If big wheels are good. Then huge wheels must be great, right?
Just when you think the wheel size issue has settled, someone creates a new term for debate.
Although most product planners have settled on the 29er as being mountain biking’s ideal all-purpose wheel size, there remains a notion that bigger is better. It is the reason we all went from 26- to 29-inches, with 27.5-inch wheels being nothing more than a development detour.
Bigger is always better
The latest huge wheel standard is 36, which is not an altogether new idea. It is the natural next progression with unicycle tyres available in the 36er size.
Custom frame builders have experimented with 36ers for the last few years, finding them especially useful in relation to exceptionally tall riders. The rotational weight of those huge wheels and tyres, can be an inertia issue.
But what about carbon? Mountain biking’s magic material solution. Well, there is now a carbon-fibre 36er hardtail, rolling composite rims and reducing the unsprung mass of mountain biking with enormous wheels.
Heavy tyres – light(ish) rims
An Italian build project, the 36pollici benefits from Braus Components supplying huge carbon-fibre wheels, slimming rim weight down to 460g – much less than an alloy 36er rim.
Reducing wheel weight is crucial because the VeeTire T-Monster 36×2.25″ tyres aren’t light, at 1400g each.
Despite the significant rolling mass of the 36pollici’s wheels and tyres, there is the advantage of a large contact patch and improved rollover – thanks to the angle of attack enabled by these large wheels.
This hardtail has such good obstacle rollover that it doesn’t require front suspension, using a Bright Racing Shocks rigid fork.
Packaging the frame design for adequate tyre clearance means the 36pollici has a curved seat tube, which negates the possibility of running a dropper.
Unlike most other carbon hardtails, the overall construction doesn’t use a singlemould technique. Fabricators shape the 36pollici’s front triangle as a monocoque and join the seat and chainstays, as separate sections.