Thursday, January 22, 2015

Trailblazered Fargo

They fit well, are an interesting ride, but still not sold on it......
So this idea of fitting the Trailblazer B+ tires to the Fargo Gen 2 bike got started on earlier than I had wanted to, due to the illness and all. I had time I had to fill that otherwise would have been spent riding. Yesterday I was "confined to quarters" by Mrs. Guitar Ted, but I just had to do a short loop as a test since conditions were ripe for finding out what I wanted to know.

What did I want to find out? Well, I'll list out a few things that have been on my mind concerning the concept overall and these Trailblazer tires specifically.
  • Float: 29+ has a decent quality for float- well, at least the 29+ Knards do that well. Do the Trailblazers have a similar quality?
  • Stability: Would the B+ tires have lateral stability, or would they slide sideways and be hard to control?
  • Would this set up be suitable for a long, gravel/backroad event? 
  • Is the bottom bracket too low with this wheel system?

Red arrows point to the track of the B+ Trailblazers in the mud.
The advantages of going out now for testing were that there are plenty of saturated muddy places and some slushy snowy tracts to test out how the B+ Trailblazers act on these difficult surfaces. I have noted that 29+ has a tendency to float up on top and also that those wheels would tend to slide sideways a bit, making for a bit more difficult handling.

The Trailblazer has a rather flattish crown to the tread area whereas the Knard is very rounded, almost a "peaked C shaped" crown to the tread. The difference in how they track through mud is noticeable. The Trailblazer sort of "sucks" the center part of whatever soft surface it is covering and tries to pull it up as the tire rotates off the soil or snow. Note the area I have highlighted with the red arrows to the left. If you click on the image, you can get a larger image to see this more clearly.

While the Trailblazer "cut" into the soil maybe more than a Knard does, it also adhered to the slippery surfaces better and did not demonstrate such a tendency to want to lose lateral stability. So, at least in saturated soils or wet snow, you might see a better grip and handling, to a degree, which could make for a better experience.

Stability is better, but float is not quite as nice as 29+ Knards. The last two questions I will have to wait for answers to until I get a lot more riding time on this set up. I have a plan for what this might get used for now as well, but that announcement will be on hold for a bit until I have a few things confirmed.


Steve Ritchey said...

Do you if the 650b+ triailblazers will fit in an on-one inbred 29er?

Guitar Ted said...

@ Steve Ritchey: Yes, at least on my Limited Edition version.

Jon said...

I don't know how this bike rides, but it looks awesome with the meaty tires.

Style points!

Guitar Ted said...

@Jon: Thanks! It actually rides really smoothly with the extra cush those tires have. The traction is better as well.

MMcG said...

Is that an 80mm fork up front on your Fargo (Gen 2 I'm assuming)

would you be able to run a wider rim and those 2.8 trailblazers on that bike?

Say a Dually?

Guitar Ted said...

@MMcG: It is an 80mm Reba

Wider Rims- Maybe 40's max. The 45-50mm rims, according to c_g's measurements on Twenty Nine, would make the Trailblazers too wide for the front and back ends.

Todd Shank said...

I think I have asked this before...Is the geometry of the Gen1 and Gen2 the same?

Guitar Ted said...

@Todd Shank: No- It is completely different.