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  1. #1
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    Fatter, heavier, and faster?

    I installed a plumper wheel/tire setup: Blunt 35s, Ardent 2.4s. My XL Karate Monkey used to weigh about 26 pounds rigid, and now it weighs about 28.5. The old wheels were Bontrager RXL rear, stock Surly/WTB front, 2.2 Kenda Nevegals. I could feel the added weight on a ride yesterday with 2200 feet of climbing. But I was also going faster than usual. Almost every segment on Strava was a PR, my average speed was higher, and my top speed was way faster than usual. Yet while I was riding, I thought I was dragging.

    My guess is that I felt slow because the tire pressure was a little low. I had it at 16 front, 21 rear, and I weigh 160. Maybe a few pounds more and I wouldn't have felt as wallowy. It seems the big tires maybe carried more momentum and maybe that accounts for me moving faster?

    Anyway, I'm finding the adjustment to wider rims/fatter tires/lower psi to be bigger than I anticipated. Anyone else have a similar experience?

  2. #2
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    I'm very skeptical of a simple wheel/tire change adding 2.5lbs to your bike.

    However, going from Kenda Never-go to just about any other tire will make you faster. Those are probably the slowest tire ever made. Massive amounts of rolling resistance.
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  3. #3
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    All makes sense to me. Wider heavier rims, wider lower pressure tires. That adds up to less bouncing over trail irregularities which allows you to carry more speed and momentum pretty much everywhere.

    Just wait until you try 3" tires!

  4. #4
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    I was surprised, too. So I took the wheels off and weighed them. Here's the breakdown.

    Old Setup: 2027g Front, 2215g Rear (includes skewers, Surly 22T cog, and Surly spacer kit/lockring)

    New Setup: 2300g Front, 2640g R (includes parts listed above)

    The outcome? My whole-bike weight measured with a hanging scale was not completely accurate. The difference between the old and new setup is about 698g, or 1.5-something pounds. Still, it's more of a weight dif than I anticipated.

  5. #5
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    Varies with the trail. On the same carbon rigid SS, I've had 30mm rims with 2.5 minion dhf / 2.3 DHR II and 26mm rims with Ikon 2.35 / Ardent Race 2.2. Overall I'm faster with the lighter setup, but on very slick or rough trails, the bigger heavier tires can be faster.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdwebber View Post
    I'm finding the adjustment to wider rims/fatter tires/lower psi to be bigger than I anticipated.
    It sounds like its going pretty well, as if the upgrade made your rides both faster and more technically capable. Is your concern that it simply doesn't *feel* as fast and responsive, so it's a little less satisfying to ride (at least in that sense)?

    21 rear PSI @ 160# doesn't sound low to me. I think adding weight in the wheels/tires will almost always diminish that sense of immediate acceleration (especially at low speeds). People can rant theoretically all day long about rolling resistance, traction, anti-squat, flex, overall speed, etc., but I still think that sense of how much a bike "squirts forward" under power is fundamental to how fast a bike feels, and how satisfying it is to ride. Perhaps this is of less consequence to riders who have a high torque-to-weight ratio (not me!).
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  7. #7
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    I think you've put your finger on the feeling. I'm a little slower off the line and I feel like I could maybe drop down from a 34t chainring to a 32t on some climbs. But man, I feel like I am railing turns and skimming over rougher stuff than I can usually handle on a rigid bike. So I think I just need to be patient and learn to get the maximum from what I have. I'll probably feel this as normal in a few weeks.

    Funny side note about weight. So now that I'm riding an almost 29 pound rigid singlespeed, I meet this guy on the trail riding a carbon Pivot Les SS. Amazing looking bike. Carbon Enve rims/DT Swiss 240s/the whole bit. I pick it up by the saddle and it must be under 20 pounds easy. I wonder what he feels on that rig!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdwebber View Post
    But man, I feel like I am railing turns and skimming over rougher stuff than I can usually handle on a rigid bike.
    Ardent 2.4 front/rear on wide rims is an awesome combo for SS, IMO. They do everything really well (for my trails anyhow): handling (esp. with a wide rim), great volume, rolls just fine, solid braking, climbing traction, very reasonable weight, and tough (I've destroyed plenty of Maxxis EXO tires, but not an Ardent 2.4 EXO). When I started running these tires F/R, added a wider front rim, and shortened my stem a bit, I too felt like I was skimming over rougher stuff, maintain speed better, railing turns faster. I started getting that "I can roll over everything" attitude like on a full-suspension bike.

    I think everyone on a SS gets to a point where adding more tire comes with diminishing returns. Ardent 2.4 EXO front/rear is my limit before my bike starts feeling piggish under my skinny legs. Yeah, you can always gear down, but that's a buzz kill IMO.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Varies with the trail. On the same carbon rigid SS, I've had 30mm rims with 2.5 minion dhf / 2.3 DHR II and 26mm rims with Ikon 2.35 / Ardent Race 2.2. Overall I'm faster with the lighter setup, but on very slick or rough trails, the bigger heavier tires can be faster.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    I think everyone on a SS gets to a point where adding more tire comes with diminishing returns.
    Smaller, faster rolling tires suit the way I most enjoy riding right now, and make a noticeable difference in handling-which is a big deal, because I'm constantly cutting back and forth, putting the tires through tiny gaps, stuff I'd just roll over with more tire.
    My times would probably decrease dramatically with bigger tires and more aggressive riding style, but this is what's most fun to me at the moment.
    I think going bigger(and back to gears) is inevitable if I want to keep increasing mileage, though. However much fun it may be early on, when I knock out ~30 miles +/- a few SS, I'm just surviving the last third, or even half, of it. When fatigue sets in, that finesse goes bye bye, and my idea of an ideal tire changes along the way.
    Everything is a compromise in one way or another, though, and "better" or "faster" is so relative that, while I get a good laugh from the "mine is best" crowd and the silliness that accompanies every discussion that even mentions + in a positive or negative way, lately, it doesn't help my ongoing debate over my next purchase any. Good thing I'm in no hurry.
    If I had the cash, I'd set up a 29/27.5+ bike with 3 different wheelsets for rides of different types and duration, but that's a big "if"!

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