A new tire size is coming and it doesn’t suck

What the hell is mid plus?

27.5 29er Company Spotlight Plus Tires
Ibis 941 Tire Width

Tire width can vary widely by brand.

Mtbr: How much wider will a 2.6” tire be when mounted on a 35-40mm rim versus a 2.5” tire on the same wheelset?

ENVE: About 0.1”

Ibis: Between 0.0″ and .05″ wider. The numbers printed on sidewall don’t mean much.

Maxxis: Our 2.60WT tires measure on average of 2mm wider and 2mm taller than our 2.50WT tires, both mounted on 35mm inner width rims. This makes for a small but noticeable 7% increase in tire volume.

Specialized: That depends on the tire manufacturer and model. Anyone who has purchased a few 2.3” tires from various manufacturers knows that there can be big variances between them. It depends on what width rim the manufacturer designed the tire around.

Vittoria: Depends on the manufacturer. Vittoria uses a true-to-size approach, but few others do. Our 2.5 is actually larger than most 2.6 tires from the competitors. Apples to apples, it should be a few mm wider, but in terms of air volume, the difference will be notable.

Mtbr: How much lighter will the new 2.6” tires be versus a comparable 2.8”? On that same note, how much heavier will they be when compared against a more traditional 2.3”?

ENVE: Those numbers are available online. We have seen that most 2.8 stuff has been underbuilt in order to provide the benefits or traction and flotation without a bunch of extra weight. But thin sidewall tires have been on decline for trail riding because riders have seen how beefier tires match up better with today’s stiff frames and wheels. You are riding faster, with more confidence and getting a lot less flat tires. No one really seems to care about winning the climb if they can’t rip the descent. 2.8 comes at a cost, for some it’s worth it. That said, and following some of the points above, other riders are gaining confidence on plus – at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.

Ibis: 2.6 tires will be between 0 and 100g heavier than plus tires. It seems some weight is being put back into the casing so they’re not so fragile. We just grabbed a random 2.3 of the same tread pattern and it was 80g heavier than our 2.6 sample. So who knows?

Maxxis: Our 27.5×2.80 Rekon+ only weighs 50g more than the 27.5×2.60 Rekon (730g). Our 27.5×2.60 Forekaster comes in at 785g, 95g more than a comparable 27.5×2.35 model.

Specialized: Weight between a 2.6” and a 2.8” will be about 50 grams. 2.6” compared against a 2.3” would be about 150 grams – assuming same tread pattern and casing style.

Vittoira: Again, depends on tire construction. But comparing apples to apples (the same tire and casing) the difference should be roughly 100g or so.

Maxxis Forekaster Wide Trail Tire

Maxxis is very enthusiastic about the new tire size. They launched two 2.6” tires last year and have more in development.

Mtbr: Will you be creating any tires in this size or specing any bikes with this tire size?

ENVE: We don’t make tires or spec bikes, but, as riders, we tend to respect other riders and give them what they want.

Ibis: We never liked the bigger plus tires and drew the line at 2.8 on the Mojo3 and HD3. Consequently those frames work great with 2.6’s and they will be an option next year.

Maxxis: We are very enthusiastic about the 2.6” size, launching the 2.6” Forekaster and Rekon tires at Interbike with several more patterns in development.

Specialized: We already do – all 2017 Enduro 650b models sold in the US come with 2.6” Butcher and Slaughter tires.

Vittoria: Magic 8-ball says chances are good.

Mtbr: What do you think the breakdown will be in sales three years from now?

ENVE: Check with us in 4 years.

Ibis: We would still like to see some 2.3-2.4 tires designed for 35mm inside width rims. When that happens, whether trail riders choose 27.5 or 29, most will then pick 2.4’s or 2.6’s depending on conditions and riding style.

Maxxis: “The breakdown is going to vary. There are your customers who always want to be on the cutting edge that will try something new but along with that you have people who are not able to fit 2.8 tires in their frame but want to get as large volume as possible.” – Andrew Bartek, Sales Manager

Specialized: We feel that 2.3” will continue to bear the brunt of sales. Cross country/Trail tires and sizes will continue to lead, globally, at least for SBC. Depending on MTB pedal assist sales, 2.6” will follow, then possibly 2.8”. USA seems to be the major supporter of wider tires, at this time but the dust is still settling globally so we will have a much clearer view in another year or so.

Vittoria: I think frames will be made to accept a wider range of sizes, and then riders will choose what suits their needs best.

Mtbr: And finally, what marketing buzzword will you be using for this new tire width – mid plus, plus-light, mid mid fat?

