Round up: Hot, new Plus mountain bikes for 2016

A look at some of the newest Plus size mountain bikes

Interbike Plus

At the recent Interbike trade show, one of the hottest trends we saw for new mountain bikes for 2016 were bikes with Plus size tires. What is Plus size or + size? Basically, it is a tire and rim combination that is wider than an “average” tire but not as huge as a fat bike tire. The typical tire size for Plus bikes is 2.8 or 3.0 inches in width with some going as wide as 3.2 inches. There exist 27.5+ bikes for all around use bikes and 29+ bikes for hardtails. The outer diameter of the 27.5+ bike is almost the same as a 29er bike with 2.3 tires.

Why?

The reason Plus bikes are exploding into the scene is because they offer better traction, comfort and control. With a 3.0 tire and a wide rim inflated to 15 psi, the rider has more traction on sandy and very loose conditions. The tires absorb so much bump energy too at this low pressure that it offers good comfort to complement the bike’s suspension. And finally, through rocky, rooty and other tricky sections, the Plus bike is more stable as its able to take on obstacles and hold its line better.

The downside is a slight loss in climbing performance in very firm trail conditions. And in very tricky and technical descents, the Plus bike is not as accurate and agile navigating down the hill.

Shown here is a collection of all the Plus size mountain bikes we saw. We don’t claim that this is every Plus bike at the show, but it’s most of them. Included in this list are Plus bikes of both the hardtail and full suspension kind. So, without further ado, listed here in alphabetical order by manufacturer are the hot, new Plus mountain bikes for 2016.

Available in three models, the Beast of the East is an alloy framed hardtail equipped with a Lefty fork (for the Beast 1).

Available in three models, the Beast of the East is an alloy framed hardtail equipped with a Lefty fork (for the Beast 1).

Cannondale Beast of the East

Cannondale has brought back their Beast of the East model, this time as a hardtail Plus bike. The frame is Cannondale’s SmartFormed alloy and combines a tight rear end with a 68.5 degree head angle to keep things nimble and fun. Available in 3 models, the top of the line Beast of the East 1 comes with a 120mm Lefty 2.0 Alloy OPI fork with 55mm of offset. The drivetrain is SRAM’s X1 1×11, rims are WTB Scrapers and tires are WTB Bridgers in 27.5×3.0 and are tubeless ready. The Beast 1 also comes with a Trans-X dropper seatpost with 120mm of adjustment.

Beast of the East 1 (shown) – $2770.00
Beast of the East 2 – $2130.00
Beast of the East 3 – $1620.00

To learn more, visit www.cannondale.com.

The Epiphany 27.5+ is a full suspension mountain bike with 120mm of ICT rear travel and a carbon frame.

The Epiphany 27.5+ is a full suspension mountain bike with 120mm of ICT rear travel and a carbon frame (click to enlarge).

Ellsworth Epiphany 27.5+

Ellsworth is a brand that has been around for what seems like forever. They are experiencing a “rebirth” of sorts with some new company ownership and new resources. Key to the “new” Ellsworth is the Epiphany 27.5+. They have taken a proven full suspension platform and improved it just for the plus size aficionado. The Epiphany 27.5+ is a full suspension mountain bike with 120mm of ICT rear travel and a carbon frame.

The Ellsworth Epiphany comes in 3 sizes (SM, MD, LG) and is available with 6 different build kits that start at $4,595 (Shimano SLX 2x drivetrain) and go all the way up to $7,095 (Shimano XTR 2x drivetrain).

To learn more, check out our article about the rebirth of Ellsworth here: http://reviews.mtbr.com/video-ellsworth-is-reborn and visit www.ellsworthbikes.com.

The Foes Racing Alpine Plus is an all new model that is the smaller brother of the Foes Mutz fat bike.

The Foes Racing Alpine Plus is an all new model that is the smaller brother of the Foes Mutz fat bike (click to enlarge).

Foes Alpine

Brent Foes is a small builder in Pasadena, CA and that’s okay. Being small gives Foes the ability to react quickly to consumer requests and he can build a working prototype in-house within a short amount of time. That helps him makes models like the all new Alpine plus bike. Perhaps the Alpine can be called the little brother of the Foes Mutz fat bike, the Alpine uses a very similar design and construction. Like the Mutz, the Alpine has 5″ to 5.5″ of rear travel.

The Alpine has a head angle of 68 degrees and a seat tube angle of 71 degrees. The bottom bracket height is 13.25″ and the chainstay length is 17.9″. Effective top tube length for the three sizes (SM, MD, LG) is 22.7″, 23.7″ and 24.6″. The seat post diameter is 31.6″ and the head tube diameter is ZS44 top and EC49 at the bottom. Head tube length is 4.1″. Bottom bracket width is 68/73mm and the front derailleur is the direct mount type. Axle spacing is Boost 148×12 in the rear.

