Thinking of ditching the suspension fork for 29+... bad idea?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Thinking of ditching the suspension fork for 29+... bad idea?

    I know from reading various threads that it a ymmv sort of deal, some love it others not so much. I am debating selling my RS reba dual air w/ lock out to fund a 29+ conversion. I want to hear from others who have been here before me.

    About me a bit...
    6'1" lanky climber type
    weakness is Technical DH/cornering
    stength is up/fitness
    Riding Pa stuff with roots/rocks but not jumping anything
    I like speed but I have a job and young family
    rode rigid with a GC 2.3 up front for over a year
    am considering some MASS races
    race CX and will do some endurance gravel this year on it (not + tires, rigid fork I have for that and I hate swapping)

    What I hate about suspension...
    maintenance
    weight
    feels like I'm stuck in the mud at times compared to rigid, even locked out

    What I hate about rigid...
    feel slower on the DH
    less control at times in techy sections
    Feels good when I do need it to have a softer front end, can't get that rigid

    So there it is, there I am. Any thoughts? Feel free to arm chair quarterback this one...

  2. #2
    jl
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    Might as well go rigid now, because when 'young family' becomes 'teenager family,' you won't have any money for suspension, or upgrades, or gears...
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  3. #3
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    Personal perference really. I know few guys who love 29+ with rigid. I have chased them down rocky downhills on my carbon 29er with a fork and can't catch them. Is it faster? Not really easy to say, but it may not be slower either. Different feel with plush tires. I would say normal 29 rigid is slower unless the trail is smooth, but over normally rocky Az trails 29+ vs29 may be a push.

    Personally my SS frame will fit 29+, but for now I am 2.35 front and 2.2 rear with a fork. I am not ready to commit to 29+ yet, but I am watching. Right now the main drawback to me is tire cost and sidewall cut resistance. I did ride 27.5+ with a fork and ti just felt sloppy and slower. I bet I could have cornered faster with more time to learn how the fatter tires with low pressure responded.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  4. #4
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    sounds like your a good candidate for 29+ in front. you seem to have a general understand of what you can expect. if you rode a rigid 29er and didn't hate it then you'll like the 29+ in front.

    I'm a lanky climber myself, don't really care much about bombing gnarly downhills. My Krampus is still rigid and i take it through all manor of chunk, rock gardens for miles, roots that would likely kill an average man, and anything else. I love it, but it is heavy.

    depending on what fork, rim, tire combo you go with it will add some weight to the front end. you'll probably notice it when you lift the front wheel, but depending on how short your chainstays are, you may not care, but you'll probably notice it a little.

    while a 3" tire on a wide rim does take the edge off of small bumbs and chatter, it's not a replacement for suspension. (as i'm sure your aware) the extra roll/rollover from the tall tire makes a difference too. all that plus the extra grip makes for a really fun, forgiving combo. it's really the best wheel/tire size IMO. hands down! it's really excellent.

    second point about weight: it's not a great race setup. it's heavier, and a little slower. it may not deter you, just depends on your personal preference. I'm of the run what you brung camp and i'd rather lose on my steel frame than win on a carbon wonder-bike with a big S on it.

    good luck with your conversion, I think you'll like it and find it's well worth the trade-offs.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  5. #5
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    Just put the rigid fork back on tonight for a cx style race tomorrow. SO much lighter than the reba.

    I think the 29+ will still be quite a bit lighter than the sus fork right? Obviously it will be heavier than the 2.3 GC on a wtb i19 rim.

    LBS up the street will build a wtb i35 rim to hope hub with db dt swiss spokes for $267. I'd probably run chupacabra up fron and stick with GC rear. He is a good builder and 100% anal about how he does stuff.

