I know girth is important…but really?


Hey there! Its EJ from Tampa. I did a clinic with you at Mulberry Gap this spring. After the clinic I came back and really tried to process all of the great coaching and begin to apply it. As always it is a work in progress but I am definitely seeing results as I am finding better and cleaner lines on my local trails that I had always struggled to keep my composure.

Anywho, recently read your article on your clinic with Curtis Keene and your tire selections. Great stuff! It was timely as I am in the final stages of pulling the trigger on a new ride. I hate to say, that I am pretty convinced to get a big wheeler. Since I am smitten with my current Ibis Mojo SL, I have decided to get the Ripley with the new Cane Creek DB Inline rear shock and Pike 140 front fork. Since you have ridden with me, you know I am not race oriented and really want a capable and fun trail bike. With that being said, my questions are:

1.) In your experience, would a rider of my ability notice a significant difference riding carbon hoops? For reference I currently ride 26″ I9 Torch Trail 24 spoke aluminum wheelset.

2.) Current trends with carbon wheels have the inner width up to 35mm. For 2.3 tires is this overkill? What rim width do you see as the sweet spot for a 29er trail bike?

Thanks in advance for any wisdom you share!



It’s great to hear from you.

The Ripley with a 140 fork is a weapon! A very efficient, shreddable, versatile weapon.

Carbon rims?

If you can swing it, definitely go for the carbon rims — especially on a 29er. I really love my Roval Traverse SL 29s. They are light and strong, and they’re smooth and stiff in the right ways. AND: One time a guy parked his Chevy truck on my rear wheel … and the wheel is perfect!

I think you’ll appreciate the lightness, especially since you’re coming from a light set of 26es.

Wide rims?

Beyond the articles we’ve all read, I don’t have an informed opinion here. Wider does make sense. Curtis was riding the new Roval Traverse SL Fattie 29 wheels (30mm inner width), and the 2.3 tires looked good on them. I can see going to 35mm inner width without disaster.

Curtis has been on these wheels since Sea Otter, and they are still perfect. That’s crazy given the season he’s had all over the world; many enduro racers were destroying wheels in France.

Since you’re getting an Ibis, definitely check out the new Ibis wheels.

Thanks again for writing, and for our session together. That was super fun.


Know more. Have more fun!

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