As if the bike industry would let up from exhausting our paychecks and bank balances with relentless n+1 fomo, the newest wave in tire size is here: the 27.5 plus. The 27.5+ is a super high volume tire mounted on a wide 27.5 rim, providing an outer diameter that is roughly equivalent to a 29er tire.
Some love the suspension and cush you can get on a hardtail, others rave about the extra grip afforded by so much tire width, especially on wet roots and corners... whatever the reason, it looks like bigger tires are here to stay.
Let's briefly recap on what's so great about them.
- 27.5 plus tires have the rollover efficiency of a 29er, meaning roots and rocks won't slow you down or get in your way, ultimately preserving your momentum.
- Extra volume and width of tire gives extra traction and reduces the risk of flats even at a low tire pressure.
- Fun for all abilities: as an advanced rider you can push the bike to the absolute limit and for beginners it gives you a good margin of error.
The only disadvantage seems to be the weight that comes with a larger tire, but thankfully it appears that the groups interested in saving weight in the hundreds of grams are not the same target market as those looking to give 2.8" to 3.0" tires a try.
So, it would do you well to consider a 27.5 plus and here are 4 bikes to try:
The 2.9" width tires on this 27.5 plus will excuse you for not realizing this is in fact a fully rigid bike. Contemporary simplicity at its best, the Marin Pine Mountain is the perfect companion for your next off-road adventure with the ability to attach multiple racks and mounts.
The gorgeous steel frame gives an air of elegance and retro chic simultaneously while the geometry is surprisingly aggressive with a 69-degree head angle.
At the upper end of plus sized tire width at 3.0" and all of the bells and whistles (including a dropper post – woooo!), the Norco Torrent is hot on the wires for a reason. A brand new model for 2016, the Torrent's 130 mm of travel and slack geometry makes it an aggressive hardtail with the ability to dominate rocks and roots on technical downhills.
Novice and experienced riders alike will benefit from the increased traction and control of the Norco Torrent.
Already a capable bike, Scott have added plus sized tires to the Genuis collection, upping the ante on traction, rollover, and comfort. Scott and Schwalbe worked together to develop this 2.8" lower profile tread, offering an entirely new riding experience without making significant compromises where you might expect. The wide tire width and increased traction mean tricky and techy trails are easier to tame, and at only 250g heavier than a comparable spec Genius 29er, why wouldn't you?
The clue is in the name with this one: a dual suspension mountain bike with 27+ wheels designed specifically to be an all mountain adventure bike. With a frame that is adequate and reliable, geometry that is slack and stable, and a gear range that will see you right over a variety of terrain, the Sherpa is your bikepacking best friend.
Suspension-wise, the rear shock requires less pressure than most – fantastic for those loaded up with bags for their adventure... meanwhile, the whole package is supple enough because of the big, soft tires meaning you will still feel the ground beneath you while not being rattled around.
Check out the Comparison
Compare 4 of the best Plus bikes from Norco, Marin, Scott, and Rocky Mountain
At the end of the day, whether you're going bike packing or freeriding - it's all about really big tires. Experience the enhanced control and increased traction and the stability of Plus. Plus bikes use 27.5″ diameter wheels with wider rims and bigger tires to give you the best of almost every world.