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FAT Fuel

Posted on June 22, 2016

 

 

 

From Trek

(Waterloo, WI) – Trek has expanded one of the world’s most popular trail bike lines with the introduction of the Fuel EX 27.5 Plus. The popularity of mid-fat tires has shown riders how a little extra tire volume can yield a lot more traction and a lot more fun. Now the benefits of wider tires are being combined with full-suspension capability in the all-new Fuel EX 27.5 Plus.

The $5299 Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 Plus features Trek's OCLV carbon frame construction.

The $5499 Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 Plus features Trek's OCLV carbon frame construction.

A stiffer, more confidence-inspiring frame gets the mid-fat tire treatment along with an increased 130/140mm of suspension travel. The key feature of the new model is its freshly updated 27.5 x 2.8 Bontrager Chupacabra tires, rolling on 40mm rims. This setup significantly increases traction and stability, but keeps weight and rolling resistance low enough to maintain the nimble handling and quick acceleration that fans of Fuel EX have come to expect. Fans of 29” wheels need not worry as the Fuel EX will still be available as a 29er.

Novice and intermediate riders will instantly feel more confident aboard Fuel EX Plus with increased stability and traction on any trail. Advanced riders will find themselves clearing more technical trail features than ever thanks to the added grip in extreme situations like ultra-steep blown-out climbs and rowdy off-camber roots.

Fuel EX 5 27.5 Plus priced at just $2399 drops in June.

Fuel EX 5 27.5 Plus priced at just $2499 drops in June.

To go along with all that extra fun, we added more travel to Fuel EX with 130mm out back and 140mm up front. Of course, we still use our proven suspension technologies including ABP, Full Floater, and RE:aktiv for a chassis that’s ready for the plus-sized party. Boost hub spacing makes room for those meaty tires and allows us to keep the chainstays to a playful 433mm.

Fuel EX 8 27.5 Plus, $3299.

Fuel EX 8 27.5 Plus, $3499.

The new frame is available in either Alpha Platinum Aluminum or OCLV Mountain Carbon to cover a wide range of riders. The new bikes feature updated slacker, low and long geometry and a robust straight downtube producing the stiffest frame in its category. For an added measure of protection, we developed Knock Block frame defense, which keeps the fork crown and handlebar controls from hitting the frame. All of the new Fuel EX 27.5 Plus frames come with our Control Freak internal routing system for a set up that’s versatile and easy to use, while Mino Link allows riders to further fine tune their geometry. The Fuel EX 27.5 Plus is backed up, as are all Trek bicycles, with Trek Care, the industry’s best warranty.

Fuel EX 27.5 Plus FAQ

Why 27.5x2.8?

We tested every rim and tire combo out there and found that 27.5x2.8 tires on 40mm rims gave us that extra traction and stability we wanted, but also kept the weight and rolling resistance low enough to maintain nimble handling and good acceleration.

Will standard 29” wheels fit? What about standard 27.5 wheels?

The frame will accept standard 29” wheels, which will raise the BB slightly. We don’t recommend running standard or smaller 27.5” tires, as that would lower the BB too much, and the handling will suffer.

What is the max tire size?

27.5x2.8 or 29x2.4 

Will there be any new Fuel EX’s spec’d with 29” wheels?

Not at this time.

What is new with the suspension?

We still use our proven suspension design with ABP, Full Floater, EVO Link, and RE:aktiv, but we’ve refined the system in two ways. We’ve adjusted the leverage ratio to optimize the performance of the larger negative air springs on the new Fox EVOL and RockShox DebonAir shocks without having to resort to higher-than-ideal air pressures.

We also went to a slightly longer metric-sized shock. This allows for better compatibility and it also gives us a more space for the shock’s internals for optimized performance in a more svelte package.

What’s new on the frame?

The geometry gets lower and slacker for better stability at high speeds and on steep terrain. We’ve also straightened the down tube and eliminated the curve behind the head tube to gain stiffness without adding weight. This frame is boasting an added level of frame protection with our Knock Block steerer stop, which protects the down tube from fork crown impacts and the top tube from handlebar controls. While our Control Freak internal routing system isn’t new on the carbon frame, we have added this slick feature to the alloy models as well.

What is the head angle? Chainstay length?

Low Mino Link position: 66.6-degrees or High Mino Link position: 67.2-degrees

Chainstay length: 433mm

Does the fork feature G2 Geometry?

Yes. Since the overall diameter of a 27.5x2.8 tire is close to that of a 29er, this platform benefits from the quick slow-speed handling and stable high-speed handling offered by G2 Geometry.

Is there a recommended starting tire pressure?

As always, the ideal tire pressure depends on many factors such as rider weight, riding style, and terrain. However, these higher-volume Plus tires will perform best at lower pressures than a standard mountain bike tire. For most riders, the ideal tire pressure will be between 13-18 psi. Keep in mind that even a half psi can make a big difference in finding the sweet spot between traction and sidewall stability.

Will new Fuel EX be offered as a frame only?

Not at this time.

2017 Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 Plus Spec

  • Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame & seatstay, alloy chainstay, ABP, Boost148, Knock Block steerer stop, Full Floater, EVO link, E2 tapered head tube, Mino Link, Control Freak internal routing, Carbon Armor, PF92, ISCG 05, G2 Geometry, 130mm travel
  • Fork: Fox Performance 34 Float, FIT4 3-position damper, E2 tapered steerer, Boost110, G2 Geometry w/51mm offset, 140mm travel
  • Rear Shock: Fox Performance Float EVOL, RE:aktiv 3-position damper, tuned by Trek Suspension Lab, 210x52.5mm
  • Hubs: DT Swiss 350 centerlock disc, Boost110 front and DT Swiss 350 centerlock, Boost148 rear
  • Rims: SUNringlé Duroc 40 SL 28-hole
  • Tires: Bontrager Chupacabra, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 27.5x2.80"
  • Bottom Bracket: PF92
  • Cassette: Shimano Deore XT, 11-40, 11 speed
  • Chain: Shimano Deore XT
  • Crank: Shimano Deore XT, 36/26
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT, high direct mount
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT, Shadow Plus
  • Shifter: Shimano Deore XT M8000, 11 speed
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc
  • Handlebar: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, 35mm, 15mm rise, 750mm width
  • Headset: Knock Block Integrated, cartridge bearing, sealed, 1-1/8" top, 1.5" bottom
  • Saddle: Bontrager Evoke 3, titanium rails
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth, 2-bolt head, 31.6mm, zero offset
  • Stem: Bontrager Line Pro, Knock Block, 35mm, 0 degree
  • Grips: Bontrager Race Lite Lock-on
  • $5499, Available now

