|This one's a keeper with B+|
I've been fortunate enough to be able to try WTB Trailblazer 2.8 B+ tires on a couple of my single speeds and, of course, on the "Fat Fargo". I've been duly impressed with the wheels on all three bikes I've tried them on. So much so that I plan on building up at least one more set of wheels to accommodate a plan I have to return another oft neglected bike I have to the general rotation.
Of course, you regular readers all have seen my scribings about how this wheel size is coming hard for 2016. That has been confirmed with a bevy of brands doing several models of this size of wheel. Not only that, but the most recent article in "BRAIN" on the wheel size quotes some tire company honches as saying "..it's here to stay", when asked about B+ tires. 29+? Nary a mention, except that asides were made to the wheel size by the trade mag in the article. This fits right in with what I think is going to happen. 29+ = too big of a diameter. Mid-fat/B+ tires = just right. That's because of the overall diameters. 27.5+/B+ is right at 29". The larger 29+ is 31" in diameter which is just too big.
I am going to do a 29+ set up alongside my B+ wheels and then I will get a much better comparison. Both sizes should be up and running here before the end of the year. Stay tuned on that......
|Breaking out the Tamland for Gravel Worlds|
The last big event for me this year is Gravel Worlds in Lincoln, Nebraska. This time I am busting out the Tamland. There are a few reasons why this bike gets the call up.
First of all, according to intell received via the PCL, there won't be near the steep climbing that the GTDRI had, and there won't be long distances between resupplies like there were in the Dirty Kanza. What I am seeing is that we will have to be ready to ride up to 40 miles at a crack. That makes things a bit lighter, in terms of what to carry. That doesn't look like Fat Fargo territory to me. With the Tamland's 1 to 1 low gear, I should be fine with the hills, and I can carry four to five water bottles with my Chaff Bag set up and the cages that the Tamland has. Plenty of fluids for 40 mile stints. Then all I have to carry, really, is some food and tools. I'll likely pack up the Tangle Bag for that.
The fenders will come off, and I may slap the Gravel Grinder tires by Challenge back on there, but the Clement MSO's will do fine as well. At any rate, this is the rig I am going with.
|Another studded fat bike tire option from Trek (Image pilfered from the Trek World site)|
There were a few things not seen before shown at Trek World, and those seemed to all be fat bike related. First of all, there is the new fat bike tire with the goofy name "Gnarwahl". (groan)
Okay..... Besides the unfortunate naming of this tire, it looks to be a solid offering. Some say it doesn't have enough studs, but how many do you need? (Note: I don't think you need very many, but that's me.) It's listed as a 3.8"er, which maybe leaves out those wanting big, wide, floaty meats, but I can see commuters digging this or those that use fat bikes as indoor trainer substitutes being all over this. I know I won't be on board, because I don't feel the need for the studs on fat bike tires, but I probably am in the minority here. By the way, I have heard this will be out in November, but I haven't seen a price on these as yet.
It bears repeating that Trek has moved from 170mm rear spacing to 190mm based spacing on the Farleys. There also will be a full carbon frame, the Farley 9.8, and that bike will feature carbon rims as well. Just think "Carbon Beargrease" with a wider rear. Then you'll pretty much have the idea.
Fat Bikes On The Wane?
Interestingly, as an aside about fat bike tires, in the referenced "BRAIN" article about plus sized tires that I mentioned above, there is some insight in to fat bike tires. It seems that while molds are not the hold up, the tooling to make the bladders and what not to make the casings is a huge investment that many tire manufacturers are not willing to ante up for. As examples, it appears that neither Continental or WTB are anywhere near pulling the trigger on fat bike tire production. My perception is that the fat bike market is a saturated one now, so I would suspect that tire introductions will not be as numerous as they were a couple years ago. I could be wrong, but I bet this year will be another soft one in fat bike sales, and from what I am seeing, that does not bode well for the future of fat bikes growth as a product category.
I am blaming this B+/29+ for part of that. I am reading a few stories and seeing quotes that refer to the "plus bike market" as being the "sweet spot" from the perspective that it hits a lot of points that riders want in fat tires without the ponderous handling and weight of a fat bike. Makes sense to me, at least from the perspective of cyclists living South of the snow belt.
That's it from this dude! Have a great weekend and keep the rubber side down!