  6. #6
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    I'm 205 lbs and would want a wider rim, and a grippier tire, but I see where your going. and we have slightly different intentions for the bike.

    depending on what you weigh, I'd say that's the minimum rim width i would recommend. any narrower (or maybe even a more grippy tire) and you run the risk of folding the tire over in corners and making it very difficult to find a tire pressure your happy with. (have you read about that issue? guys (mostly heavier guys) try to run a narrow rim then are mad when they can't find a tire pressure that rides well and doesn't fold over in corners.)

    anyway, yeah i forgot you were giving up the sus fork so the weight of the front end won't be a major difference hopefully. you may still feel it in the steering a bit though?

    what frame/fork are you working with? have you considered that the taller tire will jack up the front end and slack it out a little? worried about that? you could possibly swap out the lower headset depending on your current setup? that would offset it a little.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  7. #7
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    I'm a lightweight (155) and my cornering sucks so folding a tire over is pretty unlikely. I thought about wider rims and can go i45 for like $30 more but the cost and weight dont seem worth it to me.

    I have a carbon gary fisher superfly SS with a carbon exotic fork. I expect the geo to be in between what it is with the carbon and sus forks now.

  8. #8
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    My experience: I went from a 100 mm Fox 29 suspension fork with a 2.3 Geax Gato to rigid niner Carbon fork 29+ Dirt wizard on a steel hardtail (Quiring q-ball) in east coast technical rock riding. I won several category 3 races and placed in the top 10 in cat 2. I think I am faster on the rigid 29+front but it took about 1 month of riding to adjust.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by khardrunner14 View Post
    I'm a lightweight (155) and my cornering sucks so folding a tire over is pretty unlikely. I thought about wider rims and can go i45 for like $30 more but the cost and weight dont seem worth it to me.

    I have a carbon gary fisher superfly SS with a carbon exotic fork. I expect the geo to be in between what it is with the carbon and sus forks now.
    gotcha, You'll be fine on the i35 rim, and you'll be fine with the Chupa too.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  10. #10
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    I'd say definitely give the 29+ a go, when I did it on my rigid the improvement over a 2.4" tyre was huge, definitely added a next level of comfort and control compared.

    As to your rim selection, why not split the difference and do the new i40 Scraper, as honestly a proper 3" tyre is best suited to 40mm internal IMHO - my 29+ wheels are built on Dualy45s, my B+ wheels use the Asym i35's but I also only run 2.8" tyres on them.

    Quote Originally Posted by khardrunner14 View Post
    I'm a lightweight (155) and my cornering sucks so folding a tire over is pretty unlikely. I thought about wider rims and can go i45 for like $30 more but the cost and weight dont seem worth it to me.

    I have a carbon gary fisher superfly SS with a carbon exotic fork. I expect the geo to be in between what it is with the carbon and sus forks now.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  11. #11
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    Simple is better, and the money saved can buy you more shiny bits for your bike.
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  12. #12
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    I ride 29+ with a Whisky fork. Highly recommend it. Very plush and doesn't slow me down on a normal DH run. If you were in Moab or somewhere with real big hits maybe, but chunky Midwest downhills it does great.

    I will also disagree with one comment OP made, in saying rigid has less control in techy spots. That's actually my favorite part of rigid, it's point and shoot. I live to methodically pick my way through rock gardens. It's 100x more satisfying than just monster trucking through with a squishy fork.

  13. #13
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    I recently ditched a mediocre suspension fork in favor of a Whisky rigid and 3.0 tires on both ends. I really really like it, and I'd like it even more if it were smoother where I ride, but PHX is rocky and chunky and I still love it.
    I'm probably 90% as fast downhill as I was, but I'm probably 150% faster uphill.
    I absolutely CRUSH climbs now. None of my usual group can hang with me anymore. The bike is lighter especially up front and the handling is razor sharp.
    I personally don't see myself going back to reg tires and a fork on a hardtail.

