This month's Star Letter

This month’s Star Letter wonders if the whole Plus tyre idea was just a marketing ploy..?

>>> Best mountain bike tyres in 2019

Pluses and minuses

Following your 10/10 rating last year in the Hardtail Of The Year test, I purchased a Vitus Sentier VR+. It’s bloody brilliant. I’ve had a fantastic 12 months riding, and the bike has been bulletproof. The stock tyres are the highly-rated Maxxis Minion/Rekon in 2.6 width, 27.5+ on 29c rims. Running at super low pressure at Swinley Forest, these tyres totally rock. However, they are hard work everywhere else (and “everywhere else” is 75% of my riding miles).

So I thought I would change the rubber and see what the impact would be. After lots of research, I’ve added a Maxxis Ardent 2.35 up front and Ikon 2.25 at the rear on the stock 29c rims and found the difference to be profound! The bike is faster pretty much everywhere (including Swinley), more responsive on turn in, and the difference on uphill sections is night and day. Not only does it feel faster, it is faster as I’m smashing out PB after PB on Strava sections. Other than a few less quid in my bank account, there has been no apparent downside to making this change because I can ride faster for longer with less effort. I have improved my overall riding experience massively (and it was great to begin with!) and essentially I have got a better bike today than I one I purchased. Which makes me wonder if the Plus-sized tyre thing is just a marketing gimmick? I’ve still got my stock Plus-Maxxis rubber in the garage, but not sure I still need them…?

– Dave Smith

mbr – Glad your mods worked Dave, sounds like regular sized tyres are spot on for your riding. We think there’s still a place for Plus bikes, but it really does depend where you ride. Big volume tyres can make rocky trails come alive as the bike floats over the chatter.

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All Star Letter correspondents win a Madison Zenith waterproof jacket worth £99.99.