But I'm digressing.
Because now, the bicycle industry is embracing another new trend -- and yet another narrow marketing segment: "plus size" bicycles.
|The Surly Krampus is what some might call a 29+ with its 3-in. |
tires on 50-mm wide 29er rims. (photo from Surlybikes)
One of the earlier examples has actually been available for a couple years now - the Surly Krampus, which has 3-in. 29er tires on wide 50mm rims. More of the bigger companies are now releasing plus-size bikes and tires built around wider 27.5 wheels (called 27+ which should not be confused with the old 27-in. wheels common to many older "ten-speed" bikes), and around 29er wheels (called 29+).
Of course, one can't just shove wider tires into any old frame, so if someone wants to experience the latest thing in mountain bikes, it most likely means buying yet another new bike. I've read that some of the 27+ tires/wheels might fit into some existing 29er frames, but don't count on it.
|The new Trek Stache 29+ manages to fit plus-size|
tires with short stays and an extra-wide rear
triangle. (photo from Trekbikes)
The other issue is that of incompatible standards (there's that troublesome - and meaningless - word again). Putting such wide tires into a frame often necessitates some frame-geometry gymnastics. Longer wheelbase. Wider-spaced chainstays. Wider hub spacing. Any/all of the above. So for rear wheel spacing, we now have the "old" standard of 135mm, or newer 142mm (for thru-axles), or the still newer "Boost 148" standard, which is wider not only across the axle end caps, but also across the hub flanges.
The latest thing in mountain bikes is getting hyped pretty breathlessly. You know the story. You haven't experienced anything like it. You have to experience it for yourself. It will transform your rides. More specific claims are that the massive tires give more grip and stability, like their fat-bike counterparts, but without the extra weight and truck-like handling (seems kind of obvious). Trek says on their site "The wide 3-in. tires grip relentlessly, amplifying all the benefits of 29ers . . . You'll be amazed at how the capable, unshakable 29+ tires immediately allow you to corner harder and faster without breaking loose." We'll all just have to rush out to buy another bike.
With yet another narrow segment introduced to the bicycle marketplace (and a couple new "standards" to boot), it makes a person wonder whether the industry comes up with things like this out of a desire to innovate, or a sense of desperation.