    If you have the pieces in place to go rigid, I say try it, but IMO, don't do it half-way. You'll want a quality fork, a wide rim and of course the tire. Cheap harsh forks and narrow rims will likely not sell you on rigid plus
    Thinking of ditching the suspension fork for 29+... bad idea?-img_0244.jpg
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    I recently ditched a mediocre suspension fork in favor of a Whisky rigid and 3.0 tires on both ends. I really really like it, and I'd like it even more if it were smoother where I ride, but PHX is rocky and chunky and I still love it.
    I'm probably 90% as fast downhill as I was, but I'm probably 150% faster uphill.
    I absolutely CRUSH climbs now. None of my usual group can hang with me anymore. The bike is lighter especially up front and the handling is razor sharp.
    I personally don't see myself going back to reg tires and a fork on a hardtail.

    If you have the pieces in place to go rigid, I say try it, but IMO, don't do it half-way. You'll want a quality fork, a wide rim and of course the tire. Cheap harsh forks and narrow rims will likely not sell you on rigid plus
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Any close ups of your bike?

    What rim/tire combo are you running?


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by racefit View Post
    Any close ups of your bike?

    What rim/tire combo are you running?
    Currently using Nextie Carbon i30mm rims with Hadley hubs and 27tpi Knards. Yes, the rims are narrow, but I built them when I had a different frame that would only clear 2.4 tires. They actually work pretty well because I'm light at 150 lbs trail ready, and I choose the smoothest line I can. There's probably a little sidewall folding, but it's not squirmy, or at least if there is, it doesn't bother me. I generally run 10F/12R psi.
    I like the Knards well enough, they roll alright and grip well on the dry loose rock here in PHX, but they're *very* heavy. They were free from my LBS owner friend as take-offs from another customer's bike they left behind. I don't have the cash for other tires right now, so these will do.
    I bought the Vassago from a friend of a friend on an impulse, so it's still kind of 'work-in-progress'. I'm planning on lacing up some wider wheels as funds allow. Maybe Mulefuts or Scrapers on Novatec or BHS hubs. I'd love some 50mm carbon, but they're expensive.
    Thinking of ditching the suspension fork for 29+... bad idea?-img_0243.jpg

    Literally days before being given the Knards I ordered a pair of Nobby Nic 2.6's, so I popped on a sus fork and rode the 2.6's a few times and then mounted the Knards and the Whisky fork. those NN's are hanging on my wall, they'll go on the Nexties someday.
    Thinking of ditching the suspension fork for 29+... bad idea?-nobby-nics.jpg
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    Whisky rigid and 3.0 tires on both ends. [...] 27tpi Knards. [...] I absolutely CRUSH climbs now. None of my usual group can hang with me anymore.
    Damn. I think those tires are ~1240 grams each, so ~ 2.5 kilos of rubber. Yeah, they roll well...momentum, blah, blah. I'm still trying to figure out how you climb in those shoes. Quite well, apparently. Nice job.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    Damn. I think those tires are ~1240 grams each, so ~ 2.5 kilos of rubber. Yeah, they roll well...momentum, blah, blah. I'm still trying to figure out how you climb in those shoes. Quite well, apparently. Nice job.
    I actually got the Knards as free take-offs from my LBS. they have plenty of dried Orange Seal in them. My brewing/food/parts scale says 1340 and 1321 each. I'm not really tooting my own horn about how badass I am (I'm not) they definitely feel like they weigh 3 pounds each.
    I brought it up to illustrate that even with boat anchor tires that aren't really known for their grip, climbing on a rigid plus bike is MAGICAL because of the giant rolling circumference, 10psi compliance and most importantly the qualities of a light stiff fork.
    Were someone to go the rigid/plus route with actual good tires it would be even more of a positive outcome.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  18. #18
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    Those big heavy wheels also help in certain technical spots due to rolling inertia you get from them. Even steady climbing is not too bad because once you get the tires rolling they are not easily stalled. Good on a SS. Where they will hurt is accelerations.

