While some makers of 27.5+ products–and ones that Jeff has spoken with–are pushing the 27.5+ size as a conversion for existing 29ers, an announcement from Fox today is making me rethink that stance.
Fox has just announced a brand-new Fox 34 designed specifically for 27.5+ wheels/tires, according to Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine’s report.
This version of the Fox Float 34 fork offers up 110-150mm of travel for the tweener wheel size coupled with larger tires.
The fork will run a 15mm x 110mm hub size, which means that if you want to run this fork, you’re going to need a new hub.
What the hell is 27.5+ anyway?
The introduction of this fork busts this question wide open. Seriously, what the hell is 27.5+ for? Until now we’ve seen it as a conversion on 29er frames to offer wider tires, and we’ve even seen it demoed on long distance bikepacking bikes from brands like Rocky Mountain. But with the introduction of this fork, I think we’re going to see 27.5+ veer off in a totally different direction.
Right now we’re heading into the realms of supposition, folks, so this is just me ruminating–take it as nothing more. But generally, fork brands like Fox and Rock Shox won’t launch a fork unless they know there’s a bike coming that will spec it stock. And with such an untried wheel size, I think that would be doubly true. So sometime soon–Sea Otter, if I had to bet money–we’re going to see a brand-new bike rocking this long-travel 27.5+ fork.
Now if we have a long-travel bike rocking this 27.5+ specific fork, I’d also bet money that it’s going to be a trail/enduro bike completely designed around the wheel size. And that, my friends, is going to be interesting.
If you ask me, the 27.5+ size is essentially taking what Ibis has pioneered with their aggressive, ultra-wide rims to its logical conclusion. Essentially Ibis was already creating rims for burly all-mountain/enduro bikes that were wide and fat. Rolling out a fork and a bike that will address existing clearance issues and standardize sizes and spacing on an already-proven formula just makes sense. (Side note: Yes, there are already 27.5+-specific wheels, but so far they really haven’t really been used in the trail/enduro spectrum.) And, of course, this will give the bike industry yet another “standard” to sell, because it’d just be wrong to put 41mm Ibis rims on just any old bike, now wouldn’t it?
That’s a lot of supposition, and only time will tell if this will all pan out. But I can’t have been the only one to ride Ibis’s new rims, a 29+, and a full suspension fat bike, love all three, and think, “hmm, I wonder how we can combine the best factors of all of those bikes into one enduro wonder bike?”
We’ll keep you posted as the 2015/2016 product season unfolds.
Shoot, seems like fork companies wait until there are a ton of bikes and THEN create a fork–just look at how long it took for us to get a regular fat bike suspension fork! Guess Fox is trying to get out in front of this one… let’s see who follows.
The bluto’s release coincided perfectly with the release of the first full suspension fat bike but yeah I agree, it was a long time coming.
Speaking of true fat bikes, it’s just crazy to me that fox is rolling out a fork for an untried wheel size when we know that fat bikes are here to stay. Seriously fox, you need a fat bike fork.
I think Greg is right, we’re going to see a burly trail bike built around the 27.5+ size, and as he said, it’s going to be at Sea Otter. I’m not sure why the fat bike suspension market was ignored by the major players for so long, but once Rock Shox released the Bluto, you see it everywhere. Maybe Fox doesn’t want to get caught out again, so they’re jumping on the 27.5+ first. They obviously think there’s a market for it which is why they invested in the design and tooling.
I think Aaron might be right. Fox lost the jump on the fat bike fork so they’re jumping the 27.5+ and will probably release a fat bike fork soon. Who knows, maybe they’ll release it at Sea Otter also, but having the only “true” fork for a wheel size makes better press than coming out with a second option.
“The fork will run a 15mm x 110mm hub size, which means that if you want to run this fork, you’re going to need a new hub.”
When I first read that, I thought “Oh great, another axle standard!” then I realized you said hub and breathed a sigh of relief.
I’m pretty sure this means you need a knew hub to fit the new axle size… So it’s even more intense than axle changes over the last year or two. Right now most hubs are convertible between axle types, but for this fork and 27.5+ you will need a different hub to meet the demands of this axle size.
Folks have been confirming 29+ fitting inside this fork with the same clearance as manitou magnum.
Greg, I agree… I wish FOX would come out w/ a fatty fork.
My wish is that any major fork manuf would make a fatbike fork with 1 in. more arch clearance than bluto.
That way nearly every tire size would fit on a 150mm hub, and 29+ and 5 in. fattys would have good mud room.