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Fat Bike or Plus?

Leaving aside the 29-inch and 27.5 (650b) bikes, the cycling industry offers the user other alternatives, totally different, to the more standardized measures. In 2015, it was the fat tyre electric bike and now for this 2016, the 27.5 ”Plus have arrived, two really different concepts that open up another perspective on MTB. Do you know them


Today in our section of opinions and comparisons of bicycles and components we will analyze its main characteristics, we will see its advantages and disadvantages.


We will start with Fat bikes, a concept that has gained a lot of popularity in the last two years, some argue that its beginnings go back to California in the 1970s. Time when the restless young people of Marin County and San Francisco began to experiment with their bikes modifying it’s components. One of the main changes was the covers towards a much larger measure. Perfect to start doing low mountain races. Others maintain that they appeared in the snowy Alaska, and were designed as a means of transport, avoiding suspensions, which with the cold ice cream ended up breaking. With these wheels they did not need suspensions and they could circulate anywhere, especially in the snow.


Going back to today, E-Fat bikes have returned as an alternative to ride in areas where a standard size MTB cannot (say snow, sand, etc …), it is in these areas where its diameter of 3.6 to 5.0 really becomes an advantage. Currently, there are several dilemmas about its operation, since some think that it is only functional in extreme areas, as we mentioned a moment ago and others, on the contrary, believe that it can work perfectly anywhere.


What are its advantages?


-No need to carry a suspension fork. Its large wheels allow to go to very low pressures, up to 0.5 bar. With this pressure, the wheels become the suspension of the bike


-Especially long handlebar for greater control and balance


-Its wheel width and lug offers greater grip on the ground. Lots of traction.


-Your passage, through open areas with many obstacles, is much more stable and safe, either up or down. Like a “mini tractor”


-The inertia of the wheels launch you downhill like a missile


-They come with one or two chainring transmissions, thus gaining lightness and simplicity. Fundamental on a bike with these dimensions.


And its disadvantages?


-Its large diameter penalizes climbing and leveling. Having to wear low pressure makes the covers last more


-Its wide wheels will make Fat Bikes more physically demanding bikes.


-Your weight (16 kg on average)


-Less control in twisty areas with a lot of curve, it is difficult to trace


-If you inflate the wheels to a high pressure, downhill you lose a lot of stability and grip


-You cannot do great routes with the same comfort as a 26 “, 27.5” or 29 “




If you do not know the 27.5 ”Plus, you have to know it is the latest variety for this new 2016 season, although currently there are few brands that have bet heavily, its emergence in the market is very remarkable. To give you an idea, the 27.5+ (650B +) measurements are no more than a standard 27.5 ”but with a much larger width than we are used to, more similar to that of a Fat Bike, with measurements between 2.8 and 3.0. Given this tire size, it is necessary to use rims with a wider internal width, approximately 40mm to 45mm. With these dimensions, a wheel mounted with a 27.5+ tire gives a diameter very similar to that of a 29 ”, but with much more air volume. It is clear that its main function is to offer completely different fun but without penalizing pedaling. The idea is to bring the benefits of the fat-bike wheel closer, leaving aside its disadvantages. A more than interesting option for future e-bikes and for lovers of the unconventional.




-More fun and much more aggressive handling for experienced riders. Steering angle more released.


-You gain support surface (more traction and absorption) and significantly reduce the ballast of the tire compared to a Fat Bike.


-Top tread, faster lines and fewer slips


-Hardrier terrain and obstacles are easier to overcome


-Compatibility. The outside diameter of the 27.5 ”Plus fits that of a standard 29” x2.3mm wheel.


-Ideal to manage grooves, holes or steps


-By increasing the width of the rim there is greater stability


-More resistance to punctures due to impacts


-Wide variety of models: double and rigid. 27.5 ”Plus and some 29” Plus.




-Its diameter penalizes a little on the climbs if we compare it with a 26, 27.5 “or 29”. Having to bring the pressure down causes the covers to hurt something.


-A little more awkward on tighter turns or more angled trajectories