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.
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.
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.
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: https://reviews.mtbr.com/video-ellsworth-is-reborn and visit www.ellsworthbikes.com.
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 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.
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.