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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For a hardtail is there a noticeable difference in plushness between a 27.5+ bike with 3.0 tires versus a mid-fat bike with 26x3.8 tires?

I consider plushness to mean more comfortable (less jarring) over rough trails with rocks, roots, and drops. I know frame material is a factor and also build/geo and fork travel. But generally speaking for similar builds and specs, other than wheels, do you notice a big difference between those wheel sizes in this area?

After having some injuries and coming away sometimes feeling beat up with neck and arm pain sometimes when riding my Chameleon plus bike on the trails, I’m wondering if a midfat would make a difference.

Of course I can continue working on technique and riding “light” but looking for something that helps aid that.

ive got another thread going here 27.5+ vs 29+ vs Fat as 4 Season Bike but wanted to focus more on comfort on this one.
 

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I can only offer the comparison between 29x3 and 26x4.8 but the difference is huge. Plushness is just a factor of psi so determine what your minimum needs to be for your riding. For me that’s seven in the rear for fat and 13 for the plus so if I rode 3.8, figure somewhere in the middle.

I just made the seasonal switch back to plus and it does take an adjustment in riding style to preserve both body and bike. A lot like going from full sus to hardtail and feeling like the bike is just pinging off of every irregularity on the trail until you remember how to let the bike float.
 

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After having some injuries and coming away sometimes feeling beat up with neck and arm pain sometimes when riding my Chameleon plus bike on the trails, I’m wondering if a midfat would make a difference.

Of course I can continue working on technique and riding “light” but looking for something that helps aid that.
You might also look at your fit too. I don't know that tire size will be the answer. Sounds more like a technique and fit issue to me. Check out the Joy of Bike channel on Youtube for some good fit/technique advice.

3.8" tires would of course provide some extra cushion, but there are also downsides that go with that. Personally, I wouldn't go bigger than 3.0" for most trail riding.
 

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I ride plus in the summer and fat in the winter, same bike. Riding fat in the summer i found a lot of bouncy- bounce in the rear no matter what pressures i ran. In both 3.8 and 4.8 tires. I find that minimized with the plus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you heard about this invention called suspension?
Sarcasm not helpful here. I noted fork travel in my original post. So of course, suspension (and psi in tires) matter, but I was talking more general and seeing what others have experienced. Adjustments can be made to some degree to any bike to get it to work for your preferences more. But some things are just more accommodating than others right out of the gate.
 

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Rippin da fAt
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For a hardtail is there a noticeable difference in plushness between a 27.5+ bike with 3.0 tires versus a mid-fat bike with 26x3.8 tires?

I consider plushness to mean more comfortable (less jarring) over rough trails with rocks, roots, and drops. I know frame material is a factor and also build/geo and fork travel. But generally speaking for similar builds and specs, other than wheels, do you notice a big difference between those wheel sizes in this area?

After having some injuries and coming away sometimes feeling beat up with neck and arm pain sometimes when riding my Chameleon plus bike on the trails, I’m wondering if a midfat would make a difference.

Of course I can continue working on technique and riding “light” but looking for something that helps aid that.

ive got another thread going here 27.5+ vs 29+ vs Fat as 4 Season Bike but wanted to focus more on comfort on this one.
I'll put in a little to this topic...

3.0 has it as far as a more generalized use. Comfort can be as simple as add or release some air, not a lot, just some.
27.5x3.8 is my experience here... Sarge III has 70mm (i64) rims to permit the tire to fill out instead of gluing the two beads together like the 90's... This makes for a good ride experience on many trails and air pressure can be dumped for sand and snow. Right now, I am experimenting with a pair of Crux 3.25's on these wheels and the tire is actually a good profile, not stupid narrow, not overly fat. Frankly, I am enjoying that mix of plush ride and rowdyness in one tire! Will it do the sand as well as 3.8/4.0? Not so much however, it does do a fair job vs. any minus tire, hands down!

Sarge III and handling... Feels more like riding a plus than a fat. General trail riding is actually very nice with the plus like feel annnnd... It is actually rather nimble.

Riding light... This is an acquired thing, it takes loads of practice! Bend those knees and elbows more often than not and stay loose. Avoid tensing up, since it omits the inherent suspension a human body comes with, stock! Drop the tire pressure and roll over some obstacles and test what you can do... Without rimming out!!! You can do this on flat ground as well. It takes time and perseverance to get it but eventually, it becomes autonomous at which you will no longer think about it, it just happens as part of riding. Add trials to the mix... I've heard the rubbish that riding light is not a thing from the kind of rider that doesn't own a trials bike!
 

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One thing to consider is if you will be ok with the bounce a large tire has. I ride a 2.8 plus bike but find larger than that is just too bouncy and uncontrolled. My buddy started with 3.0 and is now on a 3.8 tire hardtail and loves it. I can’t stand the bike. You should try one first to see if that is an issue for you.

