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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 103 > FULL PLUSSERS

FULL PLUSSERS

CHIPPS TRIES TO GET HIS HEAD AROUND THREE FULL SUSPENSION ‘PLUS’ BIKES FROM SALSA, SCOTT AND SPECIALIZED.
PICTURES BY MARK ALKER

Take a look round any bike industry trade show and it looks like those plus size wheels are here to stay. It seems that manufacturers are scrambling to design bikes for the new 27.5in and 29in plus tyres that have appeared recently, or have been trying to crowbar them into existing frame designs and pretending that they’ve been into the Plus scene for years. No one wants to be the one to miss out on the next 29er or the next 27.5er.

While the 29er movement took nearly a decade to take hold, the plus thing was virtually an overnight sensation. It was only in early 2014 that a few bikes appeared with the as-yet-unseen combo of the 50mm WTB Scraper rim and 2.8 Trailblazer tyre. For a while it seemed that the only people who had hold of this mythical combo were bike company product managers, but slowly more bikes started appearing with the 2.8 and later 3.0 tyres fitted. The 2.8 version of ‘Plus’ (for it was a thing now…) was easy, as most 29er bikes could be tweaked to accommodate these chunky tyres. It was only as the double whammy of Plus and Boost – a widening of the forks and dropouts to give more room for bigger tyres – took hold that the plus thing looked like it was here to stay.

Some companies pitched plus as a thing for adventure: chunky tyres capable of handling any terrain. Others viewed plus as being a great way of encouraging newcomers to the sport of mountain biking. The lower pressures of plus tyres offered good traction and lots of comfort while also making bikes look inviting, reliable and cartoon-like.

Now, while I love a good freak bike (I had singlespeeds and 29ers probably before either were ‘things’) and I appreciate the ‘big tyres and low pressures on a hardtail’ front, I have yet to find anyone – either customer or bike designer – who can tell me convincingly who full suspension plus-size bikes are actually for. I’ve not heard many calls for them from riders or racers and I can’t think of a single cycle sport event in which having one of these bikes would be an advantage. Every other bike genre: cyclocross, singlespeed, enduro, cross-country racing, downhill… has a particular bike which excels at that discipline. I can’t think of an event where a ‘full plusser’ would be the winning secret weapon.

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About Singletrack

We've got our fat bikes and thermal clothing at the ready and we live in hope of snow. So far all we've got is mud - on the trails and in the streets. If this carries on, issue 104 may contain a grouptest of wellies. However, this issue we bring you: We Work Here - Ragley. Barney takes a look a this Northern Irish manufacturer to see what innovations are leading their revival in the market place. International Adventure: Czech Mate - Rowan Sorrell takes a look at some purpose built trails​ in the Czech Republic​. The name of the place is unpronounceable but the trails are excellent and make for a perfect long weekend adventure. International Adventure: The Goat - So, you win a goat, you let it roam free in the mountains, and then later you decide to go and see if you can find it. Nathan Hughes takes us on an unlikely adventure with pro rider Timo Pritzel.​ Classic Ride: Pete Scullion rides Dumyat near Stirling, Scotland. Race Head: Rampage! Most of us will have spent some time on the internet watching clips from Red Bull Rampage, but there's a group of die-hard - or possibly fool-hardy - fans who make the trek into the desert to watch it live. Grinder Bike: Greg puts a beautiful looking titanium Vaaru through its paces. Is it as good as it is pretty? Bike Test: Full Plussers - a new generation of slimmer-than-a fat-bike full suspension bikes is appearing. Chipps put three ​from Salsa, Scott and Specialized ​to the test. In our exclusive subscriber section - available to subscribers or to purchase through our shop or premier dealers: UK Adventure: Sam Flanagan rides Black Sail​ pass in the Lakes​. A bit more remote than your average ride, he considers what skills and equipment it takes to step up your riding from trail center to the middle of nowhere. Last Word: Dann Allbright reckons he has the answer to all your technical questions...
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