    Honestly once people can find and settle on a good 29+ 3.0 tire that is reasonably light, durable treadlife and sidewall cut resistance and reasonable retail price. So far the tires that light enough tend to be very costly and can cut sidewall pretty easily. Those that durable are also boat anchors. I do know that you also looking for this balance.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  19. #19
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    I want light for sure, especially since typically I am not a "bomber". I am light and I ride light. But I do make mistakes. It's got to be Chupacabra's or Nimble 9's either run tubeless.

    Chupa's are so much more expensive though... nearly double since I can get Nimble 9's for just over $50.

  20. #20
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    I already ride rigid with currently 2.4 ardents and internal width 26mm rims. My plans are a 29-33mm IW rim and 2.6 NN if my shop can ever get them. Or fat b nimbles seem to measure about 2.75

    Im not into 40+ mm rims yet.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crave SL View Post
    I already ride rigid with currently 2.4 ardents and internal width 26mm rims. My plans are a 29
    I have 2.6 NN on two of my bikes. One bike has 26mm internal rims and the other has 30mm internal rims. There's really not much difference between them visually or in performance.

  22. #22
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    My NN 2.6's measured 2.52 and 2.53 on i30 rims after 10 days mounted. They were nice tires but not the 'mini-plus' many were hoping for IMO.

    if by Nimble 9's you mean Panaracer Fat-B-Nimble 29s, they are notoriously undersized and spec out to about 2.7-2.8 and are fragile. I would be surprised if you found yourself happy with those.
    Ive chatted with some folks riding WTB rangers recently and the feedback has been positive. They can be found for 60-70 each.
    Another cost-conscious option is the Innova Transformer K. Innova makes all Surly's tires. Universal Cycles has those for $42.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  23. #23
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    I'll take a look at those options... trying to avoid anything much above 800-900g if possible. I know it's always a trade of... cheap, light, durable... just need to get the best option for me.

    Any idea on their weights?

  24. #24
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    From the notepad doc I keep running saved on my phone:

    Measured:
    Schwalbe NoNi 2.6 795 & 810g
    Surly Knard 27tpi 3.0 1310 & 1340

    Claimed weights from internet searches:
    Chupa ~ 900
    Ranger ~ 900
    Innova Transformer ~920
    Knard 120tpi ~980
    Chronicle ~ 1000
    Bomboloni ~1000
    Dirt Wizard 120tpi ~1100
    Minion DHF 3.0 120tpi ~1150
    Knard 60tpi ~1250
    Dirt Wizard 60tpi ~1400

    all the claimed weights are averages of posted info, pics of the tires on scales, or eBay stores that actually weigh the products and denote it.

    yeah, I'm OCD and have put lots of effort into some stupid crap.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post

    yeah, I'm OCD and have put lots of effort into some stupid crap.
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  26. #26
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    On the Rigid with plus Tires. I run a Large Sir9 at 5'10. Carbon Niner Fork with Carbon Atomics and a 3.0 up front with a 2.3 or 2.4 out back. It goes through some of the gnarliest GA Rock trails like a Beast. Now yes I do have my eyes forward at all times looking for that preferred smooth line for sure but it blows me away at how much confidence I have when on this bike vs my squish Sir9.

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  27. #27
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    well I put the fork on ebay, so let's hope it brings enough cash to build a wheel. Really pumped about the WTB rangers as that price is very fair compared to the Chupa's. Thanks!!

  28. #28
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    I run a 29+ set up on the front of my rigid SS 29er. Prior set up was King / Flow / 2.4 ardent at 18 psi.

    New set up is King / Flow MK3 / CX Ray / Chupacabra 3.0. 11 psi and i weigh 175.

    This is the bomb for a a rigid front end on a single speed. It weighs the same as my previous wheel and traction is crazy! The new wheel / tire combo weighs the same as the old.

