This post was part of the Fall newsletter. The full newsletter can be seen here
If you have been following along with Sklar Bikes, you probably have noticed a good number of bikes leaving the shop with plus-sized 3" tires. Lots of folks have in fact taken notice, and deciding between a "plus" sized bike and a "regular" sized mountain bike is one of the most common decisions I work on with customers.
After a summer of running these beasts on my personal bike I have a good feel for both sides of the equation and there are definitely pluses and minuses (pun intended). While I have found the 3" tires to be insanely fun, I also realize that they are not for everyone.
One of the first things that you will notice when hopping on a plus bike is a comparatively insane amount of traction to a 2.4" tire. When descending, this is really nice- confidence inspiring in corners and the added volume gives a really pleasant cushion on rougher surfaces. This is especially nice for a rigid bike, but silly amounts of fun with suspension too.
That said, when we're running a wider rim and more rubber, we're adding weight. Also all of that traction... Well let's just say your're not accelerating like your buddy on the cross country race tires.
So in conclusion - a plus bike doesn't make a great race bike. If you are pure cross country racer, or someone worried about efficiency and lightweight - a plus bike might make a good B bike - something to just mess around on and enjoy the trail. If you are someone who is feeling curious about plus, and wanting to give a to try - I would highly recommend it. With so many tire and rim options these days it is hard to go wrong. If fun is your thing, give plus a chance!