Trek Fuel EX 9.8 27.5 Plus Geometry Low / High Settings

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New FAT bikes for 2016

Posted on November 24, 2015

 

Fatness

We will be stocking the following Fatbikes for 2016. In case you didn't know Fun-loving riders like you are looking for a bike for every occasion, whether on snow, sand, or one-of-a-kind trail experience. Don’t let the large tires fool you, Fatbikes offer lightweight performance perfect for the snow ride you’ve been circling on your calendar, or whatever unique riding experience you have on your radar.

Pick your poison, Both Trek and specialized are making great product at very competitive prices

Trek Farley 5

$1999

Specialized Fatboy se

$1699

Specialized Fatboy

$2199

 

Specialized Fatboy trail

$2599

 

Trek Farley 7

$2499

Trek Farley 9.6

$2999

 

Specailzied Fatboy comp carbon

$3500

Trek Farley 9.8

$4500

 

 

 

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The Definitive Guide to Kids Bike Sizes (Don’t Buy the Wrong Bike)

Posted on June 23, 2015

Great article on kids bikes From http://www.icebike.org

Children on bikes

Kids love riding bikes.

Remember the sheer thrill of riding your first bike? More likely than not, it is one of the presents you will never forget.

As a bonus, it gets kids fit, gets them outside, offers them some independence, and most all of riding is fun. The great news is that kids can start properly riding bikes from about 3 years of age.

But kids don’t stay the same size for long. Everyone knows this. It’s a fact of life. That’s why choosing the right bike for your kid, can initially seem quite confusing, but is also crucial to their being able to ride their bike safely and with confidence.

When selecting a bike for a younger person, the most important things to ensure is that the child looks and feels comfortable on the bike, and that they think the bike is cool: Don’t get your kid a bike that they blatantly don’t like the look of, and hope they’ll change their minds once you get them back home.

They might, and they might not.

The last thing you want to do is scar your child emotionally for life by buying them a Destructor 4000 Extreme when what they wanted was the Princess bike with a basket and sparkles. Been there, done that.

Kids have never had so much choice of quality when it comes to bikes. From teenagers to toddlers, there’s a bike for your child.

But if you buy a bike that is too small your child may feel silly sitting on it, and also feel cramped. Conversely, buying a bike that is too large will be unwieldy, difficult to control, and undermine their fledgling confidence on the pedals.

Be under no illusion, the whole thing is a minefield, but a minefield you can cross.

Child fixing bike

Buying your kid a bike isn’t as simple as it was in the old days

At least not as simple as it was for me. When it came to my parents choosing the perfect bike for me it came down to which one of my brothers’ old bikes I wanted out of the garage. Having chosen, my father would lift the bike down off the peg, made sure it wouldn’t fall apart, and then said I had to be home before dark.

As adults, the proper way we choose our bikes is by reference to the frame size. If we can stand over the bike with our feet planted on either side of the upper tube, then we can say with some certainty the bike fits. This is not how you choose the right size bike for children.

Fear not though, because fortunately there are guides and guidelines for helping you choose a bike that is perfect for your child’s age and size.

Bike shop

What size bike does your child need?

When choosing a grown up bike, we use the size of the frame as our reference point. But when it comes to kids bikes we actually use the diameter of the wheel as the reference point. That’s because kids’ wheel sizes that determines the proportions for the rest of the bike. Kids’ wheel sizes are generally available in 12, 16, 20, and 24 inches. At 26 inches you’re into the standard sized adult mountain bike wheel size.

Roughly speaking, 12 inch wheels are designed for kids starting off biking and who on average are aged between 3-5 years of age, and by the time your child is 14 years old, you will mostly be looking at 24 inch wheel.

So how do you discover what size bike is perfect for your child?

The general rule of thumb is to use a sizing chart. Sizing charts are available from all good bike websites and stores. There are slight variations in some of them, especially when moving to adult sizing charts, but for children they do remain fairly consistent. Below is a good example of one that can be followed:

Height

Wheel Size Age Height
12″ 2-3 2’10”-3’4″ 85-100 cm
14″ 3-4 3’1″-3’7″ 95-110 cm
16″ 4-5 3’7″-4’0″ 110-120 cm
20″ 5-8 4’0″-4’5″ 120-135 cm
24″ 8-11 4’5″-4’9″ 135-145 cm
26″ 11+ 4’9″+ 145+ cm

 

Another useful form of chart for determining the right size of bike, and some might say more accurate, is the inside leg length approach.

Wheel Size Age Inseam Inseam
12″ 2-3 14-17′ 35-42 cm
14″ 3-4 16-20′ 40-50 cm
16″ 4-5 18-22′ 45-55 cm
20″ 5-8 22-25′ 55-63 cm
24″ 8-11 24-28′ 60-72 cm
26″ 11+ 26+’ 70+ cm

 

Young boy biking

Height charts are not the definitive factor when choosing a kid’s bike

Height charts are not the be all and end all when it comes to picking your kid’s bike. Think of them more as a starting point to help give you an idea of what you after.

If the sales guy in the local bike store insists on only using a height chart when you visit, then turn round and walk away.

