The idea of a new, larger diameter wheel standard will have many people reaching for their pitchforks and the caps lock key, but what if there's a good argument to be made for a 32" wheel? Or even a 36er? For as much as many of us love shiny new gear, we're a cynical bunch when it comes to the kind of wholesale changes that another wheel size would require. Then again, given that we've already been down that trail on 27.5" wheels, many of us against our will, a weary opinion would be completely reasonable. And expected.
But if 29" wheels on a trail bike make many things easier, what would happen if wheels got even larger? And should someone who's 5'5" be on the same wheel size as someone who's 6'5"? You guys asked in the comments, so we put some feelers out—and surprisingly, got confirmation that at least one brand is currently testing both 32" and 36" wheels.
Former World Cup and National racer Travis Brown leads Trek's Field Testing program where he's currently experimenting with the two larger wheel sizes to find out how they compare to bikes that we're more familiar with. There's no need for that pitchfork anytime soon, though, with Brown stressing that his 32er and 36er are for pure research and development purposes only; there won't be an even bigger-wheeled Top Fuel anytime within the coming few years, and maybe never at all. The idea, Brown explained, is for them to find out what's possible, what works, and what doesn't.
We called up Travis to get the lowdown on Trek's weird-wheeled prototypes, where they excel and where they fall short, and to find out what the stopwatch says about them. Spoiler alert: Bigger is faster.
If you want to read the interview instead of listening to it, you can see our entire conversation with Travis here
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THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 8 - DO WE NEED A LARGER WHEELSIZE STANDARD?
May 13th, 2020
Will your 26" tubes even fit?!
Hosted by Mike Levy and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.Previous Pinkbike PodcastsEpisode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?Episode 3 - Pond Beaver TechEpisode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
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