Initially shown as a concept aboard the Rocky Mountain Adventure Bike Prototype, WTB’s TrailBlazer 2.8 tire has been turning some heads. It turns out, what we though was just a prototype was an all new tire coming from WTB that will be accompanied by a matching rim. According to Jason Moeschler, the project started with WTB Co-Founder Mark Slate tinkering on his own and experimenting with different tires on his rigid 29er. After some experimentation the 27+ concept was apparently more enticing since the tire and rim combination will still fit in most standard 29″ frames and forks. With almost identical diameters to regular 29″ and 26″ fat bike set ups, the 27.5+ is an intriguing size that we’ll probably be seeing a lot more of, very soon.
When it comes to plus sized options from WTB the TrailBlazer tire will only be sold in 27.5″ sized, but the Scraper rim on the other hand will be sold in 27.5″ and 29.” This is mostly because you can still run standard 29″ tires on the Scraper rim and fit them in most 29″ frames. However, going to a 29+ tire on the Scraper rim would require a 29+ specific frameset.
The i45 Scraper double wall rim measures in at 49mm ext/ 45mm internal, and 18mm deep and is TCS tubeless compatible. Rim weights are listed at 650g for the 27.5″ and 695g for the 29″.
Shown at Interbike mounted up to a Forty Four Bikes 29er, the 27.5+ rims and tires clear the frame and fork in spite of the added girth. Listed for use under Big Kid Shreddin’ and Plus Sized Grinnin, the Trail Blazer 27.5″ tire is 2.8″ wide with a TCS Light Fast Rolling Casing that should come in around 895g per tire. Yes, 895g for a tubeless 27.5 x 2.8″ tire.
The WTB Trail Blazer tires are in stock now, and the Scraper rims should be in around 45 days from now.
At Eurobike we were curious about the comparative size of the 27.5″ Trail Blazer to a 29 x 2.1 Nano, and a 26 x 4.0 Nate so we set out to do some side by side juxtapositions. As you can see, the diameter of the three tires are all very similar with the biggest difference being the width and volume. We’ve heard a lot of talk about the future of “27.5+” and this interchangeability that leads us to believe we’ll see a lot more of this wheel size. Riders on 29″ bikes could switch to 27.5+ for a bigger foot print and more cushion, while fat bike riders could switch to 27.5+ for a light weight summer wheel set that still offers excellent flotation, and each could potentially have minimal effect on the bottom bracket height.
Time will tell, but we’re calling a flood of 27.5+ in the near future…
First shown as a prototype at Taipei, the High Tail is now in full production in 3 trim levels, the Carbon, Team, and Pro. Originally cooked up by Pivot Cycles’ Chris Cocalis and suspension guru Dave Weagle, the High Tail features a shortened tail (128mm x 255mm) that offers more tire clearance for long travel bikes with big wheels. It turns out that the saddle is also pretty comfortable and super light at 160g for the Carbon version so expect to see these on a number of bikes, not just those looking to keep the tire from buzzing the saddle.
Other news in WTB’s saddle line is the introduction of 135/130mm narrow and 150mm wide versions of the Volt and Rocket Saddles. The saddles will now offer multiple shell sizes to fit different sit bone widths similar to many other manufacturers in the industry. Each is available in 4 trim levels (the narrow versions get a 5th Carbon level), with steel to Titanium rails and different levels of padding.