By far the most important thing to do is to get a test ride and observe how well your child is able to ride easily and in a controlled manner. There are other factors at work other than overall height. You must take into account the proportions of your kid’s body and personal riding disposition.

Girl on bike

The importance of getting the right fit

Despite what some might say, choosing the right size bike in not a precision science. Guides and charts are useful but nowhere near as useful as watching your kid actually test out a bike. The bike should fit the child, not the other way round.

Safety is paramount. This is why you should never buy a bike that is too large for your child in the hope that ‘they will grow into it.’ Your child should be able to straddle the middle of the bike with their feet flat on the ground on either side of the bike with a good inch or two of clearance. They should not have to lean the bike one way or the other to get a foot flat down.

You have to consider what happens if they suddenly need to hop off the bike quickly. This is especially true if your kid is a boy and you think you might like grandchildren one day. The bike should only have a slight lean when your kid puts their bottom onto the seat, puts one foot on a pedal and then scoots away.

When your child is riding away, they be seated in a mostly upright position, and their knees and legs should not be bouncing of the handlebars. On the other hand, their legs also should not be completely stretched out at the lowest vertical position of the pedals either. There should always be a slight bend in the leg.

Children should also be able to turn the handlebars in a sweeping motion to their full extent without being overstretched. Younger children tend to use the turning arc of the handlebars to steer more than older children and adults, who will also use balance to negotiate turns and corners.

Bicycle mechanic

Expert advice is invaluable

Never ever underestimate the power of good advice given by an expert. 5 minutes with an experienced and reputable bike expert can you save you hours spent scouting the internet for the answer.

As can often be the case with Google, you can find yourself with a 100 new questions and more confused than when you started.

Family biking together

Why do some kids bikes seem to weigh as much my own bike?

Fortunately, that’s no longer necessarily the case. The fact is that it used to be that kids’ bikes would be the only thing a Twister in Missouri would leave behind. The cheap ones still are.

But more commonly these days, most bike manufacturers now offer decent value lightweight bikes for your kid. This is an important fact to be aware of as proportionally speaking, kids’ bikes are harder to pedal than adult bikes anyway due to the smaller wheel base. So if you can, do try to buy as light as you can.

Father and son biking

Start them young, keep the keen!

  • Balance bikes, 2-5 years old: The younger you start your kid riding, the more confident they will be getting on a bike in later life. A great place for a young kid to begin their cycling odyssey is with a balance bike.

    Balance bikes are exactly what they say they are. They have no pedals, and tend to only have a have brake. They are brilliant for letting your kid develop their sense of inertia and balance and learning how to steer, and as they have no means of propulsion other than how fast they can push off the ground, they are relatively safe to use indoors, and are of course, a generally safe way to learn overall.

  • Basic Small Wheelers, 3-6 years old: These are your classic first ‘proper’ bike models. Typically they come with 12, 14, and 16 inch wheels at the outside. Some bikes in this range do come with simple gear sets and basic front fork suspension, but my advice to you is not to bother. They will more likely than not be cheap and add more weight than you child needs.

    The most important factor here is the fit, as discussed above. Make sure the kids’ feet can easily touch the ground, their hands can reach the brakes on the handlebars. This is where, in my experience, riders are born or broken. Unlike balance bikes, their feet will be on the pedals, not trailing along the ground for extra stability.

    They will also be going faster. What this means is they are now at the stage where they are more likely to have the occasional accident. Kids can deal with the occasional accident, but not if it becomes a familiar occurrence. So make sure you buy the right size.

  • The next level: 20 inchers, 6-9 years old: This is unfortunately where are most likely to come face to face with your first proper set of gears, and proper suspension. Geared versions of these bikes will come with between 5 and 10 gears, with hill climbing firmly in mind as opposed to speed.

    While not a necessity, it is handy for getting children used to how gears work. As a youngster, I rode BMXs up to the age of 16. As a result, despite owning a fully-fledged mountain bike, road bike, and folding bike, I still don’t fully trust or understand gears.

    Don’t bother with the bikes in this category that come with front fork suspension either. Yes they look cool, especially if you’re a kid, but the chances are the forks will be cheap, heavy and not actually be effective. The truth is that fully rigid bikes at this level will not only be lighter, but also be higher quality.

    If your kid is insisting on forks, then either buy the lightest frame possible, or upgrade to some 3rd party suspension forks. It will be money well spent.

  • Growing up too fast: 24 inches and bigger, 9-14 years old: Read the above bits about suspension and gears again, and just add it in here. The same is true for these semi adult bikes, as it is for 20 inchers. This is where you can start to find all the bells and whistles most normally associated with full adult bikes. Not only might you start to find bikes with up to 36 gears, but also things like triple chain sets.

    In my opinion these additions still just add extra weight and are more complicated, and are not worth the extra money at this level. If you can, let your kid be a kid just that little bit longer. If they insist on gears, then try to limit them to single or low digit gearing.

Children bike race

Mountain bike or Road bike?

Up to 24 inch wheel sizes, almost all kids’ bikes come in the mountain bike style with the wide, grippy tires and horizontal handlebars.

24 inch wheels start to give you the option to buy slick tired bikes with the racing bike drop handlebars. Really, it all comes down to what your kid wants to ride.

My best advice here is to stick with the mountain bike style until they fully progress to a grown up bike. That said, if all they do is ride on roads, and never go off road, then perhaps a road bike is the way forward. Whatever you do, make sure they try them out first. Your kid may either love the road bike or hate it, so it’s best to try it out first.

BMX kid

What about a BMX?

Why not give your kid something they might want to ride for years and years? As I have already stated, I rode mine solely all the way up the age of 16 before I finally managed to break it. That was a solid 8 years of almost constant daily use!

BMX style bikes have an awful lot going for them. They are tough, single geared, extremely durable, and their resale value is quite high.

