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From www.schwalbe.com :

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Carefree cycling with Balloonbikes

First came the tires, then the bikes. The super-wide Big Apple tire serves virtually the same function as a full suspension bicycle, which is why 30 famous-name bicycle makers now have Big Apple equipped bikes in their range. These are now known as: �Balloonbikes�, because they are comfortable, light weight and low maintenance, making bicycles with balloon tires a genuine trend.

Wide tires roll more easily. With their immense volume balloon tires eat up pot holes and road deformations protecting the rider�s bones and joints. "The Big Apple reduces the impacts on the spine almost as well as rear suspension�, concluded Cologne�s German National Sports University. Thus the tire is an inexpensive and effective alternative to suspension seat-posts and forks.

Schwalbe�s 60 millimeter wide tire has inspired numerous manufacturers to realize their own conceptions of a Big Apple bicycle. "As there are already approximately 60 models, we grouped these developments under the brand name "Balloonbike", said Frank Bohle, managing director of Schwalbe, the European market leader in bicycle tires, situated in Reichshof-Wehnrath.

Comfortable, light and low maintenance
Trekking bikes and cool teenage bikes, City-cruisers, step-thru frame bikes for seniors as well as kids and folding bikes demonstrate the versatility of balloon tires. More than 30 distinguished manufacturers, among them Giant, Hercules, Puky, Utopia including Riese and M�ller, realized their visions for the Big Apple.

They all have one thing in common: Less technology, which distinguishes a typical Balloonbike. The high comfort level is achieved by the simple fact that a large volume tire can be ridden at an incredibly low air pressure of around 30 p.s.i. (2 BAR), compared with narrower bicycle tires that usually need at least 60 p.s.i. (4 BAR). Because they don�t have complicated technology, Balloonbikes are not only economical, but also light and low maintenance.

The principle of simplicity continues with the entire bicycle construction. For example the goal of VSF bicycle group�s �All-Ride� models was to develop completely low maintenance bicycles using such other bike components as dynamo hubs and fully enclosed gear-cases and wiring, so making for untroubled cycling.

Other makers consider comfort their main aim and incorporate elements for their bikes which address the needs of cyclists in the over 50 age group: Step-thru frames, dynamo hubs and an upright riding position.

Perhaps because of Schwalbe Big Apple�s cool looks many Mountain bikers fit them on their 26 inch wheel bikes for city use. Teenage bikers and Cruiser bikers also like riding on the "big foot".

Anyone who believes wide tires mean harder riding is mistaken. With the same air pressure as a narrow tire, a wide tire will roll much more easily. "The wider the tire, the lower the rolling resistance. Because a wide tire has a shorter footprint in the driving direction, the tire bounces less and the flattening of the footprint on the road is smaller", explained Frank Bohle. Result: The tire deforms less, remains "rounder" and rolls more easily.

��Balloonbikes' is the brand name for the many models, which incorporate the principles of the Big Apple in their design" clarified Frank Bohle and recommended: "To experience the unique feeling of a balloon tire one must simply try one � take a test ride". Balloonbikes are available from specialist bicycle dealers and prices start from around Euro 400.

Further Information
www.balloonbikes.com

End of quote
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Also check, listed on balloonbikes.com :
http://www.utopia-fahrrad.de/
I think this company first convinced Schwalbe to make a 28x2.35" version of the Big Apple.

Funny how Schwalbe seems to actively promote this new way of cycling for pavement, and resists so hard for 700c offroad cycling. Their Little albert twenty-eightx2.1 is really like a 1,9" with agressive knobs. Nothing of the volume and speed they speak of with regard to Big Apples.

perhaps now with the apparent market for big road tirs, Schwalbe could be persuaded to make a Supermoto version of teh Big Apple? Much lighter, and much faster still...
 

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The U.S. Sales Guys are all over the 29ers

I have spoken to a couple of the Schwalbe sales guys. One of them is really into the 29er scene. He's been riding a Dos Niner since shortly after Interbike and loves it. He would love to produce another tire. There was rumor going around after Sea Otter that they would like to see a 2.2 Racing ralph produced. Now all they need to do is convince their German pals to put forth the development resources.
 

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A SuperMoto would be the ticket!! 29", high volume, and light: I'll take all three!

I have spoken the North American distributor about asking Schwalbe to make this tire. Apparently they are watching the sales numbers for the BIg Apple in 29" for a while to see if the start-up cost is justified.

Wouldn't it be the same mold, with different materials?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's my guess. The made the 26x2.35" mold ages ago, and have come up with the wire beads version (like "our" 28" Apple), Qualifier COmpound (blue tire, FAST), and now have the SuperMoto which features the same structural design as the Racing Ralph, called Evolution.
Supermoto's are seen on sandy trails here in NL, because of minimal trail damage, insane speed, good comfort, and actually acceptable grip and traction. People ride their PR laps on a very touch dune trails, with Supermoto's.
It's good that the Germans are making all those wicked bikes. Perhaps they'll see a chance to make faster-wearing tires, that cost double, and sell them to the trekking crowd. Here in Holland, 26" Townies with Supermoto's and full bling Rohloff setup are being increasingly popular.

