|Fat tires rule!|
Previous to the Krampus, the largest sized 29"er tires could only be about 2.4-2.5 inches wide. This was due to mold machine constraints. Simply- a bigger tire just wouldn't fit in the mold machines available.
Obviously Surly has surmounted this issue in some way. The tires on the Krampus are 29 X 3.0, which would be the largest ISO 622 bead tire ever made, as far as I am aware. Pretty amazing right there, really, and a fact that is being looked over a bit in the hoopla surrounding the Krampus' arrival on the scene.
A couple of other interesting things stand out to me here. First, the tire, dubbed the "Knard", is said to weigh only 850 grams. Really? If that is true, then it must be a pretty thin tire in the side walls. Why is that? I have handled a lot of different 29"er tires. To get a lot of volume and low weight, you have to spread the butter pretty thin over the toast. I have not seen the 3.0" tire, but I know it can't weigh what they say it does without being pretty thin. For example, I have a pretty burly 2.25" tire in hand here. One I would trust to bash around in rocks, hold up tubeless, and be overall a durable, long lasting tire for general trail riding. Weight? 870 grams.
Get the picture?
So what is the Knard going to be good for? Probably lots of stuff. I'm just saying it isn't going to be very durable, most likely, for hard chargers riding in rock infested places where folks shred tires a lot.
Don't get me wrong here, I am excited about this tire and platform. I really am interested in getting one of these, but it isn't going to be my first choice for bashing into rough stuff. The dirt we have here wouldn't be an issue, most likely, and I can think of lots of places I want to ride a bike like this.
Secondly, going along with the places I want to ride a bike like this- I think the Krampus is the ideal platform for longer, really rough road/back road/fire road riding in a bike packing set up. The tires should exhibit lots of grip, and with the volume, lots of suspension. Plus, a bit lower angle of attack should smooth out bumps even more than a typical 29"er. It appears the Krampus has rack mounts, so frame bag set ups or rack set ups should be possible.
My only issue is that it appears from sneak peeks I've seen that the Krampus is limited to a single front chain ring. That limits gearing choices. Looks like it is time I bought a Rohloff!
UPDATE: Now learning the MSRP on the complete with 1 X 10 SLX drivetrain is $1950.00, available in March 2013. Frames, rims, and tires should be in this fall with a MSRP on the frame set @ $750.00 Total weight for bike as shown = 30lbs. This is said to be Surly's toughest, heaviest tube set yet developed.