Twenty-nine inch wheels have been around for awhile now and ever since the modern 29"er hit the scene in '99, (read more about that here and here), there has been talk of even bigger wheels. Of course, there are 36"ers,
Ben Witt kindly loaned his to me to ride around on for awhile last year. The big red machine was cool, but not really well suited to single track in my mind. Not that you couldn't do it, because you can. The thing is, well....those wheels are not as refined as 29"ers are from a materials aspect. Given some high-dollar tech/engineering, yeah. Then you'd maybe have something that would be competitive with 29 inch wheels. As a concept for bigger guys though, it would be great. Think about some really well made tires, rims, and some mega-high flanged hubs so the spokes could be as short as possible. Maybe use a fatbike inspired 170mm O.L.D. rear hub, a 135 O.L.D. front hub, and a 100mm wide bottom bracket. Get a dishless rear wheel, and bigger guys probably are not as sensitive to the dreaded "Q" factor. Hmm........could be fun!
Cleland Cycles site)
Now comes word of this fellow from the U.K. that has been tinkering with off road bicycles since the 60's. (Before Gary Fisher even! gasp!) His name is Geoff Apps and his bicycles go by the brand name of Cleland Cycles. He has a very unique take on the offroad bicycle, but besides this, he has found his big wheel size in the old English 28" X 1 1/2" size used on old rod braked Raleighs, for one thing. The ISO bead diameter is 635mm, which compares to 622mm for the 29"er wheel. A touch larger diameter. Now with a wide tire mounted, as shown at left, you get a wheel that is 31" or so. Hmm.......
You have to wonder if this sort of thing will ever go anywhere, but with the nominal size increase over a 29"er, the experimentation and thoughts on possibilities for larger folks is intriguing. Weight will be more, but that wouldn't be a bad thing for bigger guys.
Anyway, it has been said that Ragley Bikes is making a 100 Cleland Adventurer type rigs soon. It would be cool if they could shoe-horn a few of these bigger wheels into a few of those, just so some folks could give it a whirl. I think it would be interesting to check out.