Brother Wolfe visited the area last weekend and we rode a short local loop a day after he ran a 50k running race. (I’d be in bed had I done that the day before followed by a night at the pub.) I got to see his Hunter singlespeed and somehow neglected to take a photo of it. It’s quite pretty, so you know…a light and swoopy swamper that is clearcoated so you can see the fillets. It was awesome to have a ‘local’ to ride with and talk about the area. We talked trails, maps, history, bikes, burros, beers, among other things. Great to hang out in such a beautiful place in the sunny 70’s with spring just starting to pop.
I brought my Knardy bike to the ride, as I have been doing for every ride since I got it set up, and as he was following me on the trail he noticed visually what I was feeling physically. The Rabbit Hole/Knard platform makes for some unique trail riding experiences. The acceleration out of the turns that I was feeling could actually be SEEN from behind. The tires compress from their low pressure into the rim (vise-versa actually) and spring out of the corners. Kind of like how dual suspension works but to a much lesser degree and more of an immediate response. The tires would accelerate over the top of risers so I’d almost drop him right after those crests – without me even taking a single pedal stroke. It’s funny that this wheel platform can be so fast and so fat at the same time. Just by regulating and figuring out the right tire pressure for the day, ride, race, tour, I am pretty confident that I may not go back to the regular 29er very much. It rolls very fast and feels very light on the ground at 20psi. But I like it more around 10-12psi where it has noticeable “suspension”, especially if you are used to riding a rigid hardtail as your main bike. The tires grip on steep climbs and roll over stuff smoother, they corner better and inspire letting go of the brakes, all because of the big tires and low pressure. It has an ATV quality to it where you can be ready for any trail conditions whether it’s snow or sand or rocks or hardpack and with just one bike. I think that’s why I keep grabbing this bike when heading out no matter what my plans.
I have yet to go tubeless with the tires yet. I know it’s been done, and I’m sure it works fine but still want to test the durability of the tire sidewalls a little longer. I got two Surly 29 x 2.5-3.0 tubes and wow they’re huge. Reminds me of the old Hutchinson green tubes (heavy and bulky). It barely fits in one of the larger Timbuk2 saddle packs. I use it in the front tire only so to not stretch out the smaller sized tube and maybe get better pinch flat resistance. The weight? A regular WTB 29er tube is 214 grams and the 3.0 tube is 391 grams.
Still the biggest issue with these wheels is making the frame have a good chainline and with enough chainstay clearance for the tires and chainring. It’ll be a fun singlespeed, but for the trails uphill from my house i want gears. They are challenging with the 32t in front and a 36t in back (1×10). If I could have a 28tooth I would.