Fat tyres and a slow ride. Nobby Nic 2.4"

Not so long ago I spotted a BMC Trailfox fitted with 2.4 Nobby Nic tyres. They looked mahoosive! Hit my brain in the "want it now!" section so I had to get a set. Unfortunately none of my bikes would accept a rear that wide, so had to be front fitting only. Managed to find a new but unused tyre on eBay for £15, which is a bit of a bargain for a £50 tyre you'll admit. But a 2.4" tye is a little too big for my old Stans Arch rims. Hmmm, new wheel needed. eBay threw up a gold Hope Pro II Evo hub for £30, so I'll get a Stans Flow EX built up around that. Long story, but my LBS took 7 weeks to build it up, charging me £128 in the process. For a wheel I can buy complete front Hope for £118. Ah well.

Anyway, 2.4" tyre fitted to my bike, how does it ride? Initially it feels like you've overtightened the headset. It's all a bit sluggish, a bit slow to react. There's nowt in it weight wise between a 2.25" Nic and a 2.4" but the bigger tyre just feels heavy. Out of my house I have a three mile ride uphill, so at first it just felt a bit of a git and I was wondering what I'd done.


Half way up my climb there is a cheeky little sandstone gulley. About 20 foot deep and angled at about 80 degrees it's a nice little fall. Just over the lip though is a sandstone outcrop that provides about a metre of vetical fun. You roll downhill to this, then drop straight down. I like it. On my old tyres it felt like a drop and was always a bit heart in mouth. No real issue with it, it just felt bad. Rolling over it on the 2.4" it just didn't exist. No sensation of dropping, just rolling. So I did it again, taking an angle to the more extreme bit where the sandstone is undercut for a foot or so. Again didn't notice it.

Hmmm, may be more to this big tyre, big wheel thing than I'd given the industry credit for. All this harping on about how 29'ers roll over stuff may well have a ring of truth to it. The 26" rim with a 2.4" tyre is more like a 650b than a 26'er. It's a big diameter wheel. It just rolled over stuff. Coming down the A217 gulley I had more speed than I was entirely comfortable with. Not much more granted; perhaps 2 or 3 mph. But that is still 10% extra, and makes a big difference to my braking spot. I normally brake just as the trail becomes lighter when the trees open up at the road. Did same today. Noooo! Too late, had to grab a real handful and my brakes stank. It was fun but note to self; brake a bit earlier with that tyre fitted.

So I really like having a big tyre. It's fun. However it was hard work to push around and I'm not so sure the speed advantages outweigh the effort one. For short haul work, yes, why not, go for it. But for longer rides 2.25" is enough.