I know what I like, and I like what I know. I'm not sure when it will end or where, but my quest to have the perfect single speed (for me) goes on. Dabbling in gears and full suspension has proven much disappoint over the past decade and then some. That won't stop me from fiddling with near perfection tho.
What I do know:
The outer wheel diameter of 27.5+ is very close to that of a 29er, so I'm not losing much on the approach angle side of the equation.
The weights of the tires that I plan to run are sorta similar to what I'm already sporting 95% of the time (Ardent 2.4 front/Ardent Race 2.2 rear)... not to mention, I'm moving more of that weight closer to the center of the wheel (insert rotational mass argument here).
I know some might think it's a terrible idea to jump right in with NOX carbon rims on Industry Nine wheels for an "experiment," but I know that if I get some shitty/heavy/cheaper wheels, it will taint the whole thing. I'm pretty used to what I've got, and the few times I've hopped on demo/borrowed bike, I am disappoint with the wheels. I'm ordering these wheels with a geared freehub, so if I don't like them, they won't be as hard to sell. Before that tho, I'd be trying them on the Stickel/120mm fjork. It's hard to squeeze a 2.35 in the rear (not impossibru) with a 32X20, and I think it might really be a rally machine with the bigger tires... which is all I ask of the Stickel.
Besides all that, I saved a ton of money not buying and hating a full suspension bike late last year. So, win.
What am I hoping to gain?
Increased traction, lower pressures, less beat-down, more gnar-capable... generally speaking, a better ride quality.
"Didn't you try 650b already?"
I tried 650b, yeth.
Wilkes 100k back in 2013. The front tire was only a 2.25 on a I9 Trail rim, and I was used to riding a 2.4 on a much wider I9 Enduro™ rim. Higher pressure, lower volume, reduced wheel diameter, add to that the smaller rear wheel/tire combo than I was used to, and I received quite a painful experience. Not too mention, that course is not "right up my alley." Tons of fun, but full gas and all the horsepower. I don't think I've ever finished without my back being slightly tweaked.
This is nothing like that... I hope.
Oh yeah, what about 29+?
I feel like that was the Papa Bear in this fairy tale. Just a little too much for me. Dunno if it's my limited power trying to twirl a giant doughnut in circles or what, but I only found it good for shits and giggles. I was only mildly tempted to try it in a race, but almost certain it would never be faster for me overall.
So there's that.
And yeth, I've already figured out that the Vertigo can handle the extra meat.
I hope to have this all sorted out pretty soon and get the new setup in some gnar before May when the technical racing starts with Pisgah Productions events and Trans-Sylvania Epic.