ENVE: Love handles?

Ibis: Hopefully none, people are just starting to get boost vs plus straight. We’re thinking maybe we should call them 2.6″.

Maxxis: Wide Trail is what we are calling our high volume 2.4-2.6” tires, designed around modern 30-35mm wide rims for today’s trail bikes and riders.

Specialized: We haven’t discussed this yet, and likely won’t. As mentioned above, we have tires in this size in the market already, without any special name.

Vittoria: I credit Cait Dooley (from GT) with the term “Baby Fat”.

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  • JCWages says:

    “Baby Fat” Awesome! Haha

  • Mark says:

    It seems to me a new mountain bike standard should be developed where bikes have internal width 30-35 mm rims, boosted hubs, and fit a broad range of tire widths from 2.4-3.0 inches. Just pick tire width depending on your conditions and personal preference. I’ve mounted everything from 1.8 to 2.4 inch wide tires on my “narrow” bikes which is a similar width range and it didn’t seem to affect the bike geometry much.

  • joseph says:

    Tire manufacturers need to stop worrying about the weight weeny crybabies and make tough durable plus tires…… if you don’t like the extra weight that comes from a aggresive trail ready plus tire……… then don’t buy one …….. stick to normal size bikes. Want a plus bike or fat bike? Deal with the weight. Now go ride.

  • jc says:

    Maxxis Rekon+ 2.8 on i35 rim is 2.63″ wide, so there you go.

  • Mark says:

    Mount a 3.0in wide tire on an i30mm (i = internal width) rim and you get a 2.8in wide tire. Mount a 2.8in wide tire on an i30mm rim and you get a 2.6in wide tire. Rule of thumb – 8mm of internal rim width change produces 0.1in of tire width change.

    • Pilot says:

      I’ve got a Specialized Camber 29er (base model) that came with 20mm wide rims. I’m not extremely pleased with the ride quality over its 2.3 wide tires. The front tire is always sliding sideways on me. It feels like there’s not enough surface area on the places I’ve been riding, especially when I’m pushing hard on climbs. So I’ve been contemplating switching to the 27.5 Plus but I don’t even know where to start and I’m not sure how much money I’d have to be spending on rims, tires, spokes, tires, plus labor for someone to do the job for me . I was really afraid of this (torn between 650b and the 29er) when I bought the bike a year ago (it was quite a bit over my budget to begin with) and now I just feel like selling the bike altogether and just buy cheaper 27.5 plus hardtail. Any ideas and opinions would be appreciated. Thank you!

  • PinkFloydLandis says:

    What’s with the rampant flats? First I’ve heard of it. I’ve put 2000 miles on my 3″ tires and have yet to flat. Same w/ my main riding partner. Article seems to give no explanation why a 2.6″ tire is fine, but on 2.8 you’ll “blow half your day patching flats.” Drop the hyperbole.

  • dddd says:

    Like the title of the article says, this “new” tire size doesn’t suck, in part because the tires are appropriately designed for current rim widths.
    And like jc says, this isn’t quite a new size, just a new designation that the tire makers will be working around with their sizing, design and marketing.
    I’ve been running the inexpensive and generously-sized Vigilante 2.3’s on my i35 rims, still gives 2.6″ width, and which works a lot better than on the i45 rims I was using.

  • Tom from RI says:

    Bought the 275 plus Stump jumper-carbon and love the bike- had nothing but problems with the Ground Control 3.0- thought the GRID was going to do the trick and the bead separated from the tire(running tubeless) have resorted to putting a tube in the rear- the front is the Purgatory and I had problems with sealant leaking through the side wall but has been fine for a while. This tire size is a work in progress- we will see how my warrantee request goes and the replacements- if not good it will be three strikes you are out…got my eye on the High Roller II and going to do some more research on tire width and relation to rim width- again knew that there were going to be some issues you cannot have such a big light tire and expect no issues. Absolutely love the bike and thinking I will end up with 2.8- I ride very aggressive technical love riding rocks- had 0 issues with the sidewall getting slashed which I have heard of- people are going to need to understand this rim width vs tire to get this the way they want it…also it is possible to just get a bad batch for those that farm out the job so that just wrecks any onesie twosie type of analysis -it could of been that one of the two of these just did not come out of the factory right- these forums are great- would love to be able to hook up my ole 26 inch trail bike with a lighter 2.5 or 2.8 if it exists-run High Roller 2.5 DH on my DH bike and 0 issues-tubeless also. These would be way to heavy for the trail.

  • dddd says:

    I should have said “…still gives [I]nearly[/I] 2.6″ width…”, and that the narrower rims did reduce sidewall-trauma issues with those tires ridden here in Auburn, CA.

