At Frostbike I mentioned to Chris from Loose Nuts Cycles that I didn’t get why companies were producing 27.5+ mountain bike tires given the dearth of production 27.5+ bike frames. His response: 27.5+ tires are for your 29er. At that moment scales fell from my eyes and I saw the future.
Ok, so maybe I didn’t see the future of mountain biking or even fat biking per se, but I do see a 27.5+ conversion coming soon to a 29er in my stable. I absolutely love how fat bikes ride on dry trails, especially when paired with suspension–I just can’t afford to buy a FS fat bike yet.
The WTB Trailblazer 2.8 is designed to be a fast roller so you probably won’t see this one on the snow. Word is the tire was explicitly designed for 29ers.
WTB also offers their own 27.5+ rim called the Scraper for a complete solution. My bet is the Trailblazer + Scraper will be one of the more widely-compatible setups for 29er conversions, but only time will tell. WTB sold through all their test market orders quickly, and some shops will have been waiting close to a year on their pre-orders for this highly sought after tire.
Never ones to let a new tire size catch them off guard, Vee blasted out of the gate with three 27.5+ tires, the largest of which is a 27.5×3.25-inch tire. Look for smaller options as well, including a 2.8-ish tire and a 3.0-ish version as well. All these options should make it possible for consumers to find the max tire size that will work with their particular 29er conversion.
Panaracer is producing a 27.5+ version of the Fat B Nimble that’s listed at 27.5×3.5, though honestly it doesn’t look much wider than WTB’s 2.8-inch tire. But that’s a good thing–most people won’t be able to jam a true 3.5-inch tire into a 29er frame, even if it is mounted on a 27.5-inch rim.
Conversions are never a perfect solution as they often negatively affect a bike’s geometry, but having the ability to, say, run two different wheelsets on a 29er is a nice one to have.
Stay tuned as we test our own 29er to 27.5+ conversion.