As someone else stated, look at your fit. Neck and arm pain suggest needing to play with reach, height, width, and/or the sweep of your bars. Also, some bars are much stiffer than others, which can make it worse. If you haven’t, consider trying a carbon bar, the One Up bar is specifically designed to be a bit flexier and more comfortable.
 

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no such thing as "mid fat" honestly. Calling 26x3.8 "mid fat" is like retconning tire sizes.

I think it's important to look at the sort of terrain you're riding as part of this scenario. I am a person who rode a FS fatbike (26x3.8" tires) as my only mtb for a few years. It worked pretty well that way in some terrain, but not others. On smoother, midwestern hardpack trails, the fat tires worked great year round. Any chunk I encountered was generally ridden at slower speeds because the midwest lacks truly long downhills. At slower speeds, fat tires work great for crawling over chunk. I moved to the southern Appalachians and started riding longer descents with more regularity. The FS fatbike was awesome for bikepacking and for technical climbs, at least. I never had a problem with drops, but high speed chatter was a major problem, and there's a lot of that here. Fat tires are basically undamped suspension. I could not find suspension settings that were sufficient to tune out the undamped rebound from fat tires at high speeds and still be useable at slower speeds. It's just too wide a range of adjustment needed. That fatbike got absolutely terrifying on fast, chattery downhills as the suspension got into a weird feedback with the tires.

I now ride a Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead hardtail with a 140mm fork and 29x2.6" tires. Fast, chattery stuff is still rough, but it's at least predictable, and adjusting my riding style to be more poppy off of little stuff in the trail helps to "smooth" things out (can't be rattled by trail chatter when you're in the air). I chose the hardtail because I had fun on it and it made me grin. I demoed a bunch of FS bikes and they were all "fine" but none of them really excited me. I'll probably find one like that eventually, but I have fun with the hardtail so I can be patient.
 

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For a hardtail is there a noticeable difference in plushness between a 27.5+ bike with 3.0 tires versus a mid-fat bike with 26x3.8 tires?

I consider plushness to mean more comfortable (less jarring) over rough trails with rocks, roots, and drops. I know frame material is a factor and also build/geo and fork travel. But generally speaking for similar builds and specs, other than wheels, do you notice a big difference between those wheel sizes in this area?

After having some injuries and coming away sometimes feeling beat up with neck and arm pain sometimes when riding my Chameleon plus bike on the trails, I’m wondering if a midfat would make a difference.

Of course I can continue working on technique and riding “light” but looking for something that helps aid that.

ive got another thread going here 27.5+ vs 29+ vs Fat as 4 Season Bike but wanted to focus more on comfort on this one.
If you’re getting beat up and you want more comfort, I’d ditch the hard tail and get a full suspension plus bike.
 

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Tire quality / suppleness can make more of a difference. Also larger wheels have better rollover, so with everything else equal should be more comfortable. I'd look at 29+ vs. B-fat full size (27.5 x4.5) for many reasons, but woudl think larger wheels will be inherently more comfortable.

Same also for rolling resistance I know this concern will come up.

I had Maxxis 26x4.8 and had a lot of comfort problems and researched suspension bikes etc. then installed Bud/Lou 26x4.8 tires, and all comfort problems went away plus much better performance in snow, less rolling resistance etc. So the tire size matters, but is less useful if you use low quality tires.
 

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If you’re getting beat up and you want more comfort, I’d ditch the hard tail and get a full suspension plus bike.
That was the point of my earlier comment, though it came across as purely sarcastic (when in fact I was only meaning it to be 75% sarcastic).

Pain from riding in the rough begs the question— why insist on a hardtail?

FWIW, I do ride a hardtail in very technical terrain with 2.5s and don’t get beat up by it. But I don’t have any chronic injuries that exacerbate pain, at least from riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That was the point of my earlier comment, though it came across as purely sarcastic (when in fact I was only meaning it to be 75% sarcastic).

Pain from riding in the rough begs the question— why insist on a hardtail?

FWIW, I do ride a hardtail in very technical terrain with 2.5s and don’t get beat up by it. But I don’t have any chronic injuries that exacerbate pain, at least from riding.
I hear you (and @Shredman69 ) , thanks. Good to hear your experience with the hardtail in rough stuff. I've had a full suspension, and while it does help, I found I just enjoyed the simplicity and lower maintenance of a hardtail (grew up BMX). So trying to find a balance.

A full suspension isn't out of the question in the future, but right now I'm trying to learn more from others experience in the hardtail genres. I will say I had a 29x3 for a while and really liked it. I didn't have many rides on it, but trying to recall, I would lean towards saying it was less rough with similar travel than the 27.5+.

I sold because of concern of durability and parts moving forward since it seems to be more niche that is losing some support in the industry (Trek discontinued the Stache and Surly is only making the 29x3 Krampus in the full rigid build, the suspension build went to 2.6).
 

