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.
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”.