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I would also say neither... however, I just built up a santa cruz chameleon DIY ebike conversion for my dad (he's 71). I built that bike up as a mullet setup with a 27.5x2.8 on 40iw rear and a 29x6 on 30iw front. I also installed cushcore in the rear tire so I could get some bump absorption and sidewall support. I got a chance to take it out and do a few rips on it before installing the motor/battery conversion and it was a hoot to ride.

Even though I'm not a huge fan of the + setup, I gotta say that it was a great setup and if I were building myself a hard tail... I'd be tempted to give a setup like this a try for my personal rig.
 

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Personally I've become a fan of the 27.5 almost but not quite plus 2.6" tire but that's what I'm currently riding and you will find people will most often recommend what they are currently riding. Admittedly I've never tried a 29r larger than 2.5 maybe I would like that too. I've liked all newer 29ers I've tried. Now that I think about it I can pretty much hop on any bike regardless of wheel or tire size or reach or geometry and go ride and enjoy it so I'm really not that picky. I find I adapt quickly to whatever bike I am riding and I have fun. My current bike is a 27.5 because it was in stock and I wanted to try a newer 27.5. Before that was a 26er I got for free and rebuilt and it was a blast to ride. Before that was a 29er which was awesome. Long travel. Short travel. 3x. 1x. Single speed. Rigid. Hard tail. Give me a bike any bike I'll find a trail that I will have fun riding it on. So my advice is don't get so hung up on the numbers and specs go fondle some bikes and you will eventually find one that speaks to you. Buy it and go have fun.
 

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29 for me. I have a 27.5 with 3.0s but I still prefer my 29er. With 3.0s they are close but overall, the 29er is faster and seems to have as much grip with 2.4s. There may be scenarios where the 27.5 is grippier and it is more cushy for sure.
 

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29+ as I love my Stache. BUT, plus sizes in general have been dying on the vine for the last three years and 29+ feels the closest to death. Just be aware that your tire choice might be limited...as in very limited. Like you're really going against the grain by buying plus and you]re not at the start of a trend, you're at the end. If you know a tire you like and can find it now, I'd seriously consider buying enough pairs for a few years. I highly doubt anything new and improved will come out. Innovation is pretty dead in the space.
 

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Specifically 3.0” tires on a hardtail. Preferences? Industry support considerations?
Subjective based on riding style and terrain, but if you had both options available to choose from (similar builds and geo), which way would you go as a primary bike?
I’ve ridden both and see pros to both, so curious others. There is a used 27.5x3 I’m considering, but for some reason I’m hesitant and keep feeling like I want to find a 29x3 again… but then I go back to thinking maybe the 27.5 is better in the end…
Why 3" tires?

I'll admit that I was a big plus tire fan a few years ago, but as I weaned myself off the fatter tires, I found performance benefits.

Let the suspension be the suspension and let the tires be the tires, fatter tires work against you in nearly every situation.

So you're looking at a hardtail with a suspension fork ... so if plus tires are to help with ride quality, why use a suspension fork?

Yeah, I'm just giving you a hard time, but I'm also being serious. If suspension helps on one end, why wouldn't you use suspension on both ends?

In saying this, I just ordered up a Nimble9 hardtail, I'm going to use it as a DJ/Pump Track/Trials bike.

This ^ makes sense, cuz I'm not worried about riding trails, a rigid rear end for flow stuff and doing tricks is adequate.

So I'd get an FS bike and slim down your tires.

Even for bikepacking I'd ride FS, it's just to much pounding with no benefits.
 

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Neither. I'd go 29er with a bike equipped with 2.4-2.6's at the most. Don't need a plus tire for where I ride.
Part of the problem here is that you're answering this as though it's your one and only bike. What if it's not about "need" and more about "want"? It could be your 3rd, 4th, or 5th bike...

Honestly, does anyone need a plus tire?
Again, I own and ride a 29x3.0 bike because I want to, because it's fun. So do I 'need' it? Yes, I guess I do.
 