    My other bike will run 27.5+ - Hadleys / i40 / chupacabra 3.0 front and rear / cx ray spokes.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by azjonboy View Post
    New set up is King / Flow MK3 / CX Ray / Chupacabra 3.0. 11 psi and i weigh 175.
    So they hold up in the Phoenix area even in back? And you're going down National on that set-up, right? I obviously need to work on my skills. I'm only 170# + gear, but I'd like a Chupa 2.8 with 60 TPI for the back, as I seem to destroy rear tires.

  30. #30
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    A friend of mine rides a Borialis with plus wheels, duallies wrapped in Chupas. (He's also got fat wheels but never rides them).
    That dude weights well north of 200 and bulldozes the trail. 90% of his miles are T100 and Sonoran South. His Chupa is well worn on the back but he's got a butt load of miles on it and I've never seen him flat.

    I'm not saying it's "the answer" but it is a data point for consideration. I've discussed tires on a local SS only FB group and have had more than one guy tell me a Chupa wears as well or better than most plus rears.
    Also- Tom from Vassago tells me the Light/fast Ranger is goddamn Velcro traction but wears really quickly, the Tough/fast is much better for rocks and in his opinion a strong contender for best 'bang for your buck' plus tire.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  31. #31
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    Yeah, I've talked to a couple riders in T100 area that had nothing but good things to say about the Chupas. One guy had about 100 pounds on me. Just have a hard time with the math: how can such big tire be tough and weigh so little? Maybe I'll try to find a used 29+ bike to play around with for awhile.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by khardrunner14 View Post

    What I hate about suspension...
    maintenance
    weight
    feels like I'm stuck in the mud at times compared to rigid, even locked out

    What I hate about rigid...
    feel slower on the DH
    less control at times in techy sections
    Feels good when I do need it to have a softer front end, can't get that rigid

    So there it is, there I am. Any thoughts? Feel free to arm chair quarterback this one...
    Because I've had a drink or 3 and I'm doing by best to avoid the work I should be doing, I'll wax-poetic a little on the original post.

    My biggest beef with suspension was that it didn't fit the giant tires I wanted very much unless I bought a boost or plus fork. definitely the maintenance too. I don't love to wrench when I could be riding.

    One thing I found about rigid is that it's a unique beast. *for me* the uphills were so much faster, because of the fork performance, and the insane traction, and the increased rollover of all those little momentum-robbing steps and cervices that used to suck my wheels in but don't now, that I actually covered familiar loops in less time. I've PR'd many Strava climbs and cleaned a few sections that I've never managed to before.
    I love the climb. I love the burn, I love the feeling of cleaning a gnarly steep tech section.
    I'm still learning how to descend on a rigid, I fall into 'steamroll' mode some. working on that. Some is technique, some is bike.
    It's really quite likely that depending on where you ride you won't see Strava PRs on your DH segments. It's not like they're gonna be 50% slower. maybe just a couple seconds.Some places, you simply can't compete with FS.
    Smaller than fist-sized rock, I'm faster than i was on reg tires and suspension. The tires just eat it all up.
    big suitcase-sized embedded techy stuff, prob not much diff from FS, or what I was before on reg tires.
    Its the piles of crap thats the size of like a shoe... yeah thats rough. and it's kinda sucky but it's a minority of terrain so I deal. it's gonna be a hassle on any hardtail. its a little less awesome on rigid plus.
    If burning up the KOM chase is your thing, rigid might not be for you. the bike is gonna reach its limit at some speed. The 'magic' comes in the fun. I feel like I'm *really* riding. to get 'weird and sentimental', it's like dancing with the bike- manual'ing, hopping the rear to miss a rock, scanning for the line and swooping the bike across the trail.
    it 'feels' like the stuff I did as a teen in the 90's on a Spec RockHopper, but about 1000% more capable and probably a good bit lighter too.
    It really depends on how you view your style and to a lesser degree the 'culture' you ride in. I ride with both, but most of my friends are on hardtails. Some SS with front forks, some with gears and front sus, some plus with rigid and gears, but none of the 'core' group are on long legged FS, so in the end is just a few dudes out riding our freakin' bikes because it's fun.

