Keywords: 27.5,29er,one+

Why I changed my mind

Andy Kessler - 11-Apr-2016
In Gerard’s last blog he mentioned that I was a little skeptical about one particular feature of the ONE+. In fact to understand my thoughts a little better I have to give you some more background.

Exactly 2 years ago at SeaOtter Gerard asked me if we should do an OPEN fatbike. Back then he was a lot in contact with Steve Hed for our fully project and HED is probably the biggest producer of carbon fatbike rims. He rode a fatbike with Steve, loved it and following the OPEN principle that we build what we want to ride ourselves, he suggested a fatbike could be next.

I didn't believe in fatbikes unless you live on the beach or in a place with lots of snow. I thought there were too many disadvantages: Q-factor, weight, rotating mass and most importantly, the frame is not really important on a fatbike. Since OPEN it is all about making the best frames, we might enjoy riding a fatbike but that doesn't mean we should make one.

Then some time later, Gerard came up with the idea that with the new Boost standard, we could fit two wheel sizes into our new hardtail design: 29er and 27.5+.  Although I still thought that a hardtail is for racing and to go as fast as possible, I thought that's quite a good idea. Like on the U.P. you can start to play with wheel sizes without having to mess up your pedalling efficiency (Q-factor) or riding position.

You can get some (not all of course) the advantages of a fatbike but without any compromise. Add just a couple of 100 grams on the tires (instead of a few kg) and that's it. Or even better you have a light 29 race wheel set for the summer and a cheaper 27.5+ wheelset with a 3.0/3.25 tire for the winter.

So I was in, but under one condition: the performance of the super-light XC 29er set-up had to be absolutely perfect, we could not compromise that. That set-up had to be the best it could be - better than our current O-1.0 - and if we could add the 27.5+ compatibility on top of that, great! Then we have the best of both worlds and the range of use for this bike gets really big.

Then, I got to actually ride our ONE+ prototype for the first time. I was really surprised what you can do with that bike in the 27.5+ set-up.  You can ride trails that you normally only would do with a full-suspension bike. Traction is incredible and also riding on paved road is not at all as bad as I had thought….

So my ONE+ will be 9 months per year in the 29er setup and the rest of it in 27.5+ for winter, muddy trails or if I want to do a rocky trails as you see it in the last blog in Spain. When we did that test session I had a blocked back. The day before we left I had to go to my doctor to get an injection so I could at least travel (in a van, 11 hours to Spain!) I did not even start to think about the ride. After 3 days riding my back felt much better than before the trip. I guess that's proof of the additional comfort that you get out of those 27.5+ tires.

Just a little note for people that think the rims that we used on the 27.5+ prototype are not wide enough: you are 100% right but back then those where the only boost wheels that I could get. Definitely I would go wider now that more choices are available.

Comments & Questions

Why do you say "the frame is not really important on a fatbike"?
Post #1 of 5. Posted by Luke on 20-Feb-2017 19:28:29 GMT in reply to blog [0<--1473]
Having owned the original Surly Puglsey and two other Fatbikes, I can surmise that the wheels/tires make the most difference. My last bike had HED Wheels set
up tubeless w/45N tires...That gave me the most performance and dropped the weight so the bike felt lively. Lots of carbon parts helped too!
Post #2 of 5. Posted by Mike on 24-Aug-2019 23:20:11 GMT in reply to post #1 [1473<--19709]
I think the most significant take away from this post are that photos in this post are the personal WI.DE. bike of Campagnolo engineer Nicolo Martinello. This in itself speaks volumes for OPEN.
Post #3 of 5. Posted by Barry H on 24-Sep-2020 21:26:56 GMT in reply to blog [0<--22593]
I have a steel version of this frame - made by Marin in 2016 [Pine Mountain] with dropped seat stays. It is not boost - it is 135 but enough clearance for 3" tyres for off-piste cycling. I've done 6,000miles on it so far, the possibility of a lightweight version is cool. A go-anywhere machine and 40mph downhill on tarmac is achievable. But expensive.
Post #4 of 5. Posted by clive on 13-Feb-2021 16:03:38 GMT in reply to blog [0<--22949]
I can't say enough about the One+. I've ridden Moab-style technical slickrock (Gooseberry Mesa, as well) with both wheel sizes, but the the 27.5" with 3" tires -- properly inflated -- let me float like that butterfly made popular by a long-ago master of verbal and literal pugilism. I'm not a You Tube-worthy rider, much to my dismay, but my One+, with either wheel size, compels me to believe that I can enjoy almost non-extreme terrain -- ascending or descending -- on my One+. Sure, a good FS rig is a wonderful treat in so many cases, but my One+ has shown me that the gap between hardtails and FS rigs is far narrower than I had once assumed.
Post #5 of 5. Posted by Erik Brihagen on 18-Aug-2023 21:12:12 GMT in reply to blog [0<--24851]