Looking at the parts spec, it has WTB Scraper rims, WTB Bridger 3.0″ tires, ODI grips, Hadley hubs,
Thomson dropper, Magura brakes and a Fox fork. The all new Alpine from Foes should be available at the beginning of December with a retail price of $2519.00 for frame and shock (Cane Creek InLine rear shock or Fox DPS EVOL shock).

To learn more about Foes other models, visit www.foesracing.com.

Fuji's Bighorn is a hardtail plus bike with a Fox 34 Float fork, XT 1x drivetrain and KS LEV Integra dropper post.

Fuji’s Bighorn is a hardtail plus bike with a Fox 34 Float fork, XT 1x drivetrain and KS LEV Integra dropper post (click to enlarge).

Fuji Bighorn 27.5+ 1.1

Fuji has a new hardtail plus bike on display called the Bighorn. The frame is Fuji’s A2-SL custom butted alloy with Boost 148×12 rear axle spacing. It also has slick internal cable routing and side swing front derailleur compatibility. Available in 2 models, the 1.1 comes with a Fox 34 Float fork with 120mm of travel, Shimano Deore XT 1×11 drivetrain, Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5×3.0″ tires and a
KS LEV Integra dropper post.

Besides the 1.1 model shown here, the Bighorn also comes in a less expensive version called the Bighorn 27.5+ 1.3 that is spec’ed with a RockShox Reba RL fork, Shimano SLX 2×10 drivetrain and KS eTen Integra dropper post. Five sizes are available (SM, MD, LG, XL, XXL). Both models will not be available until January of 2016 and the MSRP of the Bighorn 1.1 is $2500.00 and the Bighorn 1.3 is $1,900.00.

To learn more, visit www.fujibikes.com.

The Subvert line of alloy hardtails from Haro feature a 6061-T6 frame with WTB Scraper rims and WTB Bridger tires.

The Subvert line of alloy hardtails from Haro feature a 6061-T6 frame with WTB Scraper rims and WTB Bridger tires (click to enlarge).

Haro Subvert 27.Five HT7

Haro is going big with plus for 2016. They have 3 hardtails and 1 full suspension model that are all new for this year.

The Subvert line of alloy hardtails feature a 6061-T6 frame with WTB Scraper rims and WTB Bridger tires. The HT7 features a RockShox Reba with 120mm of travel, SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain and Shimano disc brakes. The Subvert series comes in four sizes (14.5″, 16″, 18″, 20.5″) and the pricing is as follows.

Subvert 27.Five HT7 (shown) – $1959.99
Subvert 27.Five HT5 – $1519.99
Subvert 27.Five HT3 – $1009.99

To learn more, visit www.harobikes.com.

Continue to page 2 for more Round up: Hot new Plus mountain bikes for 2016 »
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About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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  • Fede Cabrera says:

    Hola Gregg,

    Greetings from Buenos Aires! You missed Advocate Cycles’ Hayduke :)
    http://advocatecycles.com/hayduke/

    Saludos,
    Federico

  • greg says:

    all above are 27.5+. I own a Stache 9 29+. IMO the 27.5+ are very siimilar to a 29er with wider tires (same overall wheel circumference) The 29+ is a “stand alone” bike with a 31.5″ wheel diameter that drastically chan riding dynamics. (in a positive way)

  • Ryan says:

    “Plus” seems like the natural evolution of the trend toward larger tires that’s been in progress since the ’90s, but briefly interrupted by a lack of sufficiently wide rims. a 2.7″ tire is less of a step up from current 2.35″ tires than 2.35″ was from old, undersized 2.0″ tires, so I don’t think we should even regard “Plus” as a new standard.

    In a time of proliferating “standards”, I’m all for versatility. The ability to run 29 x narrow or 27 (650b) x slightly-fat in the same frame is great … but there’s an issue: 27 Plus is smaller than 29 Narrow by more of a margin than the difference between 26 vs 27. We’ve been told – and many people even believe – 27 is significantly different than 26, yet we can dismiss the 27 Plus vs. 29 discrepancy.

    The true match is 26 Plus and 27 Narrow. Build a 27 bike with a little extra clearance on the sides and you have a perfect dual-fit bike that retains the nimble handling of a 27. If you’re worried about giving up the efficiency of the 29 Narrow option, then you, me, and Nino Schurter can discuss the inefficiency of the 650b wheel size ;)

    • Michael says:

      I like your thinking Ryan and completely agree. I am actually in the process of building up a set of “26+” wheels right now for my 27.5 bike. Would really like to see more manufacturers get behind wide 26″ tubeless rims and tires. Why wouldn’t anyone want the ability to further tune your only connection with the ground?

  • Jeremy Stoddart says:

    Ado….not adieu. http://bfy.tw/2B0g

  • doug says:

    With Boost 148 and BB92 it really opens the doors for more stable frames and wheels to support 29+. I just hope we start seeing more tires for 29+, it seems like it’s 3″ only. But 27+ has 2.7″ and more sizes and options.

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