The best thing about BMX style bikes though is their inherent ability to go anywhere and deal with any biking situation life can throw at them. By their nature they are small wheeled bikes, which means, as I’ve already stated, kids can start using them at a very young age, and many kids’ versions will come with a 12 inch wheel.

Even when moving to a fully sized 20 inch wheel BMX base, the bike is exactly the same, just slightly bigger. One of the big plusses of a BMX is that for the same money as a kids’ mountain bike, you’ll probably end up with a lighter and better bike overall.

Kid biking with parents

Final thoughts

Get the right size at the right time. Make sure the bike fits. Use the size guides, but remember they are only guides. Make sure they look comfortable on the bike. Make sure your kid wants the bike you’re buying. Buy the best you can afford, but don’t be stupid with your cash either.

Don’t bother with all the bells, whistles and heavy fancy gadgets bolted on to appeal to easily influenced minds. Do get expert advice, but do some research first so you can at least understand what the expert is talking about.

Really final thoughts

Be responsible and teach your kid how to be safe when they ride, wherever they ride.

AND MAKE SURE THEY ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!!!!!!!

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PLUS sizes, like the big and tall stores

Posted on April 23, 2015

They say that there are seven stages of grief. I went through all of them when I heard that plus-size tires would be the ‘next big thing’ in the bike industry. You know–shock and denial, pain and guilt, angry-as-hell muttering and throwing of crap at the wall.

Photo by Van Swae

Photo by Van Swae

But you can’t stay mad forever. I mean you can, but if you do you usually wind up living under a bridge, coaching a troupe of dancing rats. So, I resigned myself to getting some answers to the following questions:

What the hell is “plus-size” anyway?
What are these bikes supposed to do well?
What are their limitations?
What kind of rider might like a plus-size bike?
Is this the end of ‘normal’ mountain bikes?
Why are we also getting new fork and rear axle standards?

Ryan Palmer, Bike magazine’s gear editor, and I headed out on a cross-country journey to find those answers. It was like “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” or maybe “The Fellowship of the Ring” minus the orcs and the foxy elf chick. We wound up shooting four hours of video–a mere 12 minutes of which made it into our “Blueprint” video.

Our goal with the video was to cover the broad brushstrokes. What follows are some of the more tech-oriented details–stuff that matters but couldn’t fit within the video without us making some kind of three-hour epic about spoke bracing angles and legally-mandated tire clearances in France. No one–not even the geekiest of you–would have watched that crap.

WTB's Trail Blazer 2.8 tire sure wasn't the first "plus size" tire, but it kicked off the 27.5+ boom that's making waves now.

WTB’s Trail Blazer 2.8 tire sure wasn’t the first “plus size” tire, but it kicked off the 27.5+ boom that’s making waves now.

BIG WHEELS START ROLLING

The first plus-size bike that made much of a splash was Surly’s Krampus back in 2012. That 29er hardtail rocked 3-inch-wide tires, a kind of middle ground between your garden variety 2.3-inch mountain bike tire and the monstrous 4- and 5-inch wide fatbike tires. A number of other small bike suppliers, including Lenz Sport and Niner have also had 29+ models in their lines for a while now.

But the plus-size train picked up steam in earnest when Mark Slate at Wilderness Trail Bikes configured a 27.5×2.8-inch tire that could be paired with a wide 650b (a.k.a. 27.5) rim. The outer diameter on that tire/rim combo is fairly close to what you get when you run a 29×2.3 wheel and tire. In other words, you could fit this, ’27.5+’ set-up in some 29er frames already out there on the trail.

That got people thinking.

Last April at the 2014 Sea Otter Classic festival, Rocky Mountain Bicycles showed off a full-suspension 29er (basically an Element) that wore a set of WTB’s 2.8-inch Trailblazer tires paired to their 45-millimeter wide Scraper rim. Rocky called the concept bike the Sherpa, and it was clear that Rocky was playing with the idea of creating a bike that could tackle long-distance bike packing tours.

The Sherpa created a bit of buzz, which then quieted–right up until a couple of months ago. Suddenly, we started hearing that this wasn’t just a Rocky Mountain one-off love child, and that a whole rash of bike companies would be showing plus-size bikes at Sea Otter 2015. More to the point, plenty of people were saying, off the record of course, that plus-sized bikes weren’t just going to be overland beasts of burden–these bikes had the potential to be nimble and fun. It was, to get all Ron Burgundy-ish, going to be “sort of a big deal.”

Right about this time, both Fox and RockShox also spilled the news that they’d soon be selling plus-size compatible forks that feature 15×110-millimeter spacing. The wider leg spacing improves clearance and reportedly boosts stiffness, which will be a better match for Boost 148 rear ends, which lo and behold, a bunch of bike companies whose names are not Trek were now considering for their own bikes.

WhatTheF&^@? When did this all happen?

Rocky Mountain Sherpa

Rocky Mountain envisions plus-size tires as more of an overland/bike-packing tire, which is why the new Sherpa is decked out in 27.5+ tires. Not everyone, however, sees it the same way.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

What are plus-size bikes supposed to offer? At this point, it all depends on whom you ask. For Alex Cogger, director of product for Rocky Mountain Bicycles, plus-size bikes, like the new 27.5+ Sherpa, have a very definite, limited skill set. “What they do really well,” says Cogger, “is monster truck over stuff. They really shine in loose, rubbly, crappy conditions. It’s great for that. It’s also incredibly stable and grippy, so for someone who’s less technically skilled and is looking for some added confidence, absolutely.”

“Where it begins to falls short,” adds Cogger, “is for someone who is trying to push really hard in the corners and get really aggressive–that’s when you get some tire roll. You’d have to make such a burly and heavy tire for it to not fold over like that, that you’d just be bolting extra weight onto your bike.”

Accordingly, Rocky Mountain has positioned the Sherpa as an overland adventure bike.

Other companies, however, have a decidedly different take. The most obvious of which is Trek Bicycles. A few days ago, Trek unveiled its new Stache plus-size hardtail. The bike wears 29+ tires and has an entirely different mission statement than the Sherpa.

