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Sorry, didn't read all...
I found that frame construction made a much bigger impact on plushness than anything. A "springy" steel frame with thin tires is more plush than a harsh frame with plus tires. This is first-hand.
Of course, a harsh, over-built frame with a 120mm fork and 4 inch tires contributes a lot to "plushness".

-F
 

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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...

[...]

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.
It sounds like your Chameleon was too big for you. And 28 - 30 PSI is way too high for plus tires. If they are pumped up too much, they are bouncy. If they are too low, they are squirmy. There's a sweet spot in the middle though. I run mine at 14.5 in the front and 16.5 in the back.

Also, no saddle is going to compensate for bumps on a hardtail. You have to get off the saddle and pump in order to stay smooth. So that's a technique thing. Like I mentioned earlier, I don't think this is really a tire size issue. It still sounds like a bike fit and technique issue to me.
 

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It sounds like your Chameleon was too big for you. And 28 - 30 PSI is way too high for plus tires. If they are pumped up too much, they are bouncy. If they are too low, they are squirmy. There's a sweet spot in the middle though. I run mine at 14.5 in the front and 16.5 in the back.

Also, no saddle is going to compensate for bumps on a hardtail. You have to get off the saddle and pump in order to stay smooth. So that's a technique thing. Like I mentioned earlier, I don't think this is really a tire size issue. It still sounds like a bike fit and technique issue to me.
Yeah, maybe but I've been riding off road on bikes since 1972 and I know how to both ride and set up a bike. Got my 1st real mountain bike in 1984. I really enjoyed the bike for the 1st year but into the 2nd year not so much. I experienced the most discomfort on mellow gravel rides which I'm not sure how much standing and pumping I could do while I'm spinning along.
As for the tires yeah, I get that and I did experiment and found a decent pressure but pumping in the rollers and off jumps I could feel myself bottoming out on the rims and I just don't enjoy that feeling. Adding more weight to make up for it was a no go for me, but it seems that's what a lot of people do.
I rode all through the 90s/early 2000s with 45-50lbs in the tires and ride BMX with 60-100 so 30 actually felt pretty soft, especially with all that tread.
 

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Yeah, maybe but I've been riding off road on bikes since 1972 and I know how to both ride and set up a bike. Got my 1st real mountain bike in 1984. I really enjoyed the bike for the 1st year but into the 2nd year not so much. I experienced the most discomfort on mellow gravel rides which I'm not sure how much standing and pumping I could do while I'm spinning along.
Of course I don't have all the details and am just trying to glean clues off what you wrote, but the discomfort you're describing on gravel could be from too long of a reach. Bikes have changed a decent amount, and long reaches aren't always a good thing, especially if they are too long for you.

The standing and pumping part was for trail riding, not for gravel/road rides. If you were bottoming out on the rims, you needed more pressure. 30 PSI is like the upper safety limit of plus tires. With pressures like that, the tires tend to deflect off everything and send the saddle up into your butt with greater frequency. It's not really the same as a BMX tire that you run on relatively smooth surfaces.
 

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Thanks, I'll try that!
How wide are your rims? 3.0’s should be on 40i or wider. This helps support the sidewalls so you can get compliance, (with proper pressures) but not squirm or roll. Any narrower rim width and you’ll get tire roll or squirm unless you run too high pressures. And 28-30psi would be like riding solid rock tires. Waaaay too hard. Try 18 in back and 15 up front.
 

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How wide are your rims? 3.0’s should be on 40i or wider. This helps support the sidewalls so you can get compliance, (with proper pressures) but not squirm or roll. Any narrower rim width and you’ll get tire roll or squirm unless you run too high pressures. And 28-30psi would be like riding solid rock tires. Waaaay too hard. Try 18 in back and 15 up front.
Nah, I ran 20 in them and still bottomed out on the jumps and in the skate park -- I think for 3.0s the stock WTB Rangers had pretty lightweight sidewalls so maybe that's part of it. Bike's long ago sold anyway.
It was a stock 2018 SC Chameleon medium with 40 rims -- I'm 5'8" with longer torso and right in the middle of recommended sizing. Hard tail party guy is shorter than me and he got a small and I remember back when we first got them he thought small was too small for him.
I think it just comes down to that for long term I didn't like it. I'm happy with what I have now and hopefully the OP can find something that makes them happy too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks @jond63 Searching and still can't decide if I should just stick with the Chameleon and try some 3.0s with some sort of insert, or just sell and go more of the fat bike route still. I tried a Wednesday recently and it was fun. I like the feeling of being able to truck through most conditions and not be too harsh on the ground when soft. Not wanting to do an extra wheel set right away, and even the 26x3.8s on it felt wide. Would take some getting used to.

I've come across a couple opportunities to consider getting a used 2016 Specialized Fatboy Trail (with 80mm Bluto fork and 26x4.6 tires). Thinking through if it would be too fat for the dryer seasons, or because of the setup, still fun and can feel good as a 4 season bike.

Anyone ridden one of the Fatboy Trails? I've read it's maybe not as nimble/playful as something like a Farley?
 
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