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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Why the mtb world is embracing 650b+ wheelsets

By Neil Sutton
07, Feb, 2016

There is no doubt that 650b+ bikes are here to stay here’s why.

650b+ is still quite new, a lot of people still look at it in the same way they did 29ers when they arrived on the scene, instantly dismissing it as a new ‘fad’ that’ll pass and be forgotten about in a few months. These people still haven’t ridden 650b+ but funnily enough most of them will probably now own a 29er in one guise or another! There is no doubt that like 29ers, 650b+ bikes are here to stay, and here’s why you should be riding one….

29er speed, Fatbike comfort
650b+ gives you the same diameter tyre as an average 29er setup, so you still get that ability to steamroller down the rough stuff faster than your mates but with an almost fat bike level of comfort.

Plus sized tyres are light
More than likely as light as the regular 2.3 trail tyre you’ve got on your bike now. The extra volume and cushioning means you’re less likely to be dinging your rims on rocks when the going gets rough, so don’t need fancy (heavy) sidewalls to make your tyre last more than one run down your favourite trail. 

They roll surprisingly fast and take very little effort to keep them rolling. The extra ability to iron out the trail also means what slows you down on your regular tyre probably isn’t going to on a plus tyre, you’ll carry speed better than you ever though possible!!

Traction, and then a bit more traction
All those technical climbs you keep spinning out on as your rear tyre hits a wet or loose rock just as you’re putting the power down; go and clean them first time on a plus tyre, really, they are that grippy! This coupled with the light weight mean you’ll likely be first to the top of the hill.

You don’t need 160mm of travel
We all love a long travel trail bike, they have always been the go to bike when you want one bike to do it all. The one downside is that a lot of the time they make things a bit too easy, to the point that they become a bit boring! Shorter travel bikes and hardtails are more playful, that’s a fact, with a plus size tyre you can have the more playful setup as the tyres will do the same job as that last 40mm of travel.

Honestly, try it, it's quite scary how capable a hardtail becomes when you strap on a big set of tyres!

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