Over the past few years many riders have purchased 27.5 bikes, only to have plus-envy once 27.5+ bikes started catching on. Some intrepid 29er owners (including yours truly) found they could convert their bikes to 27.5+ using WTB Scraper rims and Trailblazer tires. In fact, the Scraper/Trailblazer combo was designed with this purpose in mind.
Now, WTB is offering a similar conversion solution for standard 27.5″ owners who are looking to go wide. The new Scraper 26+ rims are 40mm wide, 5mm narrower than the original 27.5+ Scraper rims, which should provide the optimal tire profile while maintaining compatibility with the widest range of 27.5 frames and forks. I’m running the older, 45mm Scraper 27.5+ rims on my 29er, and I’ve definitely found myself wishing the rims were narrower for an improved tire profile. So, this seems like a great move. In fact, WTB now offers two versions of the Scraper 27.5+ rims: i45 (45mm internal width) and i40 (40mm internal width). The new 26+ Scrapers are only offered in i40 at the moment.
On the tire side, WTB now has 26″ Ranger tires in stock, in both 2.8″ and 3.0″ widths. The 2.8″ width is a good bet for 27.5 conversions while the 3.0″ tire is probably better suited to dedicated 26+ bikes like the Jamis Dragonfly or Jamis Eden. WTB makes two other plus tires–the Trailblazer and Trail Boss–but these are not currently offered in in the 26″ diameter.
In related tire news, WTB is also offering Ranger plus tires with tougher casings for more aggressive riding. Early plus tires focused on keeping rotational weight low since the tires were bigger overall. But many riders found the light casings didn’t offer enough stability or puncture protection. Ranger tires are offered with either TCS Tough or TCS Light casing, depending on the rider’s intended usage and preference.
With so many options and even the ability to run modern plus tires on older bikes, it’s a great time to be a consumer!