6Fattie is here. Specialized embrace the cush new era of semi-fat trail bikes with a dedicated Stumpjumper rolling on 6Fattie (27.5+) wheels. Hold on tight, they look like fun!
The Stumpjumer 6Fattie rolls on 650b tyres that boast a whopping 3″ width. While not as obese as a full-blow Fat Bike, the tyres/wheels certainly look big – almost comical. Fitting such big rubber definitely requires some pretty careful frame construction, let alone the challenge of making it all still ride well and retaining the fun, lively ride that most mountain bikers demand.
At the recent 2016 Specialized launch in Rotorua, we were lucky to get a very advanced preview of these new bikes. Unfortunately it was still too early in the piece for these bike to be ridden. Here is what we saw. A proper test ride is coming soon! Specialized claims that the 6Fattie tyres have a contact patch that’s 69% bigger and that tyre volumes are 56% larger (though we’re not sure what these comparisons are being made to). Either way, there should be shedloads of grip.
Our take on 27.5+
Without doubt these new bikes are going to be fun to ride, and that’s the main goal, right? We’ve not yet ridden one, but seeing these bikes in the flesh gives us confidence that they will work, Specialized have obviously spent some serious development time on these.
But at the same time, we can’t help but expect that 27.5+ (or 6Fattie) will attract some ardent critics, and we can see 27.5+ is going to divide opinion much like emergence of the 29″ wheel once did.
And like 29ers, these 27.5+ bikes will certainly have some benefits on the trail, the control and traction on hand will be on another level, but they most certainly will not be ideal on every trail type out there.
From our perspective, the arrival of 27.5+ is bitter-sweet. We love options, we love innovation, we love bikes that have more control and grip. But on the other hand, it finally felt like the mountain bike community had gotten over the 26 vs 27.5 vs 29 debate – we’d accepted two wheel sizes on the whole. 27.5+ is a step away from this consolidation, and we can’t help but think it’ll confuse much of the mountain biking public who just want to go ride, and don’t necessarily want/need/have an opinion on the ‘best’ wheel size.
Our sport is already very confusing – imagine being a punter looking to buy their first serious mountain bike; trying to get your head around the benefits of different wheel sizes, suspension travel amounts, or decipher the different categories -and 27.5+ definitely adds another elements of complexity.
But, we need to ride one of these things before we go getting ahead of ourselves. Luckily, a 6Fattie bike is winging its way to Flow HQ at the moment. Are we afraid that we’ll love it?
6Fattie Stumjumpers will be available from July/August, at price points from $4499 for the alloy base model, up to $11999 for the S-Works version. Yikes!