Wheels, Tires, Forks- by Guitar Ted
This 29″er category is getting filled out quite nicely these days with everything 29″er specific, so anything introduced now needs to be a sort of game changer to really get noticed anymore. That and the focus on 27.5″ers has taken resources away from new 29″er product developments. This cut down on the sheer numbers of certain categories, so I am lumping these all together in one post for this year’s Interbike. Let’s take a dive in and see what caught our eyes at the show…
Ritchey showed these carbon rigid forks at Interbike. Not unlike their past offerings with the exception that now they offer an axle to crown height more suitable for 27.5″ers. Ritchey is diving deep into the 27.5″er category with a hard tail frame and wheels as well.
X-Fusion showed 27.5″er forks as well in 32mm and 34mm stanchion sizes. The longer travel options will all be 34mm, the XC/Trail Velvet will be the 80-120mm range fork with both forks having tapered and straight steer tube options and internally convertible travel settings. The 29″er forks were debuted at Sea Otter this past spring, so no new news on that front.
Formula showed this fork, dubbed the 35, under glass at Eurobike where c_g saw it. Formula let us touch and feel it here, but we can only confirm c_g’s guesses that the three control knobs on top of the right leg do in fact control the platform setting, lock out, and compression settings independently. There will be an option for a remote lock out as well.
The drop outs will be Formula’s own design in a 15mm through axle which is fast becoming the standard drop out style on 29 inch forks. Furthermore; the fork will only be offered in a tapered steer tube, no straight 1 1/8th steer tube offering is planned for at this time. Travel is slated to be set at 140mm, but can be reduced internally.
Formula confirms this will be an entirely new damper for them, and will only be used in the “35” 27.5 and 29 inch models. Formula has some more detail work to do on these before they are released for sale, so don’t look for these to be available anytime soon. Look for these to be sold for around $1000.00 USD.
White Brothers showed the rigid Rock Solid, (Left), and indicates that it is now available in an axle to crown length suitable for 27.5″
Axle to crown lengths available were listed as 425mm, 445mm, 465mm, and 490mm. The 490mm offering might be a good choice for anyone wanting to set up a frame designed with 100mm suspension forks in mind as a rigid fork bike.
Got cantilevers on your 29″er? Need a heavy-duty fork for a front rack? Do you wish to forgo a suspension fork for your bikepacking trip and need versatility in your rigid fork choice? Surly may have your back with this steel Ogre fork offering. Featuring burly construction, rack mounts, and no-nonsense design, the Ogre fork supports both cantilever and disc brake mounts with an 1 1/8th” steer tube.
The Ogre fork is billed as Surly’s “Adventure Fork” and sports fender mounts along with bottle cage mounts on the back of each fork leg. Surly says this is suspension corrected for 80mm. Clearance for a 29 X 2.5″ tire here only. (So no Rabbit Hole/Knard tire here folks!)
As with most Surly aftermarket components, you can get the Ogre fork in any color as long as it is black!
Tires: Speaking of the Knard, Surly will be offering the 29+ sized meat to the general public, but be advised that it will not fit most 29″er frames, (if any), but may fit some fat bikes where riders may want a lighter, “summer” set of wheels for their fat bikes.
Surly also expanded its fat bike tire offerings and showed these fat bike tires, all mounted on 100mm wide “Clown Shoe” rims, showing the differences in width here. On the left we have Surly’s newest Bud and Lou 4.8″ wide tires, which will likely fit only a very few fat bikes, since they were designed for Surly’s own Moonlander’s enormous clearances. Next to those we have the well known Big Fat Larry 4.7″er. Then we have a new fat bike tire, a version of the 29+ Knard done up as a 3.8″er. Finally, on the right we have the well known Nate 3.8″er.
45NRTH also showed the Dillinger studded fat bike tire. This tire features 240 tiny carbide studs that are embedded into the tread face for maximum traction on ice and hard packed snow. A claimed weight for the 120TPI folding bead version is 1275gm. A 27 TPI wire beaded version will also be offered.
45NRTH will also offer an un-studded version of this tire dubbed the “Escalator” which can be custom studded according to the rider’s desires, since all the stud pockets will be molded right into the tire. An astounding TPI of 180 should make this a very supple casing. 45NRTH is also spec’ing this tire with a slightly stickier rubber compound than the Dillinger as well.
If you’ve been around the 29″er scene since the early daze- – you may remember that the IRC Mythos was one of the first tread designs made available as a 29″er size. Well, they faded away, and then IRC pulled out of the North American tire market altogether a few years ago.
Now IRC is coming back and the tire they featured at their Interbike booth? The 29″er IRC Mythos! Made in Japan, this tire features a great looking XC/Trail tread pattern and will be tubeless ready out of the box.
Kenda showed the new “Honey Badger Pro” tire that will be coming out early next year. This tire has been under development for some time and Pro rider, Eric Porter, who is testing this model for Kenda, couldn’t tell us enough good things about it.
Featuring an open, lower tread design with multi-shaped knobs, this tire can work in a wide range of conditions with a fast rolling feel. Eric Porter was quick to point out the rounded casing, which he claimed gave him a confident cornering feel at any lean angle. Kenda’s Jake Scott, one of their tire designers, told us that the knob shapes were specifically designed to give maximum support at turning angles to prevent knob flex when a rider corners hard. The knobs were then trimmed of any unnecessary material to optimize weight.
Twenty Nine Inches is promised some test samples of this new pattern, so stay tuned for more on this tire.
Rubena Tires, which we have tested here at TNI.com, has announced that they will be bringing out a version of their aggressively treaded “Highlander” tire in a 29 inch size. We got a look at the currently offered 26″er version, and Rubena tells us that this tire will also be a 2.55″er in the 29″er version.
Rubena also announced that the Ocelot will be coming in a wire bead as a 29″er tire. This model is intended to be a replacement type tire aimed at the budget conscious and should retail at less than $30.00 USD. Look for both tires to hit the market soon.
Rubena also told us that several of their tires would eventually be offered as 27.5″ models including the Kratos and Scylla models which we liked quite well. Stay tuned for a test of a couple of new Rubena models here at Twenty Nine Inches soon.
Wheels/Rims: Besides several companies, (Stan’s, DT Swiss, Ritchey, and American Classic, amongst others), announcing 27.5″er wheels, here are the odds and ends concerning wheels we saw.
Above and to the right here you see Velocity USA’s new Blunt version in a polished look. The Blunt has been tweaked to more closely resemble the structure of the P-35 and Blunt SL rims and will also support tubeless use as do those designs. Velocity is now making all their rims in the U.S. now. Look for the Blunt to come in all the various colors and anodized hues the Blunt SL comes in.
We finally got a close look at the DT Swiss SPLINE wheel line up that c_g presented in his post seen here back in May. There are three new 29″er models and one 27.5″er model and all feature hubs with straight pull spokes.
While this may seem like a departure for DT Swiss in regard to wheel design, it is interesting to note that DT Swiss has been building wheels like this for quite some time under other brand names.
Wheels will support all through axle and standard quick release styles and are said to be easily convertible for versatility. Wheel weights will clock in at 1555 grams for the flagship XR 1450 SPLINE wheels and the lower end XR 1900 SPLINE 29 set will weigh 2027 grams. The “Goldilocks” weight for the XR 1600 SPLINE wheels will be 1700 grams. The 27.5″er SPLINE will be a version called the XR 1700 and should weigh about 1785 grams.
DT Swiss is also offering the XX-1 compatible free hub body on selected models of its wheels for 2013.
NEXT: A run down of some bikes seen at the show….