Mtbr: What type of rider will benefit most from this tire size?
ENVE: Plus tires show their strengths in flatter and slower terrain. People are riding very fast on plus, so I wouldn’t say exactly that 2.6 is for faster riders, but on steeper terrain and hard packed corners, you really need more knob traction than casing traction.
Ibis: Someone who is looking for an extremely versatile tire across a lot of different riding situations. We’ve found that the 2.6″ is suited for most types of trail riding. And now that we have a lot of rim choices in varying and most importantly wider widths, 2.6 tires on 35mm rims deliver what we think is an ideal combination.
Maxxis: Higher volume tires work much better in softer or bumpier conditions. The added volume can offer both a flotation effect on soft loamy conditions as well as a slight damping effect to absorb trail chatter before the suspension can react.
Specialized: I don’t really think there’s just “one type” of rider who necessarily benefits from a 2.6”, just like there is no “one type” of rider that benefits from 2.3” or 3.0”, or 29” wheels. Take a look around on the trail and you’ll see a wide variety of tire and wheel sizes, all riding the same trail. I think a lot of different riders see a lot of different benefits. People have different things they want out of a tire: rolling resistance, flat protection, traction in dry, traction in wet, confidence in rough terrain, the old “flickability” argument, etc. No other industry makes such a fuss over the alleged correlation between the diameter and width of tires, and the ability to have an enjoyable experience. Sports cars, for example, have myriad wheel and tire sizing options yet they all feel relatively similar to each other and are a blast to drive.
Vittoria: I think anyone who is an enthusiast, and not looking to race XC, will have fun on this size. The same is true of Plus bikes in general, but the 2.6 will offer just a bit more of a traditional feel.
Mtbr: Where do you see the 2.6” tire fitting into the landscape? Will they become the new normal on short travel trail bikes, heavy hitting enduro bikes, etc…
ENVE: Tires are about terrain, anyone looking for a winner or a one tire/wheel size to rule them all has been reading too many quiver killer reviews. Landscape is the key word, what works awesome on one trail may be handicapped on another. 29ers brought traction, and Fat bikes introduced flotation to mountain bikes. Now riders have the chance to refine the elements to match their personal needs and style. BS aside, trail riders – in particular aggressive trail riders (who may or may not participate in competitions classified as ‘enduro’) will love them.
Ibis: They’ll be the new normal on trail bikes. They’ll only make it into enduro if we also get reinforced casings (like we see on the 2.5″ tires). Weight could be a buzz kill with the bigger tires though.
Maxxis: Tire size isn’t very indicative of a particular style of riding or type of bike these days. As seen with the full range of plus bikes from short-travel hardtails to long-travel enduro bikes, 2.6” will eventually encompass a similarly wide range of riding styles. We initially launched our WT design using the most aggressive tires in our lineup but will be working down the line to our trail and cross country tires soon.
Specialized: Well, for starters, they fit nicely between 2.3” and 2.8”. I think 3.0” tires opened a lot of people’s eyes as to how much confidence can be had with a high-volume tire. As people get to try different sizes and see the differences, our guess is that things may swing back towards the middle a bit. But take all of this with a grain of salt, of course because even though I see no questions here about 26” tires, we still sell plenty of them in the aftermarket.
Vittoria: I honestly think it’s a way for frame designers to increase the useful range of any bike. The lemonade I make out of all these new standards is that even simple hardtails are now much more versatile in terms of terrain types that they can tackle.
Mtbr: Is 2.6 an indication that the “plus” movement may have taken things too far?
ENVE: It’s more of an indication that mountain bikes are still the best choice for most riders. Our opinion is that plus bikes are more terrain and speed sensitive than some of the sales hungry “next best thing” advertising might suggest.
Ibis: Yes, this is the rebound. We still think there’s a place for 2.8 tires, but a lot of people are going to opt for 2.6″ It could become the most popular tire next year.
Maxxis: Not at all. The plus platform offers the versatility of a rider to choose between 2.8-3.2” tires without going outside the design considerations of their bike. The same versatility is offered with standard bikes working well with 2.2-2.6” tires.
Specialized: Not at all! If anything, it’s an indication that more volume can often equate to a better riding experience. 3.0” was better than 2.5” and now 2.6” is better than 2.3”. And we have 2.8” for those looking for yet another volume option. The spectrum has just shifted towards more volume across the board.
Vittoria: Having ridden the 3.0 tires extensively, I don’t think so. I think the 2.6 is a nice transition into “Plus”, but I think both serve a purpose. I may argue that the Plus movement is a correction on the Fat segment for riders on normal terrain, but I can see 2.6-3.2 as one category.