“We designed this bike to rail and be ridden hard,” says Trek senior product manager John Riley. “It’s not meant for a beginner or a novice. This is the ultimate of the fun, play hardtail for people looking to pop off stuff, rail the bike and pick up speed. The extra floatation and traction just gives the bike more versatility than in the past.”

How can the two companies be so far apart on the very idea of what plus-size bikes are good at? For starters, it’s a new niche, which means that companies are approaching the puzzle from different angles and coming up with very different results. They are also using different tires and, as minor as that sounds on paper, it actually winds up making a big difference in the final product. We’ll get into that later. But consider this: The new Trek Stache has the shortest rear end of just about any production bike (you can get it down to a very stubby 16 inches thanks to its sliding dropouts) yet it’s rocking the biggest-diameter rear wheel this side of a penny farthing. It’s not going to ride like an overland bike. It’s more of a dirt jump bike with big wheels.

Here’s the bottom line: What you get with really wide tires is extra floatation over rough terrain and, because the contact patch is so big, a metric crap ton of traction. But that’s just the starting point; what companies do with that is surprisingly up in the air.

Whether or not the plus-size thing actually takes off will hinge on whether or not companies can produce three-inch tires that don't weigh a ton and yet withstand hard riding. Trek's 29x3.0 Chupacabra weighs less than 900 grams. Impressive. We'll see how it holds up. Photo by Van Swae

Whether or not the plus-size thing actually takes off will hinge on whether or not companies can produce 3-inch tires that don’t weigh a ton and yet withstand hard riding. Trek’s 29×3.0 Chupacabra weighs less than 900 grams. Impressive. We’ll see how it holds up. Photo by Van Swae

27.5+ Vs. 29+

Right now there are two different plus-size options out there: 27 and 29 Plus. The simplest way of thinking about it is this–27.5+ amounts to sticking a 3-inch tire on a wide (45 to 55 millimeter), 27.5-inch rim. Twenty-nine Plus, no surprise here, involves putting a 3-inch tire on an equally wide 29er rim.

Most of the buzz right now centers on 27.5+. If you were a betting man, this would be the tire you’d pick to prevail because you can already squeeze 27.5+ tires into a lot of 29er frames. From an engineering standpoint, it should be relatively easy to crank out new 27.5+ bikes. Twenty-Seven Plus is basically a squishier flavor of 29er and, yes, there’s no shortage of irony there if you go looking for it.

And then there’s this: 29+ tires should, by all rights, weigh more than 27.5+ tires. A bigger tire, you might guess, would require more rubber and all that. Since heavy tires are the bane of any mountain biker’s existence, this should be yet another nail in the 29+ coffin.

It isn’t quite so simple.

A lot of the high-volume 27.5+ tires actually have a taller sidewall than comparable 29+ tires. This makes them less stable under hard cornering than lower-profile 29+ tires and that extra sidewall rubber adds up. It’s hard to believe, but there are 27.5+ tires that weigh more than some 29+ tires.

Trek suspension engineer, Ted Alsop, puts it this way, “27.5+, ideally, has the diameter of a 29×2.3 tire, but to get there, you have to give it a really tall sidewall. The bead-to-bead measurement–that’s the actual width of the tire if you pressed it flat and measured from one bead to the other–is about 15 millimeters wider than a 29+ tire. Relative to the rim, the 27.5+ tire is actually taller than the 29+ tire, which is why we’ve found that the 27.5+ tires that we’ve ridden have a lot more of an un-damped, fatbike tire bounce to them and don’t corner as well at lower pressures. The 29+ tire, which is actually a lower profile, shorter sidewall tire, has less of that uncontrolled bounce to it.”

Chris Drewes, Trek’s MTB product manager, has this to add, “It’s kind of the wild west for 27.5+ tires right now. You see high-volume tires, you see tires with tons of knobs with sidewalls that are much wider than the actual tread itself. You see 27.5+ tires that weigh, literally, more than a 4-inch fatbike tire. So, it’s all over the map. It’s going to take some time for the market to really figure out what 27.5+ even is. What that means is there are going to be some great 27.5+ bikes coming out now and some really shitty 27.5+ bikes too.”

Twenty-Seven Plus is the new kid on the block in the plus-size game and that means there are a lot of tires being called 27.5+ that bear little resemblance to one another. They range from 2.8-inch tires with minimal tread to monster, beefy-lugged 3.25-inch models. Take a look at the photo below. The 3.0 tire absolutely dwarfs the 2.8-inch model. Both tires are ’27.5+,’ but they are going to make your bike ride very, very differently.

There is a flood of new 27.5+ tires hitting the market, but they vary wildly in size and shape. Both of these tires are, theoretically, 27.5+, but they are going to lead to a very different experience out on the trail.

There is a flood of new 27.5+ tires hitting the market, but they vary wildly in size and shape. Both of these tires are, theoretically, 27.5+, but they are going to lead to a very different experience out on the trail.

THIS LITTLE PIGGY…THE GHOST OF THE GAZZALODDI

The most obvious potential downside to building a bike with monstrously fat tires is that, well, you’re building a bike with monstrously fat tires that weigh a ton. Adding weight to a bike is rarely an awesome experience, but adding it to the perimeter of your wheel is about the worst idea in the world, like syphilis-flavored ice cream or cancer on a stick.

The poster child for big, boat anchor tires was the Nokian Gazzaloddi, a 3-inch downhill tire that was sort of the cool thing back in the day, until people came to their senses and realized that strapping a 4-pound tire to their rim was about as bright an idea as gouging their eye out with a dull spoon.

Won’t this plus-size thing simply be a re-enactment of that lame trend? Not necessarily. The 26-inch Gazzaloddi tipped the scales at about 1,800 grams (3.96 pounds). By contrast, Trek’s Chupacabra 29 x 3.0 tire weighs just 877 grams.