German bike god and Schwalbe advisor, the Dutch Gerrit Gaastra, also has a bike on balloonbikes, a trekking bike on the 2.0 apples. He liked the 26x2.35 as well, but HATES the IDEA of using 700c for offroads. Just too heavy, he's quoted saying.

Yeah, it great that at lest in North America you guys have a forward thinking man at Schwalbe. As his market share grows, and I'm sure it does, Germany will have to listen to him more and more. At one point NA powers might be such that they can order their own tires, like the 28x2.35" Big Apple was made for one OEM customer in germany, and put in the catalogue. I had to move heaven and earth, make peace between god and the devil, all to get my own set of tires, a few years ago. They never thought people would actually buy them so their minimal stock was at zero, or so it seemed.

If a trekking bike manufacturer is willing, it's pretty simple to convert his product from offering 45mm clearance to 60. People are going to like this balloon thing, they buy every Schwalbe says as much as Schwalbe buys what their advisors say. Soon, many trekking bikes riding around could be potential 29" bikes that see some dirt on more adventerous recreational rides. Hey, Fisher sells that for years already! It would be extra cool if Fisher put balloon tires on at least one Dual Sports model, so in the catalogue it'll show the big tires of comfort, rather than the CX'esque smislicks they spec exclusively now.
 

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the_eleven said:
A SuperMoto would be the ticket!! 29", high volume, and light: I'll take all three!

I have spoken the North American distributor about asking Schwalbe to make this tire. Apparently they are watching the sales numbers for the BIg Apple in 29" for a while to see if the start-up cost is justified.

Wouldn't it be the same mold, with different materials?
Mostly but not quite the same. The sidewall of the Super Moto has less rubber on it than the Big Apple. May need a different mold.
The setup for the Evolution casing is different, too. Even if it can be made with the existing hardware there is a tooling setup/changeover cost.
 

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That's what I'm talkin' about Clox!

That bike is pretty cool, something like that for the 2.35" tires is what I'm talking about! You could just float along in perfect comfort like sitting on a cloud. You could ride 100K and feel better than when you started. Pothole? What pothole?

So would building a bike around a tire be crazy?

Cloxxki said:
I like this roadbike by Maxx, it takes 2.0 Big Apples.
Pic might not load.


http://www.balloonbikes.com/de_scri...rsicht/showimage.php?breite=400&ID_Fahrrad=61

and if you browse around, you'll find many more weird creatures on big tires!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bulding up bikes rather than getting them stock from the supermarket is crazy to begin with :)

If you don't mind a lowish seat tube, perfect road bike geometry CAN be acheived by getting a true 29" in a smaller size. This to overcome the significantly shorter top tubes you'd want with a conventional drop bar.
Especially the Surly Karate Monkey lends itself reasonably well for this, thanks to the longer seat tubes, the 16" bike still have 17.4" of seat tube.
Being relatively short-legged is a big advantage in making such a bike work from a mountain frame.

Actually, you could buy a Nishiki Bigfoot bike on clearance, use some of the parts, and strip most of the others, add a Surly fork, and you'd have a pretty good platform for a road century bike. Nishiki's have rather short top tubes, making them very useful for this application.

More local to you probably, look around for a Van Dessel Sports BuzzBomb. Shorter top tubes, and not too expensive. I can't confirm a 2.35" slick will fit, but BB owners on here could help with that.

But look, a road crankset on the Maxx, 52-42-30 probably, that's just overkill. You hit 50mph before you get into a comfortable spin in 52-11... With such big tires, a plain MTB crankset, 44-32-22 with a standard 11-32 cassette with get you anywhere.

After you build this bike, as a bonus you get an extra CX bike with massive mud clearnace for the price of only 2 tires and tubes (just don't overdo the rim wodth), and a very trick drop bar mountainbike, same price. For 700c bikes, MTB, CX, Road, the BB drop figure is pretty much magic, the one with the narrowest tires (road) prefers the lowest BB, the MTB prefers the highest. Difference are taken car of by the actual tires used! Most road bikes have 70mm BB drop, as do CX bikes, and the KM for instance has 68mm, and only some will argue that's on the low side.

If you like drop bars, one bike COULD do it all, rather easily. You may want to get Salsa Bell Lap CX bar which offer some flar (wider bars), or even something like the On-One Midge, and MTB-specific drop bar. And guess what? 29"ers are perfect to get the proper height for the Midge to work, as it want's to sit way up there, the drops at the height of where you'd run your flat bars. With the tops ending up so much higher, ideal for sitting up straight, relieving your back past the 100k point.

Ha, riding the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix will be so much easier on a 2.35'd bike! "What, was that another coble stone passage? I didn't notice!".
 
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