Are 36-inch wheels the wave of the future? The 29er was met with skeptical gasps when they first hit the trails, but now — 29ers are everywhere. Slowly and steadily, more products are supporting the 36er concept. Available for the first time in a full carbon frame (claimed), with carbon wheels — these beasts could be hitting the trails around you soon.36 Pollici unveils first full carbon 36er MTB, plus a 36er gravel bike?
The company taking up the charge is 36 Pollici from Italy — which directly translated from Italian means 36 Inches. They heard the call of the 36er and are slowly prepping the cycling world for its release.
Now we’ve seen the larger tire novelty bikes before, but this isn’t that. The team from 36 Pollici is working closely with tire, fork, and wheel manufacturers for a push into the real world. Vee-Tire is mass producing a 36-inch tire, and from the looks of it, the team at 36 Pollici are testing many prototypes from other manufacturers.
The latest (and coolest) from 36 Pollici is their Trentasei full carbon 36er mountain bike. This new full carbon frame offers a lightweight option for the 36er, paired with a full carbon rigid fork — the Trentasei looks fast. The Trentasei frames (carbon and alloy) are made entirely in Italy —more precisely in the city of Brescia.
We spoke with the crew at 36 Pollici, and they believe the 36er has a home on the trails, but what it seems to do the best is wide open and gravel. 36 Pollici doesn’t want to narrow the scope of the 36er, and they feel the platform is suitable for a multitude of terrains.
If you’re looking to take this 36er to your local noodlely single track, you should do fine. 36 Pollici engineers worked the geo and wheelbase to handle tight trails, and with a wheelbase of 1200 mm, it’s not too far off a 29er. They assured us that the bike is more agile than the large frame looks, and can fit a wide range of riders — ranging from 5’4″ to a max of 6’3″.
What about tires?
Now that rims (both alloy and carbon) are available for those looking, what about the tires? 36 Pollici admits this is the biggest obstacle right now. The Vee-Tire T-Monster 36×2.25 tire currently is the only option and was originally an MTB unicycle offering.
What’s the big deal with 36″?
Having never ridden one but hearing the claims, it sounds eerily familiar to those of the early 29er days, but some benefits are new.
Greater stability: 36 Pollici believes the wheel’s large diameter increases the gyroscopic effect produced by the wheel in motion. This gyroscopic effect allows the bike to track and roll with greater stability.
Angle of attack: You’ll often see this phrase on the 36 Pollici website, and it comes from the automotive world. Basically, the larger wheel has a shallower angle of attack— similar to the 26″ vs. 29″ debate years ago, except now we are comparing 29″ vs. 36″. 36 Pollici claims the 36er wheels float over roots, rocks, and log piles. Having experienced the 29er against the 26er debate, I’m nodding in skeptical agreeance.
What does a 39er weigh?
For reference, the bike in the photo (carbon version) is about 26.6 lbs with tubeless carbon wheels. The “gravel” pictured is the alloy version with carbon stays and weighs about 30 lbs with alloy rims. A heavier bike and larger wheels could mean a lower gear range, which we see on the bikes pictured — though it is hard to tell with the 36er wheels.
Are you ready to go 36er?
Sales for the bikes will start at the beginning of the new year (depending on component supply). For more information, check out the 36 Pollici website and sign up for news.