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One thing not mentioned yet - rim inserts.

I only ride rigid and all of our trails are super chunky. One bike is 29x3.25 front and 29x2.6 rear. The other is 27.5x3.8 F/R.

I have a Rimpact up front with the 29x3.25. It dampens bounce considerably (and also minimizes squirm and protects the rim/tire). I’m about 190lbs geared up and run just over 9psi in that tire. 15 in the 2.6 without an insert.

Most folks run these in the rear, so I suggest you give it a go. Never researched inserts for 26”er fat, but I bet they exist.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good point about the inserts. I was considering going from 2.8 to 3.0 tires (on the 27.5 Chameleon) and adding Cushcores and curious how much of a difference it would make/help. But wondering how it compares to 3.8 tires as originally posted.

What bike do you have that is 27.5x3.8?

BTW, I'm trying to post another message (nothing offensive or combative), but it's saying: " This message is awaiting moderator approval, and is invisible to normal visitors." Anyone else get this?
 

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I had a chameleon and also felt beat up after riding it... I had the 27.5 x 3.0 with the dropouts slammed -- I never tried them longer but from what I've recently learned it may have helped. Also since the seat tube angle is fairly slack, combined with the short chainstays it puts you more over the back wheel which I think also adds to the fatigue.

Now I ride a 29er with a less burly frame, steeper seat tube angle, and longer chain stays and I like it much better.
 

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Good point about the inserts. I was considering going from 2.8 to 3.0 tires (on the 27.5 Chameleon) and adding Cushcores and curious how much of a difference it would make/help. But wondering how it compares to 3.8 tires as originally posted.

What bike do you have that is 27.5x3.8?

BTW, I'm trying to post another message (nothing offensive or combative), but it's saying: " This message is awaiting moderator approval, and is invisible to normal visitors." Anyone else get this?
Not sure about your moderator message, but I’d suggest inserts in either the 27.5 or 26” wheels. Looks like Rimpact doesn’t make a 26” plus/fat insert, but Vittioria makes an xl air-liner. Personally, I’d skip cushcore (more expensive, heavier, more difficult install).

Lower pressure, sidewall support, rim protection, fewer flats, and for your main question likely a more plush ride.

My 27.5x3.8 is a custom Waltworks. It’ll run 29x3.25 or 27.5x3.8.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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BTW, I'm trying to post another message (nothing offensive or combative), but it's saying: " This message is awaiting moderator approval, and is invisible to normal visitors." Anyone else get this?
That was a common issue prior to the server update.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I had a chameleon and also felt beat up after riding it... I had the 27.5 x 3.0 with the dropouts slammed -- I never tried them longer but from what I've recently learned it may have helped. Also since the seat tube angle is fairly slack, combined with the short chainstays it puts you more over the back wheel which I think also adds to the fatigue.

Now I ride a 29er with a less burly frame, steeper seat tube angle, and longer chain stays and I like it much better.
Yeah I tend to run the seat all the way forward. Haven’t tried moving the wheel back yet. Mine is stock with 2.8s so not sure how a 3.0 would feel or improve things on it. Did you switch to 3.0s or was it stock like that? If so, did you see a difference in that little bump in width and volume, or not much to really notice.

what 29er did you switch to that you like better?
 

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Yeah I tend to run the seat all the way forward. Haven’t tried moving the wheel back yet. Mine is stock with 2.8s so not sure how a 3.0 would feel or improve things on it. Did you switch to 3.0s or was it stock like that? If so, did you see a difference in that little bump in width and volume, or not much to really notice.

what 29er did you switch to that you like better?
The 3.0s came stock on mine, and I tried a few different pressures but just couldn't get into the real low pressures as I really disliked feeling the rims in compressions and didn't want to add more weight with inserts. I'm not a fan of the squirmy feeling either so I ran them high at 28-30lbs. 3.0s were fun but I'm not sure I'd do them again...
I do wish I had experimented with the chainstays more, but the reach was already long to me so I didn't mess with seat position much but I probably should have before I sold it. Needed cash so...
And because of budget and wanting to ride again I just bought a cheaper Mongoose 29er off Amazon since it was in stock and seemed decent on paper. It is a steeper and shorter front and longer back than what is fashionable right now but that's what I wanted and so far it's pretty much perfect for me. Chain stays could be a smidge shorter but that might mess up the comfort. It still climbs and corners great, and I love how the 29s roll so much faster and smoother than the 27.5s. It's not quite as flickable, but being over 50 now that point is becoming moot haha.
For whatever reason (turning 50 most likely) the chameleon just really started beating my butt after about a year and no matter which seat I tried it never got better... also it always felt like a lot of weight was on my hands on the Chameleon and I never quite got used to that either.
 
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