27.5+ tires for XC racing?

Hey Lee!

Hope all is well! In the market for looking for a new racing bike, but the 27.5+ is attracting me a bit. It can be converted to a 29er hardtail and/or a single speed and is theoretically said to have the same ride quality characteristics as a full suspension. Do you think it is worth considering as a race bike in any configuration 29er and 27.5+? I believe Conrad Stoltz raced a 27.5+ in XTERRA once and killed/shredded it, but again, he’s a mutant, so what about us mortal people? =) Any thoughts?

Thank you!


Thanks for reaching out.

I’ve been on regular tires for about 28 years and plus tires for over one year. In a lot of situations the plus tires are not only more comfortable and more confidence inspiring: They’re also faster. I PRed one of our local rocky climbs on my Stumpy 6Fattie with 3″ Purgatory tires. Then I turned around and rode the descent faster than ever too. The big tires with low pressures track over rocks and hook up in turns very, very effectively.

Plus hardtails like the Fuse are super fun and versatile. With 29er wheels they’re like a normal XC race hardtail, but slacker and more shredable. With plus wheels they have the pedal/pump efficiency of a hardtail but the float of a bike with suspension.

Test ride some plus bikes on your local trails. See how you feel. Double check your times with a stopwatch or Strava. If I ever do a long XC race I’ll ride plus tires. It the track is rough I’ll ride the Stumpy. If the track is smoother I’ll ride the Fuse. Knowing myself and how I ride, the weight penalty will be negligible but the comfort and easy speed will be a big advantage.

Conrad is indeed a mutant, but he’s no dummy. He wouldn’t race his Stumpy 6Fattie unless he knew it would work for him.

Make sense?


Know more. Have more fun!

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