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There was plus 20 years ago? Serious question, not being obnoxious. I don't even remember it.
Considering plus is just a tire size we can say we had plus roughly 20 years ago. 2.7, 2.8 and 3.0 existed in the early 2k's. It was killed off around 07 because DH racers found them slower, and only a small niche of riders on 6 to 8" travel FR bikes were buying them. Part of the issue was few frames/forks would accept those sizes, and rims wider than 23mm were few and far between though 30mm rims did exist. By 08/09 only old stock minions and nevegal 2.7 could be found with maybe an odd michelin 2.8 or gazza 3.0 popping up on eBay or some random online retailer. Looks like history is repeating, just with single ply plus sizes marketed to a different demographic.
 

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Considering plus is just a tire size we can say we had plus roughly 20 years ago. 2.7, 2.8 and 3.0 existed in the early 2k's. It was killed off around 07 because DH racers found them slower, and only a small niche of riders on 6 to 8" travel FR bikes were buying them. Part of the issue was few frames/forks would accept those sizes, and rims wider than 23mm were few and far between though 30mm rims did exist. By 08/09 only old stock minions and nevegal 2.7 could be found with maybe an odd michelin 2.8 or gazza 3.0 popping up on eBay or some random online retailer. Looks like history is repeating, just with single ply plus sizes marketed to a different demographic.
But most of those sizes at that time frame if I'm not mistaken were all meant for DH bikes. The size has adapted as well and 2.8-3.25" tires in modern patterns and compounds make them far better than the 20year old patterns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Part of the problem here is that you're answering this as though it's your one and only bike. What if it's not about "need" and more about "want"? It could be your 3rd, 4th, or 5th bike...



Again, I own and ride a 29x3.0 bike because I want to, because it's fun. So do I 'need' it? Yes, I guess I do.
I have a bmx for the pump track and playing around and a folding, geared bike for neighborhood cruising. So this would probably be my only “off road” type bike. I’m looking for balance of versatility (including wet months), simplicity/low maintenance, and relative comfort for a hardtail (maybe even rigid). Fun, though defined differently by each person, is also high priority.
 

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But most of those sizes at that time frame if I'm not mistaken were all meant for DH bikes. The size has adapted as well and 2.8-3.25" tires in modern patterns and compounds make them far better than the 20year old patterns.
No one would have thought to market plus sizes in single plies to trail riders back then. Only DH/FR market made sense so of course all the patterns and casings would be DH/FR. We did have 2.6 gazza JR in a singly ply but that's not plus. I'm not trying to argue that we had plus back in the day just like it exists today, just pointing out that the industry invested in 2.7, 2.8 and 3.0 roughly 20 years ago, but they didn't sell well so the plug was pulled. This time around those sizes are marketed to a much larger demographic with far more pattern options, and frames/forks designed around those sizes yet the industry appears to be pulling the plug again. Just look at how the marketing for plus has completely died out. Fewer and fewer frames/forks are accommodating larger than 2.6. The writing is on the wall. I wouldn't' buy a plus bike unless I was ok with running it with 2.6 or smaller assuming geo wouldn't be too messed up.
 

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I'm not trying to argue that we had plus back in the day just like it exists today, just pointing out that the industry invested in 2.7, 2.8 and 3.0 roughly 20 years ago, but they didn't sell well so the plug was pulled.
That is fair, I was asking for my own sake too as when those tires were around I was lost in a deep dark unhappy world without bikes. Definitely not trying to argue any point, it was mostly so I could understand more since I missed that size. I used to think the Gazza's were hilarious when they would get donated to the non-profit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Not to deter from the focus too much here, but as a side note, anyone have comparisons of 29x3 vs 29x2.6? See a lot more of the latter lately. I described “goals” for the bike a couple posts above, can 2.6 achieve these just about as well, or is the even wider plus size going to make a noticeable difference. (I’ve only spent some time on 29+ vs 2.3/1 and the thinner size to me falls short.)
 
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