How did they do that? More to the point, won’t it just fall apart if it’s that light?

The 3-inch tire incorporates Bontrager’s Inner Strength casing, which the company contends improves durability. We’ll see how that actually pans out in the coming months. It’s a lot to ask of a casing. When the tire gets this big, it hits a whole lot more pokey, sharp stuff out there on the trail. It’ll be interesting to see if tire manufacturers are able to keep weight below 900 grams and still make tires that don’t crap the bed with regularity. If they can’t keep the weight down, these plus-size bikes are going to join the Gazzaloddi 3.0 in the dustbin of bad ideas.

Part of the reason Trek was able to keep tire weight down on the Chupacabra is that the knobs are fairly low-profile. At first glance, it’s a fairly underwhelming tire–like a Nanoraptor that retired and got sloppy fat. But out on the trail, the Chupacrabra boasts surprising traction. Not just good traction–crazy good traction.

Says Trek’s Drewes, “Knob position and height are critical. We’re starting to see a lot of taller and more aggressive plus-size tires. They look cool, but what we’ve found with this increased tire contact-patch is that you don’t necessarily need that tall knob height to get outstanding cornering and climbing traction. You have so many knobs on the ground with these tires that you can get away with smaller, lighter, less-aggressive knobs. It doesn’t need to look like a Minion anymore. You have to re-think tread patterns when you make plus-size tires. The lower knob height also allowed us to create a fast-rolling tire–much faster than you’d expect–but which still has a ton of traction.”

If you don’t have the right plus-size tire on your bike, you’re not going to like it,” says Trek’s Alsop. “We’ve been riding all sorts of plus-size tires and I can say that running the right tire at the right PSI is just as important as having the right geometry.”

WILL PLUS SIZE REPLACE ‘NORMAL’ TIRES?

John Riley, the Trek product manager, considers the question, but only for a fraction of a second. “No. No way. We don’t see 2.2 or 2.3 tires going away. When we talk about plus stuff, we still see a world where they both live. There’s no doubt about that.”

“What we’re going to see,” says Alsop, “is wider rims across the board because you still get some of those high-volume benefits from just going to a wider rim with a 2.3 tire. That’s not going away. But plus-size is cool because you get some of those fatbike benefits–the rollover, the flotation–without the drawbacks like the long chainstays, the tire bounce, the wide Q-factor, the giant hub that you are hitting your heels on.”

Boost 148 is a rear axle standard that widens the hub shell, effectively pushing each flange outwards by three millimeters, which both improves the spoke bracing angle and increases tire clearance.

Boost 148 is a rear axle standard that widens the hub shell, effectively pushing each flange outwards by 3 millimeters, which both improves the spoke bracing angle and increases tire clearance.

TO BOOST OR NOT TO BOOST

Squeezing a 3-inch tire into a bike’s rear end quickly eats up precious real estate in the rear triangle. There isn’t much room left for a front derailleur or, depending on how short you want the chainstays, even a chainring. Sure, you can make it all work if you want a hardtail with 18-inch chainstays, but then you just introduce that crappy, lumbering feel that made so many people hate 29ers for so long.

There are a couple of ways to work around the problem. You can either use a wider bottom bracket to give you the necessary tire/chain/chainring clearance or you can adopt Boost 148, a rear-axle standard developed by SRAM and Trek. Boost 148 widens the rear hub flanges 6 millimeters and pushes the chainring out 3 millimeters. Trek, naturally, is running Boost 148. It’s not alone; other companies, such as Specialized, are following suit. Rocky Mountain is going the wider bottom bracket route.

“To get enough chain to tire clearance on a tire like a 3.25, something had to move,” explains Rocky Mountain’s Cogger. “In our case, we chose to move the crank outboard by 5 millimeters. The big drawback, for us, that we saw in 148 was just availability. This particular bike, the Sherpa, is pitched as an off-road touring, bikepacking, overlander kinda bike. So, if you’re out there in outer Kazakhstan and you experience a mechanical, you’re more likely to experience a hub failure than a crank failure. You’re going to want an easily-replaced hub, and 142 is going to be a hell of a lot easier to find than 148. At this point we just felt that 142 was a more practical choice for this particular bike.” Finding a replacement 142 hub in outer Kazakhstan sound like a stretch, but point taken. The odds would be more in your favor than if you walked into a shop with a Boost 148 hub.

Trek is coming at it from a different angle. It sees Boost 148 as not only a way to make a stronger 29er wheel (it improves the spoke bracing angle), but also as a way to build better rear ends. “As product managers we want it all,” explains Trek’s Drewes. “We are always asking the engineers, ‘Can we get a large chainring, short chainstays and room for wider tires?’ And they always come back to us and say, ‘Well, pick two.’ Or even worse, ‘Pick one.’ And that’s because those traits are all competing with each other. So, while Boost 148 sounds like a small change, it actually allows us enough room to meet the legally-required clearances of 6 millimeters from the tire to the chainstay. Boost is a critical element in solving a lot of challenges we face in trying to make bikes ride as well as they should.”

“Yeah, that ‘pick two’ thing always sucked,” adds Riley. “It was always a frustration because it was never what any of us wanted or, really, what the bike wanted. As product guys, we want it all. We want to build bikes that have short rear ends, room for massive tires and if you want to race enduro on the bike, room for something like a 36-tooth ring, if that’s your thing. Boost 148 was basically us finally admitting, ‘Look, there’s only one way to do this. To get all those things in one package.’ It’s not going to be pretty. People are not going to be stoked to see a new standard, but if we are going to move forward with 29ers and with these larger tires, we have to take these chances. If we don’t, we’re just stuck in this box of design compromises; we can’t evolve.”

While you'd imagine that a 29+ bike would have to sport a sprawling rear end, Trek's Stache has one of the shortest chain stays of any production bike (about 16 inches), thanks to the elevated chain stay and Boost 148 rear end.

