27.5 Plus in Action


So I have put two rides in on the small wheels. It kinda feels to me like Im back to 26in but not quite as bad as that.

On the bike I felt just what I thought. Smaller wheels did not roll over stuff as nice as bigger wheels but were a lot more nimble in the tight spots. I could point and shoot much faster on the smaller wheel. I did not roll as fast as the big wheel.

But they are fun. And Im a bit faster on them in the woods too compared to the 29+. Tuesday nite I got two PR’s where we were riding. I think I could corner easier at higher speeds. I could climb faster than the 29+ but thats just the less weight talking. And also maybe the gear ratio is back to normal. When I switched from from Sram to Shimano the rear cassette dropped from 42 on top to 40. Then, put on the tallest wheel in the world on the bike and my granny was not as grannyish anymore. Going to such a smaller wheel helped that and I felt it right away both on the top end and bottom. So maybe that helps my climbing a bit if I can use a higher cadence going up.

The 2.8’s are even a bit narrower than the 3in (duh) and a bunch lighter but I did not feel any loss of traction in the turns and was able to rail any corner as well as any other tire. There comes a point in tire size where bigger does not do any better. JUst the same but with more tire to lug around. I did notice a bit rougher ride on the ol’ hardtail and thats was also expected and will get better when the bigger tires go on. And at my age thats a pretty good thing now. My back could use the cush of a higher volume tire.

That will change when I put the 3.8 Hodags back on. The extra fatness will help smooth things out. And I don’t need to change rims at all. That was the point of this. To be able to go summer plus size and winter fat with a tire change only. Same wheel.

I can see how this wheel size was the obvious choice to those who did not want 29in. It acts much like a 26 back in the day. But again, its been 6 years since I’ve been on anything less then a 29 in summer.

This is, however, not the first time I had a 27.5 wheel on my Farley. Back in March I had a set of WTB Scrapers built up that I ran the Birkie with. I think they were 45mm by 27.5 and I had my 3.8 (4in) Hodags on.

Here’s a few pics of that wheel\tire combo from the Birkie in March. I’ll run the smaller tires for a bit but then the fatties will go on for some summer fun. With the Hodag 3.8s on the wheel will be very close to the diameter of a 29+. Bigger than a normal 29er. And back to what Im used to.

And of course this is all prior to the early Sept delivery of my Trek Farley EX9. These wheels\tires will go nicely on that bike to finish out the summer with.

But thats getting a little ahead of myself. I’ll give these wheels a few more rides and Im sure I’ll have a few more opinions. Keep in mind Im biased toward 29 plus and Im sure I will have another set someday soon. Most likely carbon. But Im getting ahead of myself again.


3 thoughts on “27.5 Plus in Action

  1. Very inspiring man! I think 27.5+bluto is the most versatile combination and I’m going in that direction too, converting my farley 9.6 for summer mountain biking and bikepacking too. Someone (i.e. DT swiss service…) told me to be aware about too much narrow rims because of our huge hubs which could stress too much spokes-rims system, indeed I’m thinking about 55mm rims, do you think is it too wide? Is it 50mm enough for you?

    1. I ran 50mil Hugos last fall. Today Im on Easton Arc 45’s. Awesome rims. Ive never ran a 80 mil rim. Never heard of the narrow rim issue. But I would not run a 28mm MTB rim tho. These days I run both 3.8 hodags and 2.8 Chupacabras on the same wheel!

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