  • bob says:

    how is that “new”? its 27.5+ tires…

  • meeseeks says:

    ridiculous maxxis icon+ recon+ “2.8” is no bigger than continental trail king 2,4 which coming in black chili and protection apex with same weight and twice cheaper.
    why no one asked companies who make real +size tires like WTB, Schwalbe, Duro.

    we need more sizes and also more rims for each size, don’t forget separately adventure, trail and enduro specifics tires

  • Highway Star says:

    I bought TEN 26″ tires this spring. 8x maxxis – 2.3″ to 2.5″ DHF, DHR2, Shorty, Aggressor, Minion SS. Also a pair of Schwable Nobby Nic.

    Won’t be buying any 27″ or plus tires any time soon.

  • narf narf says:

    love the 27.5 2.6″ Rocket Rons on Nox Teos. Perfec combo

  • Rodney says:

    My experience with Maxxis tires is that they are always more narrow than the tire size suggests. So is a Maxxis 2.6 really going to be a more like a normal 2.4?

  • Fo says:

    Darn and the Stan’s Flow Mk3 are 29mm inner width :-/

  • Rickets says:

    Try riding with rickets!

  • Highway Star says:

    This spring 2017 I’ve spent approximately $1000 on 26 Inch wheels and tires. A new Hadley/Flow Mk3 wheelset, and TEN 26″ tires. My bike is also all new within the last 2 years, 26″ frame and fork etc.

    I’m currently running a maxxis Shorty 26×2.5″ Front and 26×2.4″ DHR2 Rear on the Mk3’s. These are HUGE, soft rubber, GRIPPY tires, and at 875g-925g on a 460g rim, they are right on the far limit of is acceptable in weight on a trail bike. They are also not too big to feel floppy bouncy like a plus size. They roll over everything but can still be handled accurately.

    Anyone riding a 27.5″, I strongly recommend getting you hands on a 26″ wheelset with a roughly 30mm inner width, and trying a 750g-900g set of 2.4-2.5″ tires. Keep in the actual difference between 26″ and 650b (27.5″) is only an inch, and a half inch in radius. Compared to a 27.5″ with a 2.2″ tire, the 26×2.5 will be extremely close on ride height and rollover, a similar overall weight, sharper handling, stiffer, stronger, quicker, and will obviously be wider and more grippy.

  • Roger says:

    All the planned obsolescence has ruined mountain biking for me. You guys with big wallets can continue keeping up with the Jones’s. I’ll be buying used 26ers and parts.

    • Christian Ahlmann says:

      Roger, I just tuned up my 1999 Cannondale Super V with Lefty fork and 26″ wheels. Rides great. We’re on the same page ; )

  • gg says:

    Highway Star’s proposal looks interesting.
    MTBR make this happen within an El Comparo or shootout.

  • Stunnerbear says:

    I have a few bikes in the quiver and choosing the right one is just a matter of attitude. Of course choosing the right bike for the right ride does make a difference. For me time is my biggest enemy and the easier it is to set up and go, the easier it is for me to ride more. I choose carefully this year for my new bike and I got an S works Fuse and right away put 2.8 Rocket Rons in the lightest set up I could. Got the bike down to 24.5 lbs with pedals 2 cages and a multi tool. Once I got the tire pressure figured out 13.5 to 14 front and 16 to 17 rear I can now ride this bike faster than I could ever ride my 5″ full sus. trail bike of near same weight. It’s really more about your style and skill that makes what you choose right for you. I wanted a HT trail, light enduro shredder that I could send over doubles and go downhill fast. I guess what I am getting at is this tire option is way better than my 29er CX race bike and more fun than my 26er 5″ trail bike.

  • GuyOnMtb says:

    Didn’t the industry a year ago say the same thing about 30mm rims for 2.5 tires?

    The issue to “refine” fat tires into Plus tires, into Sub+ tires, to finally create the 2.6″ was a waste of energy and time. 2.5″ casings could have been refined and the tread patterns could be widened across the 2.5″ casing to create a tire with less weight then the “new 2.6 standard”.

    New standards before I can break my current standards; is merely a push to create more revenue and screw the consumer out on compatibility and longevity.

    Maybe next we can throw away the 31.8 handlebar and only have 35 bars, leaving about 3 tons of unused aluminum. Or, maybe we can make the BMX rear axle diameter a new standard on MTB?

    Know why this article didn’t have one pro-rider answering questions? Because they would have asked why we are no longer working on 30mm-35mm x 2.5″.

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