While you’d imagine that a 29+ bike would have to sport a sprawling rear end, Trek’s Stache has one of the shortest chain stays of any production bike (about 16 inches), thanks to the elevated chain stay and Boost 148 rear end.

OBSOLESCENCE SUCKS

No doubt, a lot of people aren’t going to buy Trek’s position on Boost 148. And I won’t even get into why engineers didn’t just go 150, the downhill ‘standard.’ Watch the video below for that explanation: they make plenty of plausible arguments. One thing everyone can agree on: realizing that your current frame and wheel may soon be rendered obsolete is a bitter pill to swallow. Alex Cogger feels your pain. “The one thing that has happened in the past couple years is that the adaptation of new technologies has accelerated incredibly,” says Cogger. “It used to be that companies would hang back for a few years and think about whether to adopt some new technology. Now, companies see that something works and it’s like,” he snaps his fingers, ‘This works? Okay, let’s go. Let’s put it on the next bike.’ So, who knows, in a few years, everything could be running 148. Who knows?”

Can we have booth 142 and 148?

“Yes, we can,” says Cogger. “But, will we? I doubt it. I think it’s like the 650b tire thing. I can see that in short order the swing will be pretty hard toward 148. From a manufacturing standpoint it doesn’t really make sense to make both. If some stiffness in the rear is good and you get more stiffness with 148, then there is something worthwhile to Boost spacing. And you don’t have to adjust the Q-factor with 148, that’s something to consider as well on a bike that’s going to be pedaled long miles. I’m not against Boost 148, per se, other than the fact that it’s going to piss a lot of people off. Fortunately, you will be able to get 142 hubs and wheels for awhile. I don’t think it’s going to change overnight.”

Sliding dropouts allow you to run the Stache with a range of chainstay lengths--from short to crazy-short. Photo by Van Swae

Sliding dropouts allow you to run the Trek Stache with a range of chainstay lengths, from short to crazy-short. Photo by Van Swae

HERE COMES THE BANDWAGON

Perhaps the real question is less “Why do plus-size bikes exist?” and more “Why is everyone suddenly unveiling these bikes right now?” How did the bandwagon get rolling so damn fast?

“I think there are definitely brands out there right now,” says Cogger, “that felt the pinch of being caught behind on trends, first on 29ers and then on 650b/27.5, then fatbikes and so now they are keeping their ears to the ground and reacting as fast as they can so they don’t miss the boat again.”

Cogger knows what he’s talking about. When Rocky Mountain showed off the Sherpa at last year’s Sea Otter event, the bike attracted as much, if not more, attention from other bike companies as it did from consumers.

“There were project managers and engineers from practically every brand sniffing around our booth last year,” says Cogger. “We had to literally shoo some engineers out of the booth because they actually had tape measures out and were measuring the Sherpa. So, yeah, there were a lot of people in the industry who got marching orders last year that sounded something like, ‘Go make that. It exists. Make it.’

Trek’s global mountain bike manager Riley agrees. “There are definitely people who are going to take the effort and do this plus-size thing right and there are companies that won’t,” he says. “The problem with what I have seen with both 650b in general and now plus-size tires is that there is this ‘I don’t want to be left out’ mentality that is a holdover from people feeling like they missed the boat on 29 a few years ago. Now no one wants to miss a trend, so they fill their line with anything. I wish there was more effort being put into building bikes that matter instead of bikes that fit the latest trend. And I’m sure people will hear me say that and say, ‘Well, aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black?’ but at the same time, I think it’s clear with this bike and others, like the Remedy 29, that we are putting a lot of effort into building bikes that we think are right, that aren’t like the other bikes out there. And, yes, I do think there will be some plus-size bikes out there that are just checking the box, so to speak. And, yeah, that’s frustrating.”

27PlusPain

COSTS AND BENEFITS

Whenever a new niche emerges, we try and categorize it. Put it in its little box. Label it as ‘good,’ ‘bad’ or ‘lame.’ The truth is that we rarely know the actual potential of the thing that we’re looking at. There was a time when suspension seemed like a crap idea, a crutch for losers who couldn’t ride. Disc brakes were “more than you needed.” I know. I felt that way about those things at the time, not to mention 1 1/8-inch forks and all manner of things I now cherish.

I am not (so hold off on the internet forum hate for a second) saying that plus-size tires are the equal of these innovations. For all I know, plus-size bikes might wind up being a horrible idea. It also might morph into something cool. Time, engineering evolution and your own choices at the bike shop will give us the verdict. My job, however, isn’t to immediately pronounce a new niche or product as ‘awesome’ or ‘shit.’ That would be premature and egotistical. We editors are supposed to chronicle what’s actually happening out there and to try and foster an honest conversation about it.

As for the new fork and rear axle standards, am I stoked about them? No. Not at all. Honestly, it bums me out. The rate at which things become outdated is accelerating at a pace (and I say this while looking at my iPhone, my laptop and my bike) that is truly disheartening. Then again, I can see the merits of Boost 148. I don’t think it’s a ploy to rob me of my paycheck–it makes engineering sense–but it’s still tough to swallow.

Which brings up a larger point, something that I hope people ponder beyond this matter of chubby tires: What are you willing to stomach when it comes to innovation?

We all want our bikes to improve, but when does the benefit exceed the cost and vice-versa? In other words, how much better does a new standard have to make our actual experience on the trail for us to be okay with the fact that we are going to have a hard time finding replacement parts for the bikes we already own?

I don’t have an answer to that question and if I did, it’d probably be different than your answer. We all weigh this cost-benefit thing differently. I have a feeling, though, that the rate at which components now go defunct is going to bite some of the bike industry in the ass. How willing are you to upgrade your fork or wheels, for instance, if you are always wondering whether those parts will even fit next year’s bike? Bike components are pricey; I’d personally want some assurance that they’ll fit the next frame I’m going to buy a year or two down the road..

