So you think plus bikes are just for beginners?

EWS racer Jesse Melamed shows just how far plus bikes can go

27.5 Plus Tires Video
Plus sized tires like the Maxxis Recon and Ikon may not look mean, but they offer more traction than you’d expect. Swapping in something like the new plus sized Minion or High Roller elevates traction to insane levels.

Plus sized tires like the Maxxis Recon and Ikon may not look mean, but they offer more traction than you’d expect. Swapping in something like the new plus sized Minion or High Roller elevates traction to insane levels (click to enlarge).

I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of thinking plus bikes are just for beginners. When I first started racking up miles on the new tire size, I didn’t get it. Then I started to ride some chunkier trails on bikes that weren’t so XC oriented, models like the Santa Cruz Hightower or the new Rocky Mountain Pipeline and it started to click. Somehow these silly looking bubble tires can plow through things, which would leave my friends on longer travel bikes looking perplexed.

I’m not ready to give up my 27.5” Enduro bike or short travel 29er rigs anytime soon, but don’t be fooled, these new plus sized bikes are capable of shredding the gnaaar. Just check out what EWS racer Jesse Melamed can do in this video.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

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  • Kirk says:

    An expert rider only going downhill shows me ZERO about how “plus bikes” would ride for me. But it does push somebody to purchase, and that’s the point.

    • Craig says:

      Maybe watch it again… there was a reasonable clip of him smashing a rocky climb…… if you dont pay attention with an open mind i cant imagine anyone can show you anything………

  • Paul says:

    From the video, I’m not sure the Rekon 2.8 plus tire is really that much wider than their 2.5 WT version of the DHF and 2.4 WT version of the DHR.. I ride both those tires on 35 mm internal width rims at 19-20 psi…love this setup

    I’m not sure what you are gaining going from 2.5 to 2.8 …. When you ride 3.0 tires good riders often complain about the “pogo’ effect which lacks precision in steering which is why Ibis stuck with 2.8 max with their new plus bikes..Perhaps 2.8 is the new “sweet spot” for tires..but, really that rider could shred any trail on most any decent bike/tire combo…

    Wide rims & wider tires with low psi are the new ticket but there kicks in a point of diminishing returns of traction vs. precision …

  • Ray says:

    No, The title should have read I thought plus bikes were for beginners. All the Mtn Bikers I know never thought anything like that.

  • ragetty says:

    ‘expert’? it may be fast, but the lines and style were not clean – or maybe that’s the point too.

    for me there was just the one slo-mo shot where the added traction provided by the plus tyres made sense, the rest was not IMHO ‘plus-specific’. personally i see the benefit of plus (for me) only on loose stones (scree) and in going up on an e-bike …

  • Wuffles says:

    No. Because I just put procore into my regular tires and get all of the benefits of plus size without any of the drawbacks.

    Plus size isn’t for beginners, it’s for the gullible.

  • Highway Star says:

    Is anyone actually buying these bikes? I’m going to stick with my NEXT from Walmart.

  • Ralph says:

    All you malcontents keep spewing the hate- just means more Plus bikes for me! And when you get tired of being passed by one in the tough stuff, maybe you’ll actually TRY one…..Geeeeeee…….

    • Bill says:

      Agreed! But my view is that 2.8′s are a cop-out. Some bike brands are afraid to go full 3.0, but want to jump on-board the plus scene, afraid to be left behind or seen as not offering a plus bike, so they stop at 2.8.

      It’s nice that they allow folks to use existing frames and forks with adequate clearance, but you don’t get the full benefit until 3.0. 15/16 PSI is where it’s at.

      I’ll admit that when I first saw the Stumpjumper 6fattie was the stupidest thing I had ever seen. I had zero interest in it. but, before I pulled the trigger on the 2016 650b model, and after demo’ing a dozen other bikes, I thought I should at least try the stumpy 6fattie before I dropped that much cash on a bike. I ordered the stumpy 6fattie two days later. it was that good.

      I’ve been riding MTB’s seriously for 20 years and consider myself to be advanced in technical bike handling and cardio fitness. This bike is the most fun I’ve had since my first full suspension rig – Diamondback V6 in 1996. remember your first FS rig and you were amazed to see what king of stuff you could ride over and it put a huge evil grin on your face? The 6fattie brought back that feeling for me and I laugh and grin every time I ride it.

      There is no pogo effect with 3.0 tires. If you feel that way, you are running the wrong tire pressure or your suspension damping is not set up properly. And there’s the “It’s good for the rocks” line. No, it’s good everywhere. And I got one, “That thing belongs on the beach” heckle that I got from another rider as I blasted past him on a technical up-hill trail on the even steeper and more technical shoulder to get around him.

      Anyway, these are the same nay-sayers who boo’d about front suspension, the full suspension, then disc brakes, then dropper posts, then 29′rs, and now larger tires. If I listened to them, I’d still be on a fully rigid Diamondback Sorrento from 1991.

  • Nat says:

    I’m a full on 3-inch tire convert. Between my Krampus rigid SS and my Stumpjumper 6-fattie, I’m positive that 3-inch tires are the way of the future for mountain biking. Going back to my regular 29er carbon XC bike feels like I’m on my CX bike. It’s light as a feather, but I have to be careful where I put my wheels on the trail. I can appreciate the skill level required for riding a skinnier tired bike on trails, but I mainly like to go fast and catch a little air when I can, and the 3-inch tires are the best for feeding my addiction.

  • Cdn Diver says:

    I keep my tires plus sizes and my women slim.
    ok not really.

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