel combined with a 650b front. Been running ghetto tubeless for many years and this weekend's desert trail ride was full of rocks and a combo of hardpack with loose over hardpack. Tried a 2.1 Wolverine Race on the back at around 29psi and tubeless. Weight is 532 grams.
I was shocked how predictable and good the braking was at any speed, I could climb seated or standing with little break in traction (normally I ride a 29er HT with semi-slicks on trails with a lot of out-of-saddle climbing so I'm very familiar with body positioning to combat a slipping tire). Thought sidewall flex would be an issue with the light weight but it wasn't a problem on the rocks or off-camber straights.
I'm 165 pounds and am categorized as a Cat 1 racer but in my mind I'm just an above average technical rider who likes to go fast without a number plate.
Now I'm looking for a true tubeless ready 26" rear tire that doesn't weigh a ton and mimics the WTB Wolverine Race's performance. I'd go for a stiffer sidewall as insurance in the harsh desert trails; the Wolverine Race's trail performance was so good I didn't even think about it until after the ride.
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