Taken from Bike Magazine

http://www.bikemag.com/gear/mean-27-plus-29-plus-bikes/

 

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Everything you ever wanted to know about Parking but were afraid to ask...

Posted on December 03, 2014

There are lots of Parking spots in our downtown core. It's not quite like "Stavanger drive" but think of it as an Easter egg hunt without the chocolate bunnies.

This is a helpful guide to parking in and around water street.

 

You Can Park Downtown! Web File

Parking Meters

There are over 800 parking meters along Water Street, Duckworth Street, Harbour Drive and the connecting coves. In addition, there are 311 parking spaces in facilities owned by the City and approximately 2,100 privately owned parking spaces in the area bounded by Springdale Street, New Gower Street, Cavendish Square and Harbour Drive. Meter rates are $1.50 per 60 minutes. There are a number of short-term meters throughout the downtown, as well as four and twelve-hour meters.

Two-Hour Meters

  • Duckworth Street
  • Water Street from Waldegrave Street to Prescott Street.

Four-Hour Meters

  • New Gower Street
  • George Street
  • Springdale Street; Cavendish Square
  • Church Hill
  • Cathedral Street
  • St. John’s Lane
  • Bates Hill
  • Holloway Street
  • Steers Cove
  • Bishops Cove
  • Becks Cove
  • Bairds Cove
  • Adelaide Street
  • Water Street east of Prescott Street to Temperance
  • West of Waldegrave Street to Springdale Street

Twelve-Hour Meters

Harbour Drive

Free Parking

Parking is free after 6 p.m. on weekdays, all day throughout the weekends, and on statutory holidays. In addition, several off street parking lots offer hourly and daily rates for parking.

View Website

Free Parking

All city parking meters are free after 6pm and on weekends.
One hour free parking is available Monday to Friday at the City Hall parking garage on New Gower Street with unlimited free parking on weekends on all levels (L1, L3, L4) except level 2. *During Mile One events a parking charge in place.

The following parking lots are available in the evenings and on weekends for FREE!:

Harbour Drive east behind Vogue Furriers – 130 spaces

Duckworth Street across from Haymarket Square on the corner of Holloway Street – 21 spaces

Duckworth Street across from the TD Building on the corner of Prescott and Duckworth Street – 31 spaces

Prescott Street behind Blue Drop building – 60 spaces

Water Street east at the foot of Solomon’s Lane (REEL DOWNTOWN lot) – 16 spaces

New Gower Street (Delta overflow) on the corner of New Gower Street and Springdale Street – 140 spaces *During Mile One events a parking charge in place.

Atlantic Place building basement below Cora Restaurant – 100 spaces

Permit and Pay-as-you stay hourly parking

 

 

Privately-Owned Parking Spaces – Permit Parking & Pay-as-you stay Parking

Fortis Properties – Permit
For information on monthly parking permits with Fortis-owned parking facilities, please call 709 739 6300.

351 Water St. Permit and Pay-as-you stay

351 Water Street have 245 stalls open to the public 24 / 7, 365 days of the year.

Parking rates are as follow:

$2 –  30 minutes

$15 – Daily max  6 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

$10 – Nightly max 6 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.

$25 – Lost ticket

$10 per event night

For information on parking at 351 Water, please visit their website.

View Website

MetroPark is Now Open at 330 Duckworth Street! Permit and Pay-as-you-stay

Welcome to St. John’s newest parking facility.  Located at 330 Duckworth Street, MetroPark offers a convenient, safe place to park while you shop, work or play in the downtown area.  Centrally positioned close to office buildings, cultural venues, the waterfront, restaurants and shopping, the parkade offers 416 parking spaces for monthly and hourly parkers. To learn more about parking at MetroPark, contact Kim at 902-429-3743 x1230  or by emailing: parking@metropark.ca.

Parking Rates:

DAYTIME BUSINESS HOURS – 6 AM TO 6 PM

– $2.00 for the first 30 minutes

– $2.00 for the next 30 minutes

– $4.00 per hour after that

EVENINGS – 6 PM TO 6 AM AND WEEKENDS

– $1.00 for the first 30 minutes

–  S1.00 for the next 30 minutes

–  $2.00 per hour after that

FLAT RATES WILL APPLY DURING SPECIAL EVENTS (EG. SPORTING, CONCERTS, ETC.)

Signs will be posted the day of the event

MONTHLY RATE

$190.00 plus tax

Bishop’s Cove at Water Street Lot – across from Second Cup Coffee – Permit and Pay-as-you stay

The former fabulous 50′s parking lot, adjacent to the Murray Premises lot, provides public parking at the following rates:

  • $5.00 – 3 hours
  • $12.00 – 8 hours
  • $12.00 – Special Events
  • $200.00 – Monthly

For more information, please contact olearym57@aol.com or visit the booth on site.

A.P. Parking Garage – Permit and Pay-as-you stay

Rates: First 30 minutes $2.00. For each additional 30 minutes $1.75 for a daily max of $15. Hourly parking available Monday to Friday 7 am to 6 pm on levels D and above.

Hourly and monthly parking is available at the A.P. Parking garage. For information on rates, please call 709 754 1489.

Bowring’s Permit and Pay-as-you stay*

For information on monthly parking permits for Bowring’s rooftop lot and underground lot, please call 709 576 1613.

Pay-as-you stay hourly parking 6:00 pm to 4:30 am. $2 an hour with pay and display operation in effect. 


Parking Lots

A number of downtown parking lots are managed by the City of St. John’s. These areas include:

  • Central/Livingstone Street, City Hall Parking Garage Level 5
  • Gower St – north side between Church Hill & Cathedral St
  • Henry St – south side between Bell St & Dick’s Square
  • Prince St Parking Area – off George St West
  • Queen’s Rd – north side between Garrison Hill & Longs Hill
  • Springdale Street Parking Area
  • Water Street East Parking Area – east of Hill O’Chips

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