    Sorry. Whiskey makes me wordy.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  33. #33
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    It's part of the Bontrager "Black Magic" they work, very light tyres, super robust casings, can't figure it out myself either, but it's true. When I've ridden Bonti tyres I've heard pops from casing on coral rock that would surely cut most other brands tyres, but they just keep on rolling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    Yeah, I've talked to a couple riders in T100 area that had nothing but good things to say about the Chupas. One guy had about 100 pounds on me. Just have a hard time with the math: how can such big tire be tough and weigh so little? Maybe I'll try to find a used 29+ bike to play around with for awhile.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

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    Do it! You won't know until you try it. I have both a 29+ rigid and a 29er hard tail that are equally a blast to ride for totally different reasons. The 29er feels super nimble and the suspension fork is so plush. The 29+ has a super direct and light front end and will climb up a wall. I'm fortunate to have both and not sure what i would chose exclusively.

    One thing I will say is that I did start into 29+ by building up my old Jabberwocky frame with the ODIS steel fork and a Chronicle on a Rabbit hole rim. It worked great and was a blast to ride but it just made me want to have the big tire on the rear as well. The rear climbing traction with a 3" tire at 11 psi is 50% of the fun!
    Pedal through it!

  35. #35
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    Ryder1 - don't have a Chupa on the rear as that frame wasn't built for them. The '17 Les will bet set up as 27.5+. Hadley hubs, cx rays and i40 rims. Will run Chupa front and rear. Also Fox 34 so I can run 29+ up front and 29 rear if i choose.

    Also have a 29x3.0 Bridget I want to try

    For Phx trails, especially SoMo, I really like the Chupa up front on a rigid set up.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  36. #36
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    I can vouch for the Chupas. We have serious tire killer rock around here. I don't know how Bontrager does it, but I've found 2 tires that survive my local trails without being killed continuously: Ardents and Chupacabras.

  37. #37
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    I've been running the Chupa up front for a while. One of the Best if not the Best tire I've seen. I like Maxxis as well but Ive never tried there 29+ tire but will be for this second round of the Dalton GA Snake this weekend. Hopefully it holds up like the Chupa. Test rode the last 17 and cleaned bike this week and found quiet a few thorn punctures and couldn't get a Chupa in time and don't wanna take any chances with this being a Mean Ass 50 mile TT.
    Anyone been on the Maxxis Chronicle?


    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

  38. #38
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    I have a front wheel being built now and a WTB ranger on the way to try. Will report back.

  39. #39
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    Rode with the plus front for the first time today. My first impression: If you ride rigid 29ers, you should be riding a plus front. That is all. It is really that good.

  40. #40
    Downcountry AF
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    ^ good news!

    pics or it didn't happen!
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  41. #41
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    https://www.strava.com/activities/872620965

    strava with a couple pics so it's really real!

    I admit the pics aren't that good. Im not that artsy.

  42. #42
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    Super cool. Did you notice any difference in weight or more sluggish feeling/handling. Those would be my concerns, but they could be totally unfounded.

  43. #43
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    Very little of either of those. It steers slightly slower, though on dirt I couldn't tell, only on pavement. I can feel the weight though its only about 300g different, so really its only when I am putting the bike back on the rack.

    This ride today was a recovery ride from a big one yesterday. I was expecting my arms, back, and hands to feel really awful but they didn't at all. I was actually faster on a bunch of segments today or darn close to pr's without even pushing it.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by khardrunner14 View Post
    Rode with the plus front for the first time today. My first impression: If you ride rigid 29ers, you should be riding a plus front. That is all. It is really that good.
    Where I live I'd say that is half right. Might as well get a rear plus tire too, no? It is really that good.

  45. #45
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    I'd consider it but no can do on this frame.

  46. #46
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    Really cool stuff. Thanks for the reports back.

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