Those that have ridden a fatbike know how much fun it is. The ability to float over soft surfaces is amazing when cruising on a 5″ tire. They make a bicycle more “omni-terra” than was previously possible. That said- riding around on a 5″ tire and a 100mm rim can make one feel a little sluggish when riding in hardback conditions. When I’m riding on my fatbike I’ve got 2 speeds: Slow and steady. And that’s fine. But sometimes I want to go… faster.
The beauty of the float has another side, rolling resistance and added weight. Enter the world of 29+.
What is 29+? Though there isn’t a standard (because the bike industry hates standards) for our purpose here I’ll say it’s a 29″ rim with a width of 45mm and wider, and running a 29×3″ tire. There are frames built around this platform (Surly Krampus and others.) I’m going to venture to say that the 29+ market is one that will be expanding at a fast rate. Many frames (not sure about asymmetrical frames) that will allow for a 5″ tire will fit a 29+ tire- giving you more cushion and float as well as speed and a reduced rolling resistance. I think they’ll be great for adventure touring and though you need a different wheelset, it damn near gives you a different bike.
Switching wheelsets can change the geometry, specifically the bottom bracket height of the bike- which some builders have tried to counteract with adjustable dropouts. I think it’s a fair trade off for most of us, myself included.
As I started looking into build a 29+ wheelset for my fatty, I had to look at a few things:
- Width. As an emerging category- “wide” is being redefined. Though you’ll see some offerings at 35mm wide (which I’m sure is awesome,) I don’t think anything less than a 45mm rim should be considered a “29+.”
- Weight. As a rider over 220lbs, I err on the side of durability- especially if you’re going to be headed off the beaten path, but that isn’t a reason to bring an anchor with you.
- Price. I’m not a rich guy. Sometimes I can get a pro-deal or industry pricing on stuff which is great. But this blog doesn’t generate any revenue to speak of and I got bills to pay, so there. In fact- one of the reasons that I can argue to get another wheelset comes from the need for studded tires. With 45Nrth Dillingers costing an upwards of $225 each, and a 29″ set of studs running half that- I can put that $200+ I “saved” towards a new wheelset. That’s how that works, right?
In all that, I put together the lists below to help those that may be in the market for a 29+ wheelset for their fat bike.
29+ Rims Updated 1/17/15
|Brand||Model||Width||Weight||Hole Pattern||Price per rim|
|Stan's No Tubes||Hugo52||52mm||622g||32h||$145|
|Surly||Rabbit Hole 29||50mm||699g||32h||$150|
|Kris Holm||29" Freeride unicycle rim||47mm||840g||36h||$95|
|Nextie||Jungle Fox Carbon||50mm||510g||28-36h||$230|
|Nextie||Snow Fox Carbon||50mm||500g||28-36h||$220|
|Light Bicycle||29er plus Carbon||50mm||490g||16-36h||$210|
|Nox Composites||Farlow 29 Carbon||35mm||430g||24/28, 32h||$479|
|Ibis||941 Carbon||41mm||488g||32h||sold only as wheelset|
29+ Tires Updated 1/17/15
|Surly||Dirt Wizard||27tpi wire bead||TBD||$90.00|
|Vee Tire||Traxx Fatty||72tpi wire bead||1025g||$100.00|
|Vee Tire||Traxx Fatty||72tpi folding bead||950g||$110.00|
|Vee Tire||Traxx Fatty||120tpi folding bead||920g||$120.00|
|Bontrager||Chupacabra||120tpi Aramid bead||850g||$119.99|
|Maxxis||Chronicle||120tpi folding bead||1050g||$96.00|
So when I get these things built up, I’ll fill you in on which direction I went. Until then I’ll be rolling around on my 4.8″ Lous on 80mm rims, slow and steady- like old people fucking.