I bought my first 29er in 2006 when most were still riding 26-inch wheels and stuck with that wheel size for all things mountain biking, which in my world was rigid and single-speed. After we moved into a region where most of the trails are too steep for a bike without a derailleur, I had to consider adding a geared MTB to my bike fleet. At the time, the knobby side of the fleet consisted of my 29er 44 Marauder, the 26" 44 Big Boy, and the 27.5" 44 Snakedriver fat-bikes. I did a bit of reconnaissance on the old Big Boy and quickly realized that the new trails I loved required more traction than a regular 2.2-2.4" tire can put on the ground. The Big Boy with its tractor-sized tires climbed wonderfully, but the snow-only I9 wheels were too delicate for the rocky descents, and the bike, in general, was more at home on gentler terrain.
I considered a trail fatty such as a purple Rocky Mountain Blizzard 50, a Norco Bigfoot, or a Giant Yukon 1. But then Andy Stevenson designed the Stooge MK5 around 27.5+ tires. Although this tire size reached its apotheosis in 2015 and 2016 and has all but died, I think 27.5 plus tires still have their merits. Cycling is a fashion industry, and currently, 29-inch wheels are fashionable. I remember the days when many called them a fad. For a long time, the downhill-oriented crowd within the mountain bike community never wanted to touch these big wheels. Now, practically everyone sits on 29" wheels. It's a wheel size that inspires confidence. It rolls over stuff easily. 27.5" is the fun-sized wheel size. I'd say the same for gravel and road, where I find 650B more agile and fun than 700C. In the 27.5x3.0 size, tire diameter is almost identical to a 29x2.2. Choices may make this sport confusing to the beginner trying to find the right bike, but options are awesome for the experienced rider who can build the perfect bike to match his skills and his playground.
Once spring and summer have passed, and I've had plenty of time on the MK5, I'll return to this post to write about how the bike performs on my local trails.
|First Ride||March 5th, 2022|
|Bike Weight||12.68 kg|
|Frame Size||18" (detailed geometry)|
|Frame Color||Swamp (Pantone 147C)|
|Wheels||47° Nord||LB AM740 Rims, Onyx Boost Hubs|
|Pedals||Crank Brothers||Eggbeater 3|
|Tires||Schwalbe||Nobby Nic 27.5x3.0|
|Brake Rotors||TRP||TRP-25, 203/180mm|
|Derailleur||SRAM||GX Eagle AXS with MPM Tech pulley cage|